Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free Art!

If you clicked through hoping to get your hands on some free art... Sorry but you'll probably be disappointed.  It seems to me, that these days asking for free art for your indie project is a normal thing to do.  I see this from a somewhat cynical position...  I've been around the block a few times, and know that it's a tough world in terms of your game project taking off.   Though it seems that since I have received emails, and see many posts on indie forums for unpaid work, there must be a sizable number of artists doing work for free.
I have thought about approaching others, or posting a "job" on a forum for my own projects... but being that I am also an artist, and know what it is like to be young and aspiring I cannot really do this in good conscious. I would feel as though I am taking advantage of the artist, because in all reality I would in fact be doing so.
Others may disagree with me... but I feel that art is undervalued as it is, everyone wants bad ass art... but they don't really want to pay for it.  We see this in companies large and small. When you as an artist give your work for free, that only adds to the perception that what we do is cheap and disposable.
I am curious about how many artists out there have found doing free work to be beneficial to them.  In my case, if I am gonna work for free... might as well do it for myself on one the million ideas I have in my head... rather than on someone else's idea.  I'd love to know other's perspectives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My experience pitching to SF VC

I mentioned in my last post that I feel that the games market is heavily over-saturated with content.  Based on this, I feel that releasing a game without any backing is about the same as throwing it into the ocean.

You always hear stories about people getting venture capital.  Last month I saw post about a local gaming start up "poised to change gaming" or something along those lines, being funded.  So I google the company name and check out the site only to see a not too exciting webpage touting the same tagline... Only with zero content showing what they are actually doing.  You think to yourself, these guys got a million bucks?  I don't see anything here... and at least to me, it seems like hey... there is free money out there for the taking... What are you waiting for Jason? Go get some!

  I have recently been receiving emails from the sf game dev meetup for "free" demo / pitch start up mixers. It's worth noting that, pitching at this kind of event is NOT free.  You must pay $125, for a table to be able to set up you a demo table and pitch on stage, which at the time seemed fair enough. Given that I feel I needed backing... It seemed logical that this might be a valid outlet.  I excitedly recorded a pitch video and submitted it.

 Not too long after I received an email back. "CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE ACCEPTED"  in all caps, I of course felt a little excited again... As well as nervous, being just an artist / developer... I have no experience pitching... Additionally, spending endless hours of your life stuck in front of a computer screen doesn't do much for ones' interpersonal skills. Still, I am of the breed that one can do anything they put their mind to.  I have two days to prepare my pitch, and that seems more than adequate.  I do prepare and memorize my pitch, as well as get some materials together for networking and showing my demo.  By Friday I am feeling OK, I committed my pitch to memory and head off to the meetup.

The meetup was cool enough, I met many interesting people as one does at these kinds of events.  I was the only guy pitching a game.  Others were pitching a variety of web services and technical concepts.  I think what others were pitching ranged from fully developed systems, to more abstract concepts not fully developed.  Still, I felt a little out of my element given that I was the only person presenting a game.  Speaking to others it was pretty easy to gauge the interest level.  Generally, what I gleaned from those I talked to was, they thought my game looked cool... But based on that alone you have zero chance of getting money.

Here is what I learned that others should find useful.  These people don't care about your idea.  They don't want to know about how the game mechanic works or how it is similar to this or that. They may admire how cool it looks, and the novelty of it being a game... But that only represents a surface reaction and doesn't represent much in terms of value.  They are really only willing to put money into something that already has traction, meaning users, or data that people are using your product.  Or.... A team of people with a successful track record.  Which basically means they are looking for a sure bet.  At this point I don't have a sure bet... So the only other option for me is to create some traction the best that I can.

The time came to pitch on stage... You pitch in front of the crowd as well as some SF venture capitalists who are the judges.  As I went up onto the stage to pitch I was feeling ok... I had memorized it so... I should be fine I thought.  I Started out just fine, then... about two paragraphs in, one of the venture capital guys interrupts me. "Excuse me, excuse me! What value are you offering?".  This caught me off guard, I hadn't expected to be interrupted.  "I am pitching a game concept, I am not sure of the value."  I answered.  "Ok, Ok, (sigh) continue" He replies condescendingly.  By now my nervousness had spiked, I tried to regain my composure, and pick up where I left off... But it was too late my memory was blank.  I then fielded a couple more questions from the VC, iterating that I am not trying to create something completely new and unique... Only trying to look at what is successful and tap into that vein in the market.  Mr. Condescending had no more comments, another VC offered support in info about a incubator he is starting... So we'll see what that means.

My advice is if you are thinking about doing one of these events... I think you can skip the pitching and paying them $125.  Going to the mixer and networking is free... and in hindsight I could have gone to this without pitching, and had the same experience... and met the same people.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cherry Bomber Demo... and other thoughts

I have seen a couple of posts lately where indie devs broke down the stats from their games.  I was glad to see these, given I was thinking about publishing this game solo.  The articles were informative.... and... a bit depressing.  (see here)(here), and (here)  Looking at the info though, it seems unlikely my game will be able to compete with the gigantic marketing machines employed by the larger companies.... What to do?  I am as of yet unsure, but it seems like if possible finding some VC, or a publisher might be a better option.  Given that, a publisher or VC will see potential in this project.
Currently it seems like the indie games space, and maybe games in general is just oversaturated with content.  It seems extremely difficult to stand out from the ocean of games out there... At least without backing to help you cut thru the noise...  Any body else out there have some insights?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guess I should post some progress.  Gonna try hard to finish this week!!!

This is the training scene, like the army base for the cherry bombs to practice.  Each scene will have 15 levels to play.  There will be dummy cupcakes for them to practice on.  There are 5 more scenes:
Jelly-Land Theme Park
Soda River

Defeat the Cupcakes and push the onslaught back across the soda river....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Been a while... Got a new project in process that I will show soon.  In the mean time I am gonna focus on putting cherry bomber out.  Here are some images for the intro sequence to show you the direction I'm headed....

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cherry Bomber post mortem?

I really don't like the word Post Mortem. As to me,  it implies the project is dead.  I think,  it is something you do once the project is complete and either a success or a failure.  That way you can reflect on what you did, and improve or add another trick to your bag to be used in other projects.   It seems that in terms of projects created in this competition, it is only the beginning where your creation can go.  Personally speaking, I have found Ludum Dare to be a great way to spring board accelerated game development.  I believe Cherry Bomber has great potential to be a cool, fun, and hopefully successful mobile game(Ive already started testing)... If at the least web game somewhere that people will enjoy playing.
Why would we spend the greater part of 48 to 72 hours glued to a computer toiling away?  We like to make games?  Yes, of course.... but by no stretch of the imagination is it easy... at least not for me.  I think the real reason is because we want to share those crazy thoughts and ideas we have in our minds with other humans... and make a connection... And this is a great platform.  It also cant be under stated that we want to be successful.  We like making games, and I am sure we all aspire to be able to do that as a means to our financial well being.
This was my first Ludum Dare.  I am astounded at the number of entries submitted.  Actually I find it somewhat intimidating that the competition is so high.  To me this signifies a real change in the games industry.  I think the production bar is low enough that large teams for development are really not an option anymore.  This is actually a great thing.... It means that we all have the power to create the thing that we have been imagining for so long...  So let's do it.
We are Indie, we are strong.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Switching lanes temporarily

I am putting #mouse Control on hold for a short time so that I can quickly focus on getting Ludum Dare #CherryBomber submission into release quality.  I think that this should be pretty straight forward because I really should need to do is, get it functioning on devices, add some polish to mechanics, and push the art style and characters.  Should be able to get those done reasonably quickly...Gonna try to put it on android today.  Let's see how that goes.  :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cherry Bomber (Ludum Dare Submission)

Cherry Bomber (Ludum Dare Submission)

Play it: Brought to you by 72 hours of complete madness! Destroy the evil cupcakes by getting a cherry bomb on top! Fast Paced Action! 3 Hastily Designed Levels! Built in Game Bugs! More to come on this project... :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mouse Control Inc. Lego Model Video

Kinda off topic... but hey. If you like building Lego models, check out the mouse model I created based on the in game models. You can also use the step by step instructions below... I haven't built a real one yet. But I will, and I'll post it when I do.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#MouseControl Demo 0.4

Mouse Control now has a complete game loop. Player must drive to destination hi lighted in Map mode. Still much to do but things are coming along.  Sometimes I feel like my brain might explode when trying to organize the remaining  items into tasks... lol. Here is an attempt at a list:

1. Create driving game obstacles and hook into game points.
2. Patch in all the xml attributes to complete tycoon-like element.
3. Create 2D art for Map Boss and Customer prompts and feedback..
4. Refine game controls
5. Finally start device testing???

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

City UI Test #MouseControl

Still in the process of building out the driving part and RPG part of Mouse Control.  What is working now is a random destination(the red mouse head) is created on the intro city map.  This can be tapped to initiate the driving game, and you must drive to that location.  There is also an option to tap the shopping cart, in order to drive to the shop.... Yep thats about it for now.  Dont get too excited.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Added Car to #MouseControl

I integrated the car scripts with my control system, so I can easily switch between scenes with either a car or avatar and maintain control.   Oh... and also created the car model and texture     :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Starting Tycoon Element of #MouseControlInc

I have started the Tycoon element which includes needing to drive to the building that needs Mice to be collected.  The driving itself will be part of the game play.  The Tycoon is building the business and defeating the local Mouse Catcher by putting them out of business.  After which you move on to a new part of the city, with a new mouse catcher to put out of business.  A little like the old skool Ghost Busters game. Should have this prototyped in a few days....

Monday, July 22, 2013

#MouseControl Demo 0.3 ... More Progress

More Progress!  I improved the camera angle as well as tightened up the controls some.  I also add the HUD with score keeping and saving.  Added some fx, improved the mouse AI, and made them talk smack to you.  Keep Going!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

@project_anarchy looks pretty awesome

I just came across .  The engine is looking pretty cool in the training vids... Especially being able to test on a device thru  I really wanna play with it... Maybe for my next project gotta finish this one first.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

current #gamedev thoughts for this project

Below is video of my most recent progress for this project.  what I have:
1. Character movement (sneaking, running)
2. Mice that have AI and can be caught.
3. Ability to drop bait that attracts mice, and can be eaten by them.
4. Interactive physics objects that can be broken bases on set parameters.
5. XML loading and saving of game parameters.

What I need to do:

1. change control stick to touch movement control from touch anywhere on screen.
2. Improve physics object interaction and performance.
3. Fully implement game parameters loading and saving.
4. Add drop-able trap objects.

RPG element or not?

Realistically I think I need to add an RPG element to the game including beating other mouse catchers and taking their business.  This adds quite a bit of additional work, so Ill see if I have time to get into this.  It would definitely make the gaame more fun and engaging.....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First Mouse Control (M.I.C.E) environment

I created the first environment for the project and brought it into the engine.  Achieving the style I am going for... So pretty satisfied with it.  Shiva has internal light-mapping, but I elected not to use it, and burnt the lighting into a texture atlas in Max... So the BG you see is only using a single texture map.  More soon....

Using #Shiva3D for this project

Thinking its about time for some updates.  I haven't yet mentioned it but, I am using Shiva 3D for this project.     Since I am doing all the coding, I feel much more at home in Shiva since it uses Lua.  I heard the company is out of business recently so I am a bit worried about issues I might run into when putting the game onto devices... which wont be too long from now.  Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.... :]

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kat Model #GameArt

Guess its makes sense to post the character model... Probably should have been before animations...but um well. The shader will have an outline, and wont look as nice as this render but we do what we can.  Real time stuff soon.  :)

Initial #animation, check it

I finished up these animations for the character... Who for the time being have decided is named Kat. (  They look a little choppy when converted to gif... but are smoother than that believe me.  Next step is to get them into the game so I can replace my placeholder character.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Talking with my designer...

I have been thinking I would call this game Mouse Control.  My daughter said she M.O.U.S.E, would be soooo much cooler.  I said, "while I agree miss lady... What would that acronym stand for"?  She told me that was for me to figure out. (of course)  We talked further about it and think that maybe M.I.C.E is an acronym that will work , as in:  Mouse Inspection and Collection Enterprises.   So we are thinking that will be a cooler name... might go with that.  Rambling Jason?

I also asked her to think of some bait/cheese types for the game and she made a list for me... She's a great daughter.  :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Diffuse Texture Map Painting Tutorial

I spent some time creating the character for Mouse Control, So decided to create a tutorial on how I paint diffuse maps for this style of art.  Hope someone finds it useful.  :)

 #MouseControl #GameArt #Tutorial

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

XML game data :D

This may not be such an interesting post... Still in terms of finish and actual game as opposed to a mechanics demo... its big for me.  I have finished a system for loading xml files into mouse control... So now I can more flexibly define, tweak, and create game play....ok enough boring xml junk... promise some graphics soon.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mouse Control Inc.

Ugh...Sooooo... I have too many projects in motion.  I have resolved to finish something.  I would like to introduce you to Mouse Control Inc.  This has been in motion for a while, but I have made some real traction in the last couple weeks.  I will post some pretty concepts now, and get into more detail soon.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Here are a bunch of images from work past, some still in progress.  Some still in progress, others not so much.

Neal Stephenson;s Clang Project

Character work Done for Clang
Character work Done for Clang
Character work Done for Clang
Character work Done for Clang
Character work Done for Clang
Environment work Done for Clang

Examples of environmental work done for USAF

Game made for wild pockets game jam in 2010.  Won for Best art.

First step in upgrade =
Time to reset... Upgrade systems. New blog = shift projects into overDrive++