Early in the jam I had a bunch of different ideas. This is pretty normal. I liked the theme, so much so that it almost gave me too many options for achievable small games I would have enjoyed making. In the end I went for my ‘fallback idea’ – something I’d wanted to try if I could tweak it to fit the theme: a Descent-like game with visuals similar to Zombie Gunship.
What I wanted to achieve was:
1) Set up 6DOF ship controls that felt good. Not necessarily identical to the original Descent, but along those lines.
2) Recreate visuals similar to Zombie Gunship (essentially inverted greyscale, with object highlighting)
3) Incorporate this into a small prototype game, as a sandbox for something bigger.
All image effects applied
I’m happy since I feel like I largely met goals (1) and (2), with some detours, while the gameplay component of (3) isn’t nearly refined enough.
So Google has just announced Android Wear, which will provide some type of ‘official’ support for Android smart watches. This reminded me of something I have wanted to do for a little while … release Wrist Tweets, my Sony LiveView Twitter app, as open source ! Many thanks to everyone who bought the paid version. It didn’t really make much money, but it was fun and rewarding to develop (it covered the cost of buying a Sony LiveView, but not much more). I’ll keep it alive as long as practical with any easy bugfixes, but no promises. If you are one of the handful of people that bought it this year, I’m more than happy to sort out some kind of refund.
Some history: The original Sony LiveView had a very similar purpose to Android Wear devices, and Sony provided their own open source SDK to allow notifications to be pushed to the LiveView ’microdisplay’. The hardware implementation wasn’t all that great though – battery life of the device was poor, it was plagued with Bluetooth connection issues and the design inexplicably didn’t allow charging without removing the band, along with a whole bunch of other usability issues I won’t bore you with. No idea if these were fixed for the “Sony Smartwatch 2″ or whatever they called it, since after my experience with the LiveView, I decided to leave smartwatches alone until they matured a little. Hopefully Google and their partner manufacturers get it right with the Moto360 and future Android Wearables …
Valve have been pretty open about the idea of reducing manual curation, eventually killing off Greenlight and opening up access to their distribution platform. Recent comments only confirm it – Gabe says self-publishing on Steam is something they want to allow. There’s always lots of gnashing of teeth when it comes to ‘app stores’, discoverability and quality. Indies want their product to be been seen, purchased and played, customers want to find the stuff they like without wading through the stuff they don’t. Quality varies widely, but it’s not as simple as crap games and good games, since one man’s “Walking Simulator” is another man’s life changing experience. No single service has convincingly cracked the problem of exploiting the “long tail” of video games, efficiently finding the niche for each particular game and accurately getting the right games to the right customers (where in the extreme, some products probably have ‘no right customers’). Here’s one idea of how I see Steam self-publishing working such that Valve can exploit the long tail without losing the trust of their existing customer base: let’s call it Amber-light (“the ghetto”), followed by being Greenlit.
In 2013, I decided to participate in One Game A Month (aka #1GAM). The goal was to create a game with a proper start, middle and end, each and every month of the year. It was a bit like one big ongoing game jam.
While I don’t like to think of it as a competition, I’m still going to brag; I managed to rank within the top 100 after the 12th month (somewhere around ~75th). I’ll admit this helped push me to get games made in the last few months while juggling the responsibility of being a new parent, so I guess the ‘gamification’ aspect worked :) Here’s a rundown & some thoughts on the 11 games I made:
Warning mega-post ahead.
TLWR; I did One Game a Month and made lots of games, several of which I’m happy with the result. I made l a bunch of games that run on OUYA, kind of by accident. I’m not (intentionally) doing 1GAM this year, but if you haven’t done it, you should.