Monthly Archives: March 2009

Online High Scores

I’ve been working on to get Online High Scores to work in the Dead Wake game. Thanks to BlitzMax, getting the program to communicate with the score server is relatively simple. With this you can get player scores, rankings and everything. (Only small con being that my system is not threaded – at least not yet, so there might be a small delay in case the connection doesn’t work).

I’ve added a system where the player can submit scores online, and then he will receive his ranking (and see the names & scores of other players near his ranking). I remember discussing this type of system with somebody, and it already brings some sort of new aspect in the scores.

Now the scores aren’t just local, but you can compete with the rest of the world.

Questions & Answers About the Insiders Service

I’ve been receiving emails, PMs and forum comments about the Insiders service and I wanted to share the answers here in public too. Those who aren’t familiar with the Insiders service, I’ll just quickly say that it’s a service for game developers & producers who want to make games with zero budget, who want to sell their games & get publicity for their games using the press release service. It’s for developers who want a place to get help in a noise-free environment. (At least that’s what the members are saying – and right now there’s close to 100 members).

Anyway, here’s some questions & answers:

Question: “Where could I find more information about the service?”
I took away the page that contained loads of information about the service (but I intend to make a page with more info in the future). I have done a few sales pitches informative announcements (such as this in the past which you might want to check out). There’s some info about the service.

Question: “I’d like to join, but noticed it was sold out… is there any way I could join”
Some people have asked if they could join, but right now the answer is ‘not right now, but stay tuned’. I’ve said that I took it off the market (and I do my best to actually do what I say so…). There’s an ‘early bird’ list for those who wanna join when the service is available again.

So, I guess the bottom line is that if you want to join the service then subscribe to that list and you’ll be first to hear when the service is available again.

Question: “How much will it cost”
That will be announced closer to the launch of the improved service.

Question: “When will it be available”?
I’m in the process of upgrading the service to better. I’m adding more content and improving the press release service (with better & more reliable email sending & increasing the list size). I’m working on a few (unannounced) things that I want to get done too before the service will be available.

Right now the closest answer I can get is “when it’s done”. Like said above – get on that early bird list and I’ll let you know when we are ready.

The 3 Things You Need to Remember When Recruiting More Team Members (Video)

I hired a new team member to help me with coding Dead Wake. Unfortunately the hiring was a horrible failure, and the new team member wasn’t paying attention to me and couldn’t last long with me. As painful it was, I decided to share these 3 important things one gotta remember when getting more people in the team.

Check out this video, and make sure you don’t waste time and know what to expect when getting more people in your team.

Early Rising Is Not a Fancy Thing (It’s Not Bad Either)

Jake and I exchanged couple of emails about ‘getting up early’ and this made me wonder how many of you are early risers. I get up around 7:00 – 8:00 every morning and go for 30+ minute walk. At some point in my life I was waking up around 11:00 and took a 30 minute walk to the university.

Now as I compare these habits, I can say that there’s no need for an alarm clock (my internal clock wakes me up when needed – whether it was 8 am or 11 am). I think I felt sometimes felt bit tired whether I was waking up 7 am or 11 am.

The biggest difference is that days seem to last bit longer and there’s more daylight when you get up early… but haven’t noticed much else. (Maybe that alone is okay reason to get up early). The biggest advantage of getting up late (and staying up late) for a Finnish guy is that you get to talk with the American folks (since the 10 hour whatnot time difference) – this can be good.

I don’t know if there’s studies up benefits of getting up early (there probably is), but in conclusion I’d say that in terms of game production it bears little meaning at what time I get up. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not sure there’s anything too fancy about getting up early. I don’t think there’s anything bad either. Pick the pattern that suits your style.

I know some of you guys are vampires, but I wonder how many early risers there is. Is it just me alone? Anybody else getting up early?

P.S. Naps are a king thing. A 15-30 minute nap around 3 pm is a great energy boost for me. I warmly recommend a brief siesta for every game producer.

Star Wars Egg Contest Ended, The Correct Answer Was…

Yoda. (Yoda “2-day tattoo” to be exact)

Sargon & Jake got the right answer (or at least close enough), so you guys win a surprise gift. But before I get there, I gotta say that inside that egg was a small Yoda tattoo thing that I could have put in my arm…

…in case there hadn’t been this tiny little ‘accident’.

There was actually several small tattoos (I even tested one Jedi tattoo) but the Yoda tattoo was the coolest, thus I decided that it was the main thing that people would need to guess. I would have sent you winners tattoos, but because either (1) our dogs ate those tattoos or (2) somebody put them in a trashbin – I fortunately cannot show you the Yoda tattoo (nor give you different tattoo as a surprise gifts) since I couldn’t find them from anywhere. Instead, I have come up with a different surprise gift.

For this, I do need your mailing address Sargon & Jake – so please email me and let me know your full street address so that I can mail you the surprise gift.

Thanks everybody for participating!

It’s good to fool around a bit every now and then – I think life it’s not meant to be too serious all the time…

Why They Punish Me For Buying Movies?

I recently bought and watched the movie Goodfellas. Watching the movie reminded about one thing about movie copyright text I just don’t get. (Not sure if I’ve mentioned this earlier, but if I have – then perhaps this issue just keeps bugging me). Every time I launch the DVD, it says something about copyrights, and it takes like 30 seconds before I get to the main menu where I can press the Play button. Everytime I want to watch something, they keep me waiting.

If I stop the movie (like… go outdoors or something) and then come back to watch the movie, same thing happens. I’m forced to wait for the copyright whatnot text to be displayed (and in many DVDs they also say how ‘pirating is a crime’…). I bought the darn thing, it’s mine. I legally own it. Why they keep bugging me with this crap? Why there’s no ‘skip’ button so that I could immediately get to the main menu and start watching the movie?

Okay, I can deal with that 30 second waiting – it’s not like I’m in a hurry or something. I simply think it’s bad customer service. How would you feel if every time you went to grocery store and every time you hand over your credit card the clerk would give you 30 second speech about ‘you should not steal from us’. After that he would let you go. Maybe you could tolerate that, but I’d guess you would think it’s pretty stupid practice. I wonder what makes movie makers think it’s okay to do the same for DVDs?

No wonder there’s pirated versions of these movies that have ripped off those ‘piratism is crime’ texts and ensure that you don’t need to wait to watch the movie. We should learn from the pirates. They know how to keep their ‘customers’ happy, but same cannot be said about many movie menu makers.

By the way: just switch the word ‘movie’ with the word ‘video game’ and you can see that this stuff applies to gaming world too.

I Just Emailed the ‘Top Secret’ Manual to You (If You Didn’t Get It Yet, Read This)

I’ve finalized Top Secret (short) manual where Harvard Bonin (formerly EA, Nowadays at Sony), Justin D’Onofrio (Freeverse), Frank Rogan (Real), Hendrik Lesser (Remote Control) and Peter O’Brien (Bizarre Creations) answer to two questions about game producer objectives.

I’ve emailed the Ebook to all of you who have subscribed to the mailing list – so enjoy.

P.S. In case you missed the manual, then simply subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll email you the ebook. (This mailing list is sort of like my ‘A’ list, list that I use to send some good stuff for selected people). There’s already loads of people on that list, so join the group in case you haven’t done that already. I don’t spam you and you can unsubscribe easily by simply clicking a link in any email you get from me.

Why The Heck They Use Packages That Could Survive Nuclear Attack?

I bought a brand new Logitech web cam which came in nice box that was easy to open. I also bought a brand new Logitech microphone that didn’t came in such a nice box. In fact, the mic was put in such box that probably even bullets could not pierce it or something.

Why do I need army of undead swordsmen (not to mention a medikit) or something to get the stuff out from the box?

Oh well, gotta be careful when opening packages like this one.

Some Things One Gotta Do To Avoid Coding…

Gotta eat
Gotta watch the television
Gotta check email
Gotta take the dogs out
Gotta plan first
Gotta test something first
Gotta check out the forums
Gotta check email again
Gotta watch some online videos
Gotta make videos
Gotta take a nap
Gotta read Donald Duck
Gotta chat with somebody
Gotta check youtube
Gotta read something useless
Gotta think of all the alternatives first
Gotta tweak some irrelevant feature
Gotta take the garbage out
Gotta twitter
Gotta play some other video game
Gotta play my own game (instead of coding it)
Gotta check traffic stats
Gotta check face book
Gotta check sales stats
Gotta play board game
Gotta check the RSS feed
Gotta make a phone call
Gotta check email quickly again
Gotta write a blog post about what I gotta do…
Gotta hear what reasons you might have to avoid working on your game

The thing is… if you gotta do all this stuff instead of working on your game (I hope that’s not the case), then you might not be working on the right project. If working on your game doesn’t feel motivating, then why the hell do that?

We all can come up with excuses (that above list took couple of minutes to write), but I think that working on you game should be thrilling – it should be something you eagerly wait! It should be your vision and what you want. After all, wasn’t that what we all dreamed when we were (young) kids, right?

I realize that there might be some tasks that aren’t fun, but the good news are there’s (hopefully) only a few of them. What has helped me to deal with the nasty buggers is that I’ve tried to minimize the ugly tasks (or outsourced some of them) and try to remember the end result after getting those ugly tasks completed. I think of the feeling I’ll have when I’ve finished my project. And that keeps me thrilled over and over.