In This Indie Christmas, We Need to See More Beards

The indie games christmas calendar is about to get started. (Got my desktop today, so makes things bit easier for me…). The first calendar door will be available to open tomorrow morning.

Keep on submitting games, even though December is here we’ll squeeze in the indie games somewhere there.

Friend of mine – Steven – has been helping me out with everything. We planned to have also a contest by the end of December, to help get gamers participate. I or Steven will most likely be in touch with you guys about this and tell you what we need (hint: we need prizes).

I’ll send the press release out tomorrow and hint my newsletter readers about this thing. Will be most interesting to see how this all goes.

For this project, I needed a beard of course. Now you guys also need to grow a bread. And comment here (or there) so we can see how it looks in your face.

And I don’t want to hear any excuses about things like “but I’m a girl…” – in this Christmas, you gotta have a beard.

How Would You Survive a Week Without a Computer And Internet?

I moved to a new place in this month (desktop should -perhaps – come on Monday ;)) and was without an internet connection for over a week. This was bit strange to me, since I’ve never been without a computer/internet connection for one week (if you exclude holidays).

Earlier, I’ve always packed computer last – and unpacked it first. This time our move schedule changed (we were supposed to move in the end of November rather than in the beginning), so I couldn’t get internet earlier.

It was somewhat strange experience.

I didn’t miss computer and I had decided not to try to rush with things, but rather do the stuff what I can and do the other stuff later. (For example, my Dead Wake game needs an engine upgrade to ensure video card compatibility: these couple of issues that need to be taken care off before the release.)

It was bit weird to be without email for those 9 days.

But… it was also quite refreshing. I felt pretty “light” for that whole period. I don’t stress about things, and I like doing stuff on computer, but I’m not really an addict. I spend a lot of time on computer, but I also try to spend a lot of time off computer. Having one week off – suddenly – was a bit strange experience but I kind of recharged my batteries. After I get the desktop table, I have great motivation to get things really going on again.

It’s worth taking a break every now and then. A bit longer break.

How would you survive the next week without a computer & internet?

Joke In a Bush Is Better Than Two In the Hand

Yesterday’s post got some comments that got me thinking about joking and how jokes affect people.

Years ago I used “offensive” jokes much more often than I do today. Offensive, as in the meaning that “they could offend”. I didn’t mean to offend anyone with those jokes, but by looking back I can see that clearly they could be taken offensively. I guess it was pretty okay since the same people joked back at me the same way and were my best friends anyway. (Anyone seen Gran Torino? Where Clint was speaking in that movie shouting very harshly to others. That wasn’t how we joked, ours speech were much milder).

I’m the kind of person who makes jokes about myself, and also jokes among friends and people I know. I’m no comedian (those aren’t funny anyway), but I do like “intelligent” humor where the words are more important than how loud they are said (think of British tv comedy over American tv comedy – very generally speaking, there’s gems in American tv as well). This wasn’t a joke so, it can’t be taken offensive. Right?

Anyway.

There isn’t really a safe spot when it comes to joking. Joking only about yourself is a good start, but even then there’s dangers if you move to the areas like “my religion” or “my favourite politician” or “my handicap” or whatever. You might also use harsh language or use jokes related to sex – it all can be too much to some people.

Let’s take a few examples:

  • Is it okay to make jokes about handicapped people? Some people would say “no, it’s not okay” while some people – including those with a handicap – might say “yes, sure – it’s okay”.
  • What about South Park – is it too much? Some people dislike it a lot, some people think it’s just fine.
  • Monthy Python? They joked about very many things (mainly British…)
  • Or take Ali G / Borat / BrĂ¼no – do you think this guy has bad humor?
  • Joking about British tv comedy over American tv comedy? Some people will not tolerate if somebody jokes about comedy shown in American tv (especially when shown in comparison to British tv – even when this is merely an opinion of one person who prefers one after another).

My guideline (where I aim to), is to minimize insulting people/peoples/genres/age/sex/stuff with my speech (it’s been greatly reduced compared to what it was years ago, but still need to work with this area), and to keep joking about myself and voices in my head.

Joking is a very serious issue. The jokes and humor is important. Joking affects people around you. It’s way to handle difficult things. It’s way to build team spirit and connect people. It’s way to sell games.

It’s (hopefully) fun too.

What you think about jokes & humor?

Why The **** People Play Farmville?

I tried Farmville facebook game after hearing that there’s like millions of players or whatever. I tested this Tamagotchi game and came to the conclusion that those 29 seconds were more than enough.

To me, Farmville design is like:

  • Grow stuff to get more stuff to be able to grow more stuff

I guess that hits the nerve of every Diablo player (like me). Now they add a social aspect in Farmville and you can:

  • Invite your friends to loan their stuff back and forward so that you can do stuff.

That’s it, in all simplicity. (Based on my solid 29 seconds of experience).

Add fancy graphics, customization, tons of content, loads of players…. and so on and you have Farmville.

I think the game core mechanism is bloody simple (which is good, I like simplicity). It also gives people way to progress… and apparently the social aspect and sharing must be fun too. But still it puzzles me a bit that why the heck there’s like million fans (or something) playing this game.

Seriously. Millions?

Is it really that darn addictive?

Anyone really played it for longer than me – what you think about the game?

(Hats off for the developers: darn good job in designing the game, executing the game design and marketing the game.)

What’s the Color of Your Tongue? Brown?

Do you say different things about your boss in these situations:
1) In front of boss (will you honestly say what you think when your boss hears you? Do you laugh at his jokes and nod like an idiot on any of his suggestions?)
2) Somewhere else (do you complain about your boss in behind his back, and talk about things you wouldn’t say in front of him?)

Why? Why not?

One Tiny Thing To Remember When Picking Your Game Dev Engine

Compatibility.

Going year back, I knew I would take a somewhat a risk by using Leadwerks engine (that was – and still is – in development). My main reason for usin LE boiled down to being able to get more done in shorter timeframe – the learning curve for me was minimal.

I knew a compatibility was an issue, and about 6 months ago (or so) I was re-checking if I should abandon the engine for good, as there was a major change that greatly impacted in my development.

I recently got a community version out, which can be called to be a “release candidate” (although it was missing some content). While testing the version, it was spotted that there was a driver bug. The game graphics wouldn’t work on new gfx drivers.

I wrote about this in the Leadwerks forums and it was revealed to me that in 2.25 this was fixed (I was using 2.24), and that I’d need to do another upgrade. The last upgrade I did took quite a bit of time (since for example physics system had changed, and supported graphics file format had changed). Now, I started doing the upgrade and the next step is to get the graphics to show (meshes are not shown anymore). This upgrade is again an essential one, since if nobody can play the game with new drivers… nobody probably will be interested in buying it (I wouldn’t buy those flickering shadows).

Anyway.

I’m working on this to get the upgrade done, and then I’m much closer to doing the actual release and getting people to buy the thing.

The lesson from all this goes:

Whatever engine you plan to use, make sure you don’t rely on getting “engine patches” later. Make sure the engine is so stable that you can rely on using the one version (the version of today, not version of the future) to release your game.

The costs of relying that “engine will be patched” are risky. It may be suitable for you, but I would be very careful on this matter. It’s better to pick a stable and perhaps older engine over a new, fancy – but in development – engine.

At least in my bloody humble opinion.