Humor, It’s a Tricky Beast to Handle

I hadn’t heard earlier about Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and after watching one show (which by the way has 117 million youtube views, cough, 117 million) I started thinking how difficult it is to do any comedy stuff – if you don’t want to offend anyone.

If you have a character called “a dead terrorist” who talks this and that, chances are you are insulting somebody.

If you make jokes about different countrymen… you’ll mock somebody.

In fact, unless you are mocking yourself with jokes… chances are you are offending somebody else. Possibly.

One indie developer is doing game about private parts. That will most likely offend somebody. There’s all sort of humor going on in games (and inside game dev teams).

Some people think that “hey, if you are offended by this – go to other room”. It’s like everything should be tolerated… since “it’s just humor”. But is it so? Is it so that everybody should tolerate the guy who makes the worst jokes in a game dev team?

Is it okay to present offensive stuff and make jokes about it? How offensive is fine?

Where and how do you draw the line?

August Contest: Convince Me To Buy Your Game

I want to buy a copy of your game (not the source code, no).

Few years back, I held this contest where your job was to convince me to buy your game. Close to 74 attempts were made and I bought a few games so we are looking at conversion rate higher than 1% – better than “industry average”.

Now it’s time to have the convince-my-to-buy-your-game contest again.

Don’t know how many games I will end up purchasing, but at least 1 game I shall purchase during this contest. Who knows, maybe more. It depends.

The rules are quite simple: basically, you gotta convince me to buy your game. Show screenshots, ask, cry, beg or get mafia to help convince me… do whatever it takes and leave a convincing comment in this blog post.

The contest ends in the end of August (or the moment I run out of money, as was also stated in the rules few years back).

The contest starts now, so leave a convincing comment on this blog entry.

Bonus points (that don’t affect anything) for those who retweet this blog post.

P.S. Like 3 years ago: I still own a pretty new (upgraded) PC but this time it’s Windows Vista instead of XP, so I’d appreciate if your game would actually work on my computer… Also, please use full URLs when creating links (and make sure you have spaces, or the system won’t recognize your URL links). Don’t worry if your comment goes to moderation queue, I’ll be approving it in no time.

Update:I also have Playstation 3.

What Payment Processor Are You Using?

I’ve been so accustomed to using Plimus & Paypal that I’ve almost forgot that there’s other alternatives available.

I just saw UltimatePay/Playspan which is a system for purchasing digital stuff. Saw EA and other companies there. There wasn’t too much information available on their site. Anyone familiar with their system? (I’m just pondering if indies could use it)

What ecommerce providers you use for payment processing? Why? Planned any alternatives?

Best AI You’ve Ever Created?

For my zombie game Dead Wake, I resorted to do a pretty simple AI: the zombies just go towards the player. Years earlie, when I was doing Hightailed puzzle game, developing the AI was much much trickier. First there was easy AI, which basically moved the monsters in random directions. Then there was medium AI, which “had a clue on what to do, but sometimes made bad moves”. Then there was AI that always tried to do good moves. Well, doing “good moves” was pretty hard since there was several creatures on board and they sort of needed to “collaboratively” maneuver the one guy. I managed to do a decent AI, something I was happy with.

But these didn’t match for the best AI I’ve created.

I was around 15 (I probably wasn’t but whenever I think times before turning 20, I always say 15) when I heard about those intelligent chat systems and of course I had to create my own. It was bloody stupid program where user chats with a computer, but if you happened to write the right questions that I had programmed the system to understand (I did this by just starting typing & asking something from my program, and then taking notes on what I was typing). My lil brother was the tester. I don’t recall exactly what he said but if I’d need to bet, I would think he would probably have wanted to send the chat program to gates of hell so when new arrivals come, they could have painfully tested my program.

Anyhow.

I liked doing that AI. I even managed to make it to exchange 2-3 meaningful sentences. I’m not sure if the chat program actually remembered what you had said, but I feel it either did or I had plans for doing that. Anyway, it was a bloody big list of IFs in that program.

Sort of stupidly cool back then, and thinking the same now too.

What’s your greatest AI invention. Care to share?

What Kind of View You Have?

When you look outside from your office room, what’s the view like? Do you like your current view? Hate it?

Don’t have a window?

When we bought this apartment, my office moved to downstairs. The space is bit like a bunker with a tiny window that doesn’t let much light come in… and I sort of dislike this. Okay, after I start working, it takes like 2 minutes and I’m totally concentrating on work… and from that on I don’t even know if there’s lights or not in the room.

But on times like for example now when I’m upstairs and typing this thing using laptop I remember how dark basement type of office I have.

I don’t know how the view might affect one’s motivation to work, but I’ve been looking the that living room corner (there’s a spot for extra computer here you know) in similar manner as that one creature from Middle Earth who kept saying “my precious”.

But… I dunno. It would mean extra caveman work you know.

Enough of my view.

How’s the view outside your office? Looking good? Do you think the view somehow affects your motivation?

One Surprisingly Easy Way to Speed Up Development

For about a decade I’ve been seeing how much time animating characters can take. I’ve witnessed this in almost every game project I’ve been dealing with. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 2D or 3D (or something between), animating characters takes time. And getting the animations to look better takes even more time.

I stopped for a moment to think of the scope of my own project and I realized that I not only could – but should – not do character animations. At least no big limp movements or fancy moves or stuff like that. So, I just decided not to animate my characters.

This also made me re-think how the game should look and I started concepting for simple pawns on a map. Maybe I’ll have 6-corner pawns like I originally tested with Edoiki project or perhaps I’ll just stick with avatar images that move around a map.

The Infected game is all about finding the traitor, so I think this thing will suit just fine the style.

Cutting this artistic thing away now feels good.

Would your project be simpler if:

  • You wouldn’t animate your characters?
  • You would use something else instead: could you have vehicles instead of characters? (Since those are easier to animate)

First Board Game That Felt Like Video Game (Space Alert, Anyone?)

I bought a board game called Space Alert and there’s one thing that made the game feel bit like a video game. Realtime cooperation under a deadline.

In Space Alert, you have a crew of people (players) protecting a space ship and keeping things running. In the game session, you also need a CD player since mission info is played on CD. Each mission lasts exactly 10 minutes. It was strange how using real time (typical for video games) aspect in turn-based environment (typical for board games) turned the whole thing upside down. Since there is a time limit and new unexpected things happened, it felt much more like I was playing a video game rather than a board game.

Kind of works as an example that thinking outside the box and loaning a thing or two here and there can make gameplay totally different.

How Well Browser Games Work On Mobile (Smart) Phones?

I don’t own an iPhone nor any other fancy phone (I’m waiting N8), and I’ve never really used any smart phones. Lately, I’ve got more and more interested in getting a new fancy phone for reasons like video camera (I have that newcomer in the house now), hdmi stuff (to show those clips to everybody, easily) wireless system for email (I usually am at home anyway, and don’t always want to carry around laptop) and so on.

Almost forgot what I was trying to say.

So, the thing is that I’d like know if you can play browser based games on your smart phones. You guys who have iPhones and whatnots… can you tell how well they can handle browser based games? I know iPhone doesn’t support flash so they probably suck quite a bit in this area, but what about other browser based games? What kind of support they have? How well they can deal with Ajax and HTML5 and whatnot.

Please – let me know what your experiences have been.

What Star Wars (Episodes IV-VI) And Indie Game Development Have In Common?

One Finnish tv channel was broadcasting Star Wars Episode V, and I chose to watch it again. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it (probably a few times I think) and don’t know how many years it has been since I last saw it.

What I found pretty interesting was that: even though that ice yeti (not jedi, yeti) monster in the very beginning looked like crap (I was thinking something like muppets when I saw it) and the visual effects cannot compete with today’s technology (except of course the cool light saber effects, ahh…) the film was still pretty darn good. I had no problems watching it again. It was a retro trip.

Sure, it is old as hell but it’s sort of like so legendary thing that you just gotta watch it and amaze how Lucas & those other chaps pulled it together.

It’s just amazing how good movie series can be without super duper special effects.

Sort of reminds me ideology behind indie game development (at least if you look from today’s perspective). Episodes IV to VI beat I, II and III – yet they had smaller budgets, smaller crews, smaller effects and so on.

With smaller budget, you simply don’t have the resources to create something utterly stupid as Jar Jar Binks.

I rest my case.

It’s also quite legendary that Star Wars brand is so… huge. I don’t know how much money Star Wars stuff generates but since they are selling Darth Vader costume replicants for $600+ (yeh, just see here) you know you are witnessing something huge.

This part of Star Wars didn’t remind me about indie gaming…

StarCraft 2 – What You Think of Sequels?

StarCraft 1 was one of the old RTS games that I really liked to try. It was one of the first real time strategy games where the units on each side were totally different. Now, several years later – I’m most keen to know what new will they bring? Is it “good old same Starcraft with new spicy flavor” or have they invented something radically new.

One thing is new for sure: their ad made me wonder if this was some sort of new RPG game:

Not suggesting that there wouldn’t be anything wrong with doing games in that style. What you think? Is this the way AAA studios handle things: put better graphics and add something new in the game? (I guess that’s pretty much how games are often done in other markets as well, so cannot point finger to AAA alone).

How you think sequels should be done?

Notice: I haven’t tested Starcraft 2 so I have no clue if it’s a good game or not. Just basing my views on what I’ve read from their features list, what I saw in videos… and plenty of guesswork.