The last barricade has been smashed: the future belongs to gaming portals

After seeing Avadon game by Spiderweb software in Steam I was amazed. And shocked. Jeff Vogel (guy behind spiders) has been making and selling games from his website as long as anybody or their mom can remember.

His new game Avadon is now appearing at Steam store (priced close to 10 bucks) and he also sells the game through his own site (price close to 20 bucks).

This is quite shocking.

While Cliff has any time left from kicking some pirate sorry arse, he is advocating selling games through your own site (although he too sells his game through Steam).

Jeff and Cliff are like the god fathers of indie scene, and they’ve been doing this stuff for long time (and are successful, moneywise). If these chaps get their games to Steam, that is a pretty sure indication about where the industry is going.

Sure, there’s exceptions about indies who sell (millions) only through their own site while battling against evil corporations that try to steal all their money if you use certain words in your game (hint: words like “scrolls”, “elder”, “isles”, “hunted”, “arena”, “rogue”, “warrior” are danger area to use in your games… sigh), but the point is (getting bit sidetracked here) that portals (or at least one) are getting bigger. Small indie sites are getting even smaller.

And let’s admit it. When you can choose to buy a game through (1) some random indie gaming site or (2) through Steam, which one you choose?

Yeh, same here. I too buy pretty much all my games through Steam as well. It’s so handy.

What are you thinking about my thoughts here? Two indie oldtimers who have always sold mainly through their sites are now in Steam as well. Should we get worried?

Share your thoughts.

How to create mobile games? Some helpful pointers for newbies (and others)

Everybody and their mom thinks mobile games (I’m talking mainly iPhone/iPad and Android devices here) are such cool thing that I couldn’t help listing a few possibly useful resources. Here, go check em out.

app game kit – from the makers of fps creator and other “build games easily” tools. If you’ve never done any games programming, this might very well be a nice option to check out.

impact js – html5 based system, which can be wrapped inside an iphone app (my buddy Tim will come here, comment this blog post and tell about his cool example app video, just watch this place), or you can easily play games directly through browser. If you know Javascript, this might be good way to go.

monkeycoder – from the makers of blitzbasic, blitz3d, bmax. Mark has created a slick thing that can do not only mobile games, but can cross-compile to almost any platform (when somebody codes more targets). If you know blitz basic stuff, this is good option. Monkey is pretty new, but evolving fast. Keep eye on it.

cocos2d – another pretty cool system to build mobile games. There’s quite plenty of material (including books) about using cocos2d and to me it feels it’s getting bigger.

iphone game kit – tool aimed for beginners. Even if you don’t want to start with iphone game kit, you might want to check out this system. It comes with a huge number of art assets to use in your products. (interestingly, uses cocos2d by the way)

unity – from beginners to more advanced users, Unity offers plenty of options for creating mobile (and other) games.

shiva – bit different to Unity and not so popular, but plenty of useful things that you possibly don’t want to miss, so go check it out as well.

By the way, here’s one blog post written over a year ago regarding mobile games thoughts. It’s a pretty good post to read (comments too).

Who will win the Quake 3 match: Mojang or Bethesda?

It’s a tough call, since Bethesda has tons of talent under their belt. They are good at shooting things. Mojang folks on the other hand are more into shoveling ground and that stuff, but who knows…

What you think? Please vote.
[poll id=45]

In case you haven’t heard, Mojang folks are trying to deal with possible lawsuit regarding their upcoming “Scrolls” game (Bethesda thinks that’s too similar name to their game: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”), so Mojang challenged them to Quake 3 match instead of taking court action.

Should I do iPad games? (Here’s a tip on how to decide)

When massive number of people are doing something, my advice is to do something totally different. For example, should I do iPad games because everybody else is doing them as well?

What “everybody else” is doing, doesn’t really matter for me.

But when I see something like this from the godfather of indie devs, then I might reconsider.

If Cliff does something, it’s good to take notes, and consider if you can lend some of his knowledge & experience.

I’m sure he won’t mind.

In case you don’t know who Cliff is, well, his GSB game has got over 100000 people playing it. The game costs about $20 to buy, so do the math.

Rewarding versus punishing

A buddy of mine had created a game that reminded me via email that “you haven’t been actively playing for 3 weeks, so your account will be closed”.

I’ve been testing some Zynga games which take completely different path: in the game, I get informed that remind me about “pick up the daily reward, check them each day”.

I mentioned this same to my friend, not sure if he is considering implementing it.

Anyway, the point is that there’s these 2 totally different approaches:

  • Punish if you don’t do what your are supposed to do (play or else we won’t let you play)
  • Reward you if you play, and they reward you more for playing more

I don’t know which way you prefer, but I definitely like the latter option more.

Would rational people buy cup of coffee? (Yet alone virtual coffee)

Cup of coffee costs like couple of euros or something when you go to some fancy coffee house where you get to drink it from a luxury mug.

Pack of coffee beans (and stuff) costs twice that. That makes home made coffee to cost like twenty times less or something. Depending how thick coffee you happen to drink.

Now, we could go lengthy way on arguing the taste of coffee in home and in coffee houses. I’ve tasted coffee in both places and I actually prefer home made ones. But some say otherwise.


Would a rational person go and buy a cup of coffee when he can have 20 cups at home for the same price?

Soon you’ll see plenty of comments rationalizing why it makes sense. We’ll get to see comments about quality, freshness, atmosphere, right blends et cetera.

And after you’ve seen those comments, stop for a moment and really think if those make it any more rational to purchase cup of coffee.

Then, use this information the next time you figure out pricing for your game (or in-game purchases, or anything).

The point is: no matter what you sell, there’s somebody who is ready to purchase it.

If somebody sells virtual coffee, somebody will buy it.

Was thinking of selling virtual coffee here to prove my point but then decided it might not be such a good idea, and not sure if it would be legal for Finnish folks, so not selling any virtual coffee here. Move along people.

Money is in the pocket of a customer
It doesn’t matter what you and I think is rational (or normal for that matter). What matters is what the potential customer thinks.