Bribe Me! (Just Got King of Fighters XII to Test)

Here’s me with my just received bribe in my hands.

I recently got a review copy for King of Fighters XII and while I haven’t checked it out yet, I wanted to mention that I’m open for similar bribes. Right now I’m interested in physical copies (since they look better in pictures), and especially games for Playstation 3.

I look forward into checking in how this game runs… I have no idea if I’ll like it but this certainly brought me memories about the visit I did to Turkey 15-20 years ago when we kids played Street Fighter II every day… anyway, I’ll report back later.

Here’s a King of Fighters XII trailer for those interested.

Small tip for bloggers: using ads and stuff like that isn’t the only way to “monetize” your blog, just ask people to send you goodies and you’ll be surprised on the stuff you can receive.

GameStreamer Review: A Viable Distribution Channel For Developers (And Game Sites)

I got approached by the Timothy Roberts (GameStreamer’s CEO) and Nathan Lands (Co-Founder and Executive Vice President) about a possible cooperation with GameStreamer. We agreed that I’d do a detailed review for them, and Nathan also agreed to do an interview later. I will mostly focus on the developer side (which – bit confusingly – they call “publisher”) in this review, but will also highlight some points about the benefits for those who want to sell their games.

In short: if you are interested in getting more sales (whether you are developing games or selling them), you want to check out their system.

GameStreamer (GS) has been working silently for couple of years and recently opened their doors. Basically, they mention having a massive network that contains both publishers and developers. GameStreamer works with clients that have good traffic coming to their sites – and GS to provide targeted traffic to certain demographics. In my mind, this means that for example Car sites could offer targeted Car games to their audiences (instead of “new random casual game every day”). In terms of conversion this sounds good.

They are also working with variety of clients to create new type of revenue streams and they have various payments models available – ranging from try & buy, only buying, subscription, micro-transactions to rental and advertising.

Benefits for developers
There’s some obvious benefits for developers who wish to use GameStreamer to distribute their games:

  • First of all, it’s free (so basically, you have one additional way to get publishers to sell your game)
  • The royalty rates are quite low – as we often see in today’s gaming industry (GS offers 25% of net revenue at the time of writing this review). It’s hard to say if that’s a bad or good rate, since they claim to have a great amount of publishers that can sell games (with great technology) – so who knows if the conversion rates are better (and if their net revenues are decent), then to me it sounds like worth pondering.
  • You might also earn revenue from trial downloads, since the 25% net revenue goes for that too. So basically, the more people download your games – the more you have chance to earn (that sounds like a solid deal to me)
  • Registration is pretty straightforward (register herebut be sure to read the terms before registration, don’t just do what I write here). No hassles to figure out “how to get published”.
  • Please notice that the terms say that you are required to have 36 months with them (although in my experience you usually can discuss on how things go) – I asked this from Nathan and will update this as soon as I get more information on this.

I briefly mentioned to Nathan about getting Dead Wake into the system, and when the time is nearer for release of Dead Wake we’ll continue discussion and see if it sounds like a good deal to try out. Right now I don’t know how good the system is, but to me the concept sounds promising: if they can sell my game to targeted audience (and generate me revenue) then it’s worth the deal. These type of portal options aren’t always available for niche games, so to me this sounds a good distribution possibility for my game. Their site sells games ranging from casual to multiplayer to much more.

Benefits for those who want to sell games in GS catalog
If you want to start selling games from their catalog, you can sign up to become a White Label Partner with them (see WLP overview). They can also help you create your portal with their system. I’ve registered to become a partner to see how the system works, but right now I have no further information about this – except that I’d guess you can customize your portal (at least according to their site) to provide targeted games to your audience.

Royalty rates
Like said, they give 25% of net revenue. The net revenue is a tricky term (which unfortunately most publisher/distributor will give you). If game costs $10, then net revenue isn’t $2.50. It can be $2.40 or $2.00 or $0.73. It all depends how cost-effectively they can provide games. If the costs of providing games are big, then 25% net revenue sounds bad. If they have little overhead in selling games, then of course net revenue sounds just fine.

Since I don’t have access to information that would say what this 25% means in practice, it’s hard to know how good deal it will be. Basically, if it’s a bad deal for developers – then the word will spread and eventually they won’t get many developers and their company will not be here for long… but if it’s too good for developers, then the publisher won’t like it, and soon they might end up having loads of developers but just few publishers.

If on the other hand they manage to balance this to create a win-win-win situation for every party (developers, publishers and of course for themselves) then we know things are good: this means that it might be a simple way to get your game distributed.

Like said, I don’t know how good deal they have, but they’ve got World of Goo in their system, so it can’t be all that bad I believe.

Update: Nathan from GS informed that “they are carefully reviewing some of the feedback and also are considering upping the revenue share from 25% to 35%”.

Revenue also from downloads
I really like that they also offer potential revenues for downloads. I presume this works so that if people click their ads (in case there is such) in your game (or game download page perhaps – my wild guess), you earn 25% of the net revenue. A really nice way to increase developer income (at least when the conversion doesn’t work).

How the GS distribution works
GS allows game developers to upload their games to the system, and then distribute to partner online games stores. So basically, you upload your game – then the GS partners will start selling it. And if all goes well, you start getting bucks.

Bottom line
While I’ve been exchanging emails with the GS folks, I’ve got a professional image from them. I got prompt replies. I felt friendly attitude.

My gut feeling is that GS can be a really big thing in the digital distribution for games. I think they have spent a good deal of resources to make the concept true, and we’ll see how things will go. That’s why I think the developers who get first in the system can benefit from this the most.

I don’t know how much hype GS offers, but the impression I got from them (and seeing all the studios they partner with) is at this point positive, and I think this can help add another way for developers to monetize their games. In their website they say:

… not only can the multi-national developers get involved, but so can the 2 guys working out of a coffee shop in San Francisco.

Sounds good for one-man studios.

Where to go next:
There’s several resources to check out:

  • They have a brochure about GS: download (9 megs).
  • If you are a developer, and wish to get more information about them, I recommend that you visit their game distributor pages.
  • If you want to see their catalog in action, check out their store.
  • If you want to sell their games, see WLP overview.

For everything else, check out their website:

An interview with Nathan coming in the nearly future (say: within couple of weeks or so) – dedicated to game promotion and marketing for developers (questions will be outside GS too). Please comment in this blog entry and ask anything. I’ll be asking Nathan any clarifications there might be about this system, but also will be making questions regarding game promotion in general – and trying to get some tips for developers. Review (Nice Site For Finding Sound Effects For Games)

I got approached by for a site review. I have been declining most of the review offers I’ve got for some time now, but since I knew Soundsnap from before I had no problem accepting their offer. Here’s my review for Soundsnap site.

Soundsnap is basically a site where anybody can download sound effects (and some music too) to use for example in their games. There is also the Upload option, but right now it seemed to be disabled as they are working on their pricing model. At the time of writing this post there is 100,000 sound effects available. The main idea of the site is to offer people to search, listen & download sound effects that are located in several categories. Sounds can be tagged and searched using a simple user interface.

(Kind of) an easy way to get sounds for your game…
I think that Soundsnap is okay tool for prototyping: you can find some sounds pretty quickly by simply using the search. The license permits use in commercial projects too, so if you are after some sort of user interface sounds or background music loops then I think it can work. To test the service, I tried to look for “zombie” sound and although there weren’t many zombie sounds (21), I managed to find what I was after pretty fast. (Although there was no additional zombie moans that I would have qualified)

…but it would be even better if they’d give you a playlist
I have tried Soundsnap in the past and thought the same thing as I think now. In my opinion, the problem with their system is that it takes quite a bit of time to dig through the sounds to find the effect you are after. Even though there’s samples & searches, it can still be bit slow to find what you want (unless you have really good search terms, and bit of luck). Of course if you have all the time in the world, then it’s no problem – but I personally started thinking about hiring somebody to fetch the sounds for me… Simply compare this with the situation when you’ve downloaded 500 SFX effects in your computer and put them in your playlist and start going through all the sounds: no need to click, just listen through everything and stop when you’ve found a good sound effect.

If Soundsnap could give some sort of playlist option, I think that alone could make it more user friendly and more easy to find what you are after.

Registration & free sounds
They have done registration really well: just type your username and email and you are pretty much done. Password is generated and arrives to your mailbox and you are ready to go download some sound effects. After you’ve registered, you receive 5 free downloads (per month) but if you need more, you need to upgrade to a premium account.

Funny forums
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it was pretty funny to read what kind of sound requests people had. For example, somebody had written: “looking for dum dum duummm” (heh). Nevertheless, there seemed to be some activity on the boards where members discuss everything related to sounds and Soundsnap.

Their license is good and clear. It simply says that you can use sounds in your games royalty free:

[You are free] to use the sounds in any music, film, video game, website etc. whether commercial or not, without paying addiotional royalties or other fees beyond the initial membership cost (if any)

That’s really cool (some sound sites can have really tricky licenses).

Bottom line
If you have been after some free/inexpensive sounds (and music) for your games, then I think it would make sense to bookmark I think it’s a fine site for game developers, and have nothing to complain (just wishing to see that playlist at some point).

Check it out.

New Indie Game Magazine Is Out

The new Indie Game Magazine is out. I just went through the process of buying a digital copy (that was easy & quick) and here’s a review about this magazine. For starters, I think they’ve done good job making this indie game magazine. The magazine is really nice (maybe the ‘indie factor’ affects me to some extent), and there were only a few little things in the layout of the book that I didn’t like (The front page font in issue #3 didn’t look as nice as for example the front page of issue #1)… and of course there could be always more content but overall I enjoyed reading it.

I think all the reviews were clear and it was nice see that they have several reviewers there (both male and female by the way). The editorial was pro-indie (well, what can you expect…?) and I think those full page ads looked actually quite professional (hint for you: it’s pretty easy to get your ad there).

It was quite thrilling to read indie game reviews from an indie-only magazine. The concept is new, and I think the magazine deserves all the support it can get (put the word out you folks with blogs).

Here’s some ideas on what I’d consider adding:

  • Subscription based buying could be more visible. Now it was hidden on some page on their site. I’d put a bloody big button near the banner (but maybe it’s just me :))
  • I’d consider rewording that RSS/newsletter subscription (compared to magazine subscription). Perhaps somebody confuses these two (other is free, other isn’t)
  • Get affiliates (at least for digital version, and offer 50-75% cut ‘for those who join early’): just think about offering developers free advertising space or cut of the payments if they promote the magazine. (Even 100% affiliate cut could work for first bought magazine).
  • Add pictures of reviewers. A tiny thing but gives more personal touch.
  • I don’t know if they’ve plans for this, but I’d add a small “news” section in the magazine. Something simple where indies could send news about their games (with one paragraph text or so).

Bottom line is that if you are a developer, then promote your games (you can do that for free by giving interview/content).

And if you are reading this post, then go and support indie gaming (like I did) in form of buying an indie gaming magazine. Check out the Indie Game Magazine.

Good stuff editors, keep it coming.

Grand Theft Auto IV “Review”: 76 out of 100

So, I’ve been playing some weeks Grand Theft Auto IV (PC) that these guys bought to me (thanks again folks). I was asked for a review (by you readers), so here we go.

So, those bastards tried to attack me…
This is what happened me when I first time played the game:

I was walking on the streets of Liberty City when I walked and knocked some fat guy. He shouted and called me bastard (or something) and I turned on to him. The next thing I knew the guy was asking for trouble and was ready to punch me. I was about to punch back, when I noticed his friend was running to help him.

I decided to do what any sensible wanna-be gangster would do.

Run away.

Those who run away…. can run away another day is the motto I follow and so I run. I noticed that these guys were following me so I started running towards a car. Just when I was about to get hit by that car I did a maneuver and dodged the blow. Those who were after me weren’t so luck. I turned to see that other guy got killed by the car, and other was getting back to his feet.

The guy who was still alive continued the chase and I decided to run in nearby alley.

There I turned around.

After some punches and kicks (which resulted in one dead guy – not me) I left from the scene (with $32 extra in my pocket) and heard the ambulance sirens.

What’s it all about?
So… that’s how I started the game. The game continued with phone calls, missions and of course cars.

I must say that GTA 4 is bit like “good old grand theft auto stuff with fancier cars and all.” That probably sums up almost everything there is. I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post that there’s lots of content in the game, but somehow the missions start to feel like repeating the same thing over and over. At some point I started to finish missions just to see the next cut-scene, and was “rushing” the process.

Bug stopped my progress
After I had progressed the game about 25% I experienced a bug: I could get no more missions. I think it occurred when I received a phone call in the game, and was immediately pressing some button after walking away from building to save things… when it happened: the phone call ended before it had started and I wondered what it was. Then I decided to try accomplishing some missions (I had 2 places where I could go) but whenever I went to the “mission spot” nothing happened. The yellow arrow (which marks “special location”) disappeared… and appeared when I went away from the spot. Normally a cut-scene and a mission would start, but now nothing happened.

Not sure if this bug has happened to anybody else, but at least I couldn’t proceed any further.

Now I remember why PC is so much better than consoles
Due the stupid console saving/loading system (meaning: you don’t really know when stuff gets to saved and there’s no chance that you could actually save the game when you’d want) my last save was somewhere around “20% of game completed” and I felt dip in my motivation to try continue the game from there (instead I came here to whine about it in this blog entry).

I’m switching to my whine gear here, and the GTA 4 reminded me about why I really hate some stuff in games that were ported from consoles.

  • The bloody camera: in GTA 4 it’s “okay”, but still there’s some console-legacy there. The camera just is not as to what I’m used to see in games.
  • No save & load when you want (see bug description above)

Oh well…

Where they put that ‘Multiplayer’ in menus…
You know what you need to do to play multiplayer in Left 4 Dead for example? The process is quite simple:
1) Click the play new game button and you are pretty much done

In GTA 4 it goes like this:
1) Wait for the game’s first screen to load
2) Wait for the game’s second screen to load
3) Press ‘start’
4) Wait for the game to load (!!!)
5) Press UP key (to bring ‘phone’ up)
6) Navigate through phone menus
7) Find multiplayer and click it
8) Notice that the “just loaded game” (that took some time) will now be “lost” (sigh…)
9) Go to a multiplayer finder
10) Whine about the possibility to filter options easily (and not ‘console way’)
11) Realize that you cannot filter options like you’d wanted
12) Click one game and wonder what kind of game it might be (like “how much traffic” are there “cops”, is it day or night or what)
13) Join game
14) Realize that game doesn’t have the options you’d want, and quit
15) Repeat steps 12-14 until at some point you find a decent game

Like… why not have “Play multiplayer game” in the Start menu?

Sorry. It’s easy to whine, but basically I think they could have put some more effort on doing a proper menus, but I guess that is just me. Overall, the multiplayer again is “decent” so that one can play it, but when I compare it with Left 4 Dead the difference is just so big that I must mention it.

So… is there anything good?
Yes, definitely.

There’s lots of good stuff in GTA 4. In fact, there’s lots of amazing stuff in GTA 4. The graphics are really nice. The cars are fun to drive (not realistic, but FUN). There’s all kinds of small details that give you such feeling that you could just go on and keep driving some cars without doing anything else.

I liked the cut-scenes and the possibility to choose between “good” or “evil” acts (don’t know if they play any meaning in the game, but it was still fun to choose whether to shoot the mob boss or not). The cut-scenes are fun to watch (I liked for example the “I said hello” scene – I think it’s in the game’s trailer also).

There’s loads of content, and it’s cool.

(And yes, there’s nudity, adult material and violence and all that stuff in the game)

Bottom line
I think GTA 4 is a good game and can provide fun for those who like GTA games. There’s violence and other K18 material that’s not suitable for children. Even though the game is good and well done (except for some minor things like “the multiplayer menu”) for some reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped (I think the progress stopping bug probably hurt my rating, since I wanted to finish the game & see the ending, but felt that it is waste of time to repeat same missions again).

It was fun to play, car were goods – but something was missing. 76 points from here (out of 100).

(As a record, I’m giving 93 points to Left 4 Dead – I suppose my rating is affected by the fact that I really enjoy playing multiplayer…)

Leadwerks Engine Review (Great Tool For 3D Development)

Josh (the Leadwerks creator) gave me a free copy of his Leadwerks gaming engine. I normally don’t have much use for game engine licenses, but after hearing that Leadwerks is a BlitzMax compliant (basically offers a Blitz3D like syntax, and state of art 3D capabilities) I decided to give it a test run.

I was hooked. (And nowadays using it for 3D game development)

Brief overview
Before going deeper in the review, I must say that Leadwerks engine is 5 our of 5 star engine for indie/casual games development. You can use BlitzMax or C, C++ to program it (C# and Delphi are community supported). Leadwerks offers great rendering capabilities with cool looking shadows and lights.

I’m using Leadwerks with BlitzMax which let me write games for Windows. Anyone who has Blitz3D background will be delighted to see that the rendering syntax is very close to Blitz3D commands.

Video says more than thousand pictures, so check out the system.

I have been using Leadwerks for less than a few months, but I can warmly recommend the system to anybody who wants to create 3D games. Especially those who have used Blitz3D should immediately step into using Leadwerks.

The good, bad and ugly
There aren’t much things that I could say were ‘ugly’, but there are some good and bad points. Here’s my thoughts on these. On a good side:

  • Very easy syntax (very Blitz3D like)
  • Object-oriented: Blitz3D like syntax doesn’t mean that Leadwerks wasn’t about using object oriented coding practises. After all, it’s a framework that can be programmed using BlitzMax for example.
  • Beginner-friendly forums (there are members who are willing to help people)
  • Ready enough for creating 3D applications (as far as I’m concerned, it’s possible to create 3D game with the engine, without need to think “when certain features will be finished”)
  • Documentation is okay (I’d say it’s sufficient, and if you own Blitz3D, you can actually use Blitz3D online documentation too to some extent)
  • Tutorials (decent amount, enough to get you started)
  • Features: lighting, materials, shaders, ok asset management, decent art pipeline, physics, audio, terrain system)
  • Performance: it’s superb fast.
  • Frequent updates: the engine is getting patched in frequent basis.
  • Tools such as the Sandbox editor is great for example to artists
  • Price: at the time of writing it’s only $150 which in my opinion is dirt cheap compared to the deal you get (it could easily be $300 or $400 or even more). I don’t know, but my guess is that this price will go up at some point when Josh figures it out that he could be asking for higher price :)

I’ve mentioned that performance is fast, and here’s one small example that proves it. I was testing to have 200 different textured, shadowed zombies all animating in their own sequences (they are individually animated, even though on this video they are all in sync) and was able to see smooth FPS rates. My estimation is that when there’s particle effects, different materials and other game logic added we are still talking about at least 50-100 different zombie meshes to be seen on the screen simultaneously (and please notice that this is only on-screen, there can possibly be hundreds of more off-screen where they aren’t rendered). Here’s the video for you to check out:

Then some cons, since there’s always the dark side with everything:

  • Content pipeline requires a bit effort to get used to (only .GMF are supported, but exporters are provided to get models from various formats such as .3DS, .B3D and many many others)
  • The asset file sizes can grow big, since the asset mechanism uses file name to identifier meshes. For example, I have one zombie mesh in my Dead Wake game, but 10 different materials/textures. I could not paint different materials on different zombies meshes, but needed to first create separate files (zombie1.gmf, zombie2.gmf etc.) to be able to assign materials. This isn’t a big deal if you don’t need this type of system, but it means the file sizes can grow quite big.
  • Strict license: you should check out the terms before buying. Now there are some restrictions if you want to make your game moddable.
  • Attitude on the community forums: sometimes it feels that there’s some quite young developers with the Right Opinions… and sometimes it feels that it’s bit of “my way or highway” style of threads. I suppose this happens in any forums, and while the overall apperance is pretty positive I’d say there’s some negativity on the forums too.
  • Compatibility: Leadwerks requires Shader Model 3.0 which means that some older cards won’t work (according to Steam hardware survey we are roughly talking about range of “50-60% of computers can handle” it – roughly speaking, since there’s no direct data about SM 3.0. This figure is approximation at the time of writing. The good news of course is that this percentage gets better all the time)

Overall I’d say the none of these ‘bad sides’ are really that bad (well, except the compatibility if you were dreaming of creating 3D games for older computers). I’ve managed to deal with all of these in my project, so I’d say people should simply try the engine and see if it works for them. All engines have some problems, and to my thinking Leadwerks engine has no single major flaw.

Bottom line
This has been quite of praise for the Leadwerks engine, and that’s simply because I think the engine is very good option especially for indie developers (the price is low, the quality is very high) who want to create 3D games. Developers with Blitz3D background (like me) are pleasantly surprised to see such familiar syntax.

Beginner developers have a gentle learning curve in the game development (if you know BlitzMax, then you have no problems with Leadwerks) although I think it’s perhaps not ideal for starting development since there’s vectors and materials and other things that might confuse total newbies.

More advanced users find it a very good solution for a gaming engine solution that’s easily expanded (you can create your own networking lib for example, by using BlitzMax or C++) if you have the skills. The performance is excellent, so making a nice 3D game is no longer about tools, it’s about the guy using the tool.

I very much recommend Leadwerks engine for all game developers who have a bit of programming experience and wish to start making 3D games.

Steps On the Path of Becoming a Successful Game Producer

Daniel from joined the Insiders and asked if I could review his brand new blog. (Those of you who don’t know, the yearly Insider subscription comes with a review bonus) This is a review about Daniel’s site, but also article about “steps on game producer path”.

The two steps
While a blog isn’t a product, and reviewing a (new) blog seemed bit difficult, I still agreed to do this.

The first thing that caught my was the site slogan: “Steps On the Path of Becoming a Successful Game Producer”. I read Daniel’s first post and I get the feeling he really wants to become a game producer/developer.

I think that means the first step out of 2 necessary ones are fulfilled. The second step is “go forward until you are a successful game developer”. I suppose if Daniel really wants to become a successful game producer, and takes steps forward every day (even small steps) he’s got a good future ahead.

Take what you need and leave the rest…
Another interesting point Daniel mentions in his about page is that “take what you need and leave the rest”. I tend to think similarly, so here’s some tips to consider regarding the website. Take what you need and leave the rest:

  • More content: Daniel’s blog needs more content. I realize it’s brand new, so I guess this is only a matter of time.
  • Newsletter: I always suggest people to start gathering emails from people. It’s one of the best ways to keep in touch on those people who visit your site.
  • Take away ‘visitor locations’: or put them somewhere less visible (like a separate page or something). Right now the ‘visitor locations’ takes the best space on the site.
  • Site layout could use something, but I think this is simply a matter of taste…

Since the site is brand new, it’s quite hard to suggest major changes. I think the basics are okay. If the goal is to gain traffic, then getting more content (and frequent updates) is a good start. I think that alone will bring a big difference in terms of gaining traffic. Then spending time on marketing the blog by participating different forums for example, will be helpful too.

If the blog’s purpose is to simply log Daniel’s progress on becoming a successful game producer, I see nothing wrong with that approach.

Look How to Use Adobe Air to Get More Sales

Tim, one of the developers of Now Boarding game, showed quite interesting phenomena. Tim mentions that they created a web version of their game which you can play online (you’ll need to install Adobe AIR – which is fast & sweet to do – when you first launch the game). I’m going to ask a permission to share accurate numbers, but nevertheless it seems pretty decent tactic and has worked for them.

Take a look at the game and see how well they’ve done it.

By the way: the team is now having a special discount for limited time (don’t know how long), so if you want to get a discounted version, check out the purchase page.

Spike Dash Review

River Play Games approached me about reviewing their newest game Spike Dash. I played the game and there were some elements I liked, and some elements that need to get polished to make this game really good.

The first thing that caught my eye was the funny turtle space guy. He seem to crashed to some evil planet and needs to collect stars (and other objects) in the levels. The main character also has a a weapon that he can use to shoot enemies (although the enemies didn’t seem to care much about the weapon).

The game looks okay (besides the turtle I liked watching the particle effects when you shoot something), but has many small things that need fixing to make this game really enjoyable experience. The following items are all tiny issues, but fixing them would make the game feel polished.

Suggestions for improvements:

  • Target audience: I recommend thinking very carefully who is your audience. 3D platformer (puzzle/shooter) needs to be 100% clear who his players are. Now I think this game is not directly targeted to casual gamers. (More on this on the following points).
  • Camera: Sticking the camera the way it is might be okay, but I would have wanted the camera be closer to the turtle. Now sometimes the camera went in such position that I couldn’t see much.
  • Clear objectives: Gamers need to have information on where you can go, and where you cannot go. I personally think that by simply having text “Collect X more stars” and “Now go to the central portal” would help people to figure out what they need to do. Okay – I got the game’s idea – but somehow in the beginning it wasn’t clear what I’m expected to do. One idea could be to display a 3D arrow that “points to the direction where you need to go next”. It was also bit strange that my char was stopped by an invisible wall when I tried to go look the environment.
  • Controls: The turtle could jump little higher, and somehow I felt that he was sliding to different directions when I didn’t want that. Maybe adding more weight to the guy (so that he stops faster) and adding more power when he moves.
  • Time limit: Maybe it’s my playing style, but I would have wanted more time to explore the level a bit more. Now there’s 1 minute time limit to finish the levels, and for me it was very too little.
  • I wanna play: I died, and could not continue. I would like to see some sort of auto-saving (or unlimited lives per level) system so that I could try the level over and over, until I manage to solve it. Now if I die – it’s game over for good.
  • User interface: The UI was okay, but I believe the star count text could be displayed in different place (like top left corner or bottom of the screen). I would consider using different font color too. The time box graphics could be different too.

Besides the earlier tweaks, there were some errors that would need to get fixed:

  • Grammar: Grammar error in the intro would need to be fixed. It was nothing dramatical, but still makes the game look less polished.
  • Strange mouse cursor slowdown bug: When I clicked “new game”, the mouse cursor started moving very slowly. When I pressed “Play” it went back to normal.
  • I touched a wall and died?: Not sure if this was normal, but my turtle character touched the wall and instantly died in the second level.
  • Weak enemies? Not a big deal… but I was wondering how my character cannot beat those small enemies. My turtle is like 2-3 times bigger, but dies when some small monkey touches me. What about making monsters 3 times bigger than my turtle. Now that would make it scary! :)

The game looks fine, the cool turtle looks fine and this game has potential, but it needs some polishing and final touches to make it a fun game. Adjusting the character controlling, making sure there’s auto-save (or similar), and perhaps adjusting the time limit alone can make this game more enjoyable. Putting more effort to the points mentioned will help this game to leap to the next level.

If you want to try the game, check out River Play Games.

I’ve Seen It All Now – Here’s People Shooter

Just when you think you’ve seen everything in games you encounter something like People Shooter. Here’s a game with “disturbing mix of mindlessness and violence”.

People Shooter distinguishing features:

  • Fun and crazy gameplay
  • Vast quantities of blood
  • Teaches good Christian morals
  • Quirky music
  • Even quirkier sound effects
  • Substandard 3D graphics
  • A great anger release after a stressful day.

Well, I admit that there sure was vast quantities of blood.