Just finished my first game since going solo and it went pretty well. It’s a pretty simple top-down shooter. I wanted to test myself with a 1 week schedule, but ended up taking 2 weeks.

Rush Hour

I’ve put it on Flash Game License. This is the first time I try out their service, but I’ve only heard good things. I’ll put a link up after the game’s live.

The soundtrack was done by my brother, Jonathan Rock. After the game’s out, I’ll put the music here for download.

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At the IGDA leadership forum in San Francisco Chris Hecker demanded that game developers ask themselves why they are making a game before they design it. Hecker is a renowned contributor to game graphical and physics technologies and a long time proponent of indie gaming.

‘Why’ is step one in any other art form, but Hecker is right. We don’t hear that question too much in games. It is my opinion that the earmark of great art is the purpose behind every choice involved in its creation. Even if that purpose is ambiguous at best, there must be justification for artistic decisions. But Hecker did a good enough job of making this point, so I’m going to say something that may be to the contrary. Continue Reading…

Today marks one week since my last day with a full time job. I felt a pressure all of a sudden that I had to quit and go game dev. No more wasting time.

I’d say one week as an indie game developer, but that title doesn’t feel quite right before completing at least one game independently. Shouldn’t be much longer.

Before I left my previous employer, I was spending nights working on Bad Bones, losing sleep, time with my girlfriend, and feeling increasingly frustrated by how difficult it was to fit my passions into my life.

Rusty Edges

Bad Bones is a concept I like a lot. One that bears many of my feelings and thoughts on games, but it also represents a great deal of compromise. The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is to effectively compromise my ideas. It’s hard because I’ve spent years teaching myself not to compromise. Too many artists are too willing to compromise and their work gets so diluted by the suggestions of others that eventually it’s tasteless. They take the scratchy, misshapen materials of their identity and sand down all the rough edges with what’s popular, what’s easy, what pays, or what some committee of peers finds palatable. All the sharp, rusty edges are gone and you get a nice, round blob. Nothing to poke anybody. God forbid you make something with meaning because somebody might be offended by it, or think its too artsy, too preachy. Every amorphous blob just tickles fancies and rolls away, disappears. Continue Reading…

So yesterday was the 2nd and last day of the Independent Game Conference West. It was a good conference. I met a number of interesting people and felt very enthusiastic. The first person I met was this dude Marcus who gave me a high five for working on an RTS. He turned out to work for the Hotel, which made his excitement that much cooler.

vanderbeekGame

Day 1 started out all-business, but just when I was beginning to worry that this conference would be all about revenue streams and marketing strategies, I heard a great talk by Aaron Vanderbeek on how the relationships between players in a game can influence the way they play. He found a correlation between the closeness of a relationship between two players and their tendency to cooperate vs. compete. Very interesting concept that can lead to many other discussions (and did).

Then John Master Lee held a fantastic discussion on indie game marketing and how even a single man operation can do the job without a publisher. A lot of his advice stuck with me. He suggested emphasizing individuality, indulging in the indie’s role as David fighting Goliath, and gave some interesting tips on creating a fan base. For one, Lee claims that long blog posts are a waste of time because very few people read them and they take a lot of energy to write. That’s too bad because I have a lot more crap to say. Continue Reading…

A long while ago I stopped posting when I decided I wasn’t getting enough cold hard coding done. After a lot of cold hard coding, I’m back to talk about Bad Bones. Bad Bones is a flash based real-time strategy game that is my first attempt at the RTS genre the way I see it. It still needs work, but it’s doing well.

Bryson is still working on unit art, but here are a couple sketches I sent over to give him an idea of what I was going for with the game.

They’re called Boman and they like to eat and have babies. Stay tuned for more art and the Boman backstory.

I’ll be demoing my early version of Bad Bones at the Independent Game Conference West in sunny Los Angeles (Marina Del Rey) this Thursday and Friday (November 5th and 6th, 2009). If you’re around, gimme a holler and wish me luck on finding a bag of cash to fund my game.

Now I wish to direct your attention to some impressive figures! I expect that I can deliver good performance on map sizes at least as big as 1600×1200, and perhaps as large as 3200×2400. Dimensions like that are generally thought to be impossible in flash, but I tell you it can be done. My proof is that I have seen it! Though it was at about 15fps…Still, it can happen.

I can get in 1000 units if I’m okay with 15fps on a 1600×1200 map currently. After some house-cleaning I expect to run a solid 30 fps with 500 units on a 1600×1200 map and of course I’ll aim for higher.

Bad Bones represents years of pondering over the RTS genre. I might say that the first time I became a hardcore fan of a game was when I got into Warcraft. It was right around the time that Warcraft 2 was coming out that I found out about the series from a kid named Raphael in my 6th grade class. His description gave me a blind faith in its excellence, and at this crucial time in my gaming experience, I was not disappointed. My family had just recently purchased our first computer and Warcraft and Warcraft 2 were an immensely gratifying experiment in PC gaming for my brother and I.

However the suspension of disbelief perpetuated by the fantastic booklet art and its pages of story, the in-game text, cut-scenes, and characters could not last forever. Warcraft 2 was my first online multiplayer experience and I became immediately aware that the name of the game was micromanagement and rushing. The best players weren’t strategists or tacticians, they were factory foreman that knew how to pump out a basic unit fast and deliver it to the enemy encampment. Continue Reading…