Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Everyone's loving those 4096 bytes

The 4K comp is gathering pace which is great ( Actually finished my game last night / this morning. I had some ideas the other night on how to improve it and it was quite nasty going from being "well" under the limit at around 4070 bytes and then going over with the new code. I was on 4099 bytes for quite a while last night until I cracked it. 4093 bytes and done, which is cool. I was going to be a clever sod and round that up to 4096 exactly, then realised that someone will do something in 2.5k that'll crap on my game and I'll just look silly for having used the max available and making something which isn't as good )

Rich over at photonStorm has posted some great tips for those of you giving the comp a bash in as3.

I opted for F8 / as2, although it's written like as1 with datatyping ( No Delegate or classes here ). Publishing as F7 would have saved a few bytes, but I wanted some of the filter effects.
I'm not sure what I can pass on that may be some use, but here goes ( Remember it applies to F8 / as2, the rules could be totally different for say F5 / as1, the size report is your friend with this comp ).

Chaining vars is actually longer, eg


is a bit bigger than


Loops seem shorter this way,


Although to be honest I didn't try for loops ( I always use while, just habit )

It's common knowledge that pre-as3 var names have an effect on  size and speed in terms of their length ( i is "better" then myTempLoopCounterVar ) but linkage names have an impact too, so "bb" is smaller than "baddieBullet". Common sense I know, but if you're not used to thinking it terms of making code as tight as possible it's easy to miss ( It was for me anyway ).

More general things I did was to re-use values as much as I could, for example when the player dies I have to move it out of the way so the collision checks don't get triggered again, so I set player._x=2000; because I use a setInterval afterwards to wait for the gameOver ( id=setInterval(gameOver,player._x); )

Another thing, which is so dirty, was to drop an enterFrame on to everything. Originally I did the usual looping through an array calling the objects mainloop, but by adding the code to the sprite itself you remove all the loop overhead and make each sprite self sufficient.

It's weird tearing up the rule book for this comp, it's like going back to as1 and doing all those nasty things we used to do just to get things working.
If you've not done anything yet I can really recommend giving it a bash. The deadline is ages away yet, it should only take you a couple of hours for a couple of evenings and it's really good fun, it gets you back in touch with coding again rather than just dropping huge bitmaps into your fla and using a tweening package.


Where exactly is the Cash for Flash ?

An awful lot of our blog posts are questions recently, we need to change that.

Anyway, where exactly is the Cash for Flash ? There's a very in-depth article on the always excellent gamasutra about Flash gaming and the money it can make ( Where's The Cash For Flash ) to which I see quite a few blogs have linked to already.

As a developer you're constantly aware that Flash games are seen as a very disposable medium. They're free and there are thousands of them, a lot of portals have no concept at all about copyright because swfs are just so ubiquitous now, they're moving jpgs aren't they.
If you're a fellow dev. reading this, I'm sure more than once in your life you've had to actually try and explain the value of a Flash game to a client, that good work takes time and money, that just because there is already a lot of content out there it doesn't mean it's all of the same quality. Basically, that Flash isn't actually disposable, that very cool things can be done with it.
If that's the case, if there's this near constant battle to validate Flash and Flash games worth ( To the point that if someone from EA quotes Flash as a valid gaming platform our hearts go all a flutter ), why the fuck do so many developers shout from the rooftops what they earn ?
I don't want the tax man knowing what I earn, never mind a 100,000 strangers. What's that all about ? If it's a full time job, a living, keep it to yourself. If it's a hobby with benefits, then it's just re-enforcing the whole Flash games are just a disposable something to do on the weekend and earn "$20k" from it view.

By now I'm guessing you've figured I'm not a 100% pro this article.

I suppose I should caveat things now to avoid a ton of hatred coming my way. I'm a big fan of what Adam and Chris have done at FGL ( I remember chatting to Adam only last year I guess and him saying "I've got this crazy idea that I want to try out" ), and all the game authors quoted in the article, in terms of their work, excellent.

If that's the case, what's the point of me writing this ? Am I just writing venom for the sake of writing it ? Am I bitter 'cause I'm not had my $40k indy hit yet ? Or is it because every article about Flash and it's commercialisation paints an even rosier and skewed picture than the one before it ?

Figures, let's stick with them, as everyone is so keen on them ( Me too if the truth be known ).

In the article there's mention that 25% of all games on FGL are sold. That still leaves 1,500 games unsold. That's a lot. I imagine not all of those are real stinkers.
Also the average deal brokered is quoted at $1000, but I'm guessing any >$10k deals skew that figure a hell of a lot.
( Again, this isn't a criticism of FGL, just note that spin is put on figures, everyone does it. I'm trying to highlight that when it comes to Flash and money you really need to read between the lines, I'm not digging anyone out for putting a favourable spin on their own business ).

"At a minimum, developers selling their first game ever -- if it falls into the 'good-to-great' category -- make about $500-and-up"

$500 is piss all really, unless you're 14, then you'd kill people for that sort of money. $500 really just makes it a disposable something to do on the weekend. But we all start somewhere, my first game was sold to miniclip for £350 ( There, now I'm spewing my guts on how much I earn, it's an addictive trap ).

Next up in the article is the Dino Run guys. $40k for that game, plus still more coming in. Great, really well deserved, Dino Run is one of the best games in Flash and deserves everything it gets.
Although that is 7 months development, between two people, so that's $20k per person. Still nice, $20k for 7 months, that's just under $3k a month. But... Dino Run is one of the best games in Flash right now. Have you got 7 months to develop a game as good ? I know I haven't and I wouldn't presume I'd even have the ability to make a game as good.

See these well done stories in the article are the pinnicale of where the indy market is, not the average, not the norm.

The article then goes on to say on the strength of Dino Run the PixelJam guys have got a couple of adver-game gigs that nearly earned as much as Dino Run in a much shorter space of time.
That's key. That the indy market is so far behind the industry as a whole in terms of finance that the best outcome is that you get some client based work out of it with the money that brings in. That's where the living wage with Flash is, not with mochi-ads I'm afraid.

Finally in the article they speak with Sean T. Cooper who coded the excellent Box Head series. He is very honest, and explains that you have to build up a fan base for your IP, that to get the really good money you need that fan base there, people who are just panting for the next installment. Sponsors know that, they have a very good idea of what a sequel as part of a popular franchise will bring in in terms of traffic, and will pay for that.
Keep in mind that Sean said he sold the first one for $1500. 4 games later and he's getting good money, he's in a great position, but that's at least a couple of games first that you have to sell for not a great amount of money ( If you're making games to the standard of the Box Head ones you're looking at a min. of 4 weeks, and this is if you do all the art and sound yourself. 4 weeks at 40 hours per week, that's 160 hours, which at $1500 is $9.38 per hour [ Thanks to Bryson for point out my really poor maths first time around, corrected now ]. That's best case scenerio. It really is a big investment of your own time to make it successful, don't expect to be paid well for that time. In effect your gambling on the strength of your vision if you're doing this for the money. If you're doing it for the love of the art, well, you can do whatever the hell you want and just enjoy it ).

"Which means that one person can -- with a lot of hard work, meaning every day of the year -- expect to bring in close to $400,000 a year, I think."

This is the core of why I've written this article. I don't want to pick a quote apart from one person, but come on mate, $400k ? I'll be happy doing half then, 5 games for $200,000.
It's things like that, the come on everyone, get Flash, it's like getting paid for having a laugh, then just rubs me up the wrong way ( Obviously ). It doesn't do anyone any favours.
Ask yourself this, if that sort of money is possible, is Sean or anyone else, earning it via indy games ? If I said to you, work hard for a year, and you'll earn nearly half a million dollars, you'd bite my arm off to do it, like I would yours.

Be realistic in what you think you'll earn, don't get your head turned by the Bloons or DTDs. They're great games, but there are other great games which have fallen by the wayside. Do it for the sheer joy of making something cool out of that untitled.fla, and if you make a couple of quid, then sweet, better in your pocket than anyone elses, but please don't fall into the Flash trap of timelines paved with gold.
With a lot of effort and maybe a bit of luck you'll get the $40k game, and then by all means post in the comments and let me know you wear a crown when you code now and I'll be gladly put in my place, and keep that as an objective ( The money, maybe the crown wearing, not the rubbing my nose in it ) but take all the quotes with a slight pinch of salt.


Where have the days gone to?

So I have rencently finished a bigger update on a client's website, dealing with all the nasty and ugly shit one would rather like to avoid (to name just one: css - what was wrong with the good old table layout? OK, I know what was wrong, but dealing with all the browser's shitty problems to make it look nearly the same is just ... well, shit)

Meanwhile Squize was hammering out post after post so I didn't felt too bad being quiet.

Now today I actually have something to post, so here we go ...


This is a single frame from the X menu/background animation I've been doing. It'll take a while to render so I have to set up the network renderer on Monday to get the 30 seconds movie out to an flv file (which then will be played in the X menu) ...

If you're a fan of that game already, why not use that image as wallpaper? You can grab the 1024x768 version here.
Bigger Versions are rendered tonight and will be posted later this week - and maybe (if rendertimes for hi-res vids aren't that high there might (really just might) be a screensaver ... we'll have to see).


Whose the daddy ?

Slowly but surely getting closer to the deadlines for the current projects. That's not really a time to worry, as it means they'll be done soon.

To everyone I owe an email too, sorry, I do love you, I just can't show it right now.

Just to give the blog a slight shot in the arm, I found an article which you guys may find interesting.

In-Depth: Biggest 10 Browser-Based Game Sites Ranked

A few surprises for me there, I thought some of the portals listed would have been higher up. There's an insane amount of traffic and therefore ad revenue being generated by those 10.

There's an interesting nod of the head to the newer browser plug-ins ( Such as Unity3D, which is coming to Windows at last, and StoneTrip, not to mention QuakeLive , which although "closed", is still bringing quality 3D to the web within a community ) at the end of the article,
"It also means that we will probably start to see a shift in the monetization model," he predicts. "This will be hugely underscored by 2008 technology developments allowing full-blown immersive 3D in the browser."
The future is more than papervision and Away ? Possibly. Hopefully. I think there will be a lot of smaller micro studios with existing 3D pipelines who will be looking at browser based content a lot more now, as an alternative to XNA and WiiWare ( And iPhone ), all of which are either already really saturated, or heading that way.
It won't be long before mochi, google and gameJacket ads are in more than Flash, and perhaps that's the Flash killer app that everyone has been glancing over their shoulder looking for all this time. It won't be silverlight, or Unity or any other plug-in, it'll be mochi-ads and gameJacket. If you can make money from Flash and make the same amount from something done in Unity, which are you as a game developer going to want to play with the most ?

Yeah, me too.


FHM comp, the shortlist ( And other lazy links )

Way back at the start of October we posted about the FHM game awards.

It seems the shortlist is up, and, well it's not awe inspiring to be honest.

There are some gems there, Bloons ( Not exactly bang up to date though, in spite of a steady stream of expansions ); ECaps was quite nice but far from stunning, Raccoon Racing is on there which was so good it's one of the few games we've blogged about ( Complete with typo ); Shift 3 is excellent like the rest of the series but aside from those there's no other games I really feel the urge to name check ( Doom port ? Clever, but kinda like picking Commando in FMame ).

I think the thing to take away from this list is what the audience is. It's young guys working in office swapping viral games to waste time. Tetris still rocks their world apparently ( It's a bit like Spank the monkey being on there ).

It's red carpet season right now in the Flash world too, with Jay having their awards too. Now this is more like it, the proper cream of last years games, and some very tricky choices in there ( For example the Arcade section has you pitting Dino Run against BoxHead, both a pair of beauties ).
Even if you can't be arsed to vote it's essential reading if you're a game dev, this is a collection of the current bench marks.

I can see winning an award at Jay's end of year review being up there with a Flash Forward in the next couple of years, it's a lot more grass roots and less elitist, and it's more focused on gameplay rather than branding dollars.
The Flash indy scene is growing, money is being thrown at it, it will need it's own relevant awards soon. I'd much rather see a site like Jay's, which has a real joy of playing games, pick it up than someone like Kong.

What else can I link to ? Found a beauty the other day, Xbox related rather than Flash, so please feel free to stop reading now if it's got to be actionscript or nothing.

levelmy360 is just great. "Are you having trouble leveling your X360 Gamerscore? Let us help!"
If you're that desperate to boost your gamerscore / achievements to the point that you'd rather pay someone else to have the fun for you, then this is the site for you.
They do different plans, with plan 1 being 500 gamerscore, and for a mere $39.99.

Want to hear GYW's plan 1 ?
Grab Rally-X, that'll cost you 400 ms points ( $5 ). It's a pig of a game, and a joke that it's on there ( You wouldn't play it on Mame honestly ), but it's an ultra simple 200 gs. It'll take you around 30 mins to max it out.
Next up is Doritos' Dash of Destruction. I think this may not be available in every country, but if it is get it, 'cause it's free. This isn't the best game you'll ever play, but it throws the achievements at you. The only slightly sticky one could be the multiplayer one, not 'cause there's loads of l33t Dash of Destruction boys online ready to spank your ass and tell you nasty things about "yo momma", but because it's local mp, so you'll need a 2nd joypad ( You don't need a 2nd player, just the pad plugged in ).

That's 400 gs for $5, so we've got $35.99 of our budget left.  Can you pick up a second hand copy of Gears2 for that ? Or a game in the classic range or even just discounted ? Or buy up all the XNA games on the marketplace to put some money in indy devs pockets ? Or, well anything but give it to levelmy360 basically.
I'm sure you'll get those missing 100 points in whatever game you spend the difference on.

It amazes me that you can pay someone to have fun for you. I'm thinking of launching where I'll just get smashed for you and you get the bragging rights ( Plan 1, quite merry, look at that girls chest a little bit too long, put my hand out infront of me when I urinate just to steady myself; going up to plan 5, wake up in my own piss with a dead stripper in the bath and not able to remember anything since last Tuesday ).

And that's it, have a good w/end, hopefully there will be time to actually talk about what I'm doing next week instead of just talking about what other people are doing.


Half of the fun ...

What has been done on Calisto Eclipse so far:

  • the main menu is done, all the neat rollover effects are in place
  • you can reach the two highscore screens (one for the action and one for story mode), alas the backend for that isn't working yet
  • the medal screen is in place and the medals are defined, same as above the backend isn't done yet (more on that later)
  • parts of the API for handling medals and scores are layed out (yet again ...)
  • the game working is layed out and waits to be coded
What's need doing (in no particular oder):
  • transition between the menu screens and the game
  • the game :)
  • finish the API for medals and highscores
  • the backend for medals and highscore (oh there's so fucking much to do on this bugger, but maybe I can give away some more infos soon)
  • ingame help
  • ingame newsfeed reader
  • even more backend stuff ...
  • even more of that oh so boring backend stuff ...
what a boring post. damn.

I post an image next time, promissed.


To busy to breath

Sorry about our absence the past couple of days ( Although I can't imagine anyone pining for us too badly ).

Remember me saying right at the start of the X dev that if proper grown up paid work game in then it'd be dropped straight away ? Well...

I think we've had a years worth of work all arrive in our inboxes in the past week, and it's now time to do some of that work. I did update X the other day and posted it, but didn't blog about it. I think the main thing is the striker baddie, which is the good old UFO from asteroids.
The game feels much better for having that already, more balanced, and hopefully removes the ability to just sit still and shoot ( Which to be honest was something I always did in the arcade original 'cause that inertia is harsh ).
Also some instructions are in there now, although I think either level 5 or 6 shows the wrong ones ( Fixed on the version on my hdd ).

With X having a rest for the next couple of days ( Only code wise, Olli is about to fire up the 3D package and make beautiful pixels, and then leave it rendering for 3 hours only to come back to see the lighting was wrong ) I thought it would be a nice chance to catch up on all those links I mean to post but never get around to.

Don dropped us a nice line about Hero Town, a game he's developed single handedly. Development started in July last year and took him around 6 months to get it to the lovely standard it is now. This is what you get if you mix a hint of javascript with PHP / MySQL ( I know we're a Flash blog, but some things need sharing ).
Also as the dlc for Fable2 goes lives today ( Don't get me started on the Love Hurts bug in that, I'm one gargoyle short of getting the lot and that bug is stopping me. Of course for anyone who's not played Fable 2 this doesn't mean a thing ) it's good to mention that come this Feb "The Sprite of the Wanderer" update will be coming to Hero Town.
Give it a bash and if you get chance leave Don some feedback, it's what all us developers crave.

I promised a long long time ago ( 19/08/08 to be exact ) that'd I'd drop a link to and I obviously didn't. Sorry GC. What seperates it from all the other shovelware sites that don't give a shit about your copyright is that GC has written his own spider that sniffs out Flash games from all over the web.
The design needs some love, but if you're looking for a specific game that's a great place to start.

What looks like a quick and easy way to hit those social sites with your bad ass game, J2Play is something we'd like to look at sometime. If you have, share in the comments.

Another thing I'm panting to play with, and hopefully will with in X, is Flash Joystick. It supports rumble, how sweet is that ? Yeah I'm going to go to a ton of effort to support it in X when there's quite possibly only me in the whole world who will go to the effort of setting it up. But it rumbles!

Flash Truth blog, man you get away with murder, I love it. That's the sort of honesty that gets dog shit posted through your letter box and is always a joy to read because of that.

A little late, but there's always time for good will to all men. 8-Bit Jesus, that is pure retro gold.

Wow, just linking to things is much easier than having to think of my own words, I can see why there are so many lazy ass blogs now.


Meanwhile at the other side of the screen ...

So what was his task again? Playing tetris with parts of the station that was meant to be built on Calisto?

What the heck.

Anyway it seems easy enough.

"No worries," they told him. "this is just a simulation right now."

"See, each of the modules has one, two, three or four air locks. The problem is that they can't be moved on their own. So all you have to do is to make sure that there are no unused airlocks. Once you have a closed set of modules, they can be filled with air and moved away from the landing site."

"Erm ... yes?"

"Yes, the orbiter is releasing new modules in a set interval, so obviously the landingsite would become a junkyard if we don't move away the modules fast enough. That's why we have this terminal, you coordinate the dropping position and make sure they connect to closed stations, before the buffer space is filled up. You can even swap parts of unfinished stations in order to build bigger ones - bigger stations are easier to move, so you'll get a higher scoring."

"OK. What is this other mode? It reads Action mode and Story mode?"

"oh, yes, easy ... Action mode is the test mode, you simply keep going until the buffer space is full, the release rate gets higher every stage. Story mode ... well that is the real deal. You're going to bring the station down to Calisto's differnt landing sites, there are different tasks waiting for you, ie. build a station with a specific size, or fill the all the empty space on a landing site - we'll give you instructions along the way."

"K. I think I get that."

"Fine, see you in the orbit then, Commander."

... That's what Calisto Eclipse is all about.


Love this

I've already mentioned that I got Left 4 Dead for Christmas, and it's sex ( If you've got a 360 and a gold account, there's no good reason not to buy it, it's stunning ).

Whenever I get a new xbox game I often wonder what it would be like if it was written in Java and fits in only 4k. So far all my dreams have been dashed, but not any more.

Left 4K Dead

If that alone isn't the best title for a homage I don't know what is.


2008 in words and pictures

It's time for our annual review of what we've managed to achieve over the previous 12 months, so bring that hangover and stale mince pie with you as we go back in time and space...


This saw our first birthday, and Olli experimenting with web servers and the Wii. Quiet month, I'm putting it down to hangovers.


The most loved up month of the year saw what has got to be one of the most camp games ever,


Loved Up, a rainbow islands inspired platformer. Turned around in a really short time scale ( It's development can be followed here ).
"Critically" ( Read: By boys who write teh shizzle lolz ) panned, it went on to do pretty huge traffic as soon as it made it to to the girl orientated sites.
Not a great game, but much better than it's feedback would indicate.


Olli kept us up to date with what could well be his longest development ever ( Still going ! ), and in terms of work, we had the following:


Golden Balls. Completed the year before in under 2 weeks, someone else had finished off the server side intergration ( I'd finished the Flash before the external company that does the clever secure stuff had even looked at the spec I think ) and added some more eye candy and a couple of graphical hic-cups.
A simple bread and butter project that pays the bills.


Professor Sauernoggin and the Landfill of Doom! My baby. So much love went into this game. Marmotte over delivered on the art by a huge amount, and for that I'll always love him.
A game to be proud of, just a real pity the client seemed not to understand the value of it ( As of right now, it's had a mere 41,979 hits. It's totally buried on the clients site, you can't even get to it from the front-page. I sent them two html pages to sit it on, and they used the holder page from the client area we'd set up, not even deleting the text, just setting it to black. Honestly, take two seconds to look at the source of that page. Quite a kick in the bollocks after putting so much love into this game ).
An enjoyable development, as much down to the people who worked on it as the game itself, just marred slightly by the lack of promotion and the drawn out sign off phase ( It was ready long before Loved-Up, which used the same engine, but came out a month later ).


Chimbo's Quest is an old one to finish this busy month off with. I'm not sure how much more needs writing about this here, I guess if you're interested and didn't catch them first time around, the player stats post is quite a good place to find out more info.


The 1st saw me go a little bit too far down the sick boy path, something I'll learn from for this year. Some general development posts about Orbs ( Still in development ! ) and Law of the West.
After March's mental release schedule we were due a break, so only two games this month,


MJ-1912 is a really old reskin of my first ever complete Flash game ( MJ-12 ). I recently sold the source of this to a mate, and made more than I have with the gameJacket ad revenue from it.
I like it as it's a slightly hammy feel to what is at heart a pretty solid Space Invaders clone, it's just that Space Invaders isn't that great a game in itself anymore.


Brain Voyage / Brain Benders. A port of the Edios DS game which I did whilst under contract at gimme5.
The good ? First as3 project, nice to do lots of mini-games again ( That really seems to be my thing ), the presentation is really good ( I love being able to do really really accurate ports, another one of my on buttons ) and the face book version was a nice touch ( And seeing Jon Hare had played it ).
The bad ? The games themselves were pretty piss poor. Also my biggest issue with it was the ad at the start. If you're doing an adver-game, don't be cheap enough to drop a fucking mochi-ad in there. I know Edios were having cash flow problems at the time, but honestly, that $5 isn't going to make much difference aside from making you look cheap. Very cheap.

And that was April.


Just the one release this month, but it was a big personal project,


The Law of the West, Olli's homage to the old classic "West Bank". In development for ages, Olli finally got it released only for us to suffer one set back after another with it ( It being hacked to high heaven was one low point ).
In terms of a game, it's pretty good, the presentation is great and it's done ok-ish traffic without ever really taking off and becoming a huge hit.


Aside from making it to 36 without anything too bad happening to me, June also saw a couple more releases.


Phantom Mansion. Looking back over the blog it seems that the last one ( "Black" ) was finished this month. I think I must have done 4 last year then, and reached the point of not even blogging about their releases.
If truth be known, a really fucking horrible project, one I was only too glad to see the back of. Huge fan base though, which is weird. PMII is out now, some cheeky sod copied the format and posted on FGL. Matt at gimme5 saw it, knew I'd rather wake up next to my mum than ever do another PM game, so got this guy on board to do the next 6/8 games. There's a moral there somewhere, not sure what though.


Big Bod Says
. Tiny little game, which somehow stretched to taking 9 days in total. There was no GDD for this, and I had a 15 min chat with Ricky the designer of it before getting to work. Couple of days in and it turns out I'd got the wrong end of the stick, so I basically re-wrote it one morning, only to discover that was wrong, and finally nailed it in the afternoon. So in effect 3 different games in 3 days, and then 6 days to finish off the love.
Kinda fun, and the speech is just a different class.


Law of the West pinball. This was done much earlier in the year as I wanted to learn how Box2D worked and pinball seemed the obvious choice. Unfortunatly at the time Box2D didn't support bullets in as3, so the ball would quite happily fly through objects at high speed.
When v2 came out I was finally able to finish this bad boy off, and to whore it around for sponsorship. It was offered the vast sum of $300, which would include the source code, although wouldn't be exclusive ( Too kind ), so we just dropped it into gameJacket.
In terms of the game itself, I really really like this one. It's one of the few games I've done I can actually just switch off and enjoy playing. For a lot of other people it really missed the mark, and has failed to do the traffic we would have liked.
The maim positive to come from this is that it's been included in 8Bit rockets new Retro Hall of Fame, which is really cool, although I have had to send Jeff and Steve lots of photos of me in the bath for it to be included.

In June I also posted how I do a preloader in as3 / Flex, which seems to be our most hit page here.


We did things, and we wrote about them, but we didn't release anything new to play, so let's skip this month and move on to...


...much the same as July.


Just more words. Come on, we were productive for the first couple of months of the year.


And back on form. Where did this month take us ? No, not roughly from behind, but on a mixed voyage...


Son Of Sico. An Air front-end for our simple little action script mangler.
We've had fuck all feedback about this, nothing. Also 1 reply when I sent the GYW Encryption package out to friends, so as far as we're concerned either people don't give a shit about their stuff being hacked, or they just don't want us to help them from preventing it.
Either way both projects are internal only now, life's too short to try and give things to the community when they don't want them ( Check me out being all bitter on New Years day ).


Operation Cortex: My entry into this years 48 hour FlashKit comp. It didn't win. I've linked to the post rather than the game, as the source code is also available there.
I liked this game, and it was pleasing to be able to do a 100% complete game in something like 12 hours, it makes me feel like the sponsorship kids who always say things like "Well I earned $16 an hour from my game which is more than I earn working after school, and it only took me 5 hours to make".
I think this game may re-surface somewhere else, with a lot more love and a bit more depth.


651 Announce. Released on 20th October, which numbers fans, is exactly 651 days from when GYW came into being, way back on the 9th Jan 2007.
I'm so proud and pleased with this. It is just pointless eye-candy, but all the best eye-candy is pointless. If you've not seen it, it's a collection of demo effects all done in real time.
The blog posts in Oct. cover how a lot of these effects were created if you're at all interested.


This saw more words ( Including my "Help me" words when it came to giving up smoking, plus a death of sorts in the family ( The 360 went to console heaven ) ) but no more toys, so let's move along to what is apparently the most wonderful time of the year,


To finish off the year, a release each.


Gameball Maize Maze. Our first project with Brandissimo, a creepy iso game with a really rich art style.
It's development was covered in an almost diary like form back in September with the last update being this one.
Again I'm happy with this one, it's development took longer than I'd hoped, but the extra time spent on it was an investment as to cut it too short would have been to really rip the guts out of the game. On the downside, you have to register to play it, hence the link there going to the blog post rather than directly to the game.


Handigo ( You'll find it sitting in the games column ). This was like the previous years Fuel Factory-Y / Model City, except this time it was Olli jumping in to fix other peoples half done code for the simple lure of cheap dirty money.
The main menu is 100% low fat gyw code, along with various bug fixes ( Esp. game 1, proof that in actual fact you can polish the odd turd now and again ).
Pays the bills, and the credits were nice, plus working for Ubi-Soft has a certain kudos to it, and by all accounts they were quite lovely.

Other blog highlight this month was the ( Still going ) development of X++ in the form of new build being uploaded straight to the server, and the fantastic Zombieland post mortem by Pany ( If you missed it before Christmas, take a read of it now, it's one of the most honest accounts of a Flash game development and aftermath you'll read anywhere ).

And that was the year that was. I'm going to avoid making any predicitions here, as to be honest, I really can't see the point. When people do them they're a mixture of the stupid ( "Nintendo to release a Wii Remote Contact lense so you can just look at objects to interact with them" ) and the obvious ( "More games players to buy more games", "Women to buy casual games more than men" ), and who checks them ? Who actually goes back to the year before and reports that the stupid ones didn't happen, but hey, you were right about the obvious ones, spot on man, wow. That's like a gift you've got.

Also another reason not to do any predicitions, is 'cause I actually checked back at what I said this time last year,
"Coming up we've got the platform game ( Which I'm really proud of. It's on par with GOL in terms of love and quality ), the continuing Phantom Mansion games, Orbs and Olli's got a great old school game that we've been commisioned to do."

The first two were done, the second ? Still in development limbo. I don't want to jinx anything by making some big stupid sweeping statement about it here.

What I would like to do to finish off though is to thank all of you for taking the time to come here and read our crappy outpourings when we make them, and to wish you all a Happy New Year and we hope you'll stick around during '09, 'cause if it all goes to plan we'll still be releasing games and still talking about them.