Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

A game in a week - not with me it seems ...

So, it's 21:11h here in Germany now and just 2 minutes ago I wiped off the last item on my todo list for Via Romanum, a word game I've been working on for the last couple of days.

There will be no public release for the next 2 weeks though (I'm on holiday, yehaaa!).

So without going into detail (I'll have to do a quick rant about creating and searching large lists of words and how to make that quick enough to test a whole 10x10 grid for left/right and top/down combinations of letters that might form words)

Just to set the mood even for our well known logo ...

... the menu screen ...

... and some in game impressions.

Off to the beach now ... nGFX

Oh dear, Oh dear me.

If you're a regular reader you'll hopefully know that when we moan or bitch about someone or something then it's usually 'cause we think it's justified. We don't just turn on anyone and everyone for the hell of it, or for the joy of stirring things up. Life's too short.

The target of my venom ? The latest article posted on mochi, "The work scheme of an independent Flash developer".

The author Badim has made a point of being open and honest with his figures in the past, which we've even linked to before. His constant openness has made him somewhat of a poster boy for the indie scene, he's living the dream for a lot of people, and he's not afraid to share his knowledge.

That's got to be applauded.

But his article, sorry, but there's just not one word I can agree with, and I'm amazed it's been passed fit for publication by mochi.

The low light for me is this quote:

"If you’re not naturally talented at art, the next issue to be resolved is where to get good graphics. The easiest, cheapest, fastest way is to use sprite sets. The most popular of them are the hits from consoles (Megaman, Zelda, Sonic). it’ll be convenient for you to find the right set for your future games. If you can’t find the sprite set you want or have something specific in mind, move to the next option."

( The next option being to pay an artist ).

If I've even got to explain the wrongness with that then this really isn't the blog for you, move along please.

These "Let's make money with Flash, it's piss easy and there's loads to be made" posts seem to be getting progressively worse. I've just re-read the article again to make sure, and I can't find any mention of the joy of creating a game. The creative process. The love that makes a game shine. The shit that should matter basically.

A very disappointing article which sums up what is so wrong with the indie Flash scene right now. It's great that we can all make cash now. It's even better than very talented people can make lots of cash now. It's not great when money becomes the central focus of game creation. I don't live in a bohemian bubble, I have the same bills to pay that you have. My full time job is making games, that's it, without them I starve. But I still put the game first, and that's the advice I'd give to anyone, not to use a Mario sprite in your game.


Mochi's first show of the survey figures

I'm sure everyone reading this has already checked this out, but for context and in case you've missed it, Mochi have posted some notes from their casual connect talk including a graph showing some data from the survey they and FGL, NG and others are running ( Check the full article here ).

Am I being naughty reproducing the graph here ? I'm sure I'll get told off if I am and remove it, until then:


( For a bigger version please check out the link to the post on the mochi blog. I'm only posting this here as it's in context ).

These figures are in reply to "How do you make money from Flash games" survey question.

Some interesting figures there. The one that caught my eye most is the number of people who make no revenue. Is that people who haven't made a game yet and therefore have made no revenue from it, or people who value what they do as art and are happy just for people to play it and receive the feedback from gamers without making anything at all, or is it people who's games are so toilet they can only give them away without even dropping some ads in there ?

Also I was surprised that ads are so far in the lead ( Well, semi-surprised, mochi are using this as a tool as well as a data gathering exercise ), but does that show that a lot of games aren't being sponsored ? Obviously it's a lot easier to just drop the ads api in there than to whore round your game, or even use somewhere like FGL who take on a lot of the pain for you.

But what does that mean ? Is there a shortage of sponsor dollars at the moment ? Are sponsors getting more selective, even with games at the lower end of the market ( What was once a $50 game is now not even worth that as you can get a $100 game for $50 now ? ) or is there a large volume of games being released that just are so poor it's not even worth putting them up for sponsorship ? Greedily reskinned tutorials and the like.

Interesting figures, and just a load of questions from me rather than any insightful answers. Perhaps it's too early in the surveys life to be giving more accurate figures ( Such as just over 10% of replies say they make their money from mtx, that seems a very high percentage seeing how few games are using them. I know heyzap are interested in anything in swf format, but even still that seems high ).
Also there is another question in there, about your primary money earning sources in order, which I think will be the surveys money shot, in that should show which areas are the most profitable and should be targeted by devs the most.

I think everyone involved in the survey should be applauded, it's long over due and will help a lot of people having these figures available.

As always if you've got any views on this, don't fear the comments button, it's there for you.



"Be as select in those you endeavour to please, as in those whom you endeavor to imitate. Without love of fame you cannot do anything excellent"

Sir Joshua Reynolds 1772.


X++, with the new name of cronusX, is live on today.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in it, especially Olli and all of you who took the time to provide great feedback here during it's development.

Enjoy the destruction


New game pimping time again

This time it's one of ours! Seems like forever since we've had something of our own to talk about ( There will be another game on the 9th of July to mention too, but more of that nearer the time ).

AQI Zoneout is the fella this time.


It's a really quite good puzzle game that I worked on for our friends at ( Check their demo reel out, seeing that really made me want to work with those guys )

It was a slightly weird development process for me, as I broke off before the game was actually finished for various asset related reasons, so that in combination with it already been planned out really well beforehand stops it feeling like it's mine, it's more something I worked on rather than made, if that makes sense.

As a project though, it was a real joy and a real pleasure to get to work with ickydime on a game together, you couldn't ask for a better go-between at a company, and the work that was done to the game after it left my sticky fingers has really raised it up, there's a lot of love in there.

I was asked as part of this pimp to also mention Miles design who were the agency for the project, Fat Atom who did the sweet php magic so you can see your name on the high-score table and of course who are the end client.

That's more than enough words, give it a go, it'll help eat into your Friday before home time, hurray!

[ Update, it's now on Kong and NG. So if you don't want to play it on it's nice custom page, go to either site and look at the ads whilst you play ]


Flash micro-transactions, the next big thing ?

They've been spoken about for a while, even been available in various forms already, but now a couple of big hitters are entering the market.

In the blue corner, GamerSafe, FGL's pretty all encompassing attempt to cover off not just M-Ts but other nice things too.

In the red corner, Mochi and their coins.

Both have their advantages, and both seem to be well thought out and planned ( Although there's not a wealth of info about either yet, early days and all that ).
Is this going to be a VHS vs BetaMax thing, or can the market cope with both ?

This is just a "Look, new things" post. We're really not in a position to review either, or get dragged into a debate about the rights and wrongs of M-T's, and the effect that could have on the market ( Either good or bad ).

We have been discussing them recently and they do have a huge amount of possibilities, but we think they're going to need to be more than a "Buy a new hat for your avatar" style buy throughs, so with what we'd like to do would take time and money, and no one yet knows if there's a market for that ( Or if there is, which system is going to be the BluRay and which the HD-DVD ) ?


Underwear fun

We've become a bit lazy here just linking to other peoples stuff and pimping iPhone games. It's partly because we're in the usual state of NDA-ness that means we can't talk about a lot of things ( Such as the great, but very crunch heavy, project we're doing for National Geographic right now ) and partly 'cause all our friends are doing great things which deseve a pimp.

So this is going to be the last one for a while, but it's a great one to go out on. Our friends over at urbaniacs have released their first iPhone game. Want to hear more ? Yeah you sure do.

This is a port of Wedgie Toss 2 ( You can play it on their site right now ), where apparently 14 million wedgie's have been snapped out.


Look at Stephen Colbert there, oh Stephen how your faux right wing views make me giggle. But I'm going to pick an angle and twang your pants on this fun and yet surprisingly cheap iPhone game ( £0.59, which I guess is $0.99 to the 65% of our readers. See how I tie all our posts together ? When it's done it's all going to make sense, a novel in the form of a blog, with a twist at the end which will blow you away ) which is available here.
Also look where I left a tiny part of the edge of the logo at the top left on that cropped image which I'm too lazy to sort out, but is really bugging me already. How can I take my mind off that, short of playing the game itself ? Another grab should do it,


Look at him go! That's a grace you don't see very often, although you could see it any time if you buy the game, for a tiny $0.99 right here.

Two great games in a week or so, it's never been a better time to buy an iPhone. Well, not right now 'cause the new ones coming out, and let's face it you'll be pissed if you just get the current one.

And on that note, I think I've strained my pimp muscle, so you young 'uns go play whilst I get back to work.


GameJacket Closes

Rare we do two posts in one day, but this is breaking news and will affect quite a few people who visit us here.

GameJacket closes. Real pity, not just 'cause we've lost a couple of quid, but we were really early adopters of the system and there were a lot of good people involved in it.

We've not long since received an email officially announcing that GJ ceased trading yesterday, and that they'll pass on more info soon.

Even if you never put a game on their system, it's quite a blow for Flash dev in general, as it's another outlet gone.

On a slightly self-centric note, it means our games using the system are screwed. We'll try and rip the GJ code out and reload them as soon as we can.


It's official. We're whores

Yet another post where we just talk about someone else's work rather than our own. It's just so much easier.

This time it's our mate Mark, and his first steps into the world of iphone and all the gold that goes with that. It's a port of his hit game Particle Pong.

Now to be honest, he doesn't really need the money. He pays someone to burn the cash that he can't fit in the bank vault, but if you have an iphone and want a great game, then he's all but giving it away ( Guilt I think ).

Interested ? Yeah I knew it, I could tell by the way you were reading this. K, it's as simple as putting your mouse pointer on this link and clicking it. It's really that simple to have a pong game with an orgy of particles running on your swanky iphone.


Grab a handful while they're still hot

Our good mate Chris over at Kill5 has put up some games for download.

So if you run a portal, or just want to embed a cheeky game into your blog or myspace page ( If you're 12 that is. Any older than that and it's as wrong as an adult reading Harry Potter. And before anyone jumps in with "Actually Harry Potter is a really good read for all ages", what other books have you ever read ? ).

Anyway, looky here, it's there for all to see.