Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Circa is getting a reboot

I am pleased to announce that one of MI's game is getting a reboot. Im pretty excited about it actually. You can read the entire article here.

http://mammothinteractive.net/?p=507

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Game Virtuosos

We have all heard of musicians who are virtuosos. Their playing is amazing and impressive. Check out the 5th Caprice by Paganini.


So why can't there be game virtuosos? What do I mean by that? I mean why can't somebody be so good at art, programming and every aspect of game development. Personally, it is just a mental barrier and metal barriers are easily broken if you are open minded enough. For whatever reason, people view the disciplines of game development to be very different from one another. In reality they can all be achieved by one person. The biggest obstacle isn't expertise it's time. It takes time to make any discipline great but when technology gets better the time it takes a task to do becomes less.

We have all heard of the 24 hour game jam. I would like to see 24 hour game jams with only one person at the helm

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tech people forget about the creative when it comes to learning

I run a course on how to make games. About once a week somebody emails me and says something like this "Why can't I just go to Scirra's website and learn how to C2 for free". I have always had trouble with this kind of question. Sure you can go learn how to use it for free but most manuals tell you how to do things and not why.

The "why" is something you learn more in college. So I usually respond with something similar to that effect: "Sure you can learn the technicals of C2 but you won't learn the creative side. You can learn what to do but not why you should do it". Im sure the person on the other end thinks: "Im not paying for why my ideas are amazing and all I need to know is how to do it".

It seems there is a mismatch in ideals here. Most of the courses that revolve around technical subjects just focus on the technical and not the creative. After consuming tons of these tutorials, the tutorials seem to always be lacking in finess or general design knowledge. Luckily, I have a creative degree and I can fill in the gaps. 

But what if somebody doesn't have that knowledge? Where else are they going to learn the concepts of design. The creative part is arguably more important than the technical part. If anything it's the relationship between the two that makes a project shine. People should talk more about the creative side in tech. That's what I am doing with my courses. They aren't just simple "how to" courses they show you the ins and outs of an entire project.

Design is the number one item that makes an indie game bad. Sure the technical stuff is there but it doesn't look or feel good. I can have a platformer with jumping, projectiles, particle effects, animation, in game purchases and more. The game can work but it won't be 'good'. I think that the arrogance to think that your ideas are amazing needs to get shut down as soon as possible. Every time I pitch an idea it changes dramatically with a couple sentences when I test it. 

"Learn the ins and outs of the creative side of tech and you will be way farther ahead than the narrow minded competition"

Friday, 10 February 2012

Im featured on Scirra's website

http://www.scirra.com/testimonials

I am pleased to announce that my testimonial on Scirra's website. I really do like C2 as an engine. Personally, it has the potential to be the best 2D game engine. It's already my favorite and I can't wait to see what will be coming out next.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Indie developers and starving artists of the past

Indie developers are like the starving artists of the past. There are lots of commonalities
  • The cards are stacked against you
  • You have to sacrifice a lot of time
  • Money can be tight
  • You may live in your mom's basement or attic
However, as sad as people think being a starving artist is/was in some ways it was better than being an indie game developer. As an artist you could charge a lot of money for a painting. Prices could go from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Of course it was hard to sell it but often times you had to sell just a few paintings a year to pay your bills. On top of selling your product you could teach classes and usually charge a lot of money. I remember that the top musicians in a big city could charge outrageous prices for their lessons. 

For whatever reason in the past people seemed to understand why these price points were high. Patrons would pay a lot of money for paintings for prestige and status and take music lessons for the same reason. 

Let's flash forward to the present and look at indie game developers. You get to sell your creation for a dollar on the app store and if you charge two dollars the community is up in arms saying the game is too expensive and not worth it. You cannot teach people at a premium the same way music lessons were taught in the past and finding 'patrons' or advertisers that will pay a lot of money is very hard.

In summary, art in the past was perceived as a high society wonder and indie developers today are perceived as "just people in somebody's basement". 

I always tell indie developers to charge more money for their product. I did this and noticed an increase of money in my bank account. Personally, there should be a marketing/PR campaign to slightly raise the price of indie games. If people know the struggles and what they are buying into (passionate indie developers) perhaps we will see more innovative and better indie games. 

I can tell you as an indie developer it has to be a full time gig or else the quality suffers. My games have improved tremendously ever since I left my day job.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Doing what you have to do to save money

As you know I run a course on how to make games. Making one of these courses is actually really time consuming. Rendering and uploading the video takes a weekend. When I released my first course I didn't go out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I spend the entire time rendering and uploading.

Sidebar: I don't know what it is about teaching but it seems like in every case the teaching is awesome but there is something that makes it not fun. It could be admin, marking, or rendering videos. 

So I could hire somebody to do it, but that would eat into my profits so I just do it myself. So I do what I have to do in order get the project out there. It doesn't matter what the project is, there is always something you have to do in order to release the project. A lot of people just pass this process off and it kills the project. Until you are extremely rich get ready to do some grunt work to release. After all, your project is worthless unless you release it.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Sometimes the frontman isn't the genius

I watched Anonymous last night and if you are not familiar with the story it is the story that suggests that Shakespeare didn't write most of the plays. If you are not familiar with the authorship debate on shakespeare I suggest going to wikipedia and reading it, it is a very good read.

For those of you who do not want to go to wikipedia I am going to sum up the debate. Basically, there is a person who allegedly wrote most of the plays. This person is Edward de Vere or the 17th Earl of Oxford. There are many parallels to de Vere's life in the plays as well as very sensitive information only people in the nobility could poses. On top of that it is suggested that somebody in the nobility would have the time and the education to actually write the masterpieces. On a personal note, I do think de Vere wrote some of the plays it makes sense for so many reasons. Im not writing this to debate the authorship debate I am writing this to talk about production

If you haven't seen this article on Cracked.com you should take a chance to read it.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19576_6-pop-culture-visionaries-who-get-too-much-credit.html

To sum it up it says that most of the people that are in the frontman roll don't necessarily deserve all of the credit.

Often times I come with an idea and when I tell somebody and the next words out of their mouth make the idea way better. So the creator has the initial idea spark and the next people add the magic to the idea. I guess you should find out which kind of person you are the creator of the facilitator. These people are symbiotic and equally important.

Now, de Vere had other issues such as reputation and politics that he had to be concerned about. But when you think about it Shakespeare is the perfect frontman for the plays. He is a commoner and he can relate to them much better than nobility can. One of the biggest arguments against de Vere is that plays kept resurfacing after his death. Naturally, he could have written more plays and just gave them to Shakespeare to set to stage.

My favorite part of this story is that at the end of Shakespeare's life he became a grain merchant. Any creative person will tell you that if you have time or money you would be writing and producing. The last thing you would be doing is selling grain.

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