Saturday, January 15, 2011

Voicing a Game!

I spent a good hour or two procrastinating today, trying to come up with the courage to start voice recording for Million Dollar Words. Every time I even began to try, it felt like I was hitting a brick wall I was so terrified. Angel asked me if I wanted her to leave the room, but it wasn't a fear of her hearing me (she gets to hear me all day, lucky her!), it was a fear of me hearing myself. And not just hearing myself, but hearing myself trying to act!

I consider myself semi-decent at art, and not bad at all at coding or design, but when it comes to ACTING??? Totally not something I had ever considered before... But now that I've gotten past the fear, I can see how people really get into it! It's a LOT of fun! I turned Perry the Platformer into voiced questions, and it was actually very quick too. I'd like to sharpen them up a bit, but still, not bad at all, and the longer I did it the more I opened up and really enjoyed it.

So for all of you out there who have a microphone and love to make silly voices, I say do it! Don't be ashamed! Don't feel embarrassed, just do it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flash Game License's First Impressions

I'd heard all kinds of good things about First Impressions over at Flash Game License, so after some hesitation I decided to get some myself. I got $20 worth (which gives 20+3 as a bonus, woohoo! Couldn't quite convince myself to jump on 50 right away...) and tried 4 out on Million Dollar Words. After a few hours (they warned they were having issues and would be more than the normal hour (!!!) it would take; I honestly expected to wait at least overnight and part of the morning) I had my first review. Within another hour or so I had all four. It seemed that basically everyone said the same things: the lights are distracting and the game is hard. The game being difficult is understandable; they are crazy difficult words! That's how I wanted it set though, to be honest...

So all in all, for $4 I learned something! And everyone had said they found no bugs, which is awesome! Here is my takeaway list of to dos:

1) Tone down the lights during game play only, see if this is what people mean by the lights being annoying.
2) After spending all kinds of time thinking it may not be worth the effort, I am going to go ahead and voice the game... I think it will make it much more humorous and fun, and it will also level out the "I don't read as fast as you do so I don't get as many points" issue.
3) I want to add some graphics to the game, although I'm not quite sure what yet...

Once these are done, I'll resubmit for some more First Impressions and see how it goes :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Million Dollar Words is Ready for Testing!

Writing this blog half a day late, oops! Admittedly it's because we got a Nancy Drew game (Crystal Skull), and while we thought it was quite dumb at first it actually got to be quite good. So good that we were up til 4am trying to figure out more clues and solve more puzzles! Oops...

So, the main thing is that Million Dollar Words is ready for testing! It's the first version of the game, but it's there! I'm going to give First Impressions over at Flash Game License a shot for the first time. They're $1 a piece so it's an actual investment into a game, but I think it'll be worth it to get some honest feedback from random people.

Finally, Mini-Ludum Dare 23 is set for the 28th-30th this month! As usual I'll only have Friday night after work, Saturday night after work and then Sunday til the deadline (about 12-14 hours of the 48 gone there), but work time lets me think about the concept. (For those not familiar, a Ludum Dare - or Mini Ludum Dare - is a challenge to make a game based on a game concept within a 48 hour period. The challenge is that you don't know what concept the game has to center around until the beginning of the challenge, so it's 48 hours from concept to finish.

Hope the day finds you well! I will blog again this evening for tonight :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MDW is almost ready to test!

Today Angel wrote out pretty much the entire 10 questions for one of the quizzes and got it done for me while I coded some light effects and messed with typos and the like. We came up with the idea to add pronunciations to the game as well to let people see how the word is supposed to be said. All that's left is to test it out and MAYBE some sound effects... If not, might even get those done while the game is being looked at by others; and speaking of, the game will be ready for test tomorrow (Jan 12th) in the evening, so if you're interested in helping please let me know!

I am hoping to also get a good start on Random Fu! tomorrow, maybe even throw a little test of that one around? It's a very simplistic game based on using a Press Your Luck-ian battle system.

It was still a fun day in all though, at least to me, and I hope Angel enjoyed it as well. She made up some great foods for us to try, including a really low calorie ranch dip of her own invention! And we even had some time to play a couple games of Scene It for 360 (she ANNIHILATED me the second time, beyond what either of us has won by before...). It was a great day for encouragement!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day of Rest

When I decided to really push myself this year on game development, I had forgotten just how much of a burden forcing yourself to do anything is. The more I forced it in the few hours of free time that I have, the more I disliked it. The more I disliked it, the slower at it I became. Angel (my fiancee) suggested that I take a few days off a week from it... And I originally didn't like it. I figured that'd mean even LESS time to work with it... But now that I'm giving one a shot, I realize it's actually VERY nice! A day off from it actually rejuvenates me on the idea of working on the games, makes me actually want to (which is a first in the last three or four days or so), and it lets me work on other things like figuring out fun holidays and just enjoying free time a little bit.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MDW Update and Daily Holidays for Game Development Challenges

So, I had always been a fan of how there are actually funky holidays pretty much every day of the year, but hadn't thought about making games based around them! There are enough challenges to keep me satisfied for the year, sure, but aside from those I have over 20 days with no true format or time constraints. What better way than to make games for holidays???

I was looking around for sites and found She's got a great collection of yearly, monthly, weekly and daily holidays, and it's all free, unlike the other major holiday site ($40/year, I think?) A quick look at their January listings has me already tossing around ideas for a bunch of them!

Also, a quick little update on Million Dollar Words: I am making a little demo version with 7 quizzes. Each quiz has 10 questions, and I have selected a few from multiple different individual versions I was going to do (there are a few from "Video Game Edition" and a few from the general version). I have 3 done, one almost done, one needs a few questions taken out and then 2 need some work. I would put the first version done by Sunday night with any luck :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to the Real World

It's easy to forget just how hard it is to get any work done in game development when working! 12 hour day today, plus sleep, plus some time doing anything other than working of any sort and an hour drive time left me with about half an hour to work on Million Dollar Words. Usually I'd shrug off a half hour, but I actually managed to just about finish a quiz in that time! And, on that note, do some crazy research too!!!

For some hilarity, check out the seriousness that is Finger Jousting, or Wife Carrying, or any other crazy sport!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Unknown (a movie), Overpriced Small Pizzas and Quizzes!

So, first things first, we watched a movie called Unknown today. It had Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper and Peter Stormare (dude who played Abruzzi on Prison Break), and is basically about 5 guys who wake up in a warehouse. They're all locked inside and have all lost their memories, and have to figure out what happened and who they are. It sounds trite and predictable I know, but it's actually not. The sudden loss of memory is actually explained in-movie and there's no crazy mystical force, or "would you like to play a game" master or anything of the sort. If you click the link, you'll see the IMDB page. Funny enough, even in the credits the characters are titled things like "Rancher Shirt" and "Broken Nose" instead of by their actual names.

Secondly, just a quick little rant... I absolutely, totally love how you can buy a large pizza for $10, with "any toppings", but then you decide to get a small so you don't devour the whole large, and it's $14!!! Seriously?!?!?! That'd be like if you wanted the standard edition of Black Ops because you didn't want the awesome RC vehicle to take up space in your house, but had to pay more for it!

Finally, got a lot of work done on Million Dollar Words today! As of this writing one topic is totally done, and the rest all have some good work on em. Hoping to have at least 3 or 4 topics totally done tonight and finish the rest tomorrow, then finish up the game itself Tuesday and get it going on the testing front.

Watching Eat Pray Love tonight also, and relaxing for the rest of my awesome 2 day weekend!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Contests and Experimental Gameplay Jan 2011

One of my challenges to myself this year is to compete in as many competitions as possible! Ludum Dare (LD) and Experimental Gameplay (EGP) are two major ones; EGP is monthly, and LD usually does at least a "mini" challenge monthly, with a "real" competition every few months. I figure that, at worst case, this would mean 24 games this year, right? That alone is pretty sweet! Plus I'll be doing others inbetween...

EGP challenges each person to pick a week of the month to make a game (no more than the 7 days), which has to be based around the theme, which this time around is "inanimate." Quite a broad theme, but I guess that'll be what makes it interesting!

New Year and 2010 Recap

So, a new year has begun, and I'm rededicating myself to making games, losing weight and writing about it all!

First things first... Happy new year to you!!! It sure is for me, since New Years Day fell on a Saturday, I received a 2 day weekend, which is just unheard of where I work (with the exception of last week, since Christmas was a Saturday also). It's perfect timing too, since it gives me a chance to kick all of this off.

Secondly, here's a rundown of how everything went last year, and my goals for this year:

1) I made a total of $988.44 last year from video games! This year? $10,000, 10 times that (well, 10.117 times that, rounding off a bit, if you want to get technical). I'll be using MochiAds, Adsense, Newgrounds Ads on their site, Kongregate's revenue sharing and sponsorships, as well as referrals and Zazzle selling (those items still need to be put up for sale, by the way!)

2) I am down a total of 97.5 lbs thus far (started originally at 316, and I am currently at 218.5). My first major goal has always been 180, and I think that's majorly doable this year!