Friday, December 21, 2012

The Adventures of Rubberkid - A Giveaway!

To celebrate The Adventures of Rubberkid hitting 100% funding on Kickstarter, I've decided to run a giveaway! The prizes are a signed Rubberkid tote bag and 21 games from The Critterverse (all on a signed CD!)

For those who aren't familiar with The Adventures of Rubberkid, it's a free game aimed at elementary school students to teach them how horrible bullying can be.

The project ends on December 30th on Kickstarter with some really fun, awesome rewards (and digital bonuses that you get within 24 hours of pledging), and has hit 100% of its funding! Pledges are still welcomed, encouraged and celebrated, though, because there are additional goals - translation into Spanish, then French, then several extra editions of the game that will be completely different, aimed at tweens and teens (cyberbullying), adults (workplace bullying), even younger kids (a children's book) and a comic!

Money raised is used not only to make the game, but to promote it to libraries and schools across the country. The aim of the game is to get it into as many hands as possible for free, and not everyone has internet access.

If you're interested in learning more, please head over to the Kickstarter page and check it out! If you want to pledge before it ends but can't at the moment, there's even a "remind me" button that will email you 2 days before it ends, so that you can consider it then!

Anyway, good luck and have a very merry Christmas!

Note: The giveaway is open to anyone in the continental US. One winner will be chosen at random at the end; if someone outside of the continental US happens to wins, they will simply get the games as a download (can't afford to ship out of the US)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rubberkid is 74% Funded!!!

Okay, so I haven't blogged in a while because I haven't really had much to blog about. The last week (since I wrote last) has been ALL promoting. Promoting to game news/reviews sites, promoting to libraries, promoting to local news, promoting on Facebook and Twitter, etc. I did also spend a good part of yesterday learning about other Kickstarters and coming up with "immediate rewards" for the campaign that people receive within 24 hours of contributing instead of having to wait til the end (a download of one of my games - The Critterville Christmas Store - and two printable pages, one of which is also a coloring page).

But last night, things REALLY took off. Here's a chart for you, actually, via Kickstarter.

BOOM! And remember that the last dot, the 19th, is today. And it's 11am :) So SWEETNESS!!!!

I'm not 100% sure what happened these last few days to really make it happen. The "immediate rewards" weren't it, I really don't think, and there was absolutely no new news coverage that I'm aware of in that time. I did, however, share it with the Games for Change Facebook group and a few different IGDA groups (IGDA Chicago - where I'm from, and it's about 2 horus away - and IGDA Indianapolis, in the same state as me and about 2.5 hours away). Both groups were SUPER supportive, and I received contributions from numerous people in each. Some have been so supportive that they've shared it with other people too!

Kickstarter (I think? Maybe it was IndieGogo) did say before, too, that it takes a person an average of six times hearing about it before they'll contribute. Perhaps a lot of people just hit that 6th time mark ;)

Regardless of what the reasons are, I am ecstatic!!! People have been incredibly supportive all along, from the very beginning! The only difference is that now I can breathe a bit easier, and the stretch goals are becoming quite possible too! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Couple Amazing Days for Rubberkid!!!

Wow!!! I can't even begin to explain how excited I am about Rubberkid after today! Over the last couple days, Rubberkid crossed the 20% mark, and there were some AMAZING things that happened... Let's see...

Tuesday, December 11th

  • Yolanda Green of LazyGamer wrote a very true, very awesome article about Rubberkid. She states that "$750 [is] a small price for a big cause if you’d like to help the world kick some bully ass."
  • Diane with Airborne Gamer wrote an article as well, stating that "These days you hear about bullying in the news quite a bit. It’s sad that the world has come to this but if you were a kid who was bullied you are probably happy to see this subject finally addressed. Well how would you like to play a game and help raise awareness for bullying at the same time? With The Adventures of Rubberkid you now can."

Thursday, December 13th

  • JC with JOYSTIQ wrote an article about it!!! SERIOUSLY!!! THE Joystiq!! I woke up with a Facebook message from a friend letting me know about that, then Googled and came up with THIS great article!
  • Donna Nicholson of Digital High (among other really awesome places, and a good friend!) did an interview/discussion with me about Rubberkid and bullying in general, including bullying in online gaming. I will definitely share that when it becomes available :)
  • Lauren with The VGlob wrote an article about Rubberkid as well. Super awesome! 
  • Several other places, including a local newspaper, have requested interviews! WOOHOO!!!

Let's see what the future holds!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Me in a newspaper article?! Check! Rubberkid Kickstarter, Week One? Check!

Well, I just wrote an update for the Kickstarter, and you can find it right here:

And no, I'm not giving you a tl;dr version. The thing is like ten sentences long, and I refuse to be part of a society where people can't read a couple paragraphs ;) Heck, this post is longer than that update!

In addition to that, I'm finally sharing some awesomeness that went down a few weeks ago. I was interviewed by a friend for a newspaper article! We both entered the "Zero-Hour Game Jam" where the goal was to make a game in "zero hours" (the hour between 2am and 2am when the clocks were set back). It's SO awesome to read it in print, like, a real, physical print! I was so honored, and so I'm sharing this and bragging about it :P

You will want to click the image, though, so you can see it in its full-size glory!

Have a super mega awesome weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Me of Many Hats

Hi there, my name is Charlie, and I'm a game developer...

... Only sometimes I'm not. It has been 41 days since I did any game coding or development! Let me say that again... FORTY-ONE! October 26th was the last day!

Well, that sounds kind of lazy... But I swear it's not! In fact, these days it feels like it would be a break to sit down and write code and cuss at the laptop because things aren't working exactly right! Ah, the good old days... Bugs and I holding hands, dancing around in our love-hate relationship... Like a hero who needs an enemy to battle, or (s)he feels incomplete.

What HAVE I been up to, you ask? Well, I finished up When Asteroids Attack, made web pages for it and promoted it, then fixed up The Critterverse and promoted it a little too, and then put together this Kickstarter and I've been promoting it ever since! There is this mysterious allure that false optimism and math combine to create... "Gee, this is such a cool idea, all I have to do is share it a few times and word will spread like wildfire! Even my highest stretch goal, $20,000, would only take 4,000 at $5 to hit! There's no way that won't happen! Heck, I can even finish the game while I watch the money roll in."

Absolutely no.

Don't get me wrong, I am pleased with the results thus far, and they have annihilated the pessimistic view that half of me held. And the support has been great! But it really IS a lot of work!

One day, Flash... One day, you and I will be together again, creating sweet, sweet games, I promise.

The Adventures of Rubberkid Kickstarter: Day 7 - Burnout

Wow!!! They weren't kidding when they said that running and promoting a Kickstarter is a lot of work, were they? I'm on day 7 now, and yesterday was the first day that I didn't get a single contribution. I'm still at a decent point for sure, but it's scary.

I've spent pretty much every waking moment, aside from some Facebooking and some playing Ocarina of Time on Wii, writing to people, asking them to review it and post about it on their blog. I have a pretty massive spreadsheet with awesome bloggers now, actually ;)

By the end of Friday, I'll be done with the promoting to blogs and on to promoting to news outlets. Once that's done, I look forward to getting back to my little sanctuary and developing again! I've met some fantastic people and found some great sites, don't get me wrong, but it's an entirely different world of work!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Adventures of Rubberkid Kickstarter: Day 5 Begins, Project Wonderful Intro

We're coming into day 5 just over 12% of the way there, with 26 days to go! In fact, as of writing, I'm $9 shy of $100! By comparison, my IndieGogo campaign hit $30 in April the entire run! According to Kickstarter, once a project hits between 20-25%, the rest is downhill from there. I sure hope so, we'll see :)

A few days ago I found out about a place called Project Wonderful. It's an advertising site where different websites put placeholder ads on their site, and then people bid on them for placement. For example, if The Critterverse did it, I'd have 4: One leaderboard across the top, a couple squares across the side and then a leaderboard across the bottom. Each one of those would be bid upon by the others on the website.

Now, what's cool about it is that the bid can be absolutely nothing. For a website like The Critterverse, that gets about 40 page views a day, that's about the highest bid I'd get. Free bids don't require anything but an account and the ad itself (and to find it!)... You don't even have to link a bank account to do it. The only catch to free ads is that they can only run for 2 days at a time, so that others get a chance too, and you can only run 200 of them. I gave it a try overnight and found that my ads had over 2,000 views with 0 clicks. Again, this was over night, so it was about 10 hours and it was the slower time of day for browsing.

I deposited a little over $5 into my funds (using paypal, still no bank info whatsoever; in fact, they run on CC or Paypal, no auto-renewal whatsoever) and gave it a full try. Ads have run for a little less than 2 days and I've spent 65 cents, gotten 218,000 displays and 30 clicks. That means that my CPM is 3/10 of a cent, and my cpc is 2 cents. TWO CENTS! This is because, on Project Wonderful, you bid per day, not per click or per view.

Now, mind you, since my bidding amounts were so small, it's a very slow game I'm playing at the moment. I also didn't give a whole lot of attention to where the ads are on each site (if I bid more than 5 cents, I would check, but otherwise didn't care too much).

BUT HERE'S THE KICKER!!! Out of those 30 clicks... 16 of them only cost 3 cents! And they come from mostly small sites! This is definitely going to be something I try differently next time around...

So how valuable were the clicks I received? I don't know. Off the bat, not at all, since I haven't gotten any Kickstarer contributions this way... But perhaps they've told friends, LIKEd the campaign, are waiting for later... Who knows? Either way, I'd definitely call it a pretty valuable site.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh No! Kickstarter Has Tracking Statistics For Me?!

I just found out the most horrible thing... When someone contributed to The Adventures of Rubberkid campaign, I clicked the link and found this "Project Activity" page with all kinds of reports... There are all kinds of them!
This one shows funding progress...
...there's also one for the % of contributions that come from Kickstarter and those that come from external links... these external links...
...and then there's one that shows the # of video plays (both on and off Kickstarter) and reward popularity!

If they had ANY idea how hooked I get about graphs...

The Adventures of Rubberkid Kickstarter: Day One Done!

One day over (well, barely over... It launched at 12:24 yesterday and I'm writing this at 12:45) and 5% of the way to the goal. That's AWESOME!!! Thanks so much to those who have helped. If you look at the page, it shows "4 backers" but it's really way more than that: so many others shared it, talked about it, supported me with it... I'm immensely grateful for the support!

And when I woke up this morning, I found a message that the game touched someone so much when they helped Patrick, the learning-disabled boy, and found out he became a teacher to help teach other children with learning issues he actually teared up! I truly aimed this game for children so much that I never realized it would affect adults too, but looking back... It's not difficult to imagine. We've all been affected by bullying in one way or another, many of us still feel it to some degree today, long after the bullying happened... So why wouldn't we feel emotional with it?

I'm working on really promoting it now... I reached out to a few places Friday before learning it's smart to wait until Monday or even Tuesday to email businesses and such since otherwise the emails will end up buried in their inboxes... So I'm searching for awesome bloggers, writers, website-running-people and anyone who might be interested and writing to them, saving the messages for Tuesday around 11am and will send them then.

For now, I'm focusing on social media (FB/Twitter), learning about Reddit and all the other ones and writing about it here!

Have a super awesome weekend everyone! If anything big happens, I'll be sure to blog about it :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Rubberkid Kickstarter is Live!

Check it out!

Now that it's live, it's time to promote the heck out of it (and not refresh the page every 10 seconds). Wheeeeeeee!!! 

The Adventures of Rubberkid - The Kickstarter!

Good grief it's been a while since I blogged! Honestly, it feels like it's been a while since I did anything... Between a medical issue with a family member here, getting the Kickstarter together, Thanksgiving, the release of When Asteroids Attack, having to record myself on video... I've just been so wrapped up in other things that I haven't even considered it!

So, the Adventures of Rubberkid is up for approval over at Kickstarter... And I'm watching my email number like a hawk. Ever do that? While waiting for an email, just keep your email open in another tab and every time the number increases, drop everything you're doing and go click it? I can see why they suggest 30 days or less now... Even more than the fact that it's a lot of work to promote, it's nerve wracking! It's not even live yet and I'm going crazy...

Anyway, I'm really REALLY hoping it does well... I really don't know what to expect. I ran an IndieGogo campaign a while back and it made $30 ($10 came from my mom!). Granted, I put hardly any work into it, maybe shared it once on FB and no where else, didn't make a video... So hopefully this time, especially since now I have a truly important goal, it'll succeed :)

If you don't know what Rubberkid is about, this post sums it up perfectly :)

The game itself won't take much more to finish, so my goal isn't very high. I do have some amazing stretch goals that I'd LOVE to hit, though... I'd love to see it translated, and there's a sequel to the game (the Cyberbullying Edition for teens), there's also a kid's book and a comic book in the mix as well!

Have a great day!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Creating the Webpages for When Asteroids Attack!

Note: This article refers to the webpages found here:

This was the first time I ever made particular web pages for a single game, and as such it was quite an experience... I started off by searching for other indie games and the websites created for them. It's really awesome to browse through them! Just search for "top PC indie games" and you'll get a great feel for what an awesome indie game site looks like for trying to promote and sell a game. Then, I took what I liked about them and combined them!

One of the most important things to me was to keep it simple. Some games have half a dozen pages or so, which is great for games that have a lot going on, a big story, in-depth characters... But When Asteroids Attack is an arcade game! Arcade games are known for being able to fit all the important stuff on the side of the cabinet and around the buttons themselves...

Items on Every Page

I've always loved the idea of testimonials! To show a quote of someone saying something about the game is to show that other people actually like it. Since hardly anyone has played it yet, I took what I could get... One from my daughter and one from someone who had tested it for me on FGL. Just under the "When Asteroids Attack" banner is where you'll find them, and they're on every page - that portion is incredibly important to me, and it's actually Flash that loops through them every 10 seconds.

Getting Fans and Followers
Just below that are the "Like on Facebook" and "Follow on Twitter" buttons... Also incredibly important, and I'm realizing it more and more as I go, is having fans that will be interested in a game when it comes out, or a bit of news as it releases. Other than having enough money to continue, I think that it's the absolutely most important thing! I have to remember to make this an important part of everything I do, always, and so should you! The easier you make it for someone to follow, like or subscribe, the more likely people will be to do it!

Demo and Purchase
Also pretty important to the game's release are, you know, the ability to try the game out and purchase it! Trust me - if you ever make anything, you should always let people actually get it from every possible place!

Purchase Buttons at the Bottom
So what if you're on the demo's page, or the main page, instead of the purchase page? If you want to buy the game, do it! I went with Paypal because 30 cents + 3% isn't too bad for fees, and people are really familiar with Paypal as a whole, so I figure they'll be more confident entering their info through Paypal than more directly through my page.

The Main Page
Since I don't have a video, I made a slideshow in Flash that visitors can scroll through. Just like a video, focus on one or two ideas is key - I went with "hectic action" and "varied gameplay." Hopefully you gather that from the setup :)

I also love bullet lists! People don't like to read (and I am bad at considering that, which you'll gather if you look at this blog post or most any other of mine!), so bullet points let people see the important stuff without worrying about sentence flow or anything. But the bullet points themselves are dull! Any time you can spice something up with your theme, do it! I made little versions of the asteroids that spin and used them. Technically, the whole thing is a table, but it looks like a bullet list so whatever ;)

In Conclusion...
... Every web page is different, every project is different, every developer is different! Figure out what exactly you want and build accordingly. I wanted simple but stylized, so that's what I went for. I hope this helps you in the future!

Monday, November 5, 2012

ASCIIvader II - A Game in an Hour Postmortem

Back on Sunday I participated in the Zero-Hour Game Jam ( It was certainly a crazy adventure - the concept is to make a game in one hour, but since it's the hour that the time gets turned back, it's basically making a game in zero hours (from 2am-2am).

Now, that said, the contest is to make a game... In ONE hour... At 2am... Which is a fact made even worse since I usually go to sleep no later than midnight or so. And for those of you who don't know, making a game in 60 minutes is CRAZY!!!

Originally, I was going go try to make one of my ideas into an extremely simple playable version to see if it was any fun. Once reality smacked me in the face that I stood NO chance of that (about 4 hours before it began), I scrambled to come up with an idea for something I could do in an hour. Angel pointed out that she really liked the concept from Hellboy where the beast multiplied into two each time one was killed, and so I took the original ASCIIvader and added shooting... But where each shot split the enemy into two instead of killing it.

Note: The original ASCIIvader (you can play it here) was made in six hours for the Experimental Gameplay challenge back in Feb 2011. And now that you know what I was facing, and before you read the postmortem below, give it a play here!

What Went Right

It Got Finished!
Believe it or not, that's the biggest challenge of all for making a game in an hour! One would rightfully be quite proud of making ANYTHING in this period of time!

It's Actually Kinda Fun!
It was a great experiment in trying out something new, really! Every jam, every small competition should be exactly that - a chance to do something different, and thanks to Angel's suggestion I was able to do exactly that. The player actually gets points for simply surviving, but many more for actually hitting enemies. Therefore, a player can get a buttload of points by simply sitting around, dodging the single enemy, but it takes patience... And the temptation to shoot the enemy is hard to resist! On the other hand, you can shoot like a mad man and get hundreds of thousands of points, but good luck dodging the resulting mass of enemies!

What Went Wrong

It Was Only Barely Finished...
Normally a game has, you know, a menu, the ability to pause, music, the ability to restart... This game has absolutely none of those. It also has a REALLY plain post-level screen (it's literally a blank screen with words that tell you how many points you earned before you died). Also, because the code was very dirty, the loops that check for hit detection grow huge rather quickly (they don't clean themselves up) so it gets rather laggy if you're a shoot-lots-and-dodge type. On the upside, that kind of works like bullet time to help dodge the huge mess of Multiplinoids.

Score Balancing
The concept was to make it so that the player wants to shoot, but not too much, balancing shooting and dodging... In such a short amount of time, though, I just couldn't do that.

The Website for the Game
I tried to make a page very quickly for it, but for some reason it didn't even have a scroll bar, so the player couldn't even see half the game! I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired when the game was done that I just quickly turned it into a table and called it a day. Oh well.

Did you play the game? What did you think? Share your thoughts!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One O'Clock and All's Well(ish)

Look, I promise that I'll get to explaining about the website, my ideas in making it and stuff, but right now it's almost 1am and I'm preparing for the Zero-Hour Game Jam. The concept is this: make a game in 1 hour, but it has to be during the hour that "doesn't exist" because it's when the clocks get set back. So at 2am, the clocks go back to 1am, then it ends an hour from then (at 2am). So technically, between 2am-2am, I'm gonna make a game.

The concept is thus: ASCIIvader II! The Sequel! This time around, Squareface will be able to shoot, but the results won't be what he wants...

Angel (my fiancee) and I watched Hellboy the other day, and in it there's a beast that splits into two when it dies (it's more like two eggs hatch or something)... Anyway, that's the concept of the game: The player starts with one Multiplinoid on the screen. You need to shoot it to make it split, then shoot them to make them split, and so on and so forth.

The challenge? When they touch you, they die, but you get hurt too! You can't keep killing them with your bare face, so after a few hits they knock you out... There will be a story that makes a lot of sense later on, I promise, but for an hour of game development and a concept thought up around an hour ago *ahem*MIDNIGHT*ahem* the details are still a little fuzzy.

Anyway, you end up getting points for shooting the Multiplinoids and for just existing, but you get WAY more for shooting them. As a first estimate (which is probably all I'll have time for), you get 100 points per second of existing, but 5,000 points each time they split. Maybe eventually you'll get multipliers for each one you hit, who knows, but for now that's the concept.

Or, you know, I might end up with a blank screen and buggy code that won't do anything. Who knows! That's the joy of coding while half asleep!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Email/Message Opening Nervousness Syndrome

Let me tell you about the most weird phenomenon... When spending days emailing sponsors, or emailing bloggers/indie game news/review peoples, there's nothing worse than never getting a reply, waiting forever... But you know what's close?

Actually getting a reply!

"Why in the world would it be bad to get replies? You spend all this time emailing and filling out forms, don't you WANT replies?"

Yes and no... You see, opening my email and seeing that I've got 50 new emails is a little nerve wracking... Never knowing if I've gotten a reply until I archive most of them (if not all, stupid junk mail!). Finding out I have a reply is even scarier, and let me clarify why:

Any artist of any type - writer, musician, painter, sculptor, game developer, whatever else - HAS to be able to take bad reviews. It's just part of life, there are going to be LOTS of bad reviews no matter how awesome something is! Seriously! Do a Google search for your favorite thing in the whole world, and I bet you'll find some really awful reviews of it.

So every time I see I have a reply, my brain immediately jumps to it being the worst thing in the world. "Dear Charlie - your game is absolutely worthless and so are you for making it. Sincerely, me". It's never happened and I doubt it ever will (in an email from an awesome indie game cover-er), but the nervousness is still always there.

Do you suffer from Message Opening Nervousness Syndrome? Do you have a better acronym than MONS for it?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When Asteroids Attack - Promotion

First off, happy Halloween everyone!

Starting yesterday, I began my search for media coverage for When Asteroids Attack. I don't know if any of you have done it before (and if any of you HAVE a blog or website, no matter how small, I'd be honored if you'd give the game a play and a review or even a statement!), but it's really an overwhelming thing, but it's really awesome too!

The When Asteroids Attack website is complete, but I won't be releasing it to the public until Friday (I'll do a blog post on it alone!), so keep in mind through this that it's VERY important you make the website first for reviewers and bloggers and such!!!


Let me preface this by saying that When Asteroids Attack isn't a game I'm expecting to retire off of... In fact, my "very optimistic" goal is to make $5,000 on the game. The game's initial price is $10 and is preselling for $7.50, which means that between 531-717 copies (including paypal fees)... And while I can be overly optimistic, I am also a huge fan of rounding off like crazy... So let's call it 600-850 copies including fees from other websites (Indiecity/Desura, Indievania charges nothing). As such, I'm not aiming to spend any money on marketing, although I am researching costs for the future, so any time I find a blog or website that states they do advertising, I request their costs and options.

So, how do I do it?

Note: I've learned the lesson from doing all of this that it is VERY important to get started on this as early as possible! Start feeding interesting information to media as early as you can and keep it up. It's incredibly time consuming, but I'd rather spend some extra time on it and having people interested than finishing a game with no one around to play it!

First off, I had to publish When Asteroids Attack - the .exe file version. Then I made a demo version - two of them in fact, one for the web and one for download. Then... I tested them all. AGAIN. Just when I thought all of my testing was done, I did more. The game hadn't been tested published as an .exe file, so I wanted to make 100% sure it worked... You ALWAYS want to cover your bases! Can you imagine if the game actually became hugely popular, then no one could play it because it was broken?!

I've found a few lists of websites that do game reviews:

  • Pixel Prospector has a LOT of awesome lists, one of which is The Big List of Indie Game Sites. Now, not every single one of these allows you to submit your game, but it's a phenomenal starting place! I spent about half of yesterday submitting the game to sites, and ended up submitting to 14 of them (from all of the banners there, plus one banner I haven't done yet). You'll note there are 18 banners, so the vast majority of them were indeed good!
  • Indie Game Bundles has a great list of, well, indie game bundles. While I've never purchased an indie game bundle myself, the concept is AWESOME! If I had more time to actually play games, I'm sure I'd do it - they have super awesome bonuses and collections of games, and the game makers are well supported as well. From the developer's viewpoint, it's a great way to help get your game out there - and with other great games too! Even if someone might not be a great fan of your game, they might love the other games and buy the bundle! I haven't messaged them yet, but I definitely will; around half of them have specific ways to suggest your game for a future bundle, and nearly all of them have a contact email at least :)
My next steps will be to finish the two lists up, Google a LOT and hit up Twitter to search. "Twitter?" You ask? Yes! Twitter seems to have a great search option for indie game bloggers, and it's a fun way to get in contact too!

I have until November 9th until the game "releases". I picked the date because it gave me enough time to really focus on promoting the game as much as possible. Even if it doesn't sell a single copy, I've learned a lot!

Do you have any tips for game promotion? Do you promote games yourself? Do you want to buy When Asteroids Attack? If you said yes to any of these, you're my hero, and leave a comment! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Every Day Has to be Perfect!

This is something I go back and forth with in my own head, usually a few times a day, unless it's one of those super-fantastic days where I get on a roll and kick some major booty. I tell myself that I should get x amount of work done, and if I don't manage to do it, I suddenly feel like I'm gonna take 50 times longer than I should on a project... That if I was actually "at work" I would be working much harder... And so on.

But the reality is, I doubt any of us have ever had even one solid week at any job where we were 100% all day every day. Little breaks, slacking off, checking email or Facebook or whatever on a work computer, texting while working, making things last a little longer than they need to.. Who hasn't been there? So why, then, is it unfair to think that none of these things are going to happen when working from home? Where is the magic switch in one's brain that says, "Sure, since I'm working for myself, I won't slack off any more AND I'll put an extra 10-20 hours of work in per week, no problem! And I'm gonna LOVE IT!"

That's not to say I don't love what I do - I really do! The freedom to work on whatever project I want, to get my message to hundreds of thousands of people, to be able to do it from home sitting next to my fiancee all day... Who wouldn't love that? I just need to remind myself that I am the type of person who's better managed by encouragement and respect than through being battered for not getting something done... Including when I'm my own boss! Heck, imagine if you lived with your boss!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ABOUT The Adventures of Rubberkid!

I talked about my to do list with Rubberkid, but never really talked much about the game itself!

About The Adventures of Rubberkid

The Adventures of Rubberkid is a game that's all about showing others how horrible bullying is! The player dons a suit made of rubber bands, bouncing insults back at the bullies who fire them at innocent critters. A level is failed if the player lets enough insults through to destroy the happiness of the critter they're insulting.

Before the game even begins, the player enters their name and is able to print out their own dedication - a certificate that shows their pledge to protect those who are bullied and to never bully others themselves.

(Note: the images below are all from the still-in-progress game, so the graphics are subject to change. Click on the images to make them larger!)
After an intro level where the player learns their controls, they help out their first fellow students and start up the ABC - the Anti-Bullying Club.

Each saved critter child has their own little bio, which not only explains why the poor critter is picked on, but also what would have happened if you hadn't helped them out, and what will become of them now that you have. Poor little Penny here is a fine example.

Once you've founded the ABC, you've got to help other critters and fill the seats (each desk will be filled by the end of the game). To do so, you've got to go through the eight levels of the game - using a Mega Man-like level select screen where the player can save whichever they want in any order they'd like.

There are essentially four types of levels:
  1. Some scroll sideways (like Carrie in her wheelchair at the mall) and end after a certain period of time.
  2. Some work like a simplified breakout, where you have to constantly bounce a thrown piece of paper up at the bullies until all of them are gone.
  3. Some simply ask you to protect an innocent critter until all of the bullies run away (like Alan - the chess player - hiding between the desks)
  4. And some involve protecting a critter until the time is up (like Cathy, the purple critter who is picked on for being "different" and coming from another island while she eats lunch).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back to Development

I read a good dozen or so articles on promotion, marketing, sales etc. and one of the major things I read stated that running a blog is actually one of the most important things! And really, why wouldn't it be? Facebook isn't exactly great for keeping track of news updates, and a website is more for static information (unless the blog is posted right on it)... So here we go, it's time to get to posting more of my work here on the blog! Look for it tomorrow! :)

"Other Stuff"

Everyone has their own "other stuff" they want to do. For me, I always wanted to make games, which is largely development of course; my "other stuff" consists of learning new skills (making mobile games, learning to be better at art, actually doing some marketing that's fun!) and those have very largely been put off. It's so easy to look at making a game and just think "I don't have time for anything else in the world, this has to get done right now so I can do that game, and then this other game, etc."

I came to the realization yesterday, though, that it's just impossible for me. Some of you out there may be able to sit down and code for 10-12 hours a day 5, 6 or even 7 days a week in a row, but I can't. Five months of trying has made me realize it.

"But that's not okay," my brain shouts, "if I can't make games for a whole day, what the heck am I going to do? It already takes forever to make games!"


Every Wednesday from now on, or any day that I just can't wrap my brain around coding, I'm going to do "other stuff." Mix it up. Do something fun. Learn something, do some research, make some marketing stuff up, all that kind of stuff that's still work!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16th (Goals for 16th-19th)

Going back to my version of the Pomodoro method - using half hour blocks instead of 25. I earn a point for each block a task is given, regardless of how long it takes (so, for example, Level One below is worth four points whether I finish it in 2 hours, 1 hour or 5 hours. I have a goal of finishing 15 points worth per day (7.5 hours) which gives time for lunch, little breaks, etc. If I manage to get more done, then sweet, but it's not expected.

This week will (again) have me completing every level in the game, leaving just the SFX/music, credits and an "about" screen that gives a little background to the game.

Tuesday, October 16th
15 points total

1 pointGoals for the week
1 pointBlog
3 pointsGet saving/loading to work properly. Call SaveGame() after the setup finishes, then after the intro level that dumps the player into the ABC.
2 pointsPut Carrie in the game - in the "more info", ABC and "Popup - Win"
4 points(LEVEL ONE) The genius chess player in the classroom. Also make sure that once the player goes to use the level select popup again, that critter is shown as helped
4 points(LEVEL THREE) The learning-disabled critter at the blackboard - the first timed level, but uses the same background graphics

Wednesday, October 10th
16 points total

1 point - Blog
5 points - (LEVEL EIGHT) Hand Me Down Critter on the Bus
4 points - (LEVEL THREE) The purple critter in the lunchroom
6 points - (LEVEL TWO) The wheelchair-ridden girl in the mall

Thursday, October 11th
15 points total

1 pointBlog

4 points - (LEVEL FOUR) The Critter Crushing champion in the Critter Crushing fields.
3 points - (LEVEL SEVEN) The cheerleaders in the Critter Crushing fields
7 points - (Get started on...) Add the ability to use either the mouse or keyboard through the entire game, and allow the player to choose which one to use in the options (4 more blocks tomorrow too)

Friday, October 12th
15 points total

1 point - Blog
4 points - (Finish...) Add the ability to use either the mouse or keyboard through the entire game, and allow the player to choose which one to use in the options
7 points - Go through and make sure that all dynamic text fields are embedded and that the game works properly!
3 points - Get a list of what music/SFX are needed for the game