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?