Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Get a Free Preorder of Escape From the Afterlife & Enter To Win Free Games for a Year!

To celebrate National Haiku Day, I'm giving away a million preorders of Escape from the Afterlife! I'm pretty sure that's plenty, but if somehow over a million people enter, I promise to add some more ;)

EVERYONE  who enters and does the two required things - posts a haiku in the comments in the bottom and likes The Critterverse on Facebook - will get the preorder of Escape from the Afterlife. One lucky person will also be chosen to get every single game we make for an entire year - a $15 value!

A preorder of any of our games includes not only receiving the game once it's done, but also every single solid version of the game as it's made until it's complete and typically costs $1! You'll also get a download of the game in its current state emailed to you after the giveaway ends. The one year subscription is similar, but for every single game we develop throughout the year. We're doing the One Game a Month challenge, so that means at least 12 small games a year, plus several big ones!

Entries will be accepted between Wednesday, April 17th - Sunday, April 21st.

Have fun! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wait, What? Games CAN Cause Violence Maybe?

First off, let me just start off by saying that this contains NO statistics, NO proof, NO stories of anyone who played Halo and killed a whole bunch of aliens because the game made them... There are plenty of other awesome articles out there written by far better writers that make some excellent points, as well as horrible articles that somehow attempt to explain that anyone who has a video game in their home and committed any sort of crime had video games to blame.

I'm an indie game developer, and like many indie developers, I very rarely have the time or money to actually play games... I'm also much more of a casual gamer, sticking with the Marios, Zeldas and Peggles of the world more often than not. As such, whenever anyone made an argument that kids can become violent from video games, I laughed it off and argued against it. Seriously, isn't it silly? If I play Tetris, will I want to stack blocks? If I play Mario, will I really want to jump on people's heads?

Then we got a few free rental codes for Redbox, which just happened to have the new Tomb Raider. Angel (my fiancee) and I both really wanted to play it, so we got it and LOVED it! It's a spectacular game and I'd suggest anyone mature enough to play it! We played it a second time through and did everything we could.

My point is this, though: You know how once a great movie is over, you feel like a part of the world, or maybe you see things a new way because of the story? It sucks you in and it takes a while, even after it's over, to leave its world. The same is true of games, particularly these "newer games." Lara in Tomb Raider is great at climbing, so when we went outside, I'd imagine climbing rooftops, scaling walls, etc. I wanted to work out and become more fit so that I would have hopes of surviving a crazy adventure like that. But at the same time, because the game allows you to hunt animals for rewards and get extra points for "headshotting" enemies (shooting them in the head for instant-kill), I would see an animal in the real world and my brain would immediately think "I can just imagine shooting that with a bow and arrow!" (Lara's main weapon on the game).

Wait, what? When did that happen? When did successfully shooting enemies in the head turn it into a game in real life of imagining getting someone from far away? Granted, I'm 30 years old and mature enough to not act on this at all. The only thing I've ever "shot" at anything is a camera, and while I think it'd be awesome to learn to shoot a bow or throw axes, I'd certainly never do it in any sort of dangerous way.

So, can video games cause violence? I don't doubt it... This was one single game, and it's nowhere near the most violent at all! The game is rated M (Mature; basically the equivalent of an R rating for video games), and if you have children and didn't already know it, it's VERY important to follow the ratings for video games. If your child is 8, 10, 12, 15, and they play video games, don't just get them whatever is popular, please. Just keep in mind that playing a violent game is like taking part in a violent movie for days instead of just a couple hours.

And, above this, to all of you game developers out there: I appreciate the awesome scenes in the games where you press a couple buttons to jump off of a rooftop and assassinate someone, then flip someone around and use them as a human shield before running up to the shooters and plunge a bayonet into their chest, flip around and knock the other down before finishing them off too. It's really empowering to be able to do all of that! But can you hold back on the blood? Keep away from the extra gory deaths? There are games that I simply refuse to play, even though the story looks awesome, the game looks gorgeous and the play itself looks so fun, just because I'm far too empathetic to kill people in horrible ways, watch blood splatter all over and such.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Experimenting with Promotion using Buffer (

We went grocery shopping today and I joked that since I'd be gone anyway, I should create some bot to spam The Critterverse stuff on Twitter until I got back, and wondered how many Twitter followers I'd lose for it. Like most of my experiments, the joke had to turn into reality!

Using Buffer, I set 9 tweets to post between 2 and 7 every 40 minutes (except for the last two, which were a half an hour apart). Each tweet promoted something that could potentially earn revenue, and it took about 5-10 mins to set them up before we left. This was about 1:15pm, and I had 1,843 followers. Note: I DID tweet quite a bit from my phone while gone, so it's not like my ONLY tweets were the promotional ones.

As of 8pm (an hour after the final tweet), here are the results:

Followers: 1,850 (+7) (I may have lost some, but gained others, but either way I still have roughly the same number!)

Clicks: 32 (out of 77 for the day on The Critterverse thus far!)

Retweets/Favorites: 12/1

Total "Potential": 25.4k (The maximum number of people who could have seen the tweet)

Total Income: $0 (Yeah, I didn't sell anything, but hey, getting retweets and website clicks is really awesome too!)

Buffer statistics on one of the links. You can click on the "Retweets" or "Favorites" to see who did it, too!

For those who aren't familiar with Buffer, IT'S FREE and it basically allows you to set up times to tweet or post on Facebook, and you can set up as many as you want per day. In fact, you can even sync it with Tweriod to let you know what times of day are best for buffering your tweets! You can use it with Facebook and other programs too, but unless you upgrade (I haven't), you can only use it with two profiles - so your Facebook and Twitter, or your Facebook and your Facebook page, or however you want to do it. You can buffer to all of them at once or just one, and you can have it buffer one more than the other (for example, tweeting 10 times a day isn't a big deal, but putting 10 Facebook posts on your game page isn't a great idea).

I'm going to start setting it up every morning now, spreading the tweets out much more of course, and then tweeting like regular... An extra 5-10 mins each morning to get clicks and maybe even revenue is VERY worth it!