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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject: Development Log - Optional Quest Flash Games Reply with quote

[12/16/2011]
Launched Toilet Hero today. I also found out that my mochibot counter implementation was not 100% correct on my previous games. There's a probability that a flash game getting loaded won't increase the counter (it was hooked up to a certain load even that turns out won't always get called). Not sure what the discrepancy would be, but I'm confident the host/website count is still correct.

Toilet Hero can be found here:
http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=383

[12/04/11]
Launched Evasive Manuevers Plus
http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=43

Hopefully I can distribute this game correctly this time.

Toilet hero is now up for sponsorship (put up a trailer)
Next game: Unnamed pest control defense game

Background:
A little background, I used to try and make games the traditional way (if you do a search you'll find the abandoned Dev Log Phonecord RPG engine in C#/DirectX) but I felt like even if I managed to finish a game no one would play it. This was a few years ago before the phone app markets came up and Flash seemed like the answer. I sat down and wrote a pretty powerful engine on and off over the past 2+ years in FlashDevelop. I recently left my job with my engine mostly complete to try and make a bunch of high quality flash games. Android may follow since it seems like a simple conversion.

Current Project: Pest Control Game
Details coming soon?
Goal Timeline: 1~1.5 weeks

Past Projects

Toilet Hero
My attempt at targeting more the more casual gamers of Flash. I tried putting a lot of polish onto a simple-ish game mechanic.
Youtube Link: [url]
Game Link: Will be released when it gets sponsored (including self sponsor on [url]flashbound.com[/url])

Chicken Strike
What I'd consider a pretty big project for Flash. It was made using my engine and my "universal" map editor. Also includes a pretty versatile scripting engine. Probably the biggest publicly released game I've ever made... The game was sponsored for a disappointing $450, then went on to win game of the week on some site which gave me another $120. Overall, the game's art, story and core gameplay seems to be solid but the camera was the thing that kept it from becoming even bigger. It's gotten over 300k plays and still chugging along at about 1.5-2k a day...
Youtube Link: [url]
Game Link: http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=16

Seagull Story
No really made by me, a friend used my engine to make it in a week. It received a primary sponsorship (to AddictingGames) was sold for $500.
Game Link: http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=2

Evasive Maneuvers Plus
Did not get sponsored, released at the beginning of December. I did not bother waiting for a sponsor and released it to try and promote my portal ([url]flashbound.com[/url]). Flashbound.com is my new backup plan for my flash games that without sponsorship.
Game Link: http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=43

Optional Quest Site
http://www.optionalquest.com
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Edited by I_are_n00b on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:19 pm; edited 13 times
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, that's pretty neat. Clearly you've put a good bit of thought and work into that. I think I might have some chicken for dinner :) If I could make one small suggestion (assuming Flash allows this), have the arrows keys and WASD do the same thing.

Pov would be the best one around here to chime in regarding the business end of gaming. I don't know how you'd have to approach this to make a living from it.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I played through all four levels. A few comments:

Level 1: This game is crazy hard in the beginning when you get flanked from all sides -- but I was incorrectly taking the main road instead of the dirt road north of the first repair center
Level 2: It mentions some weapons are available that are really not available -- all you can use are the cannon and flame turret (radiation and missiles are not selectable). Also, the camera on this level doesn't suit the level very much. When you stop at any of the N,S,E,W walls, the camera brings the tank back to center. It's hard to see what's coming at you until the very last second. Perhaps when you're at one of the walls and not moving the camera can pan over so you can see the enemy coming.
Level 3: On level three, the two marines who follow your tank really get in the way when you are trying to back-up. Is there any way to kill them? I found them more of a hindrance than a help
Level 4: Nothing really crazy here except for chickens that come out of the walls at points, and at the underpass if you have the radiation turret you can see it peeking out through the upper-bridge-tile edges

Overall, really fun. This had me playing to the end because it was a little tougher than you'd expect. Surprisingly, I'm not one to really like humorous games, but I found this hilarious and actually enjoyed the ridiculous story. I think introducing a new chicken type on each level is definitely a good idea. I loved the "punchy" chickens.

As for monetizing the game, no idea. I don't know anything about paid flash games. In fact, I've never come across any before.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typical crazy old professor, using a series of grant rejections as an excuse to execute horrible chicken research experiments. I guess it could be worse, he could be giving the grant money to the football players or something.

Why did you take the main road, sonrisu. Were you afraid of getting the treads on your tank dirty. Kind of screwed on that one with all the chickens you gonna be running over so you shouldn't have worried about that. I wonder how many quarters you have to spend at the car wash to clean a tank.

Chicken for dinner?! Now I'm surprised there aren't more games out there with pigs in them. No wonder angry birds is so popular.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, I finished the game level wise. Still need to add a few features and balance the game. Can I get a few guys to play it in a private beta? The flash bidding site (flashgamelicense.com) asks how many people have played this game and whether or not it was released to the public so I had to take down the link for the earlier demo. If you will reply to this thread I'll PM you the link. Thanks!
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm.... well even with the lack of interest over my game over here, I guess I'll keep posting.

I put the game up for sale and it was approved today, and I also made this trailer for it:


I got a few good reviews and some mediocre ones. Also, the flash game crowd really demands detailed instructions for even the smallest things. Overall I starting to get kind of skeptical about how much this game'll earn because it seems a little too hardcore for the flash/indie game community. I did have a sponsor play my game for an hour and 45 minutes, so that's good...

I put in a lot of tweaks and balancing since I first posted the game here. I also put in the arrow keys and countless other suggestions, so thanks for the feedback.

It's really late tonight so I'm not going to send out any emails to sponsors, but that's the last thing left to do for this game. Starting my next project tomorrow...
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be discouraged by a lack of responses here. A dev log is about collecting your thoughts. I never expect responses, but find the process of writing things down to be extremely beneficial to my process. Just imagine if every little tweak you made and commented on got a dozen "cool", "neat", "wooo!" comments; it would make a log harder to dig through. With that in mind, I know I only ever speak up when I have something constructive to add (or get called out, or am left giddy by something posted).

Also there's a sense of brevity/twitter/YouTube generation attention spam. I skim most posts in just a few seconds, and if a key point or question doesn't pop out at me, I tend to miss it. I know my dev logs are stream of consciousness, and I don't expect others to decipher my brain. Alternatively, some questions dont have simple answers, and I know I sometimes neglect answering because I'll be here a while. Not all yes/no questions are easy absolutes.

I'd probably comment and say more in Sonrisu's thread, but I DUNNO WHY HE DOESN'T POST HIS VIDS TO YOUTUBE!?!

As for gameplay feedback, admittedely I am very quick when it comes to skimming threads. Screenshots catch my attention, and links jump out at me. If I see a YouTube, I attack it (on an iPod at the moment). Anything that requires action on my part, unless you have me drooling, I probably wont do. And yeah, the game looks neat from the trailer. You did a good thing keeping it close to 1 minute, cause even a casual glance at video length, and being too long can throw someone (me) off.

The flash market is a lot tougher these days. I know of some very good and very pretty games that saw less than $1000 in sponsorship, and many that saw nothing. Definitely, the instant approachability is a huge problem for many games. The flash market is all about that instant pick-up-and-play mindset, and yes they can be confused easily.
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried your game! I especially liked the "depth" of gameplay. You've got a story, big maps, upgrades, different tactics, etc. That makes a game really "deep" in my book. Even more because it's a flash game, which tend to be rather shallow.

But there's one thing that really threw me off: the camera is too near the ground. As soon as a chicken appears on screen, it has almost reached your tank already. And the tank itself seems too big as well (but again just because the camera is so close). I'd like to see more of the surroundings as well. In the second mission I had to constantly bump against the walls just to be able to see the attacking chickens soon enough to react.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

But there's one thing that really threw me off: the camera is too near the ground. As soon as a chicken appears on screen, it has almost reached your tank already.


This kinda hosed me as well. I adapted by throwing the tank in reverse the second a wave of chickens appeared (sometimes doing it preemptively when I figured a wave was due). Upgrading the machine gun seems pretty darn important, at least in the beginning. I also liked that I could actually afford the upgrades! So many games make upgrades too expensive to get frequently, and while it's rewarding when you get one, it really feels sucky when you're close to affording a new one, but not quite there. You have navigated that problem well, indeed.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Changed the title to flash games because I foresee opening up too many threads (since this market requires rapid development).]

Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. Yeah, PoV, I figured the lack of responses wasn't anything personal, more of a developer kind of thing. I myself am guilty of this, not really giving feedback in other threads. I think I was just desperate for some beta testers during those days.

I definitely think I treated Chicken Strike too much like a real game. The graphics I ordered and everything ended up just being too big for a Flash game. It was too late to change by the time I realized this, so I made the Flash window as big as I could (700x700, any larger would be too much for a flash game) to try and alleviate the problem. I myself am pretty happy with the scale of this game, there really aren't many flash games out there with this kind of "depth". Of course compared to real/PC Indie games, this would be child's play. I feel like this game was a bit too hardcore for flash gamers, but I really have no interest in making another tower defense/farmville/whatever clone unless I have a genuine new idea. I think for now, I'll alternate between "hardcore" games and more flash type games until I build up a reputation/people get used to playing my games. That's why the next project will be to finish Toilet Hero, which was good design and I think a better fit for a flash game.

Also, I'm going to try and be more involved in GDR, since I'm doing this "fo' realz" this now. It'll be good in a community.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

The graphics I ordered and everything ended up just being too big for a Flash game. It was too late to change by the time I realized this, so I made the Flash window as big as I could (700x700, any larger would be too much for a flash game) to try and alleviate the problem.


Did you have any trouble speccing what you wanted the graphics to look like? Did you provide samples or sketches, or were verbal/written instructions good enough? I've never outsourced artwork, so I'm not sure what to look out for in that situation.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a very crude demo done at the time. The tank was a bit big in that one also, but smaller than the current version. I think it was more of a design flaw by me.

I actually went through 3 artists. There are several good artists who are students and making pixel art is just a hobby. They're good for small projects or large projects without a deadline. You can probably get free collab work if your project is interesting. I also got contacted by an art outsourcer (art made in India?). It was very hard communicating with them and the art came out very generic. Their tiles were not sometimes not usable.

The biggest issue I have with my current artist is that it is still up to you to give them design ideas. My current pixel artist is extremely talented but have a hard time filling a screen. Sometimes the art he gives is not technically sound and I have to redo sprite sheets.

It saves a LOT of time though... and much better than my programmer art.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10/12/2011
Chicken Strike went live
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/581373

Seagull Story went live on other flash portals
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/581384

"Placeholder" (unless I get lazy) site for Optional Quest is up
http://www.optionalquest.com

Please help out by upboating me on newgrounds, thanks!
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah cool. I see there have been some upgrades to Chicken Strike. Arrow keys work, too!
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried seagull story. Played until the end. I wasn't sure if you could die or not, but I didn't sit around long enough to test that theory. Major complaint is that I would keep on pulling the mouse too low, it would go out of the window, and I'd lose all my stamina. Irritating. Maybe auto-fire if the mouse goes outside the tracking area?
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@sonrisu - I didn't actually make Seagull Story, a friend did using my flash engine. I think the game's hooked up to a mouse up event that's not getting called when you leave the flash window.

It's been a few days, Chicken Strike is at 40k~ plays, which is kind of disappointing (for a flash game). Seagull Story re-released is at about 20k plays. The original version bought by Addicting Games reached over 400k on their site (but no ad revenue for me). I'm getting lots of hits on the OQ site though, by releasing these games. So, I might change my business model up a little bit and make a few flash game portals and "sponsor" my own games. I'll probably start a "Picks from around the web" section on OQ and then buy a few domains for flash portal only.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy Thanksgiving guys!
Toilet Hero
[url]

Also, Evasive Maneuvers has a new version with a high score board here:
http://www.optionalquest.com/Developer/523881697/EvasiveManeuversPlus.html
I'm playing to mass release it soon. Anyways, it's really late and I just wanted to make this post before I hauled my ass to bed.
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Edited by I_are_n00b on Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:18 pm; edited 1 time
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played Toilet Hero for a while yesterday. It has surprisingly high production values, and nice presentation all around. Perhaps I'm stupid, but I couldn't get past the tutorial. I cleared the first part where you simply position the plunger, although that took a long time -- I'm guessing there's little room to play with the positioning? Then I got to the next part, where you integrate motion into the plunging (very cool, btw) and promptly fell off a cliff. I don't think I got a single one right. I wonder what I'm doing wrong?
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for trying the game, Sirocco. Yeah the graphics for the "prototype" were really crappy, even though the artist attested to being a pro.

A few people have complained that it takes a bit to get used to the specifics of handle positioning, so I changed the tutorial a bit. I added a part where it shows you the "regions" and an option in the Options Menu that allows you to keep this on screen. I'm hoping this helps.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't, for the life of me, get the circular rotation motion to trigger. Everything else seemed decent during the tutorial.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright guys, I changed the tutorial in hopes to mitigate the line/circle problem. I had someone else tell me he also had similar problems with circle icons (though he actually beat the game without being able to do circular motions).
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Put up a trailer for Toilet Hero, took off the game links. Going to work on the website a little and then start on my next game [Unnamed Pest Control Defense]

Toilet Hero Trailer:
[url]
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[12/04/11]
Launched Evasive Manuevers Plus
http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=43

Hopefully I can distribute this game correctly this time.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished up a semi-related project (loosely, if at all) so this was kind of a treat. I did have problems with the controls. I'm guessing some of the keys were getting 'stuck', which understandably made it hard to do anything but die :)

Edit:

I wouldn't worry about it much, because I couldn't replicate it. It was probably a random focus-switching bug between Firefox and the flash plugin.

The game's fun and doesn't dally about; you know exactly what you have to do. I was rather amused when level 10 rolled around and a missile jumped on my ass.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for playing Sirocco. What was your semi related project? In all honesty, I think Survival mode is the most fun. It was originally the main game mode, but people found it too hardcore. You should check it out if you like missiles. That and well, missile mode...
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