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I am still alive...
1) Super Chibi Knight is now around #50-60 on Steam Greenlight. That means it will probably get the Greenlight with the next big batch of games.... fingers crossed. You can help it get there by voting "YES" here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=152710075
2) The mobile game I'm working on is looking better and better every day. Here's a piece of art from it for the main menu, I wish I could show you all the buttons and logo that go with it to fill in the empty spaces, but that's still secret at the moment:
Here's some other art for it that I'm proud of. They are ice-dwarves who have learned to craft sturdy weapons from ice. They also love phat beats, so I'm coining the term "Dwarf-step" now before anyone else does :-D 3) I'm working with Luis on a little game that we'll hopefully release this month. It has a 4-legged main character, vector-pixels, procedurally generated levels, lots of power ups, and a few twists. Here's a preview:
I have plenty to keep me busy, now I just need to see some of these things start paying back the amount of time I've been dumping in. I've been scraping by, and really enjoying myself, but could use some more financial security. I'm trying to find the right balance between working on stuff I enjoy and responsibly paying bills. Which of these projects is most interesting to you? What questions do you have? Leave me a note!
Here are some more leavings to prove that I'm working on stuff. Also starting a secret proj with an old pal that should be done by the end of the month.
with no explanation.
I haven't made much progress on Super Chibi Knight for the last couple weeks because of a side project mobile game I'm doing to earn some cash. The side project is turning out fabulously and really stretching my art skills to reach new levels.
I'm actually really enjoying just focusing on art, it's a nice break from my one-man-band usual. Unfortunately the side project is super hush hush at the moment so I can't show anything, but when it's closer to being done, you'll get to see what I'm talking about.
One thing I started doing that sounds so simple, but has helped step up my art game, is to start out with a larger default stage size. I've been doing 950x550. The game itself isn't at those dimensions, but the extra space has made me feel free to draw larger and with more flair and then, when I zoom in for details, everything turns out way better. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS LAME, but try it!
Ok, maybe I can sneak in one thing: http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/367adce75d060fc625d5526c61e37e98
Also, what do you guys think of having a "beast" in super chibi knight that is a MECHA?
I'll leave you some links, you can ask me whatever you want about them and I'll answer.
You will like it! (whether you like it or not):
My personal favorite:
N-JOY and ASK AWAY!
Sorry for the typo in the title, but here's a quick video of a Super Chibi Knight boss. There's some game play footage at the end.
In other news, I have slowed down a bit on Super Chibi Knight to work on a freelance mobile game project to earn some cash to keep LIVING :-D (and pay some bills that are stacking up)
I know that this kind of news is disappointing to those eager to see SCK come out, but it's just a necessity of where I'm at right now and I thought YOU should know. Stick with me, I'm still working on it and sometimes a small break can be good for creativity.
Chew me out in the comments.
Steam Greenlit another 25 games this week, so the Super Chibi Knight campaign jumped from "60% to the top 100" up to "70% to the top 100" which is a very good thing. If I could somehow get about 5k more "yes" votes, I'd be in a pretty good position to actually catch someone's attention over there.
The game still has quite a way to go until it's done, and I'm considering doing a small Kickstarter campaign some time, so the extra time and press will help, but if you're reading this and have Steam, please take a couple seconds and go click the "YES" button here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=152710075
One of the biggest time consuming tasks for this game is drawing the background art. I feel like I need to make them fairly detailed, but they take a REALLY long time and there are many many bgs...
To help you understand, here's a video of me drawing one, sped up like 400%! Yes, it's super boring, but there's some new gameplay footage at the end as a reward :-D
I'm still cranking away on Super Chibi Knight. I got the alpha pretty polished up and am now adding more NEW content.
I've been sending tweets and emails around to various press type people to ask them to check out the game and help get the word out. I feel a little lame "begging" for exposure, but I don't know how to "go viral" unless I put myself out there. 100% of un-asked-for help never happens. Responses have been varied. I'll post a couple of the "less-productive" responses I've received for your enjoyment.
1. I tweeted Tommy from Team Meat to ask for some advice on making a successful indie game. His response: "Make a good game."
I guess I should be grateful that he responded at all, considering he's "hot stuff" now with the success of Super Meat Boy, but I hope someone kicks me in the rear if I ever get to the point where I think that's "good" advice. Of course I'm trying my best to make a "good game," it's kind of insulting to assume I hadn't thought of that. I guarantee that Super Meat Boy's success was not solely due to it being a "good" game. They hustled their butts off to make connections and even *gasp* relied on fellow indies and media people to help them out and give them good advice and exposure when they asked.
I know busy people don't have time to write out long-winded responses, but maybe point me to a useful website, or an indie-friendly blogger or review site. Take 2 seconds and look at my tweets and see how serious I am about what I'm doing. Maybe tell me "make a game in black and white!"
I'm promising myself now that, if I ever get some small modicum of success, I'll try to be respectful and helpful to people who reach out to me. You can be busy and still be nice.
2. I contacted someone at a popular indie games blog who actually seemed pretty nice about checking out SCK. I got him set up with a password to play the demo and assumed he was in and having fun. He later wrote me and said he couldn't get past the VERY FIRST EXTREMELY SIMPLE "puzzle" (I hesitate to even call it that because it's more of a tutorial than anything else) So he stopped after 10 seconds (he had to slash a pile of garbage into bits). I was so astounded I thought he was joking, but eventually helped him get through it (this is someone who reviews hundreds of games a year). He then said the over-world map was too laggy to be playable... mind you I have been running an alpha test with thousands of testers and NOT ONE has complained about the intro puzzle or main map lag... I asked him what kind of specs his machine has, and it's a super powerful gaming rig twice as fast as my test laptop... So, finally, he never ended up writing about it saying he doesn't usually write about games that don't have a public demo... (since then he's written about at least 3 games that aren't publicly available).
So, either I'm extremely unlucky and he had a perfect storm of problems, or I was getting trolled... I'm bummed about it because his blog has a lot of readers, but I have no clue what was going wrong with him that wasn't with all the other testers.
3. A couple small-time indie blogs have written articles, but I get the feeling they're using me for the views I've been sending them more than the other way around ha ha :-P
Overall I think the "indie" community is a tough one to break into. I guess if it were easy, there would be a lot more people doing it. However, I think those who have made it could be more helpful to those coming up and not make it feel like an exclusive clique. Let's not all turn into Phil Fish :-D
Development dilemma: I think I made a mistake in the size I chose for SCK. When playing fullscreen, the main character takes up a lot of the screen and the lack of real-estate is pretty limiting... BUT I've already drawn like 30+ backgrounds to fit that size so I'm kind of stuck. At this point, I'm just chalking it up to a lesson learned for my next game. Having the main char. so big makes it feel more cartoony and quirky, so maybe it works...
Cardinal Rule: TEST FULL SCREEN WHILE STILL PROTOTYPING!
Here are a couple pics showing changes I made to the alpha recently (some blockages to harder areas and highlighting quest destinations on the mini map).
Let me know what you think about all the venting I just did!
I released the SCK alpha test to the world wibe interneb last night. If you were signed up for the mailing list you should have received an invite.
Feedback so far is very positive. A few bugs being reported, but that's to be expected at this early stage.
Mostly it just re-energizes me to hear from real people that they're enjoying the game. I've been constantly afflicted with fears that it won't be good or fresh enough for the masses and that all this work will have been a waste of time. Seriously, it keeps me up at night.
Question for you: What do you think of quests and linear gameplay? I designed SCK to be really flexible (there's a reason for this later on in the game). But a lot of players seem to be confused saying that they don't KNOW what to do or where to go. The game doesn't force you to do anything first, it just lets you explore and find adventures as they come organically... this seems to go counter to what most people expect or want. A lot of players just sit there for a long time next to their home on the world map and grind against the weakest enemies (then complain that too much grinding is required ha ha!).
Is this a case of bad design on my part, or just poor expectations from people that have been trained to have their hand held through an entire game with NPCs and Quests and stuff there telling you exactly what order to play in?
I'm honestly curious about this one.
In other news, I'm really happy about the latest Steam Greenlight news . It sounds like they're going to try to greenlight a lot more games going forward.
Here's the latest Super Chibi Knight Draw Time Episode:
Sean Astin from movies you might recognize such as "The Goonies", "Rudy", "50 First Dates", and "Lord of the Rings" kindly recorded some voice clips for the mini-game I made called #Run3rd.
It's to help raise awareness of Sean's campaign to get people exercising with a dedication in mind. You could dedicate your run to a charity, to a loved one, or a cause you care about. He just wants you to dedicate what you do to something worthwhile!
He's using Twitter as the means for publicizing your dedication using the hashtag #Run3rd. Because Sean's philosophy is to run 1st for yourself, 2nd for your family, and 3rd for a cause.
When you play, you can tweet your digital distance + dedication from the game!
It was fun to work with someone whose movies are a part of my childhood (and current) nostalgia. He was a really down-to-earth guy and helped me overcome my bumbling shy starstruckedness by how easy going he was.
The game is simple, but I hope you enjoy seeing the different levels and hearing Sean's voice!
Play #Run3rd Now! (it has medals!)