Saturday, January 31, 2004

Ill be at work tommorow. Today I came accross the worst example of user interface design in the entire world. Its oms egizmo made by amstrad that allows you to send emails from your phone.
Attached to the device in large red letters is a piece of cardboard that says (and I quote) :
"you have absolutely NO CHANCE of working this device without reading the instruction manual"
And they werent kidding, it was the most inconsistent counter-intuitive hopeless GUI I have ever come accross in 34 years.
And the even admit it on the box.
Way to go guys!
If gadgets like this can still make money how come my games aren't flying off the e-shelf? No sales today, but my adverts kick in on Monday (a smalll $40 campaign to see if it has any effect) so hopefully I'll get a few ST sales then.

Friday, January 30, 2004

worked late on th movies tonight. Also may pop in briefly at the weekend.
Bandwidth is about to run out again, I might investigate raising my bandwidth, its 10 gig/month at the moment which is pretty low I guess. I'd rather just have a higher conversion rate though ;)
Still no retail check ;(

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Well if you look HERE It seems I'm not the only one thinking that these virus biounces are annoying.
Lots of work to do on the movies, looking very very good now.
Sold a copy of planetary defence today, looking forward to my retail check for end of jan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

When are mail server companies going to disable failure or virus warnings by default? I am getting about 80 bounces a day from either
a)Mail servers reckoning I sent a mail (it was spoofed) to a non existant address or
b)Stupid serevers telling me I am sendinga virus which im not.
I am 100% immune to this latest stupid virus, but 100% affected by the pointless bounces from poorly thought out email servers.
Is there a program that can auto-delete any message created by one of these systems? Im only interested in getting mail from real people.
Lost of work to do on the movies today, still thinking about whether to do a few last tweaks and improvements to ST or start on something new (eek).
Not much saleswise today ;(

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Only sold 1 copy of Starship Tycoon today, and at work, our source control software (perforce) through a wobbly and deleted the entire project, so its taken all morning to get it back again. I have to leave on time tonite, so I'm going to work through lunch now. grrrr.
My car is still awesome, it warned me it was icy on the roads this morning. How cool is that?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Back at work today, getting a fair bit done, at the movies is on course to be a great success, its a pity its not quite at that stage where I can spend my lunchtimes playing it though ;(
Still thinking about possible future positech game ideas.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Well I've sold a few games, done some DIY, played lots of Call Of Duty today. A review site is having performance problems with the full build of ST but not the demo. most strange.
I heard that got hacked. Thats really sad. I wish I could get hold of some of the script kiddies on the web and give them the beating they deserve.
Popped to the shops earlier in my wonderful shiny new car. Its a great vindication of my l33t shareware skillz to get in a car that was paid for entirely by positech ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Just picked up my new car. Its superb. Who says shareware doesnt pay? its paid 100% for my shiny nerly-new peugeot. hurrah!
Someone was posting to my forum saying they wish they had their money back as the game was bugged.
firstly, this user hasnt emailed me to report any problems.
secondly a patch should get released tonite that fixes any outstanding crash problems.
So I've deleted his posts, which I think is fair game. Anyway, I'm keen to get this patch out. I'm determined to make the game 100% bug free before I send copies to magazines.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Bah no sales yet today. This is unusal, but not a cause for panic (yet). Bandwidth has dropped back hugely, so I guess my earlier high sales were a direct result of high visitor numbers.
Im still fixing some bugs and improving stuff, but I won't get around to releasing a patch till saturday night at the earliest. Then it'll be time to assess whether to do any advertising for the game. Its hard to judge these things right without high enough numbers to use statistically, you need 10 or so sales a day I reckon to be able to judge if changes make a noticebale improvement, and I'm nowhere near that sadly ;(.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Looks like obviously don't mind cashing checks for software pirates and spammers, as they are ignoring every email they get from me, maybe lunchtime I'll do some digging and report them to the cops. Jesus christ, is hard enough running a biz as it is without dealing with scum like that, yesterday I read about a fellow developers site getting defaced by a bunch of sad little kids. Throw the lot of them in prison I say. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!
Anyway, still selling 1 or 2 copies a day of ST, and I've fixed a few bugs in the game last night, by the time people like take the game its going to be rock solid.
Also bandwidth is getting back to manageable levels, which is nice (in a way). I might spend some advertising money next month, to get it on the top of the downlaod site lists, which where I think the long term steady sales will come from.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Now getting over 100 bounces a day from those idiots.
please forward any spam you have, or send very large attachment sto
until they learn their lesson/bastards.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Those swine hackers are up to their tricks again, Im getting another 100 or so spam biounces. Ive reported both the credit card companies they use, so hopefully they will lose another 2 payment providers, that should at least inconvenience the swine.
If you care to help, feel free to report:
to their providers here:
Not many sales today, although I got a $230 check from RealGames. Still waiting for my yummy check for retail... Also got another bandwidth warning, I'm going to wait another day before seeing if I need to invest in more bandwidth, although ideally I need my conversion rate, not my bandwidth to rise.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Luckily the guys at dexterity pointed me at And their excellent PatchMaker program, so I could do a quick program to patch Starship tycoon from 21.4 to 21.5 for those people who have bought the game, but exhausted the max 3 downloads that RegNow allow.
I'm having exploratory thoughts about my next game while I wait for users to send me some more info on a rare save game bug in ST.
I might add the patchmaker url to my links....

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Well this muppet who has spoofed my domain name to send out spam is really starting to annoy me.
Here is his Ip address:
If anyone knows a way of pulversising that PC please do so, or if you know how I can get this dickhead arrested somehow let me know.
Ive managed to get an address for the criminal responsible but he is in spain and the webserver is in Romania.
We seriously need the Death penalty for spam, this is getting ridiulous, people with nothing to contribute to the world are wrecking the web for the rest of us.
Sold a bunch more copies of ST ;)

Yesterday I bought a nearly new car. It was expensive *ouch*, but its lovely, a peugeot 307 1.6 with aircon(w00t). Its also a very nice silver colour, similar to my cat jadzia (see below)

Starship Tycoon is selling very well, 4 copies so far this morning, which is superb. Bugs have been reported but I've spent this morning fixing them and I'll be uplaoding yet another version soon. I hate patching a game after release, but without the resources for a full test dept, I just can't compete with thousands of players trying out the game in terms of finding bugs.
My bandwidth is still scarily high, but hopefully it will tail off slightly now. Even though I have banner ads ready and the money set aside, there simply is nor eason to do any advertising for the game at the moment.
I've been thinking about what to do next, and I'm a bit gutted to see that SimTower is basically exactly the game I'd like to do. I'll probably be mega busy with the Movies from now on anyway.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

How many of you reading this don't have antivirus software installed? or a firewall? I don't understand why people leave themselves so open to attack. Every day I get about 10 mail bounces from people clai,ming I sent them an email with a virus. I didn't of course, my protection is updated daily, I have a firewall running and never open dodgy attachments, the address has been spoofed, but its amazing how many people out there are letting a virus or worm run free on their system.
Its depressing to think I need a firewall, monthly payments to antivirus forms, and a yearly payment to spamcop, just to use the email service I pay for without coming under attack.
The sooner life imprisonment becomes mandatory for spammers the better. I reported to spamcop, as even though I have unsubscribed from their list 3 times over 3 weeks they stil send me emails. Just because you buy something from someone doesnt give them the right to pester you for the rest of your life. If I buy sausages from my local Butcher, he doesnt knock on my door every morning saying "we have a special offer on bacon sir".

Friday, January 16, 2004

Sold a few more copies, plus found another small bug.
Doing some last minute bug fixes at the movies before the press see it for real. Also filling out pointless forms for the idiots at the inland revenue. How can they suddenly ask me where it is I work? I seem to have been paying tax thankyou very much, I do not understand how admin people can be so totally incompetent.
Oh well.
Watched second half of the Two Towers DVD last night. I have to say, the 'extended' version is bollox. It adds nothing to the stories or the characters, it just makes the film unbearably long winded. Stick with the short version is my advice. Don't DVD manufacturers realise that a good editor is paid a lot for a reason? Say what you like about George Lucas' films, he knows how to edit a picture.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

in the last 4 days I've sold 15 copies of Starship Tycoon, plus a few of Starlines through Realgames. Thats not bad by my standards so I'm pretty pleased.
I've heard some bad things about Real.coms customer service lately which is a bit worrying, but that seems to be par for the course with bigger games companies, just another reason for people to buy shareware games I guess ;)
I got very close to registering a little shootemup game called wasteland today. I may buy it tommorow.
I've also ordered a book called "spare room tycoon" which sounds quite interesting, and I hope its as good as "Tipping point" which is one of the best books I've read in ages. (I like management/business/psychology kind of stuff).

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Fixed a really hideous bug in ST tonight. It was a mismatch between the way the number keys (shortcuts) and the buttons work in setting pause state and game modes. You could set the game speed to a value, and the game would still think its paused, which was quite a hard bug to spot, especially as several people thought it was linked to other stuff. Anyway I'm sure its fixed now, and uploaded. Got some good feedback from some of the players which is nice. I'll try and hold off any future patches until I have the time to go through and fix/tidy up everything else in one go. I'd also like to add a few more modules to the game.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A busy day. The movies is approaching a deadline for being shown to some press, so working late. Also cursed by idiot builders who refuse to show up and actually quote for/do any work. Lazy gits.
Test drove a VW golf and a polo today. Preffered the polo, but going to test a peugeot 307 before I make my decision.
Starship Tycoon sales have suddenly started doing well, but also my bandwidth is going bananas and my ISP has been emailing me...
Ho hum.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Fixed some smallish bugs and uploaded yet another version. I am SO glad I added the code that gives source file and line-numbers when asserts trigger. It would be almost impossible to track down bugs accurately without it.
Heres hoping there are no more serious bugs.

Sold a RealGames copy of starlines and a copy of Starship Tycoon today. I'm getting reports of crash bugs but can't replicate them, even after quite extensive playtesting, which I guess in some ways is good as it shows the game isn't THAT unstable. I still need to do more testing though.

Got a mention on bluesnews, which is quite a big site to link to me. My bandwidth is collosal at the moment which is worrying, I've changed my download links to ease the load a bit, but I'm still worried about going way over my limit.
Keep thinking that any day now I'll get my check from america for retail sales. I'm hoping it will be over the thousand dollar mark.
Anyway I'm off to test drive new cars today. hurrah! (well not new, but nearly new). I'm thinking about getting a Volkswagen Golf, I used to have one years ago and they were very nice, way beter than my beaten up old Astra.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Well I've been getting downlaods of Starship tycoon, and news coverage on some sites, plus some handy mirrors on, but my bandwidth has gone crazy. Sales ahvent gone crazy though, although I guess its early days. I've just reorganised the ST webpage into two pages to make it cleaner. I'll upload it to some more sites later, hopefully there will be some sales by the end of the weekend! Its easy to panic at this stage, but some of my game have taken a long time to build any momentum, and I'm fighting the urge at the moment to spend any more money on advertising, at least util the current bandwidth spike subsides.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Sent out 28 press releases tonight, I decuided to handle this myself rather than pay anyone to do it. Its tough finding enough news sites, although I have found a russian site running some screenshots of Starship tycoon ;)
I guess it will take a while for the downloads and the exposure of the game to build up. Hopefully it will do well once its listed on enough download sites.
A few people have suggested that there is too much text in the tutorial. I am considering removing some of the less essential section from the tutorial in response to this.
Failry slow for sales at the moment, but I think everyone is playing their Christmas present games.

On the new lionhead movies webcams...
Im the person who has a yoda puppet on top of his monitor

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Well I'm up to 18 submitted sites now, got many more to do, sold a sharewrae copy of starlines yesterday. Should be getting a check in the next week or so from an American publisher for some retail collections, hopefully it will be at least a few hundred dollars ;)
I'm making genuine progress on the save and load game stuff for the Movies which is good news.
Last night I played Rise of Nations multiplayer , its an awesome game. Its suprising how closely the game matches real world politics, as you find yourself thinking "Jeez hes developing nuclear weapons already, sod farming improvements I better get my own nukes quick" and even "I'm losing, my only hope is to let off enough nukes that it causes armageddon and force a draw"
scary stuff!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sheesh, after a last evening of bug fixing Starship Tycoon is now on sale. Hurrah! I'm going to start slow,I uploaded the game to 10 different shareware sites tonite, on thursday I'll put together and send out some press releases, and the next week I'll put together some CDs for magazines and get a copy sent off to RealGames for review. I'll try and submit it to a few sites each night till I have 100 submissions, I am thinking its those top 100 sites that will generate the most impact for the game.
It's by far the best and most polished game I've put together, lets hope it sells a few copies! wish me luck.

Had some bugs reported in ST. its not on sale yet so still time to fix them. fixed one first thing this morning, but most of them I can't replicate. I need to fight the urge to just release it!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

if you try to fwrite to a file that is opened for reading, you should get an error. grrrr
spent 30mins tracking down what turned out to be an fwrite instead of an fread.
No wonder some people don't understand how programmers can do their jobs!
Bug hunting is going well, some of the subtler interface improvements since StarLines really improve the game.

started doing some early morning debugging. Looks like save games are totally borked. yesterday I managed to get random maps working, now I'm slowly working through any bugs in saved games. I think releasing the game tommorow now seems unlikely, probably happen during the week.
Sold another copy of PlanetaryDefence yesterday, so started moving it over to RegNow with my other better selling games.
Oh and check this out.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Found a bug in ST where I run out of characters. Just extended the limit to 2500 characters per frame, hopefully that will fix it. The text renderer is highly optimised and I'm slightly confused looking at it now, I was deeply in a land of optimising vertex buffer lock flags when it was written so I'm presuming its pretty efficient.

TV over christmas and new year has been truly dire, thank god for some cool games and books to entertain me. Just one more day of lounging around before I return to work. bah.

Friday, January 02, 2004

bah Vegas MIB just crashed on me. Got all the content finished for ST, just need to playtest it now. I'm hoping to release it Sunday Night, maybe monday. It will be cool to have it on sale when I go back to work, so the boring bit (waiting for sales) can happen when I'm back in Movies mode.
Finally paid for my artwork without using paypal. I've decided to buy shareware tracker when I get round to working out how to use the thing.

I'm no design expert, but I need a good banner ad, as I am planning on spending at least $100 on advertising ST when its finished (yeah I know, big spender huh?) So I'd like to know what people think of this animated gif: IS it crap, is it great, how would you change it?

This is for a 130 by 130 slot that I am pretty certain I will use. I can't decide whether its best to have a more annoying flashing thing or not, I've read that more than 7 words in a banner ad can be too much, but the games quite complex, whats the best way to represent the game in a 130 by 130 pixel animation?


Is this better?