Saturday, February 28, 2004

OK... been busy
Well I've sold a few games, been working on some documents for a publishing deal for Starship Tycoon, still in the early stages, but looks genuine.
As I type this, something called 'Chamed' is on TV. This is AWFULL. Who gets paid to write this junk? its a bunch of perfect-cheekboned US sexy Teens fighting aliens or something... how sad.
Oh well.
The Movies is going well, I had a ton of stuff to do, but managed to get it all done on friday, such is the easily extenisbility of my code ;)
Also, updating ST now with new planet textures (far better) and some gui fixes, and then tommorow I'll start work on a NEW game! I have an idea this time that it might make it past the 1 day of enthusiam point. hurrah.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Back at work today.
In other news:
Got my listing for Starship Tycoon, which has pushed bandwidth up past 1.5 gigs a day, which is fine for a few days, and hopefully will generate a few sales! Sales have picked up a bit lately anyhow.
Also been speaking about a possible US retail deal for starship tycoon which could be interesting, although I've learned over the years not to get too excited about reatil deals. This one sounds more genuine than most though.
I keep turning over different game ideas in my head. Planetary Defense needs some tweaking gameplay wise, in fact more than tweaking, if its to be a big success long term. The gameplay is too similar, and it needs a bit of an overhaul, I'm thinking about adding a strategy mode to it where you purchase defenses before playing, or maybe a different mode where you are defending a single city... still mulling over ideas, determined to get things sorted in my mind before doing any code.
I also had my first ever affiliate sale, I sold a copy of TV manager by Niels Bauer, which all helps pay the rent. I need to sort out the indiegames page better so I can get some more affiliate sales.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Still feeling pretty yuck. I think my cold has combined with my wisdom tooth pushing relentlessly through the side of my mouth to create a system of permenant snottiness and agony. Not the most ideal coding conditions.
However, slowly progress on the Movies is being made, although its a huge game and there is so much still to do.
Meanwhile Im still surpised t how badly sales of St have trailed off. I fixed some very minor things last night, and added a splash screen to help the upsell, and Ill be testing these changes tonite.
Given the extreme crapness of most shareware level sim/management games, Im hoping eventually ST will do well in its niche.

Monday, February 23, 2004

feel horribly ill but I am at work anyway. woke up at 4am, then again later by cat paws. awwwwwwwwww
havent sold any games this morning. Also lost some work due to perforce (source control software) being crap.
ho hum.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Sold a copy of ST today, good news as sales have been slack. Yesterday I did a splash screen for Planetary Defense. I am suffering badly from some kind of horrid cold, so not doing much except sleeping and cuddling the cat.
Not sure how I will feel tommorow, hopefully much better as I have lots to do at work.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I came in this morning to a whiteboard full of bugs in my code. eeek!
luckily they are all fairly trivial and mostly fixed already. Plus apparently we went down very well at the Baftas. Screenshots from the movies will be released soon, so you can see what I work on at last.
Haven't had any time lately to do much to my games, although i did add a big blue "buy now" button to the starship tycoon demo, after realising it needed one from playing Space Station Manager.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Bah, I have a paid listing at (to be the featured startegy game) and its achieved bugger all. Just 4 downloads this month! (so far). That sucks.
Im hoping to get more traffic from google adwords, failing that I might try gamextazy again.
Sales are low, but so is traffic, it might just be the post christmas slump?
Was working till midnight on the movies yesterday, its being shown at the interactive BAFTAS today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Spent some time at lunchtime playing Planetary Defence today. Its pretty cool ;) Im adding a few minor things, like new orbiting ground bombardment satelittes and Ill be adding new enemies and maybe some new gameplay modes (like an 'eternal' mode with recinforcements arriving) I think PD should eventually sell very nicely, it just needs that last 10% of effort.
Read a postmortem on Space Station Manager, which looks really cool now (better than when I tried it). Pity he didnt post sales figures ;) I'd love to know how well its done.
Only 1 sale today (Asteroid Miner), but I doubled my daily limit on Google AdWords, and added the conversion tracking code. maybe that will get me somewhere.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Well it looks like sales are picking up after all. Sold a copy of PD this morning. I am thinking of adding a few extra levels to Starship Tycoon, although as only 1 level is listed in the demo, I'm not sure that would make any impact on sales.
its that or do some more work on the dreaded new game.
Its always difficult starting new stuff.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Just installed the google toolbar, and Im adding this fdrom the blog this button. Looks quite handy, I'll probably get even more addicted to blogging.
After all my worrying, I sold 2 games today (plus some through realagmes) so things arent doing too bad. Also managed to fit a new kitchen door. Hurrah!
And I've started work on a new game, will the enthusiasm last? I hope so...

Friday, February 13, 2004

Still no shareware sales. bah
OTOH, the Movies is looking very good, although there remains much to do, and the game isnt vaguely balanced or polished, in fact its not playable as a proper game yet, which is a bit infuriating. Still, it will get that way very soon now, and also major press coverage should start.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Bah. no sales yet today. Im not in the mood to work on some big megabudget game today. Games are too expensive and take too long to make. its very annoying. why is everyone so obsessed with making the next blockbuster?
ho hum.
Read a post at about the flurry of identikit affiliate sites. This also concerns me, although everything concerns me when sales are low.
Very little effect from my paid listing at

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

There I am musing all day about no sales and finally sell a copy of ST. I might revisit the wording of STs main page tonite to make it convert better.
Also still tarting up Planetary Defense a bit.
Greetings to Muff, sounds like you had a cool time in Vegas, my favourite place on Earth ;)

Oh, saw the trailer for around the world in 80 days. Im a big Jackie Chan film, and this looks superb.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

I had a bit of a revelation yesterday:
There I was driving home, thinking about my own games, and about the Movies, and what I could do to make them both big hits. I realised that automatically my mind was concentrating on effort, and hours put in, and the amount of code and features and polish in the games.
Then I realised this was a complete red herring. A game like Lemonade Tycoon or Dweep sells very well, not because of huge coding teams, long hours spent coding or doing artwork, but because of well thought out design.
I've decided that 90% of the playavility of a game is determined by design, nothing else. Even if I am well off base, and 30% of the game is based on design, why do big games companies have 1 or 2 designers and 20 artists and programmers?
Surely if design is that important, at least a third of the team should be concentrating purely on design and doing prototyping to test design concepts?
I think this is where a lot of games go wrong. IMHO, one hour of good well-thought out design equates to about 24 hours or mroe of art and code, in terms of 'value-for money'. After all, if a feature makes 1% difference to sales, but adds 10% to development time and cost, its pretty obvious that spending an additional hour testing and considering the usefulness of that feature could save your team a barrel of money.
The problem is, there is a mindset in the retail games sector, that if enough artists and coders put in enough late nights, the result will be a great game.
This is bullshit.
A great game is a great game at the design stage, the rest is just fluff.
I think I'd prefer to be a designer than a coder, it seems a far more challenging and vital role.
ho hum.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Well I've decided that my current advertising isn't working, Ive paused google adwords and may not renew the gamextazy adverts. However I have taken out a paid listing at, they seem like a good site, and it will be interesting to see how many hits I get from them.
I've also started selling a game called TV manager as an affiliate, its by Niels Bauer who does great games. Im not sure if affiliate sales will amount to much but its worth a go.
I've started doing up Planetary defense, as I'm very dissapointed with its low sales despite good reviews. I've rejigged the tile engine a bit already, I will need it to support more screen resolutions and may add some new features too. Also my choice of demo levels for it was rubbish.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Sales haven't been that good lately. I'm advertising on gamextazy and google, but if anything sales have fallen. This is a bit distressing as I'm failing to meet my own target of 1 sale of Starship Tycoon per day. Still, sales of ST are higher than those of StarLines INC used to be, and it will take a while for the game to filter through into as many download sites as StarLines appeared on (although its slowly cropping up on more now).
I'm still fumbling over what to do next, part of me thinks that planetary defence should sell much better, part of me wants to do a game like Lemonade Tycoon, then there are 2 or 3 other ideas for Starship Tycoon type games. Its just summoning the time and the energy really.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Still getting a ton of bounes and virus warnings due to this MyDoom rubbish. Why are popel SO STUPID as to click on these things?
I've been hearing enough bad things about retail publishers (combined with my own experience) to know to ignore them and concentrate on shareware.
I've been doing some google adword adveryising (plus some banners). The google ads are very interesting, I've managed to experiment extensively with wording to get the best possible CTR, but that doesn't neccesarily translate into more sales, I need a cool cookie based system so I can tell how I am getting my sales (plus I need more sales). At the moment I'm capping the google stuff to £2 (about $3.60) a day, so its very very small fry.
I'm also considering paying for a premium listing at a shareware site I like the look of. I'll probably give that the go ahead at the end of the week, if sales continyue at the one a day mark.

I played lemonade tycoon again today, that game is near perfect, and very inspiring.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

well at least i sold 1 copy of starship tycoon today, plus 2 starlines through Realgames. Im still going back and forth in terms of which game or project to do next. I sent off an NDA for Starship tycoon to a publisher today, maybe something will come of that (it should do, as its a pefect match for their lineup).
Those spamming idiots are still spoofing me, I just started the actions that will close down another of their sites. what dicks.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Bah, i expected my retail check to be thousands of dollars, instead its only 400. I guess I'm back to only relying on my own direct shareware sales to make any money. I started advertsiing today, so it will be interesting to see if that boosts sales.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A fellow blogger seems to be in a spot of bother with the mindless twits who call themselves patent lawyers. Apparently someone has patented the idea ofcomputer card games. doh!
I actually fired up visual studio and started a new game today, although Ive got no further than WinMain and WndProc ;)
I was going to do a more mass market game, but I love hardcore detailed sims, and although the topic i've picked for ym new game might be considered very niche and geeky, its what i feel like working on, and you should write what you know.
Im really hoping to get my retail check tommorow.
Went to the movies to do some work, but a lack of communication means i couldnt get much done. Thats why big companies suck I guess.