Friday, December 31, 2004

I got some sales figures from Starship Tycoons US publisher that were disappointing. This isn't that much of a surprise as they basically didn't publicise it much. It's made more money in Russia, and a LOT more money online. Its generally my plan to treat retail sales as a nice little side earner if they happen. The drive for democracy will be 100% online, and 100% through my site, at least at the start.

I have to re-engineer some of it today, as my wife cleverly pointed out a potential cheat in the way that the neural network operates. This shouldn't be too bad though.
I've also been adding a number of new events. Its actually quite tough to come up with enough, especially ones which are generic enough, applicable to the policies and simulation data that I have and are also good fun. I have around 40 so far.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sales of starship tycoon have continued to be good, and I've got some more code done on democracy. I have a few significant things I need to change/implement but I'm hopefully looking at a playable alpha by mid january and beta by end january. Thats the plan anyway.

I read some article about having your home network use a server connecting to the others wirelessly. I can't be bothered with that, but I AM interested in maybe using a wireless keyboard and mouse and bunging my main box in the attic or something. If only I could be assured of a good connection for FPS games (mouse speed). It would be nice t have a 100% quiet computer, even though mines fairly quiet unlike these Sony Vaios. (they are still the most georgeous laptops in the world though).

Friday, December 24, 2004


I was born in London, and have a fairly noticeable London accent. right now the film 'My fair Lady' is on TV, If you aren't from London, perhaps you are from the US, I'd like to point out that...


Cor blimey guv, I had to get that off me chest and no mistake. God bless the Queen mum etc. I'll go play me spoons and ave a knees up.

Ok various stuff been happening. Sales have been unusually good, and I just tweaked some of my options, offering a CD copy of Starship Tycoon to those who want it (plimus handle this) and upping the cost of Planetary Defence by 2 dollars.
I looked into charging different prices in different countries but it was a bit too problematic. I need to do this because $19.95 is about £9 after the registration cost and that sucks.

Democracy is looking better than ever, and now I've got dilemmas working again I think it should be playable very soon, Hopefully I will have a beta copy in January.

Theres a 50% chance of it snowing on Christmas day. Huzzah! I'm going to spend most of Christmas Eve playing the new Maps in the Call Of Duty map pack they just released. That game is superb.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I released version 2.3 of Starship Tycoon today, just changed the full version(not the demo). This fixes some minor bugs that only show up in the full version, and added a few tiny tweaks.
Sales have been not bad lately.
Went to Paris yesterday so didnt get time to do any code added some small amount to democracy today. Basically Im adding a 'timeline' which will show your progress towards the next election as you play the game. I just put in some placeholder stuff for now.

I edited my blog sidebar, you will notice a small smudge on the RHS. this is in fact a tiny table of 16 image links each scaled to 2*2 pixels. They are sucking the bandwidth from some pathetic spamming viagra site that dared spam me.
If you spam me, it will cost you big time in bandwidth ;).
Im hoping that over the next few months, the number of visitors to this site will help (in just a small way) to cost that scumbag company some cash.
Feel free to hit shift refresh a few times ;)

Friday, December 17, 2004

at last has the new screenshots showing newer gui stuff and 2 different backgrounds. The background will be like your windows desktop, you can have any bitmap you want there.
its late so no more post today...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ok this time I REALLY will put up screenshots tommorow.
In the meantime I've been redesigning some stuff slightly so that the simulation data gets highlighted just like the voters when you mouseover a policy.
This makes for a fairly complex and cluttered screen but hey...
I'm really happy with the way its looking at the moment. Plus I sold 4 games yesterday directly, which is always welcome ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

No screenshots yet, maybe tomorrow...
I did some playtesting and my first impression is that I'd prefer the game to be quite a bit more complex and involved than it already is. I like the idea of it being a deep simulation that you would have to really think about and concentrate on in order to get the results you want.
This goes noticeably against the grain of most independent small downloadable games, which tend to be aimed at the casual gamer and are often puzzle or arcade games. I'm thinking about making this a deliberate part of the games marketing, making a big deal out of how complex it is, almost daring the potential gamer to take it on as a challenge, even suggesting that other sim games are just trivial toys by comparison ;)

I updated my listing for Starship Tycoon yesterday. The file was out of date. I was considering trying out their pay-per-download idea, although I'm wary of committing to the full $500 in one go.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Well I still went to work that day and today also. Its a very quiet house without him around. Still very strange to think he isn't here. I'm kind of using NLP (google it) to deal with the whole cat situation and its very very effective.

Been ultra busy at work, I'm stepping in to do lead coder stuff this week while the boss is on holiday. I've also been very busy on democracy. Im totally converted to my new look for the GUI, its showing great potential now. I'll probabl post new screenshots at the weekend.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

milo was hit by a car yesterday and killed instantly. I've never had a pet die before. Milo was our 6 month old bengal kitten. he was wonderfull. We still have 1 cat, Jadzia. I am deeply upset by losing milo. It seems like we hardly had him for any time. Its such a sudden thing to lose him like that.
I still can't really believe its happened. I will miss him so much.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Milo is missing. This is my 6 month old bengal kitten. Haven't seen him since 9am this morning, over 14 hours ago.
Very distressed here.....

It's VERY difficult to design a look for democracy. For any newcomers, this is an indie game I'm developing pretty much alone. Its especially hard in comparison with the day job, which is working on a multi-million pound game with its own brand new 3D engine yada yada.
When you don't have a 3D engine(like democracy) and the game is entirely conceptual, just what do you fill the screen with?
In some ways its a nightmare, in other ways its exciting and challenging. Its far too easy to make a game that looks like Excel, or just a whole mush of icons.
In the old DOS days, it would just be a text based game.
This lunchtime I tried Superpower 2. The guys who wrote this have never heard of tooltips apprently. Thats just a newbie mistake. But it looks nice, even if I have my doubts about its learning curve and playability. They have a big spinny 3D globe as their background.
This morning (after a flash of inspiration last night) i replaced the backdrop of the game with a nice landcsape hi res image, and redid some icons. It now looks basically like a windows desktop, with a number of icons and a nice pleasant backdrop. I quite like this. I might stick with it.
I was reading about the indie games being submitted to IGF and their $335k budgets.
That's insane.
I reckon ALL games should be done for maybe $30k. Then, if they are fun and people like them, by all means spend a million dollars on a fun sequel with whizz bang graphics. But gambling $7 million and hoping the game idea is fun at the outset? Thats mad.
What do YOU think?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Well I haven't posted for a while. Sales have picked up slightly, maybe it was my experimental price drop, maybe it was people get bored with half lfie 2 and playing games again.
Recently I've been complaining about games with no demos. I was tempted to buy Pirates! even went to a store to get it (out of stock) but there is no demo. Since then I watched 20 seconds (all i could bear of inane interview) of video footage of it, and it appears to be 99% cutscenes. I might be wrong there,but without a demo how will I know.
On a related note, yesterday PC Format shipped with a demo of an RTS called Alexander, I tried it, and its superb. I bought it from amazon instantly,Should arrive tommorow.
THAT is the power of the demo.