Friday, July 29, 2005

some moron tried to buy democracy with a fraudelant credit card. here is his address:
I hope every spamming web spider on earth spams this address:
I love special offers, free tips on credit refinancing and cheap loans, also tell me more about cheap mortgages and where I can buy viagra and other drugs please. my address is
I hate people stealing from me. You don think this game is worth $20? Dont buy it then.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Looks like I might have a retail deal for a few territories for Democrcay, not all signed yet but looking good. I am horribly ill, coughing, sneezing and headaches, so I'm off work.
There is such a huge contrast these days between Democracy and Starship Tycoon. Democracy has hardly any bugs. It's just a sign of maturing as a coder I guess, and bodes well for future games. Sales are trickling along, although not as high as they have been.
Being at home all day means I found time to go and look at the one plant in the garden I consider mine. Its a vine, and the grapes are doing quite nicely. Yummy :D

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I have caught some horrid sore throat / cold from someone. this is not good. Not feeling 100% at all. Despite this, I have added Poland as a country to Democracy. This is in preparation for a potential retail deal there. Sales have tailed off slightly, but more advertising starts Monday, so I'm hoping that will turn things around.
Its frustrating in some ways that Democracy has real and not virtual countries, because I think of a whole host of cool things I could introduce to the game if I was free to play around at will with the countries, and not make them seem like the real places they represent. Possibly this is what I should do as an add-on for the game. Its still all up in the air at the moment.
Ideally I would run the game on a constantly updated subscription model like ShortHike, which I bet does really well, but that would mean too much of a commitment from me in terms of constantly finding time to always update the game. Subscription models are the future for games, that's for sure. Its crazy that a game like Battlefield 2, which is basically online-only, is a one-shot pay-up-front model. It would be better to charge 10c a game or something.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

GTA - Smell the Coffee
You MUST have read about this 'mod' scandal by now? Anyway, my take on it is that Rockstar are acting like dorks, don't try and slip one past the ESRB, thats just pathetic and makes the whole industry look immature. Thankfully it looks like its rebounding on them. WalMart are unlikely to stock another Rockstar game.
This all feeds the legal frenzy that modern game development has become. One of the benefits of owning your own company is that you can bypass a load of legal crap. I don't need people to sign an NDA before I tell them how to mod new policies for Democracy, in fact I'm heavily encouraging it.
I'm working on a few tweaks to the game, especially different election terms per country and hopefully some country-specific dilemmas. Anyone have good ideas for these?
I've got some good response from recent emails to the academic world about the game. This is something I need to follow up more.
My advertising campaign has been stalled by the owner of one website becoming totally uncontactable after I've paid him... He's a well known guy, so I know he isn't going anywhere, but that kind of thing still bugs me, probably why I love google adwords so much...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sales are holding steady. I tend to compare my 'month to date daily income' report at least once a day on Plimus, sometimes more. I have truly become Quark, the ferengi from ST:DS9. "I monitor my profits hourly, my hourly figures become my daily sales predictions...". Holy cow, if I was Bill gates I would get NOTHING done. I'd sit in front of the screen pressing F5 constantly and seeing how many sales I'd made since the last keypress...
I have been neglecting the marketing side a bit as I threw myself into a new '2D with Zoom' engine for a possible space game I might do next. I have arranged for some cool banner ads for Democracy, plus hopefully there is a review coming up on a download site. I've also made a few brief steps towards retail publishers, although I'm still sceptical about them. Rule of thumb no:1 'You will only get the advance, ignore any sales projections and royalties because its normally all lies'.
In other news, I had to have a tooth taken out, I am now 95% gums on the lower right side of my mouth. bizzarely I feel very very depressed about this. I am truly one step closer to being a shortsighted bald gummy pensioner. The dentists recommends titanium replacement teeth at £2,000 a go (I bet he does). This is insane, although it would make me 1% terminator, which may yet sway my decision.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

last night I watched Office Space again. Its a very funny film, but I realsied that although I laugh at the company names in it ('initech, penetech') my own company has an awful name - Positech.
I feel an explanation is needed.
Positech is a rubbish name for a computer games company I would rpefer:
"Stealthy Squirrel Games"
"NinjaCat Games"
"Rodent Warrior games"
or anything really. The thing is, when i first bought a domain name and started to sell Asteroid Miner I already had a company called Positech. It was an 'off-the-shelf' limited company that I bought when I did IT contracting.
I can't even get the .com domain name...
Anyway I've had it for so long I'm stuck with it, which is a pity really.
Sales are still superb, Plimus have screwed up the download file somehow, but we are working it out I think.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'm 40 miles from London so todays explosions didnt affect me, although I used to work very near to one of them. Pretty scary stuff. Even scarier is the inevitability of some harsh draconian 'anti-terror' laws that will get rushed through now. ho hum...

THIS GAME looks interesting, glad I spotted it before writing something similar myself. I'm experimenting with some artificial life code right now, inbetween polishing small GUI bits of Democracy and basically deciding how to take that game to the next level in terms of accesibility. Anyone know some good sites to advertise?

Monday, July 04, 2005

AWEsome stats

Since I moved ISPs to hostgator I have been getting used to a whole new bunch of website reporting tools. One of the free tools you get is called 'awstats'. Its truly amazing, I can filter by file type, see detailed reports on every file, every request, every visitor... its fantastic.
For example, in the last 4 days my .exe downloads are :

Democracy demo - 316 downloads
Saucer Attack - 68
Starship Tycoon demo - 50
Starlines demo - 41
Kombat Kars demo - 26
Ultratron demo - 8
Slay demo - 6
Minefield demo - 6

Thats nice data to have! I'm amazed how many people are downlaoding Saucer attack, I should get around to changing its upsell stuff so that it promotes my newer games...

I've started coding a little experimental AI program thats proving very interesting. to early to really talk about it though.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A user just found and reported an obscure bug in democracy. I've patched it and given him a new exe, but I'll wait a while before doing a full game update, as its quite a rare bug. He was reducing the number of smokers or drinkers to zero, and a crash happened when it tried to reduce them further. This takes some effort, as the rate of reduction is on a sliding scale, he must have really wanted clean living citizens!

the dodgy code was this :

int chosen = rand()%(Outputs.size());

where Outputs.size() could return 0. I just return early now if it is zero. Lesson learned, is that rand()%x is way too dangerous to use without checks. I will probably write some new wrapper code for rand() later and add it to my engine. Democracy is the most bug-free game I've ever written, and I'm hoping to make it 100% bug free.

I stupidly left my BF2 CD at work. As the game uses online authentication, a CD check seems somewhat redundant if you ask me (and very annoying).

In other news, I was contcated by a publisher interested in Democracy, although I'm not getting my hopes up, as publishers advance offers are often pretty low. The game sells so well online I'm in no hurry to sign a retail deal.