Wednesday, August 31, 2005

there is INTENSE lightning where I live right now. No thunder, just lightning. Its like Sri lanka. Very spooky, and very unusual. I think my cats very confused by it all. Weird.........

Sunday, August 28, 2005

and another new game starts work past the concept stage. hurrah! although I have got here many times before only to lsoe interest, hopefully this one will sustain my enthusiam like Democracy did.
I have been running ads on usefriendly, and sales have risen as a result, so I got my first enquiry about a linux version, whihc is an intersting idea.
Its hot here, and every back garden for miles around has loud stupid children yelling and screaming. The sooner I reach retirement age and can go live amongst other old people the better. I hate loud obnoxious kids. No doubt they will all grow up to be petrol pump attendents, as spending your whole childhood shouting in the back garden isnt exactly setting you up for top school grades.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Brother just informed me that todays copy of the UK Guardian newspaper has an article that namechecks Positech and our game 'Democracy'. Thats excellent news! fame at last!
I have been browsing the web looking at tablet PCs. They dont seem to be quite l33t enough for me yet. As soon as someone offers a genuine Star Trek style 'Padd' web browsing wireless doodad, I'm ordering one. Its already tough to resist upgrading my monitor to a gratuitous black screen huge mega monitor. If only this old thing would break, it would seem justified!
In other news, 'companies house' are trying to fine me £100 for a late tax return. It was not late! God I hate the UK govts attitude to small business! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I had a worrying recent sales slump, but a chat ot a fellow indie developer reassured me that his sales were down too, and it must be a holidays thing. And things are picking up now. In any case, a new advertising campaign kicks off in about 8 hours. *fingers crossed*.
I must have done code and image mockups for about 5 game design ideas in the last week. I still cant decide which one to go with. Democracy is actually quite a tough game to develop a sequel to. I have several totally different game ideas I'm considering right now.
I just finished a mammoth singleplayer Empire Earth 2 battle. Man, that game is knackering. The AI was building settlements as fast as my ICBMs could flatten them. And I didnt have an easy way to get my l33t Mechs into his base.
Great fun!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

When is a screenshot not a screenshot?
The answer is : Always.
Before I worked for big retail games companies, I stupidly assumed that people who released screenshots of a game got it to an exciting moment, and then pressed printscreen and pasted the image.
There are two things wrong there.
Firstly, most screenshots these days seem to be 'tarted up' in photoshop by an artist, for reasons that I could not even speculate upon, and secondly (and more annoyingly to me), the screenshots are always taken with the GUI disabled.
Surely the GUI IS part of the game? In fact, with a sim/strategy title, seeing the GUI tells me way more about how the game plays than the engine,which always looks the same these days ayway.
Yet people still do this. Why??????

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sales have slowed for no specially good reason I can see. very worrying. I've been working on some small improvements to Democracy, some cosmetic stuff, plus the introduction of a new (optional) game mechanic where you can only carry out X actions per turn, where X is determined by your electoral success.
And I'm getting closer to setting up the start of my next game now.
I bought far too much food in the supermarket today. If you live in the UK, you must try mr kiplings swiss roll, in the big long box. Its amazing.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jadzia is my cat, and she has a new playbuddy, the robotic 'Roomba' hoover. Its a very geeky toy. a supposudly intelligent robotic vacuum cleaner that you have zip round your house. I just got mine.
Some notes:
1) Roomba is BIG. This isnt a tiny little nano-bot, this thing is the size of a BIG dinner plate.
2) Roomba is noisy. Its a vacuum cleaner, and it sounds like one, i expected something quiet
3) Roomba DOES clean your house, albeit very stupidly and with much bumping into doors.
4) Roomba does NOT get stuck anywhere like as often as you would assume. It seems to have all kinds of evasion algorithms to shake itself off from bits where it gets stuck.

Having a cat, and a moderately big house, and being lazy, makes me a prime candidate for a robot hoover. The reality is that it's not bad, but could be better. It also looks a bit like how I imagined the 'drones' in Iain M Banks novels. When they bring out a floating model with aura fields, effectors and nanomissiles to guard my house, I'm going to order one.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I recently found a few small bugs in Democracy after playing through it for a while. Its always good to find and fix little bugs before you get to hear about them. I've also been spending a lot of time thinking through how to expand on the game.
I'm not sure yet whether I am going to do an add-on pack, a deluxe version or a fully fledged sequel to it. I have spent a lot of time in Paintshop Pro mocking up screenshots for various ideas. I also downloaded and played the Alpha Centauri demo again to get myself looking at other examples of that kind of game.
So far, I still have not settled on a definitive design for the next stage that I am happy with.
I have been spending a lot of money on advertising as well, although the next step is a site with a minimum ad spend of $500. Thats quite a lot of money in shareware terms to gamble on a single site... although I'm thinking it's probably worth a try. Sales have not slowed down yet, although I suspect it will take more and more advertising each month to sustain this level of sales...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's been a while now since I moved from my old web hosting company. I switched from webaxxs (also known as olm) to hostgator. The new provider are MUCH cheaper, and both times I've used their online chatroom help they have been outstandingly helpful and efficient. This looks like one of those rare occaions where you can genuinely get a better product for less money just by switching providers. Hurrah.
Sales of my games have been very high for a good time now, boosted mainly by some well targeted advertising. I forsee a time where the places I can advertise and still reach new customers will dry up, but its certainly not happening yet. My advertising budget seems to go up around 50% a month at this rate, but with this amount of sales, I'm not complaining.
I'm still trying to get visual concepts for my next game clear in my head. It's much more efficient to reject poor ideas now while they are still in my head.

Monday, August 01, 2005

freaky color thing:
I added a new feature to Democracy at the weekend, basically negative situations (like Cheap Imports) now list all the positive steps you can take to fix the problem, although you need to click a button to see the list. This doesn't include stuff like reducing taxes that caused the problem, thats not a positvie thing.
I also fixed some bad data thanks to help from a player, so I need to update it yet AGAIN.