Monday, February 27, 2006

Two big double-bladed military helicopters just flew over my house.*
Are we being invaded?
*cant remember what they are called.
Working on Kudos today. I really am flailing a bit, doing some GUI stuff. Its weird, this will turn out to be an interesting experiment before I settle down and do a sensible game methinks.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Today I put the code in for feeding the dog. you buy dogfood whenever you like, and you get maybe 8 daysworth with each purchase. the dog will bark and grow hungry once you run out, and eventually leave. I think thats better than just deducting the cost automatically. Maybe you can buy dog toys and chewy bones etc to reward him for catching thieves?
Anyway, I'm thinking of adding commuting, so some jobs are further away than others. If your getting there by public transport it will stress you, but buying a bike/car will reduce that (albeit at great cost financially).
Im flailing a bit, design-wise, and I know it. I think I need to really expand on an area of the game, maybe the skills side, maybe the socialising side. Possibly expanding the socialising into a discussion-topic related minigame of some sort, maybe just vastly increasing the skills side.
The problem with this game is that it feels like designing it is like answering the question to the meaning of life. Its so much easier to write a game where you blow stuff to bits. I'd like the game to be really uniqie, and also really big. What I want is for whenever the player thinks "I wonder if you can do 'X'" The answer is always "holy crap, yes you can! thats so cool".
I really need milo to be able to get drunk or take drugs. At least. Maybe he can smoke? get obese.
ho hum.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Ideas
Might as well jot these here. Feedback most welcome...
Once you have a pet, rather than its upkeep costs being deducted each day automatically, I'm going to make you buy petfood, and you need to feed the dog every day. (just a mouseclick).
Feed him too much and hell be too fat to catch burglars, and will need vets bills. Dont feed him enough, and he will leave home, and youll lose kudos big time.
Doing charitable acts will earn kudos. Adopting a pet from a dog pound, running a charity marathon, helping out at a charity jumble sale etc. To this extent, kudos is like Karma.
Hmmmmm. Maybe Kudos SHOULD be karma?
I bet somewhere theres a game designer that knows what hes doing. But there again, Will Wright was doing an architecture program when he started the sims...

I fixed a lightswitch in a cooker hood yesterday. That might not sound as cool as curing a fatal disease, but it sure was bloody awkward.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Minigame Fun.
Turns out there isnt really any skill at all in Roulette, so it's a bit of a gameplay-free minigame, but somehow it still seems to be a fun thing for Milo to do in my game. Anyway, that's pretty much all I achieved today, apart from watching my shares dive. I need to finish off this roulette activity tommorow, and move onto more career-based stuff for the game.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fear my mighty archery skillz etc:

Further to my last post, I should point out that the web integration of Kudos won't JUST be a piracy check. I'm hoping to do allsorts (skillz permitting) but my motivation for making an online component is purely based on piracy prevention.

I have some BAD bruises from todays archery lesson. OUCH.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I Added some placeholder music, and some sound effects to Kudos today, including a nice rain effect, some thunder, yawning and coughing and dogs barking and cash registers ringing. I'm planning on giving more attention to sound than normal for this game, so it's good to get some sounds in early.
I've got tons of emails today from other indie developers, and lots of publishers. I'm presuming I must have been featured on some website somewhere. Ho-hum.
At some point I need to get my head round web coding, as I'm planning on requiring Kudos connecting to my website before it runs, as a simple anti-piracy check.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Movies Progress and Screenshots
I did the movies stuff for Kudos today. There are currently 36 different films, 3 are on each week, and they change on a friday. You hear rumors from people about which films are good and bad, and if you remember them, you'll choose to invite friends to good ones. Right now, you cannot see the same film twice, which I think is fair (its a bit of an exploit otherwise, as you can go several times with different groups).
The big thing I need to fix is working out what happens to stuff like restaurants, Movies etc (where additional choices are made) when the player is not the host and his friends invite him. That's a bit of a challenge.
I tarted up and added some new screenshots. I'm going to start promoting the game earlier than I did Democracy, so by the time I release it there should be some 'Buzz' (by pathetic indie standards) about the title.
Democracy sales are reasonable, but not stellar, especially considering my recent advertising blitz. I'm going to lay off the ads for a while.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm too sick to work and my dog has gone missing
This could happen to YOU! forget the short-lived excitement of laser-battles and building mighty empires, this is what the future of games is.
Milo can now fall ill. He will be ill if he spends too much time with friends round at his place (causing a mess) without ever cleaning up. Also, having a dog or cat makes things messier, he will need to clean more often,
When Milo's ill, his friends shun him, and he can't work. Sick pay handles the bills (but not pet food) so he will run out of cash quickly. Cleaning the house will mean he will get better quicker.
If he runs out of money for pet food, the pets will leave, never to return.... *
Milo will cough when he is ill, and snore when he is tired. Theres still no 3D, but you get the idea. In a perfect world, I'd use pixel shaders to make the screen fuzzy when he's drunk...
I'm really enjoying coding silly stuff like this.

*maybe one thing he could do is put up "have you seen this dog" posters. Man...I could code this till I'm 60.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I sorted out a new website for democracy today:
Believe it or not, that was the least american themed political template I could find. Is it too american-centric? A lot of my customers aren't from the US, and I don't want to scare them off, is that a danger? or does that collection of little flags let me get away with it?
oooh what a dilemma....
Maybe a large satirical george bush cartoon to one side? or a little flash shooting game starring Dick Cheney?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Self-Imposed Milestone
I'm telling myself that by the end of the week, there will be enough progress on Kudos that I can update the website for it properly with multiple screenshots (maybe not full size ones, but bigger than current), and send out a few press releases to announce that it's in development.
I panicked slightly yesterday when I heard that Microsoft had a patent on using 'kudos' in a game. Obviously such a patent is stupid beyond measure, it's like patenting the idea of a villain with a scar in a thriller, or the idea of a suave secret agent.
I sat and read the whole patent (YAWN), and I'm fine, as its specifically about it's usage in racing games, where the player has set his own subjective goals tor each the next level yada yada. It's nothing like I'll be using kudos (which is more like a traditional points system).
I did a lot of work on restaurants today, giving them a custom 'post-mortem' GUI so you can see how a meal went. I haven't got the idea of restaurants being better on certain days in yet, but at least now when you decide to take people out for a pizza, the games says "Which restaurant" and it DOES matter which one you pick. (albeit right now, its mainly a financial choice, eventually the player will get to hear about what restaurants are good and bad).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Behold the KUDOS
Yeah ok, so I read the algebraist. In fact, I got bored 75% of the way through, and just started again. And yes, the dwellers were cool, and the idea of Kudos as currency is l33t, and so I decided to kind of make a game where thats the way you keep score.
Milo is now called Kudos.
The thing is, the Kudos concept will be pretty much background in the game. You can aim to get high kudos, and the game will measure it for you, but you can just muck around and have fun, like the sims.
I just registered a domain name for 5 years, so it looks like I'm serious about this game :D

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Goodbye to For a long time I had my websites forums hosted remotely for free at This freed me up from having to worry about the site being hacked. phpbb is the forum software and its often hacked if you don't update it.
The problem was, forumer started to suck badly. The site would be down for hours, regularly, and the support forums had the owners saying "tough, if you don't like it, good riddance".
Not exactly the best customer service strategy I could imagine.
So today I took the big step and moved. I now have the phbb installation back at my server, and joined the phbb mailing list so I can upgrade as soon as required.
The really BAD news is that forumer wont give you the posting database, so my forums are now empty again. However, I'm sure I'll build up a good community again (it was going well beforehand) and now its my own local install, I'll give it more attention. I already added some avatars from the milo portraits.
I'm hoping to add tons of content to milo in the coming week, I think I know what to code next, which makes a pleasant change.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I've been toying with some rejigging of the way in which milo handles the success and 'post-mortem' of a social event. To help me imagine it, I knocked up a screenshot of what it may look like:

The only new thing here is the idea of there being venue-specific data, that contributes towards how much the event is a success. The idea that I am going for here is that you learn that "Joes bar sucks on a friday" and "a great jazz band play the blue lagoon jazz club on a saturday" etc.
This will allow you to get more involved in planning a good social event. Ideally you will take 3 friends who all like jazz music to a well-recommended bar on the right night.
Now the only reason not to jump into the code right now is I need a nice way to have this kind of flexibility over multiple events. At the moment I am using a randomly determined single variable for the 'quality' of the event. This is adjusted in some cases if you have knowledge of that subject (read a lot of good food guides and you will pick better restaurants etc). Now, what I'm considering is that you will personally pick the venue yourself.
Now in some cases the venue is irrelevant, such as a game of poker at your house. Of course, the quality of your house matters in this case, but what's the best way to handle all this in code? And does this level of detail matter? I think it does, if I'm going to expect people to keep playing the game.
The GUI was too blue. I slapped a green background on to see how that looks. Eventually I'll need to pay a 'consultancy fee' to an art guru to choose that kind of thing.

In other news : I sold my dominos pizza shares and made £100. I rule.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Today I added in dependencies for skills and jobs. Milo CAN become a head chef at a good restaurant, but he will need a combination of junior chef experience, plus complete some evening classes in earlier skills before he can apply for jobs like that.
I'm hoping for quite a big wide-ranging 'tech-tree' of skills in the final game. Still getting the basic mechanics sorted right now.
Also spent £400ish on advertising today. Sheesh, that's a lot.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Practical Basket Weaving
I've done a lot of work on the new 'evening classes' stuff for milo today. Basically it's now a new option, so you can either socialise each night, do something alone, or go to evening classes. The evening classes are going to achieve various things. Learning some stuff will just make milo more cool (like juggling or sword swallowing), others will change things about his life (a car mechanic course means milos car wont break down etc) and others will enable him to get a specific job.
One example I'm attached to is that of acting. Milo could keep scanning the jobs ads for acting jobs, but they will be pretty bad ones. If he attends drama school, he will have a better chance at auditions. If he learns a few foreign languages, martial arts, driving, singing etc, he will have a lot more jobs available.
I'm hoping that if you play the game for a long time, you will end up as a card-playing millionaire playboy who works as a secret agent, speaks 4 languages and keeps a pet tiger, and also is reknown for his extensive knowledge of fine wines. Whereas when you start, you'll be a poorly paid nobody who eats at burger joints and waits tables for a living.

I had an archery lesson yesterday. Pretty good fun, even if the woman teaching it was the most miserable, unhelpful and downright useless teacher I have ever met in my entire life. Still, shooting stuff with a bow is kinda cool.

Monday, February 06, 2006


I just uploaded a new screenshot (full size), to see what people think:
Any thoughts?

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Duvet Code
Its VERY cold here in the UK right now. One of the great benefits of being your own boss is you can work where you like, especially with wireless networking. And as we just bought a super amazing king size duvet, I decided to work from the bed for an hour or so.
Beats sitting in a noisy office I can tell you.
I'm pressing ahead with milo, the game is sprawling in different directions a bit, so I'm going to do some design work on stitching it back together into a more cohesive structure where the player has some identifiable goals.

Wow check this out

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Workplaces and careers
I rewrote a lot of the career code for Milo today. Previously he would pick a career (such as 'waiter') and it would randomly generate a name for his employer. I've redone things now so that there are distinct employers, each of whom pay different rates, and make him work more or less hard (causing him to be stressed and tired). So Milo could now decide to stay as a waiter but look for a job at a less stressfull (or better paid) restaurant. Another key change today was that job hunting now only shows the current vacancies (which change periodically) and takes up a whole evening. So if milo decides to look for a job tonight, that means he wont be going out for a drink with friends. This is cool, because if Milo really wants a better job, he needs to sacrifice part of his all important social life in order to find a good one. On the other hand, if his friends are all opera lovers and milo can't afford the tickets, he will need more money.

I also added snow effects to the game yesterday. It snows now and then, and the GUI has snowflakes falling down the screen. It's a pointless silly little effect, but it was quick to do and I love stuff like that. There will be a lot more stuff like that added to the game. It already feels like a pretty unique game.