Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kudos is in Beta

After 6 and a half months of work, Kudos is now declared to be in 'Beta', which means a few other people have played it, and I've sent out evaluation copies to some selected retail publishers.
I've already had some good feedback, and fixed a few silly things. Now I've got the long arduous task of ensuring the game is as bug-free as possible. Once I have a better build I'm happier with, I might consider extending the beta test a bit before I declare it done.

This also means that I am at the fairly fun stage where I can add in some extra content without having to think about it too much. It won't introduce any bugs or playtesting issues for me to have a few more character icons in there now, nor will it matter if I include a few more books for the game, etc etc. I'll probably do some content-creation in-between the bug testing.
I'm quite happy with how it looks and plays, so here's hoping it sells as well as Democracy. I hope it does, because I'd love to keep expanding it and adding to it, which I can only justify doing time-wise, if it sells well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Screesn and Big Publisher fun

Every website I look at has more news about stock falls or legal proceedings involving Take2. It seems that everyone I spoke to is leaving / has left for a reason. You can imagine how sympathetic I am :D

OOOhh look, new Kudos screenshots:

Mr leach if your reading this, stop it and finish my writing :D

Monday, June 26, 2006

The wisdom of Seth

He speaks the truth

Take 2 Take my money

Take 2, a rather large american software company owes me thousands of dollars in royalties and wont even reply to email, nor will they give out their phone numbers. Anyone know a good lawyer? its a clear-cut case of some bunch of incompetent corporate scumbags just blatantly not paying royalties or delivering royalty statements, so it shouldnt be a complex case.
On another note, if your an indie game developer and considering signing with Take2 or globalstar, I strongly recommend not doing so.
and if anyone from take2 is reading this, give me my money and I'll think about removing this post.
I will NEVER deal with that company again in a million years.

If you like my game - Starship Tycoon and see it on the store shelves in the US, do me a favour and don't buy it. I'm not getting any royalties from it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

How NOT to name your game:

were they on SERIOUS drugs maybe?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pre-release phear

It's not *that* long until there is a (closed) beta of Kudos, and I'm hoping to have a finished game within a month or so of that. So we are looking at actually being on sale soon.
Thats totally terrifying.
I know a lot of people who say "Im sure game X will sell at least 100,000" or sometimes even higher. Marketing people often spout gems like "worst case situation for us is 50,000 sales. but thats not a likely outcome"
as luke would say "your overconfidence is your weakness". The worst case situation for ANY product is ZERO sales. None, nada, Zip, Nil. There is no magic wand that means *anyone* will buy it. Have I made games that had trouble selling in the double digits? yes I have. In fact, more of my games have been flops than successes.
Weighed against that, the 'production values' on kudos are higher than any of my previous games, the amount of pre-release publicity is higher, and the stability of the code is also higher. This all helps towards it being a success. But there are no guarantees. I've worked hard on it for 6 and a bit months, with no pay, just living off the dwindling royalties of previous games, whilst paying for the art, sound and contractor costs as well.
I'll probably know within a week of it being on sale if it's going to do well or badly. It's like taking 6 months of your salary and betting it on a horse race.

Having said that, I think it's the best game I've ever made, so I'm still damned optimistic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Some comedy gold from the bbc website:

25 mins: Brilliance from Wayne Rooney. He picks up a long pass from David Beckham and controls beautifully before firing in a shot which is blocked. If it had gone in, there would have been shades of Gazza against Scotland in Euro '96.

yes yes but IT DiDN'T GO IN DID IT?

I guess when he kicked the ball it didnt turn into an asteroid either, but if it had, there would have been shades of when the dinosaurs were wiped out.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Looks like theres a possibility of one day getting more televised gaming:
I think this would be cool. I would like to see the two top Battlefield 2 clans slugging it out. Plus it might improve gamings image when people see how much skill and teamwork is involved.
However, if the comments of 'fatal1ty' are anything to go by, it will just lead to a dumbing down of the whole genre, and lots of really pathetic product endorsements. Bah!

I Got some nice gameplay changes into kudos today, just balancing tweaks really, but they should help a lot. I also did some code for the downloading mods stuff which I hope will be as popular in kudos as it is in Democracy. I'm hoping to maybe make modding kudos even easier than Democracy was. And I'm hoping to tie the updates into your order email addy to prevent piracy. maybe....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fed up with liars conmen and thieves

Like the US publishers of Starship Tycoon, who have given me the run-around for 6 months over a paltry $5k and god knows what else (as they now fail to even send royalty reports).
Fuck them.
I've spoken to someone in the UK office and emailed every address I have at that company telling them to pay their bills before I just hand it off to a fucking lawyer or a debt collector.
Retail publishers are (mostly) a bunch of lying, stealing scumbags not fit to walk on this earth. The sooner digital distribution picks up and the lot of them go out of business the better. They can all go back to mugging old ladies then.

In other news, Kudos got a bunch more sound effects, some visual tweaks and a bit of proper play balancing today.
I love making games, I hate dealing with thieveing scum who run big business.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

TV, tweaking more sounds and mice

Got lots done today.
I took my intellimouse explorer to bits and cleaned it. yay, I have a scrollwheel again!
I playtested and tweaked Kudos a bit, the top medical jobs werent stressfull enough or hard enough to get...
Also, I thought the game lacked sounds, so I've added a bunch of new sounds to certain events, which is better. I'd add tons more, its just balancing out the expense of licensing them against the impact they have on the game.
I added a new TV channel:

And I've changed things so that some channels are unselectable until you subscribe to cable TV. I need some more stuff like that which eats into higher-paid jobs.
I also fixed a hrrid crash bug, and also found out I wasnt sabving job data, which is now fixed.
Plus I paid in some smallish royalty checks. hurrah! Im still thinking there will be a playable build in a week or two, a beta version a week or two later, then it should be on sale by probably august?
Who knows!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

D&D Online -> YOU FAIL

Ok, its a 1.5Gig install. thats insane, but its on a coverdisk anyway so what the heck.
Ok, it insists on installing some .NET nonsense, which takes ages. Annoying, but maybe worth it
Right, it needs me to reboot my machine. FFS, this sucks.
Right, I can now activate my free trial. It wants all my credit card details.
Fuck Off.
Thi is a DEMO, I'll seek out my credit card when and IF I like the product. Why do they need this now?
That was a quick uninstall. Fuck em.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Publishers, Interviews and forum mistakes

Holy crap is it friday already? This has been a damned productive week. Im not at the really long playthrough stage. I had a hideous bug today which depressed me, but wahey its fixed!
In other news I added another sound effect, a nice clunky tpewriter thing for when you write a screenplay.

I also started work on the internet-connectivity stuff for kudos. Democracy has a simpler version of it, but this one is going to need your Plimus order number to access stuff. Thats as an incentive to stop all the thieveing leeching selfish scumbag assholes who try to pirate games.
I'm at the preliminary talking to publishers stage regarding Kudos. I try not to get my hopes up, especially as the US publisher for one of my older games STILL owes me money and hasn't paid up yet. Ironically the Russians always pay on time and without fail, whereas the American publishers always seem disorganised and far more shady. I wouldn't be suprised if kudos goes retail in Russia and nowhere else.
Anyway, who gives a damn, my main focus is direct online sales to the kind of people who liked Democracy. Is it too early for me to think about banner ads? hmmmm who knows. maybe another week before I worry about such things.

I did this long long interview thingy over skype for an indie podcast site a few days ago, it was a good end to a bad day when I completely toasted my own forums in a l4m3 attempt to upgrade them.

I also finally booked a 30 minute tiger moth biplane flight today, which is a birthday present thats been gathering dust. should be great fun.

I'm sure the world cup is great if you like football, but I'm no fan, and I'm already sick of it. bah!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Reviews and music!

I just got a really cool (and damned funny) review of Democracy here:
Which is really welcome!
I bought a second piece of music for Kudos today, which took hours of listening to possible music. Then I decided I didn't like it and bought another one instead. Damn.
The playthroughs are getting longer and longer before I hit a bug or an imbalance so thats great news.
I used audacity today again (freeware sound editor)
find it here:
Im so impressed with it, I made a donation. me!
Im alone in the house (with just the cat) for 3 days which is very dull, so I'm looking forward to my archery tommorow lunchtime! THWACK!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Culture

After a long playthrough this morning I changed two things
1) I made all the jobs that dont give tips pay a lot more, as everything felt like a demotion after giving up being a waiter...
2) I split culture into 3 bits. I already did this with IQ, which is made up of Logic,Reasoning,Problem-solving and knowledge. You have to max all of them to get IQ to 100%. I did the same to culture because it was suffering from the same issues, in that you could become suddenly very cultured and respected just by reading books, even though you never went to the theater or opera etc. Now yow you will need to watch some cultured TV, read some literature and attend some operas and ballets etc before you truly become 100% cultured.

I know that this is very arbitrary and simplistic. Welcome to game dev. Obviously not all *culture* is opera and museums, but its a gameplay mechanic that works, and kind of makes sense :D
ooh... 'the office' is on TV. and as it's set in slough, I must watch it...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Kudos update

I'm now at the stage where I only add a feature or content if I do a long playthrough of the game and decide somethings missing. So far that's been the reason for me to add some complexity to the jobs in the 'chef' career, so you now progress from trainee up to executive through all the correctly-named jobs. I also added restaurants where you need to speak french or italian to get the best jobs. Plus theres books that teach you french and people skills (essential for management jobs).

Also today I added archery to the game. It might be weird to put archery in and not fishing (yet), but I do archery myself, and its my game. bwahahahahahah!

still lots of play balancing, polishing and mod-support code to go in, plus bugfixing. But the games pretty stable, and I'm not worried about hitting my current target of releasing in august. Bizzarely I didn't sell any games last night, after a recent rush of high sales. oh well.