Ira Glass on Good Taste

February 11th, 2010, Game Development, Indie Life

A few weeks ago somebody gave me a link to an interview with Ira Glass on YouTube. I had never heard of Ira Glass before, but I found this part about having good taste to be very inspirational:

I think a lot of game developers have this kind of problem. They know what they want to create, but the finished product didn’t really turn out as they had thought. It can still be a good game, but it’s missing something. It’s nice to hear a solid reason why you should keep on going, and not just empty phrases like “believe in yourself.”

The other parts of the inteview are interesting as well.

/jeb

Wiki is Temporarily b0rked

February 8th, 2010, DaisyMoon, Indie Life

I have some good news and some bad news!

The good news is that during the weekend I filled our wiki with a lot of DaisyMoon info! I think I added over 20 new articles about methods in the API.

The bad news is that our host decided it was a good idea ™ to upgrade our PHP to 5.3.1. Unfortunately that version of PHP contains a bug that breaks MediaWiki, so it’s currently not possible to edit pages on the wiki. We don’t know if or when our host decides to revert the upgrade, or upgrade again to PHP 5.3.2, so we will have to wait and see…

/jeb

Sharing the Love

February 7th, 2010, Friends

I got an email from our Korean friend, Mr. Kwang. He’s the editor of the indie game blog Pig-min, and he asked me if I would mind helping to spread the word about a game called Cut & Paste. The game looks quite cool, so why not? I thought it would be a good time to write about some other games you may or may not have heard of, too.

Cut & Paste

As you can see in the trailer, it’s a flip-book-styled game where you cut things from the world and then re-use them later to solve puzzles. The idea reminds me of Snapshot by Kyle Pulver and Peter James that was nominated in IGF for best game design last year.

Bob Came in Pieces

There are many indie developers in Sweden, especially in the cities with higher game development education. One of these are Ludocity who recently released their game Bob Game in Pieces on Steam. Although I’m not a fan of the ship rebuilding mechanic (they know what I think), there are a lot of people who are, so it’s worth spreading the word.

glorg

Martin Jonasson was the main organizer of No More Sweden last year. He works with flash and repeatedly release new games on his blog. The latest one, glorg, is a one button dungeon crawler made for the Gamma IV event.

Secret Gifts – Part Two – Heads-up

February 5th, 2010, Cobalt, DaisyMoon, Gifts, Lua

I just wanted to give you a small heads-up on the next Project B secret gift!

The next gift will be sent to somebody who creates something interesting in our Lua prototyping engine, DaisyMoon. We haven’t decided on the hows, whens and whys yet, so the challenge hasn’t officially started yet. We’re waiting until the documentation is more complete and we have a Mac build working again (progress has been made).

Anthony Salter of Viridian Games has planned to do a small video blog series about DaisyMoon. Something to keep an eye on! :)

/jeb

How to Run DaisyMoon Games on Mac

January 22nd, 2010, Prototypes

As you may have noticed, the recent releases of our DaisyMoon prototyping engine (such as Horror Tactics) have been Windows only. Don’t worry, we are going to port the engine to Mac again, the situation is just “complicated” at the moment.

While you wait for us to get our act together, check out the article Daniel Wolf has written in our forums. It describes how to run DaisyMoon on Mac using Wine and Winebottler. Very helpful indeed!

Linkedy-link-link: http://www.oxeyegames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&p=3632

/jeb

Secret Gifts – Video Leaked!

January 19th, 2010, Cobalt, Gifts

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The mysterious user “wdopul” posted this video clip in the forums:

:o

:D

/jeb

Secret Gifts – Part One

January 12th, 2010, Cobalt, Gifts

thewreck has packaged and sent the secret gifts to three lucky “winners” in the Oxeye forums! :) You can follow the action in the forums.

We will focus on Project B’s development during 2010, and more gifts will be sent. How and when is secret, just keep your eyes open :)

/jeb

Oxeye’s Green-lighting Procedure

January 6th, 2010, Game Development, Indie Life

I found a small document lying around in my folder for Oxeye-related stuff. It described the different phases that our projects go through before a release, and I thought it would be fun to share it with others.

Oxeye consists of five people who are in different stages of life and with different abilities to spend time on game development. Our process for selecting which game to work on thus needs to be rather “loose.” The most important thing is that we feel that we are having fun (and releasing games is fun!). Our process can obviously not be applied to all kinds of companies, but on the other hand our company is not the kind of company you read about in business books.

The Concept Phase

In this phase there’s only a game idea and a very short draft for the game. A game concept should be descibed so that it fits on a single A4 paper. I think we have 7 of these concepts on our office wall at the moment. To be honest, I think the font size has gotten smaller for each new one, but we still try to keep these concepts as short as possible.

Light Prototyping

In this phase one or two of us creates a simple prototype to test the game idea. Nothing more than our valuable time is invested on this prototype. Games such as Jet Engine Nights and House Globe are considered light prototypes, even if House Globe never was intended to be anything else than a TIGSource competition entry. Anybody can start a light prototype when-ever they feel like it (unless there’s a time-crucial deadline coming up, of course).

Heavy Prototyping

In this phase at least 3 of our members have decided that we want to put a little more effort on the prototype. The difference to “light prototype” is that we can use our savings on buying stuff for the prototype (such as music and other material we can’t create ourselves).

Green-lighted

Only one game can be “green-lighted” at a time. The green-lighted game will be our main project and all effort will be put into completing the game. A prototype can only be green-lighted once everybody agrees that it’s a good idea, and that we have some kind of plan on the scope of the game and how long it’s going to take to finish it. Our current project is “Project B.”

Green-lighted games can still be abandoned, though. Every two months we have a reschedule meeting (using Skype) to keep track on progress and to update the plan. If we realize that we have mistaken ourselves on the game idea or our ability to create the game, then it will be dropped. Obviously not an easy decision to make!

/jeb

The Harvest Legacy

January 1st, 2010, Harvest

Almost three years have passed since I made the first Harvest prototype. I recall it was a wednesday and I had “this idea I just needed to try,” and never got out of my bathrobe that day. The idea was based on the concept that I wanted to make a mining game where the challenge would be to get power from the plant to the harvesters. The aliens (originally green goblin heads) and defense towers were quickly added afterwards, creating the basis of what would become Harvest: Massive Encounter.

This concept has in turn inspired other game developers to make their own implementations. The first time I heard of one of these “clones” I was really shocked. It was the same kind of feeling as when we discovered that Harvest torrents were available on the same day as we released the game. It wasn’t a good feeling, but now when I look back at it I see how irrational and childish that feeling was. We should be proud that the game was worth being inspired by!

In addition, the game was The Space Game by The Causal Collective, and David Scott & Paul Preece were super cool about it and even added us to the game’s credits. Since then three more clones have appeared, and in truth I think some of these are more inspired by The Space Game than by Harvest… In any case I thought it would be fun to write a small blog post about them. (They are listed in the order that I heard about them.)

The Space Game - The Causal Collective – Game Link

This is the most famous of the “harvest games.” It’s even more famous than Harvest itself, so sometimes I read in comments and forums messages like “oh, this looks like a browser game I played somewhere…” The Space Game expands on the idea with missions and more options, while simplifying a few things to make it runnable as a browser game. Pretty neat!

Creeper World – Knuckle Cracker – Website Link

Creeper World is quite different from Harvest and has received a lot of positive feedback. It’s made by Knuckle Cracker and was brought to my attention by somebody under the alias “Zulgaines.”

Caleum Defense – anpd – Link

I’m not actually sure who has done this game. It was posted to the TIGSource forums by the mysterious user “anpd,” and s/he didn’t give any website or other personal information. The game itself doesn’t contain any readme either, so I’m lost there. In any case, what I’ve seen is an early 3d prototype which allows you to place laser defenses and energy links.

Space Station – Origin 8 – Website Link

I don’t know much about this game except that it’s available for iPhone from the AppStore. I would guess this game is more inspired by The Space Game than by Harvest, though. We had plans for making an iPhone version of Harvest, but those plans were stopped by lack of motivation (and funds, actually, because we couldn’t afford to keep on working like we did). I don’t think our version would bring the game to space, though…

So there you have it! I fully expect more games to come, please let me know if I’ve missed any.

/jeb

A Year of Unfinished Stuff

January 1st, 2010, Harvest, Indie Life, Mods, thewreck

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Happy new year everybody!

As you already know, Oxeye is run more or less like a hobby, so things get done in the order they are fun and we have energy and time to make them. That means we’ve accumulated a lot of unfinished projects (because finishing projects is not as fun as starting them), so I’ll begin this year with a small list of stuff that aren’t “done” yet, and what our “plans” for them are.

  • The Harvest 1.17/1.18 Patch – I still intend to finish and release this patch, but unfortunately the Mac OS X version just keeps crashing on me. I’ve spent a whole weekend cursing at xcode to no avail, and I’m not looking forward to wasting another weekend on the same problem. You could say that I’m waiting for some kind of divine intervention, and who can tell when that is going to happen…
    Also, I want to add more features to this patch before I release it. I realized that it would probably be possible to allow mods for other game modes than creative, as long as I make sure that all “cheating” methods are disabled. That would be quite nice, since it would allow people to make user interface mods and so on.
  • Harvest Lua Documentation – I started moving our forum documentation into our Oxeye wiki, but that quickly became really boring, so it’s also unfinished. I’m not really planning to finish it anytime soon, but I’ll make sure that whenever I change or add stuff to the mod system, the documentation on the wiki will be up to date.
  • jeb <3 RTS – The RTS Design article series I did (over a year ago now) is also unfinished. I think the reason I stopped working on it was because I had already written my most important points, and the remaining articles were derailing a little too much. I also got some critisism that my articles were too Starcraft’y, so I need to take one step back and look at the subject in a more general way.
  • thewreck’s Retrospective – I’m not the only one here who isn’t finishing projects :) Daniel Brynolf, who is better known as thewreck, has made a lot of small games in MMF over the years, and was writing an article series about them. The first article is here, http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-retrospect-part-1/, but the second one is still a draft in our wordpress backend. Pontus (Kinten) even wagered 500 kr (roughly $60) that thewreck would never write the second article. He said, “the money is safe with me,” and so far it looks like he’s right.

So there it is. I’ll make a new year promise that during 2010, we’ll start more projects that we won’t finish! :D

/jeb


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