Show Me the Money: Robot Legions

That's Tom shouting those famous lines...show me the money
Alrighty then, it’s been about 3 months since I released Robot Legions on Xbox Live Indie Games so I think it’s about time I came out about how it’s been selling. Before I get into the numbers, let me preface by saying that I’m definitely not buying a private island any time soon. Hell, with these sort of numbers I’m not quitting my day job any time soon either. Which is fine because I rather like my job. (And we’re hiring. Nudge, nudge.)
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Game Design Keywords: Tension

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Tension. In many ways games are all about tension. Indeed, the sort of tension that arises from the choices you have to make when playing a good game is a key ingredient in what makes that game fun.

I think one of the definitions offered by the Merriam-Webster dictionary provides a clear picture of how this word applies to game design:

a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements

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#OneGameAMonth Status Report

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It’s February and I’ve been at #OneGameAMonth for about 6 weeks now, so I thought it was about time to comment on how it’s going.

Before that though, a few words about why I’m doing #OneGameAMonth (#1GAM for short) in the first place. Here is the mission statement from my #OneGameAMonth profile page:

My biggest hope in joining #OneGameAMonth is to use it as a chance to challenge all my assumptions about how games should be made. By holding to the seemingly impossible goal of One Game a Month, I hope to find what I need to change (and what I’m unwilling to sacrifice) in order to make more, better games. Also, making friends and becoming AWESOME!

My main goal is to challenge myself to approach game development in ways that I haven’t before. So, this is how am I doing so far: Continue reading

Game Design Keywords: Risk-Reward

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Google Risk-Reward and you’ll treated to page upon page on investment strategy. Risk-Reward may be key in getting rich (or going broke), but it’s also vital for making games fun.

The basic principle here is that, in games, the level of reward provided by an action should match the level of risk it entails. Low-risk behavior should generally provide low rewards. A highly rewarding action (say a high-damage attack or a high-value treasure) should require a commiserate level of risk otherwise players will never have a reason to choose a lower-reward alternative. Continue reading

New Update Out for Robot Legions on XBLIG!

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I’m proud to announce that the latest update for Robot Legions is now available on Xbox Live Indie Games. You can grab it from the Indie Games section of your Xbox 360 or over the web from this page.

This update improves upon the original with new graphical effects and an added ability for the player to toggle their firing modes. Now you can switch between synced and alternating fire modes allowing you to choose between accuracy and rate-of-fire as best fits the situation. Continue reading

Seeing the Whole Elephant

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There’s this old parable about several blind men and an elephant. There story goes something like this: Asked to describe an elephant each blind man grabs a part of the elephant then proceeds to describe what they felt. One feels the elephant’s tusk and describes an elephant as a hard, bony creature. Another feels it’s leg and describes the elephant as being stout like a tree trunk. Yet another grabs the elephants tail and promptly describes the elephant as being like a snake. Naturally, once they start sharing their findings, an argument ensues about what an elephant really is.

Each of these poor men is being totally honest in their description, but the end result ends up being divorced from reality by the limits of their own perception. The moral of the story is for one to be aware of where their limited perception (or preconceptions) may hide information from them. In more colloquial terms, it’s about learning to see the whole picture. Continue reading

Guerilla Gamedev

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As much as I enjoy indie game development, it doesn’t pay the bills. Not by a long-shot! Being that I’m married, have a 2-year old son and live in one of the world’s most expensive cities, I need to have a day job. I’m fortunate enough to have a job making games for a living, but that still doesn’t stop me from having that indie gamedev itch.

So, with a family and a full-time job, where do I find the time to make games on the side? The answer is: wherever I can. Here are a few of the ways I try to make the best of my limited gamedev time. Continue reading

Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Using the UDK

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Boy, Unreal Engine 3 is a gift that just keeps on giving. I’ve been using Unreal in a professional capacity for a few years now (with occasional forays into UDK-land to see how I fare without source code) and I still find out about new features all the time. Game development being what it is, those discoveries are often answered with a heartfelt: “That’s great! I wish I had known about that 6 months ago…”

So, in the spirit of helping out others using Unreal Engine 3 or the UDK, here are three features that I wish I had known about when I first started using Unreal. Continue reading

An Easy Way to Break Your Save Data in XNA

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Late last week, I finally managed to pass an update for Robot Legions out onto the Xbox Live Marketplace. I wasn’t originally planning to release an update this early (I have some other features in-the-works for the “real” next update), but… I had a bug. A nasty save data killing bug.

Yuck.

So, in the interest of helping other XNA devs out there, let me tell you about what I screwed up and how I fixed it. Continue reading