Sales PSA: For the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, we’re taking 33% off the 2014 Men of Game Development calendars. Only $9.99! And they’ll ship immediately after the sale, perfect for the nerdy friend you like, or the normal friend you’re looking to distance yourself from!
I was on Bombin’ the A.M. today, chatting about Roundabout, SDT2KEX, and the fun that is the Greenlight Thunderdome. Fun!
That was in the calendar as “Tink” with an unknown date, I need to manually deal with games changing names.
Soul Calibur 2 HD is the only game with a real release date (tomorrow). There’s a Pac-Man game potentially scheduled for the 5th, but there isn’t enough certainty to put it on the calendar for real yet.
From a biz dev perspective, the bigger question isn’t “when” but “why”. Unless you’re Minecraft/State of Decay, or you’re small and have a decent MS push like Charlie Murder, you’ve been looking at high four/low five digit sales numbers for the last year. Even if your development costs were free, that’s not enough to offset the fixed costs of shipping and selling your game on the platform.
Sadly, that’s the best case. We don’t know how drastically that small audience will shrink after they move to the Xbox One on Friday. Even if it doesn’t shrink, your long tail sales are almost certainly dead as the platform winds down. A substantial chunk of the remaining games are already released on Steam or PSN too, which complicates the numbers.
At this point, the real question is why you’re not abandoning the XBLA version and spending your XBLA cert money on XB1/PS4 instead.
The best part of the PS3 era coming to a close is that I get one last excuse to share my favourite PS3 screenshot. This is from my PSN inbox the day after writing a post for the Playstation Blog.
For charity, thescottishdrop and I streamed 25 hours of Army Men games - that’s one Army Men game for every hour of the marathon. While some may say that the $1,725 we raised was the best result, a close second would have to be this monologue delivered by oatmealraisinsa at 5:15am.
I’ll be posting the raw footage over the next few days/weeks, but this is a nice one minute summary of the hell we endured for the kids.
Here’s my TEDx talk from over the weekend — “A Survivor’s Guide to Discourse in the Internet Age.” Curious to know what everyone thought! I know that people kind of hate TED talks these days, so I tried to write something that avoided some of the traditional pitfalls. The talk seemed to work well enough, and I’d be interested in taking another whack at it. The time constraint meant I couldn’t include some really interesting bits, including some of the science going on to illuminate Internet culture.
I’m super happy to be able to talk about No Goblin’s first game, Roundabout.
You play as the world’s first “revolving chauffeur”, Georgio Manos. He lives in the town of Roundabout, and knows the city insanely well - he can twist around tight alleys, find secret areas, knows who to talk to for cool upgrades to his limo, the works.
Mechanically, it’s inspired by a bunch of different games. I was surprised that Kuru Kuru Kururin only came out in Japan and Europe, because I played that game to death on the GBA. While Kururin is similar to Roundabout in that you’re controlling a long spinning thing, we’re taking that core and blowing it out in a completely different direction - open world, multiple layered objectives you can do in the world depending on your abilities, and we set the whole thing at the peak of the ’70s disco era.
As well as the spinning and twirling, there’s a chunk of Crazy Taxi inspiration in there with picking up passengers and trying to maintain a line for as long as possible, a dash of Tony Hawk in that we have a “trick to manual to trick” scoring/combo system where hitting people and small objects count as manuals, limo upgrades to let you jump, swim, slow time, and a whole other crapton of stuff that we’ve been layering on top the base mechanics.
The ’70s narrative is a big thing I’m super happy we’re getting in, too. Roundabout is set in 1977, which means we have this huge bed of terrible fashion, fantastic music, and more we can draw from. It’s been really hard not tweeting out some of the reference we’ve been digging up when coming up with areas and passengers, it’s all solid gold.
Yes, there will be FMV. ’70s-esque FMV. That’s right, WE ARE BREAKING NEW FRONTIERS IN FMV NARRATIVE DELIVERY!
We’re looking at 2014 for release, on computers and consoles.
Things are going super well so far. It’s actually kind of mindblowing experiencing how much faster game development middleware has become in the last few years, it’s like an order of magnitude difference.
I remember it taking weeks to come up with an optimized terrain stitching, spline-based road system on DAH, but for Roundabout it was basically just throwing $25 to buy an off the shelf plugin, an hour or two of scripting on top of that for some gameplay specific things, and boom - road system. Ridiculous.
If anything’s the Citizen Kane of video game development, it’s the Unity Asset Store.
Anyway, I’m really happy to be at a point where we can start showing what we’re working on. If you’re interested in Roundabout and/or don’t mind helping us out, there’s a couple of things that’ll really help us:
Oh yeah, there are a couple of decently fun games in there. I even still love Army Men RTS, as much as I joke about it. It’s sad that the good ones are bogged down by a huge morass of shovelware like Portal Runner and Green Rogue.
Air Attack 2 specifically is a good callout - that team included my ex-HMX colleague Sylvain Dubrofsky (now lead designer on Peggle 2), Kudo Tsunoda (Mr. Kinect), plus a bunch of other people who then went on to work on awesome stuff like Fallout 3. I’m going to try and rope a bunch of people like that into a Skype call during the stream.
The second edition Men of Game Development calendars are now shipping! Forget to order? Don’t panic, I have a few extras available at menofgamedev.com while supplies last.
Now, back to your regular not-selling-things tumblr for a few days!
One of the first games I ever worked on was Army Men RTS. As part of pre-production, 3DO sent us every recent Army Men game. Stuff that nobody even played, like Army Men: Green Rogue. It was a couple of hours that are scarred in my brain.
13 years later, I’m going to play through every Army Men game again. There are 25 games, and the Extra-Life gaming marathon goes for 25 hours. I’m going to play each Army Men game for an hour over the entire 25 hours to raise money for the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
I’ll be streaming the entire thing live on Twitch, and I’ll be bringing in some special guests to either talk more about Army Men, or keep me from going insane. I’m willing to sacrifice my mental fortitude for kids in hospitals, I guess!