February 24, 2015

Greenlight

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The last fortnight I have been very busy starting the marketing on Concealed Intent. Sadly (to me) I haven’t had much time to write code. Far more time has been spent writing words in order to let people know about the game.

Just a couple of days ago I put Concealed Intent up on Steam Greenlight. If you have a Steam account, please go vote for it here. Feel free to have your friends, acquaintances or just passersby vote for it too.

For those who don’t know, Greenlight is the way for Indies to get their games on Steam, the largest PC/Mac game distribution platform. It is very important to any PC/Mac game’s success. It can take several months to get through the Greenlight popularity contest (there is no time limit), which is why I have started now, some months before completing the game.

There is also a video trailer of the game in action on the Greenlight page, or you can see it YouTube below.


February 12, 2015

Carcassonne and Agricola (All Creatures Great And Small)

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My partner and I enjoy the occasional modern board game. There has been a renaissance in high quality board games in recent years. If you haven’t tried any of the new European-style I can recommend giving one a try – they are very different to, and much better than the old Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit style games. However, there is a problem. Most require more than two players for the best experience. So the two of us can only play when we convince others to join us.

As part of a Christmas gift we recently bought three board games that supposedly work just fine with only two players. The other requirement was nothing with a fantasy or science-fiction theme. We bought: Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small; Carcassonne; and, a third I’ll detail in another post (it is so good it deserves a post all to itself).

Carcassonne is a tile placement placement game with a medieval French theme. Each player takes a random tile (no peeking) from the remaining pile and places it on the board. The tiles show parts of an old countryside with roads, cities, fields, rivers and monasteries on them. When placing a tile, it must share at least one edge with a tile already on the board, and must continue any features in adjoining tiles. So roads just can’t stop at the edge of a field. The tiles are built so that there is nearly always somewhere to put them, it might just be that none of the available positions help you much. In this way the countryside constructed should be consistent, although it may look a little strange (with roads running in loops and awkwardly truncated cities). The comment at the table was that the French King should sack the person laying out roads and cities as they were such a mess.

Carcassonne

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February 1, 2015

7 Years Old

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Two and half years ago this blog reached 201 posts. Now it has reached 301 posts and it is nearly exactly 7 years old (which makes 43 posts/year). So how has this blog fared over that time?

There has been over 254,000 visitors, but most don’t stay for very long and are never seen again. The visitor peak of just under 6000 views in a month was around the time of the last meta post, June 2012. Since then there has been a slow decline, back down to around 2000 views/month.

I think this decline corresponds with a change in the content of the blog. The most popular page is Java NIO server example and all the other top 10 posts are also technical in nature. They are also all at least 4 years old (that NIO server post is the most recent). The decrease in technical posts is due to me leaving my old server-side programming career and becoming a wannabe indie game developer. Since then I have posted more about travel, MOOC and games. Apparently these are less popular topics (at least on this blog).

The decline in viewers has been reflected in a decline in AdSense revenue. Although I hesitate to call it revenue, because I have never actually received a penny. The minimum amount for a payout is £60, after 7 years I stand at £46 total. Still a way to go before actually earning anything. The rate of growth has slowed to around £0.20/month, down from over a £1/month when views were at a peak.

All the blog posts combined now account for over 160,000 words and 1.1 MB (before formatting). This is a large novel’s worth! Writing the blog has been worthwhile. Without it, I would barely ever write a word. I also still have tons of ideas of things to post. So expect more posts to come (even if few people ever read them).


January 26, 2015

Global Game Jam 2015

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A year gone by and it is time again for Global Game Jam here in Kuala Lumpur. At thousands of locations around the world, people got together in small teams to create a game from scratch in 48 hours. In Malaysia 15 teams totaling around 70 people took part. This included me.

Together with four teammates, we created EAT! (the source and windows executable can be downloaded here). A game about deciding where to eat when everyone wants something different. It is quite simple. The 4 friends walk down the street and the player presses space to enter a restaurant as they pass. The happier the friends are with the food available, the more points and more time you have to play.

EAT

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January 16, 2015

Goals

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There is the theory of the Moebius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop.

Wise words from Worf.

It seems like I have the same goals every year now. Might as well embrace it. Without shame I propose my goals for the coming year to be exactly the same as last year (again). At least it will be an easy cut’n’paste job.

Here are the goals:

  • Finish or nearly finish Concealed Intent to a saleable level. I want to complete the game to at least public beta where it just requires some fine-tuning and bug-fixing. The aim is to sell the finished game and at least break even.
  • Blog on my personal website at least 3 times a month, but less than 4 times a month. Post at Jarrah Technology at least once a month. Also try to be more active on other online media, eg Twitter, Facebook (which is huge in Malaysia), etc.
  • Exercise. No specific target, just try to improve my fitness levels and continue weightlifting (which I have started in the last year). Try to stay injury-free.

Last year, my results were mixed. Obviously Concealed Intent is not finished. However, if I can’t get it finished this year I might as well give up – it is so close. I successfully blogged at the required rate, I’m beginning to find this quite easy now. At 3 posts/month there is never a lack of things to write about. Last year I kept up the weightlifting and the weights keep increasing. Aerobic fitness is another matter – that needs some attention.