I’ve started a campaign to raise enough funds to allow me to focus on development in the coming months. This will allow me to finish three of my games currently being developed – Potato Farmer, Shadow Possession, and SETI: First Contact.
Note: Unlimited Barrage is still an early prototype, and I have yet to convert it to Haxe, so that can really wait till the other three are completed.
I created a video highlighting each game, and the goal of the campaign:
The goal is to raise $5,000 between family, friends, and interested people over the internet. All three of these games have already been in development for nearly three years now, and I’ve come a long way since the beginning. This is really the final push towards the end.
I plan to complete the games in order of what I’ve been working on in recent months:
Potato Farmer -> Shadow Possession -> SETI: First Contact
Depending on if I want to Shadow Possession to be a Unity3D game, I may decide to finish SETI first, as SETI fits well into my 2D framework.
I’m a believer in giving back to those that give to you, so I’m offering rewards for different donation levels on my campaign page. You can view more details on the campaign itself at the page.
To be blunt, homelessness has recently been a very likely possibility. What happens in these next few months can really go either way towards whether I have a warm room to live in, or end up on the street. I haven’t really made this the key motivation of the campaign, as I would rather it be about bringing these games to release, and investing in the future of a dedicated indie developer.
No Amount Too Small
Something I want to quickly address is a feeling people may get when contemplating giving money to an individual, or someone they know personally: They may feel that only a high amount is acceptable, yet money is tight, so they put it off or forget about it completely. Giving a small amount feels embarrassing or rude towards the individual asking for help.
In actuality, I don’t believe any amount is embarrassing. Small amounts can add up to a greater whole. Simple math proves this fact: There are reportedly 254,295,536 internet users in the United States. If only 0.00002% of those users gave $1, I’d reach my campaign goal with an extra $85.
So, what are crowdfunding campaigns really about then?
Visibility & Awareness
Visibility and awareness are what can make or break a campaign. Sure, you could get lucky and have a wealthy individual give a large chunk of the goal in one go. Yet, chances are, reaching a large audience can make that goal possible, and will result in a community around the campaign, and what the campaign hopes to make a reality.
To be honest, it’s hard to ask for help. Yet, with circumstances being what they are, I really can’t afford to quietly work on my games, hoping to finish them eventually. A push needs to be made.
My hope is that I reach enough people to build a small community around these games. Communities created around games, ideas, and projects can bring motivation and inspiration, and make them better.
We’ll see what the future holds. Thanks for reading.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on where I’m at currently with my game development. So, where to start?
As you may have read in my previous blog post, I was working on a new game for the 1GAM (One Game a Month) contest. Unfortunately, as the end of the month drew closer, completing all that I needed to do (especially the spriting and enemy AI coding) really was not going to be finished within a month. Yet, I loved the idea, and I really liked what I had made in that time, so I decided to throw it on the pile of games I’d like to complete down the road (the pile which has been growing, unfortunately).
Post-UB and Haxe
After my decision to stop working on Unlimited Barrage, I started working on a shorter, web-based game, and eventually learned of a relatively new programming language called Haxe. Haxe offers a few, nice advantages over Actionscript/Flash. Without getting too technical, the main reasons that sold me are:
- Haxe is multiplatform. Haxe can be compiled to the web (Flash or HTML5), the desktop, and mobile devices.
- The language is really similar to Actionscript 3, which makes it a natural progression for me.
- Strict type. I didn’t think I’d care about this, but so far the strict typing in Haxe has been really handy for debugging.
- Haxe is open source, and can be used with FlashDevelop, making using Haxe and FD together completely free.
Haxe having a Flixel of its own was what really sold me in the end. Even though the day where I won’t need a framework is rapidly approaching (my engines have really evolved to barely use most of the framework code), it’s nice to have a framework handle the physics, collision, and drawing already.
HaxeFlixel is also more up to date than Flixel, as Flixel is really being run by fans now, and a good portion of them have moved on to HaxeFlixel (HaxeFlixel works on mobile devices, while Flixel needs a lot of changing to run on mobile devices smoothly).
OpenFL(formerly NME) is what powers Haxe and HaxeFlixel. I’m not entirely sure on what Adobe’s intentions are for Actionscript 3, and whether or not they plan on continuing to evolve the language, but OpenFL is being steadily updated and improved.
For these last couple of months, I’ve been learning and adjusting to the new language by porting over an incomplete web-based game I started, called “Potato Farmer“.
Potato Farmer is a game about a young man taking over his grandfather’s (Farmer Po Tatin) potato farm. Farmer Po was an incorrigible gambler, and as he made one final gamble before his death – That his grandson could take over the farm and turn a profit within 30 days. If he wins, his debt is forgiven. If not, he loses the farm.
Essentially, Potato Farmer is a top-down (top-down as in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past view, so a slightly angled camera) farming/shooting game. You plant potatoes, and everything from animals to bandits to monsters try to pillage the farm. Your only choice is to defend the farm, either with the starting, “pacifist” gun (a bb gun), or you can purchase newer weaponry with the potatoes you harvest (a potato-loving merchant visits the farm every now and then).
The basic form of the game takes place on one screen – the farm, but I hope to eventually add some additional areas to explore, like a nearby village, and the forest around the farm.
Initially, Potato Farmer started out as a Ludum Dare 26 entry. The theme was “minimalist”, which lead to my concept of planting potatoes (somehow). Everything started out being shapes.
I wasn’t too fond of the theme, but I liked the game concept I started, so I proceeded to continue to work on the game and see where it lead me, past the Jam end date (I didn’t end up submitting the game).
That brought me to eventually porting the game to Haxe (as it was still in an early stage), and continuing development.
Despite Potato Farmer being unfinished, I now feel as confident and comfortable with Haxe as I did with Actionscript.
The current issue that’s come up is a monetary one – Things like rent and food are unfortunately necessary for my continued survival. I’ve been contemplating starting a Kickstarter campaign for a full-length version of Shadow Possession. The people I’ve shown the prototype to seem to really like it, and I personally had a great deal of fun making it.
There’s some additional features I’d like to add to Shadow Possession (beyond the natural evolution of the possession/platforming mechanics as you progress). These features would expand on the gameplay and story a bit, giving each more meaning:
Shadow Possession won’t solely be about dodging light. Many parts of the game will require you to solve other types of puzzles, such as who to possess to infiltrate certain areas. These are the more investigative parts of the game, where you can find clues in the environment and interact with humans and objects.
The player (the Shadow) wasn’t always a ghost. They were once human. Figuring out what happened to you is one of the underlying plots in Shadow Possession. It’s not forced, but finding and piecing together clues can unlock a “target”, which is a person who possesses a memory containing information you seek. Possessing this person will bring you to a level created from their memories. You control this person in their memory level, and aren’t hurt by light (as you are in the real world).
These memory levels can be structured and organized, or abstract and almost dream-like. It varies depending on who’s the possessed.
Shadow Possession Demo
Continuing on, I feel that if I’m to have a successful Kickstarter campaign, I’ll need more than an early prototype to inspire players. Besides all the meticulous campaign planning I’ll be doing, I’ll also be working on a short demo. A good level or two featuring these new mechanics will probably greatly help towards showing what I have in mind.
Look forward to the demo in the next few weeks.