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A member registered Nov 09, 2014 · View creator page →

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Congratulations on your INCREDIBLY successful Kickstarter!

I remember playing your old Flash version in the '00s before Telltale hired you and man, you've got a sense of humor and a knack for storytelling. I can see why you were chosen by the studio while it was growing and thriving. 

Unfortunately, it sounds a lot like things took a bad turn later on.

I feel bad you're going through so many tough things but am happy that at least this one thing went well for you today.

I'm definitely looking forward to your upcoming remastered releases and any new episodes of Nick Bounty or any other adventures, you consider making in the future. 

Matthew Hornbostel, game dev, game asset creator /

Wow. Really unnerving moment, when it recognizes your name. Which is a cool, genuinely scary idea, kind of reminds me of the creepy WTF moment in 'Inscryption' where the game asks to hold one of the files on your system as collateral, has you choose it, and threatens to delete it if you play unsuccessfully. 

Those moments when a game gives you the sense, the hint of real world danger, of something actually at stake, whether it actually is or not?

That stuff is genuinely scary! 

And you clearly know that and get it.

It's a reason why your game is still so high up on itch's front page. So congrats on that.

-Matthew Hornbostel (asset pack creator, indie game dev)

An eerie example of what can be done in a short span of time.

I know it was rushed but I personally think it is still well enough executed and scary enough, that I am at least sort of impressed, and the fact that it's done this well certainly explains how it reached the front page of itch!

Sometimes I think it'd be better if I focused on 'game jam' type projects of modest scope (like this one you made) instead of going for more ambitious efforts that take forever (prone to feature creep) but now I am where I am on my own productions. 

Maybe for the best. :/

Just hope to get something DONE fairly soon and hope my work merits anywhere close to the visibility your project has wound up with.

Matthew Hornbostel, asset pack creator, indie game dev

Hilarious and hopeless all at the same time.

Superbly silly commentary on the idiocy of the modern workplace and love the way the developer of this game responds to player comments as it's so fitting.

Excellent spin on the typing sim.

Matthew Hornbostel,

60 million downloads? Holy **** now that is an impressive accomplishment!

Congrats Team Terrible, you have somehow kept this game on the front page of itch for months and months on end and by now I can't help but check it out just to see why it's still there.

And you know what? You did a really good job making the worst possible sort of babysitting scenario into a genuinely scary game. So that's pretty extraordinary. Very impressive start to your studio and I hope you build successfully from there.

-Matthew Hornbostel, indie game dev and developer of game dev assets.

Thanks so much for this encouraging comment! :)

I'm late, I realize, in posting the new update but it's getting close now. 

Should be ready to go in under a week.

Thanks so much for the stats insight! 

Yeah, it underscores another two important things to me, one is the approx. volume of activity one needs to hit to reach the front page, the other which I already sort of realized, is just how absurdly subtle the ratings system is. Many itch users don't even realize there is one.

I once thought lack of star ratings on my stuff was odd but it seems that everybody else on itch has the same experience. You have 7000+ players and still only 25 ratings.

That is, about 0.3% of players/downloaders on itch will rate a thing they interacted with. Even if someone spends a dollar or two, even with the buyers, have had 50+ sales on itch, only two ratings. Way lower level of response in rating terms than I have seen from buyers on Etsy (30%) or eBay (60%). 

But on the plus side Itch users seem to be super generous and supportive - I have had over a dozen itch users tip me unexpectedly, anything from $1 to $6. That is crazy and says a lot of good about the community here. 

I am taking a cue from you now, by the way. And from all the people who tipped me.

Doing my own giveaway thing leading up to, and during, a sale on July 1-4, 2022.

$25 in the form of Amazon gift cards + hundreds of free randomized asset-pack download links. 

I've tried banner ads and other types of ad campaigns but would like to give this type of promotion a shot. If it goes well, there might be similar, possibly bigger, giveaways in the future too.

Hilarious. Simple, funny concept but sometimes those ones are the ones that take off. 

Congrats btw, on getting to the very top of the first page on, that's astonishing and I figured you'd get noticed at some point by a larger crowd, glad it happened for you.

-Matthew Hornbostel

Not bad for a first gamedev effort.

A bit glitchy but definitely a good start and as others have said, kind of spooky.

And it's crazy that your game + this giveaway tactic helped you get to the front page - congrats on that accomplishment.

-Matthew Hornbostel,

Another incremental update: 40+ additional texture maps (new image files, including some seamless diffuse, specular, displacement, normal, and ambient occlusion maps) are now included in this collection, bringing total included texture image count well above 450, as of April 2, 2022.  

Amanita Design, your art styles are always incredible.

Samorost and its sequels have a very handmade look. Machinarium is so charming it's amazing. Just... wow.

I am making some stuff that is handcrafted-looking and analog styled.

Maybe a few of you would like to take a look? One of the things is a point-and-click panoramic adventure game (first person Myst-like) made with miniature-art graphics. (It's called "Miniature Multiverse" and it's in active development) and there are also many other little things there too. Going on sale all in a bundle for about $1 on St. Pat's 2022.

This is actually the start of a great idea, it's not far off from the 'collections' feature that already exists [private or public collections of projects that users like] but what indeed does make this different from existing collections as implemented, and why it matters, is really the fact that collections now don't have all that much to notify you when a thing in your collection has changed or updated. I approach this from a creator POV, but for players it's also a useful feature. And currently there's simply no feature on Itch to handle that situation of project-specific updates. 

I myself personally have a bunch of 'follows' and 40 'followers' so clearly some people on Itch do use that, but not most. It's like the Itch.IO star rating/review system, it's not being used anywhere near enough, or well-understood or noticeable enough, to be useful to most people here. 

Itch's setup for tracking and interacting with projects, users, etc... it is a hodgepodge of features that should be better connected to each other in some way. We have collections, that's nice, and ratings, and follows. Is there some way to streamline these functions and tie them together in a singular panel? We don't really even need a wish list per se, but some sort of merging of the collections/follows that includes all of the best features of both in a single, robust system.  

When you realize you have had thousands of people visit your profile and 40 of them followed you as a dev (not a specific project even, just... you as a developer? sort of?) and a completely different group of people put you in various collections, and only one person has reviewed you (a person who's seemingly not in either of the other two groups) you realize how problematic and messy this is.

I have had around a hundred $ in sales total by now - all asset-pack stuff - but the audience that is interested in that content is expressing that interest in a ton of different and disparate ways that do not intersect much and are very uncoordinated.

I can't help getting the feeling there's a weakness in the Itch community and site that's not only my own decisions [yeah, I'm sure I've made some mistakes in my profile and that's a part of the experience I've had], but also more platform-wide and structural confusion for users. Connecting and improving these mixed up features won't solve everything, and undoubtedly it will pose a challenge to figure out how best to do it, but if you get it right... it could help. It could be a start to making that better. 

--Matthew L. Hornbostel,

Nice. I'm not really actively focused on marketing my game content yet, as my game dev work is fairly ambitious from a 'solo dev' POV and still unfinished, but I have been trying for the past two years to promote my game assets. Now you're recommending Reddit and I'm like, OUCH, I've already experienced Reddit and Facebook and in my experience they're super awful at times as online settings go. 

Though, mostly that's my fault. I say stuff that's way too honest and personal and self-hating and that of course leads to some waves of 'holy **** what is wrong with you' and usually ends with me sobbing and near-suicidal, sometimes due to total strangers eviscerating me, and yet I still go back and make the same self-deprecating errors again later because I AM mentally ill (4 different diagnosed mental health issues) and I DO want to self-harm and actively self-sabotage a lot of the time. I'm not going to hide that I say dumb crap, it's all out there in the open anyway, all my sickest weirdest secrets are public info. And I am okay with this - I KNOW and ACCEPT that I'm blacklisted and known to be a liability to every possible employer, and that I will never be hired - that I am stuck unemployed and that I will be working 12-14 hours every day on tasks that average around $3/hour in pay. (Best case. Usually it's like $1 or $2, somewhere between those) I sometimes refer to myself as the 'hardest-working unemployed guy in the area' and that is kind of true. I aspire to make over 10k in a single year of work soon.  That'd be nice. I could live on that. I could cover the cost of my meds myself. It'd be good if it happened. Anything past $12 or $15k a year, probably would give away to charitable causes so others can succeed who deserve success way more than I ever did. Would love to make an impact for the good of the world and those in it. 

YET: My creative products and services, somehow continue taking off along an exponential curve. Either the buyers somehow don't know or care if my mental health is a total disaster. Maybe they don't do cursory research into my open-book train wreck of a life. I don't know. They don't seem to notice or care, given that I'll do work for them at less than half the price most others will, and I'll do it consistently well. And for every glaring psychological flaw I've got I have an achievement despite it - University graduate with 3.67 GPA, Eagle Scout, 20+ years experience with Photoshop, 3d art, VFX and a ton of other things usually that I began doing in my teenage years circa 1999-2005 and put thousands of hours into unpaid, to the point where I was actually pretty good at the work. .  

I think it arguably borders on spam occasionally, but I've been including a link to my Itch profile in YT comments routinely as part of a sort of signature. I will comment [usually very positively] on the video and then have the sig at the bottom. The same concept works well on Discord, big web forums/bulletin boards, etc. Often you can have a banner image for that, and I frequently make mine an animated GIF or animated PNG, which is increasingly widely supported on modern web browsers and looks cleaner than dithered GIFs. But if I have more room, just a JPG: - My Itch profile

Key here is that the sig has to be relevant to the forum or video channel. I rotate sigs based on the group I'm posting in. So on YT, I might focus on 3d assets (if a 3d animation-related video) or texture maps, on anything relating to interior decor, maybe Etsy prints and handmade art, on anything sculpture/miniature related it'll be my indie game efforts with Miniature Multiverse or maybe my papercraft models on Etsy, Video and VFX videos, would definitely focus on my video assets (VFX stuff - pyrotechnics elements against black backing and so on) and it's been interesting that I've done this on maybe 250 YT videos now and it is not damaging my YT comment feedback/interactions as far as the algorithm they use is concerned, because I also post actual replies to the video and conversation, not just the links, and the links even are relevant to the group that's watching the video so they get upvoted. 

One key thing here is, if you believe your content's good, you'll be able to get past the hurdle of 'IS THIS SPAMMY OR TOO PROMOTIONAL' because you actually believe in the content you are promoting, even if you don't believe in yourself at all, and think people will want to see the sold assets and will benefit from knowing about them. If you don't think that, you shouldn't be promoting it to begin with. But because I actually believe my products are solid and that they're great value compared to existing alternatives, I have no issue guiding people to them. You need to believe in what you are selling, and if you don't, then rework it tirelessly and make it better until you do think it's worth promoting.


It has gone okay -  my results, after a few years, tens of thousands of pageviews (profile and project pages on Itch) and around $100 in sales, a handful of comments, and as of a few days ago, two five-star reviews from a buyer. I do get the sense that the contents of my profile are primed to take off arbitrarily starting right about now. Just like my Etsy shop where years went by with zero ratings, then someone reviewed a thing, and the outcome there's been 89% quarterly growth on average the past 9 quarters in a row. Currently I'm seeing hundreds of $ of purchases every month, getting within striking distance of $1000 a month now, granted 70% of that is consumed by shipping, fees, materials, etc, but it's still a real gain. And the same pattern hit years earlier on eBay for me but there... too many awful customers and a poorly thought out business model. eBay selling for me has been on hold since early 2020 because I was making dozens of sales each year and losing money doing that, moreover also burning through hundreds of hours of work for customers who then, some 20-30% of the time, demanded full refunds and threatened scathing reviews if said refunds weren't sent. And I gave the refunds. I let those people hold me hostage and erase my shop completely in the end. It's a shame though as many of the people there were good, but enough of eBay is toxic and scammy that it effectively killed my store there.    

There were hundreds of hours put into making the content I've gotten onto Itch.IO so it's unclear if it's worth it from a financial perspective (likely never will be able to make even close to half of minimum wage doing this stuff) but the content has been useful to a number of people here, so that's something. And at least I haven't lost money making it, just a few months of my time (which, according to Adam Smith's staggeringly stupid free hand of the market, was worthless for decades and now suddenly has value for some reason?) so that makes my venture on Itch a step up from eBay IMO.  

The upside though, is that something else outside of Itch.IO has taken off like crazy. My Etsy shop, and in particular, printing services. I'm making a decent amount doing that while still undercutting pretty much everyone else out there slightly, pricing-wise. Hoping that booming success over the last year will be beneficial elsewhere - propping up stock media asset pack development, game development, and other categories of bargain-priced creative products. 

By no means flawless but the use of sound here is pretty great.

To any developers here, if you need any blood/gore/horror visual elements in future games, I will be posting a bunch of new 3d/texture material of that sort in a few days for free.

Matthew L. Hornbostel,

Fantastic short horror game, not reliant on jumpscares but genuinely creepy. Great sense of suspense and mood, there is an eerie buildup but the ending leaves me with more lingering questions than real answers.

It is amazing how many indie games on itch.Io do so much that is clever and genuinely scary with the horror genre, and it seems that's why arguably my weakest asset pack (the blood spray pack) is by far the most downloaded thing I have ever posted on

That and, it is free. But if that is what the gamedevs here want (horror stuff) I will happily make more of that. It is clearly a huge phenomenon here on itch!

So I will be posting a major update to that free asset pack in the next few days with more disturbing horror elements. As in, more gore, blood, body-horror stuff. And some general-purpose horror-genre visual elements. - my itch profile - the blood spray pack that I'm about to update.

BTW I also have some small indie games in the works - not just gamedev asset packs. But so far, most of what I've posted is game assets for game creators. Hope to offer more of both in the next few months... often available for free. If anybody's interested.

New updates will be posted in this and a number of my other asset packs over the course of the next week. I am still working on these asset packs - they're growing every so often with new additions, not static and they're not being abandoned!

Truly, wondrously lovely 3d art.

I just gave you a five star rating. These environments are gorgeous!

I will soon send a couple $ your way as well, as I would like to encourage you to continue making worlds.

Matthew L Hornbostel,

Liked Cloud Climber a lot. Great work for a free game. 

Posted a review just because I felt it kind of deserved one.

So much bleakness and atmosphere here. Yes, it is a five-minute walk tops. Yes, it has a cartoonish texture style. Yes, it guides the player and just flat-out tells them what they should do next which is not great design. No, none of that really ruined this brief experience for me.

Writing is minimal in some ways, and fragmentary, incomplete, but it does enough to get a sense of the concept across. I wasn't entirely sure if the character was the last one left there or not - but clearly things had fallen apart very badly for his society which we seem to see as the last one left on Earth. Most of them maybe turned on each other shortly before this walk?

Ending was therefore both sad and beautiful, bittersweet. If the people there had lasted or held out a bit longer maybe they would have seen this. Maybe there are others still alive and they will. But not everyone.

It may be a brief story but it works enough, it is a good and genuinely interesting concept, and if the dev wants to push onwards to something longer and more substantial I would be willing to back that a bit TBH.

Us Indie devs need to stick together and help each other. It is a tough field and maybe we can assist each other in what we're doing.

I know firsthand - I have a ton of things on itch.IO and they are doing okay so far but not exactly going great. I keep working on them though. Hopefully someday some of that will take off nicely.

Short but a good concept.

Keep at it.

Incidentally, I find it fascinating how many indies on itch do cool stuff with the horror genre in particular, it seems to be most of what is on the platform. I am not sure why, exactly, but maybe horror is a good category for indie devs just like it is for indie filmmakers?

Matthew H,

I tend to go with Unity+Playmaker for 3d, Construct for 2D.

But I'm coming into this from an art background, 2d/3d art is my main strength, not code. 

I'm not great with code.

And I'll second the commenter who pointed out that well-supported, often-updated engines with a decent user community are important.

Unity has the single biggest userbase of any game engine, about 50% of game developers worldwide use it, it's simply not going to just go away any time soon. And Unreal is the #2 biggest userbase [almost 30%] and likewise will be around a long while.

I've used really niche engines before - years ago, in the 2000s - and had a lot of ambitious projects fail utterly, just simply unravel, because the engine devs stopped updating the engine! For example, Adventure Maker, which hasn't been updated in over a decade. I made no less than three games using it, and they only run on Windows XP or older-than-XP Windows, that is if they were even released (two of them I gave up on after hundreds of hours' work because I realized the engine was doomed. I still have the graphics assets but all the interaction would need to be redone from scratch in a new engine and I couldn't escape the sinking feeling of, it's just not worth it now. I also tried using Gamesalad on a couple of projects, and that didn't end well either BTW. 

If I'm going to recommend just one engine, it's Unity. It's what I settled on anyway.

Huge, and I mean huge, userbase of well over half a million people now, that can answer almost any question you pose, massive flexibility, can be used to make 2d and 3d games, for a ton of platforms. Main downside of Unity currently is it doesn't scale well to large teams the way Unreal can, but that is something that Unity Technologies is very actively working on. It's kind of an irrelevant problem for indies anyway. And as for the query, can you make good quality games with Unity, ie the 'image problem' Unity faces, I think you can and the list of Unity-made games on Wikipedia demonstrates this wide-ranging potential for a ton of solid stuff in many genres. Just that most of the best games built in Unity, people don't realize that they are Unity-made games because the devs cut out the Unity branding. Unity can also be optimized very well, it's reasonably efficient and lean, as evidenced by the sheer number of visually stunning yet smoothly-running mobile titles developed in it (like 'The Room' series, 'Monument Valley', series, 'Alto's Adventure', 'Temple Run 2' and many other examples of Unity games that somehow still look good while running on a potato, so to speak)

Unreal is the second really great choice. It's clearly better for certain types of game [eg 3d fps or third person] and very scalable for larger teams. It also has a superb community and a ton of features. And it is quite efficient as 3d engines go, nicely optimized. The projects done with it often look amazing.

BTW: my presence on Itch.IO is and I'm working on a few new indie games but not released just yet.

Mostly 'Myst-likes' [first person puzzle/adventure] as that plays well to my strengths.


I do however, have a TON of stock media assets there also, already, royalty-free for gamedevs. A few free ones, mostly paid, but even the paid stuff is not expensive. 2000+ asset files [overlays and decals, seamless photography-based texture maps, video VFX elements based on real-world high-speed video, and a lot of 3d asset files too across various categories.]

That stock media stuff is all bundled together for $1 every now and then (90% off) like April 2-4 [Easter sale, coming up very soon] and the $1 pricing also includes early preorders of any indie games I make and release on Itch during the next couple of years.

STOCK MEDIA (Asset packs): The various stock media asset packs are all licensed in a fairly straightforward way, you can make derivative works using them as a resource (eg games, VFX shots in videos or cutscenes) with no real constraints, and there are no other limitations to that usage really aside from the obvious, that you cannot just resell the package of content as is. Any more specific or unusual use cases, let me know. I will try to answer those questions but in most such cases the answer will be 'yeah, you can do that.'

GAMEDEV PROJECTS: The game dev projects listed all exist in a state of completion that is well over half done and therefore it is possible to show some material to the public, but some of these, asstated on their respective pages, may not be fully completed until late 2021 at the latest. I am putting a great deal of time and effort into them generally, and some of these projects are now very close to ready to release, with far more there in some cases than what is posted on the game pages themselves.The game pages all include text noting the status of the project as an effective preorder. The typical pricing will climb on these individual items generally after each item launches. 

As each game is debugged and the last remaining graphics elements, etc, are implemented and fall into place, I will be posting them and you will be able to download them (over the next few months) but for now, the timeframes described in the text on those game pages are usually pretty realistic assessments. Panoramic Worlds, for example, I am really trying to get out before the end of February (this month) as it is actually pretty close to complete. And then the minigames, will be posted over the next four or five months as I spend some of that time working on those and the rest in the background filling in bits for Miniature Multiverse and the new Vivid Minigolf, to be posted later in 2021.

The trickiest one is Miniature Multiverse, and it is also the most discussed and anticipated generally. There are about 150 hrs. of work left on it still, which sounds like a ton but I have already poured in close to a thousand working on it since 2016 so... I am thinking it isn't too far off at this point.

Some of these might run into unanticipated obstacles slowing them down, I cannot predict exactly which ones and where, but I will keep at it and get them all out there even if it takes more work than was initially planned.

But you will get to play them as they're released. Even if in some cases it takes a while.

REFUNDS: If the fact that you did not notice the 'preorder' status on games specifically is upsetting to you, I recognize that I am largely at fault for this and will definitely be willing to refund your purchase and (still) allow you to keep the stock media packs as they are, and use them in your projects. I realize some of that was not marked clearly enough and that not everyone reads all the text, and I will attempt to fix it today to make the nature of those particular listings more visible and obvious for future buyers.

I did see the most recent PayPal transaction which I think is likely yours, and can absolutely refund it if you want given the situation.

It's a bit short but very well made.

I am impressed!

BTW, if any of you want 3d assets, seamless texture maps and decals, etc, for future game dev efforts, I am running a sale right now and the Hermes devs might find that interesting? I am open to requests so... might make some scifi and space themed 3d assets in future if that is useful to you and you are requesting that. 

$0.97 for 2000+ asset files:

Here is the sale link.


What a quirky and fun idea!

Funny, eerie and just plain odd.

I like it.

BTW, if you need any gamedev assets in your future game projects, I have 2000+ assets for $0.97 right now, and that is just the start!:

Let me know what 3d assets you could use, if people are making requests for certain things I will be likely to fast track them.


Hey, Geoff, great first project! I think your gamedev work shows a ton of promise and the mood you captured is definitely a bit weird and creepy but mostly just amusing!

If you would like assets for your next project, or if anyone else here is doing creative gamedev stuff, you may want to take a moment to view this sale I am running:

93% off a lot of game assets (97 cents for 2000+ asset files, as stated in the link) and there are some free ones available as well! 

And I am welcoming suggestions for future (realistic looking but also efficiently built) assets added to these collections so if you need a 3d modeled item, Geoff... let me know, there is a good chance I will add it!

Lapso looks really cool! I played your demo (Lapso:Nimbo) on Steam and it was a very promising indication of how good the final game is likely to be.

Your graphics in particular are superb, really good atmosphere and art. I am wishlisting Lapso and look forward to its launch.

- Matthew L. Hornbostel,

There are no comments on this? Really?

This is all awesome Pinhead Games, glad to see you landing on your feet again with Nick Bounty games after your time working at Telltale.

I will be buying some of your work including this, soon. I played the original Flash games you made back in the day and they were very funny!

-Matthew L. Hornbostel,

Your work is always amazing and atmospheric. Thank you for this beautiful walk in the park. :D

(3 edits)

Sorry about that. Yes, I see the issue - the OBJ/.mtl content in this package had some .mtl texture file references saved with absolute, not relative, file paths. This of course means the texture files won't load by default on a different computer where the asset pack was saved in a different folder than it was saved on mine.

Sorry you ran into trouble with this, but I sincerely thank you for bringing it to my attention. I'll also look through all the other asset packs and see if this issue shows up elsewhere. 

Edit, an hour after the initial [now apparently deleted] post - I've reworked this asset pack (as quickly as I could) and have just posted the update [fix] for these files via Butler. I think these items should now all open in most 3d apps with textures correctly loaded by default. I'm now checking the other asset packs and will attempt to fix any other similar issues I may notice across other asset packs, within the next day or two. Until those new fixes are all pushed onto itch, don't be too surprised if some of my 3d objects need the related image textures added [reconnected] manually in your 3d software.

It all comes down to what people will accept in the market and what your goals are as a dev and making those two line up.


Having the base game free with paid add-ons seems to be very common now - the entire freemium market is based on the idea of a free but in some way limited version to reel in new players at a large volume. Piecemeal DLC and the freemium model in general drives everyone nuts, of course, but people still go along with it, we had a chance to avoid that model and it turned out to be so profitable on mobile that it spread everywhere and is now the de facto standard (much to the detriment of real playability in many cases). I personally saw the model take shape in the early 2010s and decided NOT to support it - I'd only pay for iAP that offered legitimate content. No wasting real cash on in-game currency, no loot box nonsense. Any game that does this will not get my money. Now - there are cases where I'll sometimes buy DLC, if the price drops low enough to be worth it, as with games like Cities Skylines and Planet Coaster... I figure it'll be worth it and it adds actual features and new elements to the game that genuinely improve it and give it more replay value. [Not just some ridiculous single cosmetic thing or ingame currency that adds zero longer-term value]

But that's my view. I'm clearly out of touch with how most people play games as I see my personal purchases as a form of incentive to the developers to keep making certain types of things and not others - I reward good practices with a buy and avoid supporting bad ones. 

Generally, the expected tactic with freemium though is to have a ton of paid addons, iAP that start off with a cheap (99 cents typically) but still valuable addition, just to get players over the psychological hurdle of paying. Once that happens, they may make additional larger purchases more easily later on, spending potentially a very large amount of cash. This is a common practice. 

You might make the free version ad-supported and make the 99-cent upgrade to an ad-free version plus some extras... this both is a way to monetize the 'free' players and at the same time adds incentive to make the initial purchase. This too is a widespread tactic. 

I'd advise adding actual new content with every buy, new levels, new gameplay functions and elements, not in a way that makes things unbalanced or pay-to-win but... make any purchases worth the money for players.


This is the old school format all games used to use. It's pretty self-explanatory. Make a game. One single self-contained thing. Sell it. Key here is to price it at a level that players will pay, but that's about as high as can be solidly justified, and then eventually, later on, offer bigger and bigger sales / discounts to sweep up the players who are not willing to pay the initial price point. That way at least you gain something from them and not nothing. It's an optimization thing... you want every target player to pay as much as they're willing to individually. 


This is the model that is now common on higher-end systems. It allows the developers to still price 'the AAA game' at $50-60 at initial launch as has been standard for PC video games since the late 1980s, while compensating for the effects of inflation since that time, by tacking on another $50 or more in segments of DLC post-launch. This allows them to make $100+ off a single game. The developers and publishers will argue this is valid due to currency inflation reducing the value of each dollar, dramatic increase in cost of modern gamedev due to a massive ongoing rise in expectations for graphics, and players balking at a singular $100 payment and insisting that a game still must cost below $70 at launch. Players will counter-argue that the gaming audience has exploded in tandem with the cost of game development. This is true, but it's not actually a strong argument when we analyze the numbers.

So in 1993-94 when Myst topped PC game sales charts consistently its original release ultimately sold just over 6.5 million copies (then an unprecedented and record-setting sales number) and had cost about $650,000 to develop, made by a team of seven people. 

Now for a comparison, in the modern gaming era, GTA V [for example] released in 2013, cost $265 million to develop, had a team of over a thousand credited developers. but also sold over 130 million copies across all higher-end platforms. 

So the cost in developing a higher-end and cutting-edge AAA game, even factoring out inflation, still exploded to roughly 250x higher, a staggering jump, in a span of exactly 20 years. Ultimate sales, meanwhile, of the chart-topping games, of 1993 and 2013, show only a 20-fold increase in sales volume. So it's understandable for modern higher-end games to raise price points well above the traditional $50 or so that was once standard. 

But what about indies? There's a lot of data that supports an initial release price between $10 and $25 for most indies. Go higher and most players will balk at the price. Go lower, you're leaving a lot of money on the table. I go lower but then... I'm completely insane.


I am frequently bundling a ton of indie titles plus giant batches of gamedev assets together during sales, every one of my assets bundled together for around $1 or so, despite all the market data saying that's a dumb move. I don't care - I know the increase in sales volume will not be remotely sufficient to compensate for the loss of revenue per customer. But my focus is and always has been on the players, and buyers, not so much myself or my well-being as the developer. My personal tendency is to avoid higher pricing and strip everything as low as it can realistically possibly be before I start to LOSE money consistently while making things. I've run shops on eBay and Etsy that combined have now accumulated over 500 sales. I have - for the moment at least, no negative ratings on either. I also have made no profit whatsoever, all factors considered, on either storefront, over seven years. That's after over a thousand hours' work, for essentially $0 net gain. It's gained me a reputation as the guy who refunds or did refund, orders at the drop of a hat, who is insanely generous and overdelivers often, who ultimately takes a loss on roughly 40% of orders and in so doing erases the slim gains made on the other 60%. 

Note, this will fail from time to time when a string of people have damaged items in transit and the refunds and costs pile up too high. My losses on eBay in early 2020 were in the hundreds of $, which left me struggling to cover all the other orders that came in the same wave. Some of those items got shipped months late, with effective 150% refunds, extra shipped items that were not requested or ordered, and handwritten apology notes. I've been working pretty damned hard to send $450+ of cash and materials out to a list of people who bought from me in the first third of the year, and new listings have been stalled completely so I can fully resolve all the earlier ones. 

I'm now similarly sinking thousands of unpaid hours into game dev, especially an indie title called "Miniature Multiverse" which has cost me not just unpaid time but roughly $1450 that I have largely funded on my own, by doing $3/hr microtasks on mTurk and the like, a few hours/day across a list of different platforms. I work 12-14 hrs. a day in all, much of it on gigs and various things that pay less than half of minimum wage (or rather often, on personal projects which pay me nothing at all) and I'm technically considered 'unemployed' though am not taking actual unemployment from the US govt. 

This is normal for me - I have traditionally had a vast depressive and self-destructive streak and a tendency to sabotage myself out of a deep-seated belief that other people are more valuable and more genuinely human than I am. While I'd like to someday make actual money on itch.IO or (somewhere) I don't realistically think it will ever work out and that's okay. I'm at peace with being considered an utter failure.

I don't need to make much - if I earned over $20k for the first time in my life some year in the near future I'd probably just donate everything above the $20k mark. 

Because what else would I do - spend it? That's stupid, my workflow doesn't require anywhere near so much cash. I'm completely used to doing everything myself on the cheap!

Save it? That's also astonishingly dumb in a world where the planet is dying, and the US [as well as every other country] is headed for a total and utter collapse over the course of the next 10-20 years. Currency will be worthless. So will stocks, bonds, etc. It's not like this is in any way a secret. Trump fans might deny it and press the accelerator on the economy as it sails over a cliff off of reality, but I know and the data shows that our world economic system and its assumption of ongoing indefinite growth is foundationally untenable on a finite planet where many core resources are now rapidly decreasing in availability. The climate's shifting so fast that I actually would be surprised to see us make it to the late 2020s without a massive 'Great Depression or worse' crash. And that is an optimistic sort of scenario to me - what'd be unacceptable is a nuclear war or mass starvation and a situation in which a bunch of nations implode completely into violent chaos and cease to functionally exist. 

I'd rather just make a bit more somehow and keep creating cool things, give away the rest to help people, and when the big crash does hit at some point I will simply accept death at that time rather than sacrifice my ideals just to survive. Survival is dumb. There's no way it's worth surviving what's coming. I'd like to hope there's an afterlife but I've got no real certainty of it. Maybe there is. I don't pretend to know. I do know that even if it isn't real, I still would rather die young on my own terms than live at a great cost to the others around me. I'd rather be remembered as a kind and generous person than be actually still alive and hated/feared because I did what I had to to continue living. Being a good person is important to me. Being rich, happy, or alive a long time, isn't. I know my priorities and they aren't normal. I guess that's just me being pathetic but... really I kind of look forward to my own death. Whether it's some sort of heaven or just not existing anymore. Both sound pretty nice actually.

But that's just me. I'm weird like that. The good news is burnout's no issue here - I won't live to retire, I'm fine with that, so I can just work my ass off for another 15 odd years and then die at the end as I'm running out of steam. Sounds pretty great to me as I actually enjoy a lot of aspects of this work. Would be nice if the work or its revenue I pulled in made some impact on people though. I would especially love it if some of it survived for a while. In retrospect, am totally happy with the Etsy / eBay thing because those items I sold - paintings made and shipped usually for somewhere well under $15, sometimes less than $1 in certain cases - made a TON of people happy. And they, or some of them, might actually still exist after the grid goes down. That's actually a good reason to do plenty of that and not just digital art stuff. 

But that's me. You do you. I wish you all the best, hopefully you come up with something great with your gamedev efforts.

There are some good answers elsewhere on this forum. All you really needed to do was look through similar threads already posted, like this one:

It is sort of obvious, but great art style and visuals will help get people to notice your game, and good gameplay and game content beyond that will get them to keep playing. 

Also note that statistically, the more games a randomly selected developer has released in the past, the better the odds of a new game from that developer doing well, by a fairly big margin, vs. a game from any randomly selected developer with a shorter track record. I am not sure if that pattern has more to do with the improvement in the typical dev's skill level over multiple projects, or the fact that they've slowly built a community, or maybe, the simple mathematical reality that bad developers tend to fail commercially and then give up quickly, i.e. it may simply be that good developers usually last longer and the really bad ones get filtered out?

Or it may just be the Rovio phenomenon - Rovio making 20-odd little mobile games (yes, on phones predating the first gen iPhone) before they hit gold with Angry Birds. But it wasn't accidental, they leveraged the revenue from each game to make the next one bigger, more polished, and more effectively marketed as the ever changing target-platform phones started to be able to run better and better quality games. Angry Birds wasn't indie, it was from an established developer that didn't have an accidental hit at all, but a mathematically calculated, strategic one backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in carefully and cleverly allocated social media ad push getting it to the top while the market was not yet saturated. Then sadly, they milked it and had no really new good ideas for the next big thing, they were like Zynga, one cynical innovation in freemium design, being turned into dozens of variants of the exact same pile of broken garbage. With occasional exceptions ripped off with zero meaningful improvements, from actual indie developers' games nobody has really noticed because those indies couldn't spend their way into the mainstream like the knockoffs could. Yeah, I despise the people saying I should make the next Angry Birds, firstly because I don't really like Angry Birds very much, and because it is not indie. I want to make something bigger, better, deeper, and most likely, nobody will notice it. But that is how the industry works, a lot of lame crap is now becoming hugely successful simply due to manipulative marketers and a frequently lazy playerbase which refuses to spend a couple $ on a great game and instead downloads freemium stuff that is inherently broken and never seems to connect the dots on this... that freemium games are almost 100% garbage.

But whatever... the basic deal is, a lot of people are struggling with this. They want to know how to get to a successful game release. But truth be told, you won't make money as an indie game dev. Don't be upset by that, it is just how it is. Twelve indie games a year become hits, out of thousands, so it is kind of a lottery really, and you will never be the winner of it, nor will I. The market is saturated with indie stuff already. So unless what we are doing is exceptional, it won't stand a chance of being noticed by the public, and even if it is genuinely outstanding, it is still unlikely to be a hit.

Yeah, we can aim for the support positions like asset pack creation now that the indie gold rush is over, but even that clearly is difficult to do successfully.

I know, I have 1600+ seamless textures and overlays/decals, 160+ video VFX elements, 120+ 3d assets, split across almost ten different asset packs, and they have sold, about 30 times in all, which is amazing, but nobody has rated even one of them so it is getting hard for the development of them to be much worth continuing past 2020.

They will go on sale again together in a bundle for just $1 total, on Labor Day Weekend 2020, and I would love to see about $10+ in sales this time but that is unlikely as no sale I have ever run here has actually made that much. I would love for someone to rate them but that is even less likely. It is okay. I will just keep at it. 

Because I am kind of out of other better options right now.

Start with the aspect (or two) of the project you anticipate will be your most difficult to implement, even if that's not the part of the project you're excited about. If you can get a small-scale prototype of that core feature set working, the game will be more likely possible to complete in its entirety. For 'Miniature Multiverse' my concept was broken early on - I couldn't figure out a way to do the interactions or rather, wasn't sure what engine would work for the project, and I couldn't find an effective high-res way to capture the first-person panoramic miniature art.

Both problems I finally solved around 2016, so that's when I started to fast track that project. The solutions were a GoPro-style camera [actually an alternative smaller than GoPro and cheaper], that could be fit into the worlds instead of mounted above them, as earlier attempts had tried to capture the entire panorama off the reflections of a 2" chrome ball bearing, but I could never entirely get enough resolution or minimize distortion even with a polar unwrap of an image captured with a 20-megapixel camera and a good optical zoom. Realizing I could finally get good results with a tiny camera rotated at 15-degree increments for every node, just stitch that all together with a panoramic image editor, was one aha moment, the other was custom designing a panoramic adventure game framework in Unity despite the fact that nobody else was really doing that with that engine. But Unity was flexible enough that with Unity as an engine and Playmaker for visual scripting, I could make it work.

Start small and build on that limited release, and get feedback early. This may not apply so much to 'Miniature Multiverse' but I'm considering changing that plan to match the plans for other projects that ARE episodic, like 'Crowdsourced Adventure', 'Panoramic Worlds', etc. And other projects are so focused in scope to begin with that the limited release is the entire plan. I have four such short games being packaged for $1 as 'Matthew's Minigames'. There's much to be said for starting small, and leveraging the first small proof of concept to build momentum in later projects. I certainly did that with videos. My first video project was cheesy and awful, only a minute long with 4 very simple VFX shots [in 2001] and worse, no cast besides me. But once people saw that little thing, then the one after it, and so on, my reputation sort of snowballed locally and suddenly I had casts of as many as 20+ people appearing in some of my projects, projects that would have failed utterly if I hadn't started smaller and built up to that sort of scope. Sadly, 90% of that stuff is not online - many of the bigger projects had one or two flaky cast members who never ended up signing any talent release form. So legally, it's risky putting things online that not everyone's signed off on being widely public. But the lesson - start with something small and show it to people - still stands.

Focus mostly on one project at a time if you can. I'm awful at this, I know. I have too many projects. But usually there's one that is prioritized in any given timeframe until it is complete. Others still get some attention in a rotation but more than half my time goes into the 'core project' until it is done or reaches an impasse. For the moment, that is still 'Miniature Multiverse' which is going to be the biggest focus for me until it is done, with the only exception being someone paying me to do a thing other than that. Which is to say, when I see a freelancing opportunity handed to me that can help fund the remaining costs of the project I'll take it. Multitasking though just doesn't work. You cannot focus on more than one task at a time. And the best work, the work you're in a flow state doing, really engrossed in, you don't get there until you've been focused on it for at least fifteen minutes. So in general I don't spend less than an hour or two minimum, on a project on any given day, before pivoting to a different one.

Pull in other resources and people if you are utterly lacking in a specific skill area. I am not able to compose music, so I've either licensed stock music or had people here compose tracks for me at a somewhat low but reasonable pay rate. I am okay with visual scripting but pretty poor at 'real' code as I understand logic but am not great with syntax or details in most programming languages... I would frequently code something, run into an error and waste hours digging through the code only to realize a stray typo or semicolon / spacing issue was ruining all of it. Not that traditional scripting's bad - in many cases it is way more efficient and far more flexible - but if the interaction's such that it'll work faster in an FSM I often prefer that. My strength is art and if you have a strong point, a useful gamedev skill... you can leverage that one skill area and trade work with others barter-style or work for pay / then hire someone, which is essentially the same idea.

These are basic ideas that I think can be useful. And finally, one other obvious one, save and back up your project regularly. Locally, and in the cloud. If there are three copies of it you are unlikely to run into massive loss of work. Which can happen on projects that you've worked on for years. I'd also advise choosing a popular, actively developed/supported/updated game engine as the basis of your project. I have some old minigames made with Adventure Maker and that engine has not been updated in a decade essentially, and won't support Windows 8 or 10. Which means my games are utterly unplayable for most people today and will need to be reworked in an entirely new engine, same with the old Vivid Minigolf which used Gamesalad and that has been discontinued and the game is no longer playable due to that. So that game's now being remade in the newest Scirra Construct engine. [Construct 3 - I started off remaking it in C2 but have just begun reworking in C3 for futureproofing reasons. Crowdsourced Adventure likewise will shift to C3 soon.] 

I hope all of that helps - if you're interested in any of what I'm doing, check out the links above or visit my Itch.IO profile, Thanks!

$0.79/hr, specifically, plus cost of any project-specific niche materials involved if applicable. If a person here wants me to help with their project but can't afford that cost per hour somehow due to lack of budget, but still wants free /cheap art made for their project, etc, they can pay in the form of some sort of authentic feedback or activity on my profile, either a comment [20 mins. work] a follow [40 mins. work], or a rating of one of my free asset packs. [one hour of work.] or a paid one [four hours of work, but you'd need to buy the item for usually about $1 or so]. 

Doesn't even need to be glowing feedback, just honest & fair. 

My profile is and you can see that I've released a ton of stock 3d assets there. I can output to common formats such as .FBX or .OBJ with 2d assets and texture art in typical image formats such as .png.

Furniture and Interiors Asset Pack 2020

Given the fact that I've made a bit over $50 in total sales and tips there, but have yet to receive any customer ratings of the stock-media content, despite putting well over a hundred hours of work into all of it combined, I figure maybe it'd be worth it to do this just in hopes of building up some sort of activity there in the future.

I've had thousands [over 10k] views between the profile and all the subpages there. I know if ratings or positive comments are posted from others that my sales will improve. I know because the only feedback there is on a product called 'Triumphant Artists Complete Collection [2018]' which by itself accounts for about a third of my sales - sales that started to appear there more frequently after that comment was posted. I'm convinced that if there were some buyers rating this material it would take off in a big way but that has not happened yet.

This is a first-come first-served kind of deal so if anyone is up for this and would like to get things rolling, contact me at; if you delay others may jump in first and eat up a lot of my schedule so you might need to wait a few days/weeks before I get around to your project.

Nice little Mystlike adventure game! Hope you continue expanding it because it's, as you said, rather short.

I'm also doing some things in that genre. My itch profile is and I have a number of in-development adventure games shown there.

Yeah, itch is awesome! And I am always happy to see this sort of positivity, that is how game dev communities should be!

Okay, here's some context:

I have now made over 30 sales of paid items and had over 160 other downloads of free content that I released... just over 200 downloads in all and thousands of views on my profile and pages.

Not one of the 200+ downloaders, paid or not, has rated anything. The most anyone has done is leave a brief comment, which incidentally has been a huge victory for that specific listing - it now comprises almost half my sales.

I know the statistical logic for ratings is that usually about 10% of people rate items they download or buy, and that the number is higher if they had a very strong positive or negative reaction to the item that was bought.

Here on that 10-20% range hasn't been the case at all and I am unsure why.

Is it just that the items are so cheap that they're impulse buy fodder and that maybe they then provoke a neutral (mildly satisfied) reaction, not a bad one, and thus people feel it is not worth bothering to rate for something they got cheaply and were modestly happy with but not elated by?

Or is this a case of statistically unusual and anomalous bad luck, or a more systemic issue with itch ratings not being prominent or encouraged on the itch platform? I have rated a few, like ten, other peoples' games in a positive manner (I like a lot of things, I am not super nitpicky, so my ratings tend toward 4-5 stars) and such, and according to itch's own data apparently almost nobody on has posted that many ratings. "Of people who have rated anything, 98% have rated fewer items than you". (Why?)

I have, on eBay, gotten hundreds of positive ratings, about 70% of buyers and sellers there rate me in a transaction. It is a cultural thing and it is kind of expected, and on Etsy... maybe 45% of buyers rate. Why is it so much less likely for anyone to rate items on

Finally: are there any ethical strategies any of you use successfully to encourage reviews/ratings/comments?

I am not inclined to do things like pull in third parties (friends, family) to rate, or incentivize ratings with a bonus like a gift card, extra content, etc, as none of that is really ethical. I do have text on the pages encouraging reviews, ratings, comments, any sort of feedback and there is a little PDF readme actually in many of my asset packs which does the same.

Kind of wonder what else I can try that will actually get the ball rolling there... without impartial feedback on the asset pack pages, people are unable to fully assess quality of the content, and as a result I have had literally thousands of people passing through my pages and not buying anything, or buying (rarely) but not actually rating.

I am at a loss here. I have spent $60+ advertising this stuff in the last year, over 300,000 fine tuned banner ad impressions and 450 clicks just on one ad network alone, I have also been pretty actively and effectively pulling traffic in through Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram... my own websites... and the sales at current levels, don't manage to recoup that effort.

Any suggestions?

Note, I do have a few ideas I am brainstorming here... like making a free pack of 3d assets and/or seamless textures with another 3d object and seamless texture added free, for every rating posted on any (paid or free) asset pack. The more ratings accumulate on any asset pack, free or paid, the larger that additional freebie collection gets. I will commit two more hours of effort to adding that for every single bit of genuine feedback - rating, review, comment - posted on any of my product pages.

In other words, if people will review my work, it will result in some new stuff I am working on, being posted as freeware, rather than tacked onto existing paid packages. This seems sort of clever, in a way, as the incentive for public response is more free public releases, not tied directly to the person who posted the rating but made available simply for everybody. 

But is that a good route to pursue? Is it, to put simply, a good idea that is acceptable? Do any of you have a better one?

Maybe in lieu of wasting more time, money advertising, I can donate a dollar to some widely respected charitable cause, for each review or star rating posted for the rest of 2020 on any page of mine, up to maybe $20/month? 

Yeah, I am serious. I am willing to try a lot of things, would be prepared to incentivize responses, but obviously not in a way that is directly tied to or paying off, on any direct individual or personal level, the specific person who is doing the rating.


If any of these, or any other idea, seem to be viable or acceptable, or maybe not, let me know. I am just trying to find something that works.

Because itch's review system right now is less than ideal. It doesn't get used by anybody much, and that means most games and assets on itch, do not have posted public feedback of any kind. That is bad for players/buyers who cannot assess quality of things they see on itch, and it is bad also for developers of the more high quality and high value content, who likewise cannot convincingly demonstrate the value of their work with users' responses to it.

What do you all think about this?

Matthew L. Hornbostel,

I have loved a ton of games over the years in a variety of genres. Picking one favorite in all that time is nearly impossible to me. 

But... in terms of sheer impact on the course of my life and work, often the earliest ones seem to be the most influential and impactful.

Maybe it is the nostalgic aspect, the fact that I was such an ardent game-player in childhood, or the fact that in the early years (1990s) the field was truly new... but when you look back at that decade in retrospect, you can see so many things coalescing and establishing norms for the first time, the first MMOs, the first FPS and multiplayer FPS, RTSs, simulation games, a whole host of genres taking shape and form, and a degree of experimentation suddenly emerging that is now only really seen in indie games. You could see a real revolution occuring in 3d graphics - prerendered first, then the advent of early realtime 3d. 

Nowadays, of course, it is far trickier to push graphics forward, you have games like GTA V that cost over a quarter of a billion dollars to make. And that has resulted in a sort of Hollywoodization of gaming, tons of polish but proportionally fewer brand new IPs, lots of sequels, high development cost per game and therefore fear of taking really major risks outside of the indie scene. Not to say experimentation's gone, it isn't at all, but there is a disconnect between 'indie' and 'AAA' now. Back then, every studio was small, every game was made on a budget that today would be considered indie. Look at the original 'SimCity', at the start of the '90s, essentially designed solely by Will Wright. Or 'Civilization' by Sid Meier. These were one-person operations. Indie. 

Then in '93, two competing visions for the future of gaming by two little teams, changed everything (yet again).

Doom - the first multiplayer FPS, with a fast, fun rapid fire game design and (crude looking) early realtime 3d levels. The choice of dynamism and excitement.

Myst - everything Doom wasn't, basically. Slow paced, super detailed but also sort of static (prerendered visuals) because realtime games then couldn't hold much detailing at all. Myst demanded careful observation to complete, it was puzzle based, exploration based and told most of its story through its intricately designed game worlds. 

Between these two, the seeds for today's plethora of great games were formed. The realtime 3d format, with all its freedom of motion, yet with the attention to detail and visual realism and imagination of Myst. 

And I felt like, at the time, as a child, aspects of both were going to change everything. And actually, they did. Now we have these vast, freely explorable open worlds, incredible attention to details, all of that merged together.

So that was me as a kid. I came out of Myst and its sequels absolutely entranced by the aesthetics and the sheer audacious skillfullness with which the worlds were made... watching to see when realtime 3d would be able to match that level of detail and richness and depth. By the mid-late 2000s, we were unquestionably arriving there.

Today? I am past college, past some failed career efforts working for others, but am now setting off on my own, an indie game dev, with my strongest area of skill being in the field of 3d art and animation.

I also do some video production and VFX stuff, traditional art and handcrafted miniatures, etc, and a lot of that is being mixed in various ways to make games that look hand painted or hand drawn,  games made with realistic 3d art, games even made with O scale miniature art. I have a lot in the pipeline and it is moving forward and this couldn't make me happier.

So in retrospect, the range of emergent early games may look like utter garbage by modern standards. Fine. But that old wild west of the early games industry, from Simcity to Civ, Civ 2, to Doom, Myst and Riven, Half-Life, Age of Empires, Starcraft, Roller Coaster Tycoon, etc, that era is what showed me the sheer potential of the gaming field. It was that timeframe that made it clear that someday I would want to do 'this'. Because there I saw a massive, diverse wave of innovation of the sort that only is possible in the stumbling nascent years of a new art form.

I am thrilled by everything that has developed since then. Many of the games you all have mentioned were touchstones to me as well. When I explored the art-deco city of Rapture for the first time in 'Bioshock' or the overgrown Aperture Labs in Portal 2 or the desolate yet beautiful sands of Journey, or the dystopian City 17 in Half Life 2, the sense of lingering dread and existential horror in 'Soma', and a multitude of other experiences of various types... each giving me a sense of place and history and the experience of being transported and immersed in a world that was truly new and fascinating. I may be starting small, but someday I would love to evoke that sense of awe and mystery and enchantment myself, with a story and a world of my own.

That is my goal. That is where I am heading, or at least trying to someday go.

But right now, a lot of work needs to be done first. I still have a lot to learn and much still to do.

-Matthew Lyles Hornbostel,

Totally agreed on Dr. Langeskov, a very funny and clever short little game, that has actually quite generously been freeware since its first release.

 There is no good reason not to check it out. It's by the people who did the also-brilliant 'The Stanley Parable', so sharp humor + insightful dismantling and examination of assumed video game tropes and designs is a given.

-The Stanley Parable asks us a lot of things about the design of games but primarily why games, structurally, don't give us more choices while also asking if the choices given in a game can really mean anything. 

-The Beginner's Guide asks us to examine the relationship between a creator and their creation, and examines the danger of reading too much into an author's work. It is a comment on obsessive fandom, basically.

-Dr. Langeskov, finally, asks 'what if the player were not actually starting this game as 'the player', but as some sort of backstage assistant in the game environment setting things up and triggering events and hazards for the real player of the game?'

Davey Wreden, Galactic Cafe & Crows Crows Crows = awesome meta commentary.

(2 edits)

The open world game 'Eastshade' - it is one of the most beautiful and ambitious indie titles I have ever seen.

The core developer team seems to be - from what I can tell online - essentially just five really dedicated people, who have been building this world for years, the rest of the credits basically is just a ton of voiceover people they brought in to do various characters in the world.

They've made a really peaceful and pretty 3d game world that spans roughly 2 or 3 sq. km in area, but doesn't feel sparse or empty. There are a fair number of interactions, characters, landmarks, etc, spaced nicely all over that. The game has a bit of a crafting aspect as well and manages to be both peaceful and engaging. I don't even know how to categorize it. It isn't a mere walking sim or a conventional adventure game puzzler, more like an unusually colorful Bethesda game in some aspects, but pacifist, no death, no danger, but still definitely fairly fun, and somehow made by a development team about 1/20th the size. - I bought it on Steam during a sale, and I personally felt it was well worth it.

Lyndow entry area:

In the great shade under a giant tree:

The day / night cycle is gorgeous too. 

My map, seen recently on the Eastshade Steam guides section:

Basically, this entire game is a great work of art. 

It has a few rough edges but basically is still an amazing acheivement given the small studio source.