Recent community posts
It depends if I can justify the extra cost of submitting the game. Considering how bad my first commercial game is doing on Steam, I'm not really keen on putting my next bigger game on there, just for the sake of it.
Right now I'll do a Steam release under two conditions: Either I'm in a situation where the $100 submission fee isn't such a big deal for me financially, or I'm absolutely convinced that this games is actually going sell a significant amount of copies. Otherwise I'd much rather keep my money and maybe put it on Steam at a later date.
But keep in mind that the release of this game is still very far, so who knoes what's going to happen.
You do know that itchio started as a platform to easily distribute freeware and gamejam games and unlike many other digital stores for indiegames that popped up and went under over the years, they are still around?
Sure, I'm not the itchio business person, but from what I can tell, having a good portion of your userbase being composed of smaller amateur devs doesn't really seem to hurt them...
And still, we haven't really talked about removing them? Just changing them? You do know that you can still provide the same type of information, just in a different context. That doesn't make the information go away and might even make it more useful! It's like a strange magic trick!
Also even though leafo said that he won't give an option, I'm still going to propose it, because I think it would be a good thing to have and it would also be in the spirit of the platform, which is about giving devs control over how they present and treat their work.
Oh boy, I'm not going to engage with your larger point because my time on this earth is limited, but please point me towards the part where I said that analytics should be removed for everyone?
I think I said "give people a way to opt out of this stuff", which means that there will also be an option to keep things the way they are.
The thing is that the homogenisation of a platform's aesthetic is something that has happened over and over again in the past, so I don't think it's not completely speculative to point out that this also might happen to itchio, if there's a system that people can exploit. I don't even mean "cheating". Folks on YouTube who are using the same type of thumbnail layout aren't cheating, they're exploiting the system that YouTube has in place.
Now obviously I don't know how the rank is determined here, but the moment you start prioritising certain content over other's is the moment where you're making a statement about which type of content you generally prefer. The moment you do that, is the moment where people will start to build their things accordingly. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't provide people with information, but I just want you to keep in mind that this stuff has consequences that might not be all that obvious right now.
I do like Fenreliania's suggestion of changing the rank into a general assesement of how your visibility on the platform has changed over a set period of time. But also give people a way to opt out of analytics stuff. There are folks that don't want and don't need these information and it would be nice to have some say in that matter.
Thanks for your clarification. I have some more thoughts on this, but to be honest most of them are incredibly speculative right now, because I have no idea what criteria you're using to dertimine the ranking. I'm going to mention them anyway, because I currently don't have much else to do.
Basically this is what I'm afraid of:
Ranking systems create competition, even if you don't intend it. Competition leads to people trying to game the system. If for example a certain type of game, or certain page layout generally leads to a higher rank, more and more people will just end using these things, which then will dissolve the game's individuality. Kind of like what happened to YouTube, where you now have this infinite parade of the same type of video, with the same composition, the same title, the same thumbnail.
So you then have to either obscure the paremeters that determine your rank, which makes it less useful, or you end up with people possibly exploiting the shit out of it.
Maybe there's a way to provide the same kind of feedback, but without attaching a number and hierarchy to it? This way folks could still gauge how much they improved their visibility, without all the icky competition stuff (or at least with less of it).
So I was just browsing through my Game's analytics pages, because I was really bored and noticed some additional numbers being displayed at the top of them. On my commercial game's page I noticed a "Rank" and I'm really confused what this is.
I also don't want to see it, because I'm not at all interested in how my game compares to any other title. However seeing that number still makes me think about it, because I'm the type of person who always worries about stuff and thinks that their work isn't good enough. So seeing my game being associated with a number that suggests some kind of hierarchy immediately makes my head spin.
First of all, I would like to know if you folks have announced that feature anywhere and if not, what the motivation was behind it.
Next, I would like to have an option to remove that rank from my analytics pages. If people want to join a pissing contest about whose game's the best on itch, let them, but please give us an option to just walk away from it.
Skuiggle is a nice little game that lets you paint abstract, colourful pictures, via the wonderous combinations of funky controls, box collection and explosions! It's very quick to play and you can save your paintings once you art done!
Skuiggle also has a local multiplayer mode, where up to two people can do arts at the same time! You don't even need two controllers for that to work! Just one controller is enough, because the right analogue stick can used to control the second player, while the left one controls the first. You can also share your keyboard together, if you're not into sharing a controller with one person.
By the way: Skuiggle is FREE! Isn't that great! So much potential for great art, and you don't have to pay a thing!
I love Skuiggle!
I did another small update today that changes some minor stuff and also fixes a handful of bugs that have been brought to my attention.
So here's the list
- Got rid of the Holiday decoration just in time before it started feeling weird
- Added a differen Explosion sprite
- Changed the way some sound effects are played, which should make the overall listening experience a bit less janky
- Fixed a crash that happened when you died at the Garbageboss
- Changed the layout of one stage a little bit to avoid people ending up with a bugged out camera
- Technically I did this during the secret holiday update, but some enemies now leave their heads behind after they exploded. There's no functionality behind it, I just found it funny and wondered why I haven't already done that before.
As always thank you for your support and the feedback. I may not work on this game as diligintly as I did a few months ago, but I'm still looking into small ways to improve it. So please, if you have any thought, don't hesitate to tell me.
We don't really know the nature of these distribution agreements, so maybe the devs can't really decide how and where their games are being sold. Personally I would be fairly pissed at the low effort that's being displayed here, because it doesn't really speak highly about the amount of care those distributors put into the products they represent.
However I don't think that this neccessarily a big problem, as is when some folks are just selling Steam Keys of their games. Where I start to feel uneasy about, is when the work of bigger publishers gets frontpage features. For example a few months ago DoubleFine put a bunch of their older stuff on itchio and it took a lot of space from other smaller titles. I get that it's important for itch to point out that larger companies are coming over and that the platform itself is growing. But I don't think that featuring games that don't really need the extra attention, are supposed to represent what makes the platform what it is.
This all isn't really big deal to me, at least not right now. These problems are part of what happens when an open platform grows and it's important to adress them properly, before they might get out of hand.
Just wanted to let you know that I've just uploaded a patched version of the Demo. Feel free to re-download this one, if you want to see what hyper mode is all about.
Also thanks again for letting me know. It's a bit strange that this bug went past me, but at least it's fixed now.
Wow this is really confusing.
According to the message the game crashes because it's looking for a specific sound file that isn't there. What's weird is that it is there on my end and I have no clue what's causing your problem. Basically when you activate hyper mode (I think O should be the default button for that, but I don't have a Playstation controller around), the game pauses whatever music's running in the background under certain circumstances. Only your case it crashes.
I would appreciate it, if you could try the following things for me, so that I can maybe figure out what's wrong:
press O right at the start of a run. Does it crash?
press O after you've killed one enemy. Does it crash?
Could you try and see of this also happens, when you press "D" on the keyboard. That should be the default keyboard key for hyper mode.
Aside from that, maybe try either updating your version or reinstalling it, maybe something went wrong there?
Sorry that I don't have an easy answer here, but I'll try and figure out what causes this.
Take regular breaks. Go for walks. Meet some friends.
When I was about to finish my last (and first) big game, I didn't do any of those things and it let me into getting sleeping problems and all sorts of other stress related problems.
So take care of yourself.
Aside from that, try to break down your tasks into smaller bits and work on those small things. I have a giant piece of paper with sticky notes on my wall and each note was one task. It helped me to stay on track and stay motivated, because you're constantly removing things.
The last thing: If your project is this close to being done, avoid the temptation of adding completely new stuff to it. Your pile of tasks should decrease with every workday and not grow bigger.
But as I said, take care of yourself, seriously.
I had a chance to watch a lot of people play Splinter Zone during a festival last week and I saw a lot of stuff that I didn't like. This update adresses most of it and should make the game a bit less clunky to play.
I'm also working on a much larger update that is going to add more content to the game, but this one's still a few weeks away from being done.
Anyway, here are the notes:
- Arrows on conveyor belts now have different colours depending on their direction
- When you're below level 3, your XP only gets cut by 25% after getting hit. You still lose 50% of your XP, when you at level 3 or above
- Changed the placement and length of some ladders
- Adjusted the height of some platform, to make some jumps less awkward
- Made it less likely that the camera breaks in some places
- Delayed some enemy attacks, to give players a bit more time to attack them before getting hit
- Adjusted the placement of some enemies and also the way they spawn, should you approach them from the right side of the screen
The changes mostly adress cases where people were having trouble, where I did not want them to have them. The biggest adjustmen is probably the XP loss (again) and the reason for it is the same for when I made the first adjustment. First time players get hit a lot, because they're still learning how to deal with enemies. Getting hit often means they won't get enough XP to gain levels, which makes it less likely they start learning about how they work and how to use Hyper Mode. With this adjustment I hope that it's now possible to quickly gain at least one level without much trouble. The higher XP loss at level 3 and 4 is acceptable in my opinion, because the benefit from having these levels is so high. I don't want it to be trivial to reach the higher levels, because the game gets significantly easier once you reach them. At the same time I want people to catch onto the level system and hyper mode as quickly as possible.
Anyway, please let me know what you think. Balancing this whole stuff is tricky, because I need to make it accessible to new players, without trivializing the challenge for those of you who already know the intricacies of the game.
As always, thank you very much for your support and your interest in this game. There are not that many of you out there, but be sure that I appreciate every single one of you.
Today's update is a bit weird, because it mostly affects the secret levels, or parts of them. My apologies, if the notes seem to be a bit lacking because of that.
- If you managed to complete two secret stages within a run, the game might give you a hint on the third stage's location. You still have to figure out the exact location, as well as how to get there yourself.
- Fixed a bug with the level sequencing, that affected the levels that have secret level entrances in them. Basically, if you have completed a secret level, the chance of getting a level that has an entrance to one that you haven't completed yet, increases for your next loop (and drops off, if you don't visit it). This wasn't completely working as intended, but it should be fixed now.
- Added two things to stuff that I can't talk about openly, because of spoilers.
- The description of Hyper mode and the leveling system now reflects the most recent changes to said system.
As always, thank you very much for your support and please let me know, if you have any questions or suggestions.
Updated the workwall to reflect my new reality a bit better. I'll still continue working on Splinter Zone (I have at least two larger updates in mind), but I'll try and shift my priorities over towards other projects.
Of course this doesn't mean that Splinter Zone will be abandoned or anything. I just need to organize my stuff that I can keep moving forward.
The game's now out for a bit more than a week and let me just take the opportunity to thank everyone who has bought it so far. It's nice to see that people have an interest in something I spend 18 months on creating and it's even better to see that most seem to actually enjoy it.
I'm starting to feel a bit better, so I sat down and worked on another small update. I'm still a bit unsure on how to proceed further in the future. I do have some rough plans for bigger updates, but this will probably take some time. Until then I'm going to make sure that I adress whatever problems arise.
Anyway, here are the notes for today's update
- Slowed down the speed of some enemy projectiles
- Slowed down the animation speed of some enemies which hopefully makes it easier for you to hit them, while they're vulnerable
- Slightly increased the speed in which you're climbing on ladders
- If you've managed to complete two or more secret levels, even more enemies will appear
The first two changes address some of the feedback I've been getting and both should make the game a bit more forgiving (at least in some parts). Difficulty adjustment is something I probably still have to figure out for a while, so please bear with me as slowly make this game a bit more beginner friendly. I think both updates this week address the most glaring issues, but there still might be some work left.
To kind of balance this out, I tried to add a few more enemies that appear, after you've complete the secret levels. Those usually don't affect newer players, because it's very unlikey that they complete the stages that triggers them, but they should those of you a bit of an extra challenge, that are already at a higher level of play.
As always, let me know what you think, and let me know if you run into any problems. I've been getting some vague complaints from a few people that the controls seem to be bugging out sometimes, but right it's hard for me to figure out exactly what might cause them. So if you encounter any cases where your controls seemed to have stopped working, please let me know and maybe also tell me which type of controller you were using.
Again, thank you very much for your support.
Have a nice weekend.
Sorry for the silence for the past few days. I'm dealing with a really nasty cold right now that refuses to go away and I was also really tired after the game's launch, so I took a few days off.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I pushed an Update for Splinter Zone, that addresses some of the feedback that I've gotten so far.
- Enbabled Steam's Screenshot function (no one told that I had to do this myself! (not relevant for the version here, but just in case)
- Added an option to delete your save, in case you want to do that.
- Getting hit now reduces your current XP by 50%, instead of setting it back to 0. I hope this makes the levels and using hyper mode more practical for folks who aren't total pros at this game.
- Increased the amount of XP you get from some enemies a little bit
- Fixed a rare bug, where the game wouldn't let you restart a run, after you've died.
Please let me know what you think. I'm going to keep an eye on the XP-Thing myself. The system is really hard to balance properly, because when you're really experienced, you can keep your levels almost indefinitely with the current setup. However, having you lose all your XP after getting hit, makes it hard for newer players to actually get any levels and therefore they end up never using hyper mode, which they really should.
Never tested the screenshot function myself. Going to look into that at some point.
The endscreen will now get fixed, since it's seems to be a real issue for people that are not me. I still have no idea what causes it though.
Generally speaking though, it might take me a bit until I get around to it, because right now I'll have to take a step back for a bit and try to rest.
If you claimed your download key, you should have one? If not, let me know and I'll send one your way. I have plenty of them, so I'm not holding them back or anything.
There's a logic to the teleport pads.
There's also a logic behind new enemies suddenly appearing
There's also a Forum for this kind of stuff, having these comments under a blogpost is slightly irritating.
Danke! Ich glaube die Spielebranche muss es weiter mit mir aushalten, ungeachtet wie gut sich das Spiel jetzt verkaufen wird. Das Ganze macht mir einfach zuviel Spaß, als das ich jetzt aufhören würde.
Dein Angebot behalte ich mal für später im Kopf, möglich dass mir da nochwas einfällt...
This will probably be the last Update before I'm going to press the big, scary "full release" button on June 1st.
To be honest, I didn't keep track about what I changed within the last few weeks, so apologies, if some changes here are not mentioned:
- Improved the pause screen visuals
- Improved the death screen visuals
- Added two more music tracks to the game (won't tell you where they are)
- Changed some things in some bossfights, which hopefully makes them a bit less boring
- Changed the visuals in the water levels (some more background graphics and a nicer looking water surface)
- Some levels will now have additional enemies, if you manage to survive long enough.
- Changed the level sorting algorithm, to make it less likely that levels repeat themselves
While playing, I did run into a very rare issue, where sometimes the "deathscreen" won't register any inputs (and also would not play any sound effects). It's very inconsistent and I have no idea what causes it. If you run into it, please let me know. I also had one crash, where for some reason the game failed to load the array that initialises the level sorting stuff. Again, if your run into that one, let me know. However this isn't a permanent thing, and should be "fixed" by just restarting the game.
Oh, you can also get your Steamkey now, if you purchased the game here. The version the should be there same as here, only with added achievements.
Just wanted to let you know that I submitted Splinter Zone's Steam page for review and if everything goes well, it should be available in a few days? Probably after the weekend I pressume. Next thing up will a almost finished build of the game that I also have to submit there. But this needs some more time, because I still have some Steamworks integration to do and there's also one more thing I would like to try. I'm trying my best to have everything ready for submission sometime next week and if that goes well, expect a definite release date, as well as means to get your hands on the Steamversion itself.
As always, thank you very much for your support. I still can't believe that it's actually almost done now...
I uploaded a testversion to Steam to see how everything works over there and I actually managed to get it to work.
Expect some more information about Steam keys and all that fairly soon, because I think I need some help getting this thing right until the end.
I'm really excited by the way...
The wall won't be empty for long, but it still feels really good to have cleared every single task.
The game still needs a few more sound effects and I also need to take care some more technical stuff, but I should be able to start working on the Steam version next week. I also received a first sketch for the store art, and it seems really likely that I can release the final version by mid/end May.
Splinter Zone is now "Done". Meaning I won't add anything new to it anymore and instead start working towards the officially official release. I have to say that I'm really happy with it and I can't wait let this thing free.
The Release date is still a few weeks off, since I still need to sort out the Steam version and everything, but hopefully it shouldn't take very long until I can give you a precise date.
EDIT: Found A LOT of problems with the pause function, so I pushed another update that hopefully fixes most of them. Do let me know, if you find any problems, because I feel like I might've missed something.
EDIT2: Forgot to switch off a bunch of stuff, so I did another update...
Against what I said a few days ago, I decided to push one more update before the full release. I'm going to talk about the reason for this after the notes:
- Added two more secrets that hide permanent health upgrades
- Finished something that is so secret that I can't talk about it
- Maybe improved the performance of the game (well, it runs smoothly on my ancient laptop now...)
- Gamepad controls now work in the cheat menu
- Menus can now be controlled with the Analogue sticks
- The "Death Screen" now has a bunch more information
- It's now possible to immediately start a new run, after you've died
- You can also go back into the cheat menu from the deathscreen
- Smoothed out some of the soundeffects, I think this is the best it's going to be, without completely redoing all SFX
- A bunch of minor fixes
- Added a "Pause" screen
The main reason I'm putting this update out, is because I need some folks to test the Pause function. Please try to pause the game in a very irrational manner. Pause it at the end of a level. Pause it at the start. Pause while the screen is scrolling. Pause it when you're dying. Pause when you get hit. Pause it when you hit an enemy. This kind of stuff.
I'm incredibly wary that the pause may break a bunch of stuff that I haven't thought of yet, so I need you folks to help me to find at least the most obvious cases.
Apart from that I'm not really interested in getting any more general feedback. The game is what is now and it will be finished soon. Don't worry, if some elements still look a bit janky (the deathscreen for example), I'll try to make it look less ugly, if I have the time.
Of course, if you run into any bugs, feel free to let me know. Bug reports are always welcome. However, I'm not interested in any more suggestions, because I don't have the time to work on those.
Aside from that, let me also thank you all for your support. Money has been really tight and I wouldn't have gotten through some stretches in March and February, if it weren't for you. Things have been a bit rough in April and I'm still sort of recovering from it, but the break helped me to re-focus. From what I can see, I should be able to wrap up the remaining work within the next few days and after that I'll start working on the Steam version as quickly as possible.
In case you're wondering what the hell is going on, this is how the workwall looks like now.
You can see that I'm pretty much in the home strecht, you can even see a date when I intend to be done with everything.
To be honest, most of the tasks that I've listed here are things that take only a few minutes to fix, so even though I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, it looks like I might be done with this game even earlier than that.
However that does not mean, that the full release is imminent, there's still a lot of work left for me to do, before I can make that happen. It does however help me in making sure that the game will come out within May, which is good.
Anyway, it feels really good to make some steady progress again and also being able to fix a bunch of lignering issues the game still has.
I don't know, if I'll do another update here before the full version comes out. To be honest, I kind of don't want to get additional feedback at this point, because it would likely throw my plans out of order. I'd much rather try and wrap this thing up and see what I can fix after it's out properly.
This is going to be a short, because I didn't much the past week. I'll explain more after the notes
- should have solved the issue of players sometimes getting stuck in walls in space levels (let me know, if this still happens)
- activated highscore and stat tracking
- some minor visual improvements
This past weekend I started to not sleep very well. I was feeling agitated, nervous and make things worse, I had some slight feelings of discomfort in my chest. This and the fact that I couldn't explain what was wrong with me led to me having two panic attacks. One on Sunday, the other on Tuesday.
Yesterday night, as I felt it happening again, I actually went to a hospital to see a doctor, but he couldn't find anything wrong with me. I'm probably going to have to do another doctor's visit to get a bit more thorough check up, but from the looks of it, most of my current condition could be stress/mental health related.
As a first step to get myself back into shape, I decided to stop working on this game for at least another week. I have to wait for the store graphics to be done anyway, before I can start actually working towards the Steam version, so I'll use this a good excuse to turn things down a bit.
This of course means that future updates will be a bit off, until I can manage to take care of whatever it is that's currently wrong with me.
Still fee free to solicit feedback/bug reports, but unless it's something really urgent, don't expect a fast response.
This weeks update will be a bit early (that is when it finally finished processing) and you'll quickly see why this is the case.
So without further ado, here are the notes
- Fixed a bug where the game would crash, when you try to adjust the volume, without a gamepad being connected and without having started a run before that (this was a tough one to find)
- Connected more secret areas to the game
- changed the way the game saves your highscore
- added and connected a bunch of additional secret stuff
- disconnected everything and put something in the game that wipes of all your previous stats and scores
The game is really getting close to being done and I'm actually about to start working towards the steam/online implementation I have in mind. But before I can start working on that, I first had to make sure, that the game saves everything that needs to be saved in a manner that makes it almost impossible to use in a clean manner. For example, prior to this update, if your highscore exeeded the 1 million mark, it got saved in a weird format, with exponential numbers and everything and you can't display that on a screen.
So I redid the way the games saves your scores and to avoid any problems, I had to wipe all your previous saves. My apologies, but believe me, it was necessary.
The game is now also content complete. I probably won't be adding any new levels to it, contrary to what I said earlier. The main reason for it being, that I honestly can't think of any good ideas for new one's. I basically used up all of the existing enemies and stage hazards that I have and I don't really see the point in repeating challenges. I'd rather have a game with fewer levels, but where each level feels like a distinct challenge, than have one with more levels, but with less variety between them.
Maybe I'll add some more content after the game is done, but I don't want to make any promises right now.
There will definitely be another update next week, where I will activate the new highscore and stat tracking system.
After that I will try and get a Steam version up and running, so that folks can test it on there. Then comes as much polish as I can put on there and hopefully I'll be able to release the final version of the game before May.
As always, let me know what you think and if you run into and odd stuff