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Stand Off Software

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A member registered May 02, 2017 · View creator page →

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I am neither left nor right. In fact, I don't believe in "left vs right" politics. It's nowhere near adequate to describe the variety of different views that people can hold.

You are quite right though in that I completely refrain from ever saying anything political. It's a scary situation these days where if you post something on Twitter that some people don't happen to agree with, they might just jump all over you and literally ruin your life. So I stay out of it completely. I resist all temptation to make any political posts or replies anywhere, and just stick to game-related stuff. That approach may not be for everyone, but it feels safest to me.

I'm not an expert on targeting or anything, but I'd say like 9-15 year olds probably.

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I have decided that my best bet for the success of this game is to seek a publisher for it. I made a trailer specifically to send to publishers to get them interested in the game. If anyone has any feedback on it before I start sending it out, I would very much appreciate it.

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I did go into the first level again after beating my first run to see how flying around felt after the change. It's better than before. But also yes, just the turning speed itself helps so much in the feel of the game.

It seems to me the best strategy I can find for this game is to never move. I spawn in, shoot all the asteroids I see to break them apart, then shoot all the green zurg asteroids that are floating around everywhere and pass the level. The laser goes quite far and I can hit most asteroids I can see without moving. Moving is just a waste of fuel and inefficient.

Posted in Some Comments

Just tried the new build. I'll put my comments about my playthrough in a bullet list.

  • I cranked the difficulty up to 100 the first time through starting with no upgrades. Still no problem finishing it.
  • I never once used my thrusters. I sat in the same place I spawned in every belt every time.
  • I was never once hit by an asteroid.
  • Three times I was attacked by enemy ships (up from zero times in the previous build unless I sought them out). One of those times, the attack did hinder my progress significantly because there were a whole lot of them.
  • I chose the available belt with the most zurg every time. In case of a tie, I chose the one with fewer enemies.
  • In the beginning, I was clearing most belts in about 150 seconds, and toward the end with upgrades from defeating the enemies, I was clearing most belts in about 70 seconds.
  • The better agility feels a lot nicer.
  • I definitely noticed that Helado was moving more slowly.
  • I finished with BT trailing by about 350.

One tip I want to give on adjusting difficulty. What I usually do is make the hardest difficulty impossible, then barely scale back from there. Make it such that is literally impossible to win on difficulty 100 with full upgrades. No matter what you do, and how many times you try you can't do it. Then adjust your other difficulties based on that. Then slightly scale it back so that it is only almost impossible to win on difficulty 100 with full upgrades.

The price for length really depends very much on the genre of game. The best way to determine this when making a game is to look up popular games that are similar and see what they are selling for and how long they are.

For adventure games (what I usually play and make), the going rate at the moment seems to be about $2-$3 per hour of gameplay. For RPG's however, that may have a longer play time but only because of repetitive battles (grinding) taking up a lot of the time, the cost per hour is going to be much less than that.

It also highly depends on the quality of the game as well. It also depends on how well-known the studio is. A well-respected studio known for quality games can charge more and still get enough sales. It also gets cheaper per hour the longer the game is, too. If you make an adventure game that's 50 hours long, that doesn't mean you can charge $100 for it because no one is going to pay $100 for an adventure game.

There are a lot of factors that come into this, but as I started off saying, the best way to find out a price for your game is to look for similar games of similar lengths that are doing well, and see what they're priced at.

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Don't want to get off topic with a deep discuss of Gone Home, but in a nutshell, it's a walking simulator so there is no game to play. That can be fine, but if you're not providing any gameplay, you better have a damn interesting story. Gone Home does not. It's also way overpriced for its length. So I suppose to answer your question, things it could do to be better is either have some actual game to play, or have an interesting story, or both.

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An indie game isn't "supposed" to be anything. Some people think of indie games as more artsy simply because indie games can be artsy. Big studios don't have the luxury of appealing to only a smaller niche audience like art games will do. They have to make back the absurd amount of money they spent making the game.

When you make an "art game," you're making a game that will only appeal to a small niche audience, which means most people will not like it. Indie games that are produced cheaply can get away with that. For example, I think "Gone Home" is a terribly overrated game, boring and reliant on cliches instead of real story telling, and lots of people agree with me. But that's ok because Gone Home didn't spend a huge amount of money on production, so it doesn't have to appeal to everyone.

I don't think any reasonable person thinks that indie games have to be art games, but they can be. They can also be point and click adventures and lots of other types of games that big studios won't touch because they won't make millions of dollars a year on them. Indies can make them because they don't have to make millions of dollars a year.

Posted in Some Comments

That's certainly reasonable to get the game working as intended before considering adding anything else. I hope you don't completely dismiss the idea of adding more challenges though. I don't think it would be gutting the design but rather building on your foundation.

In any case, let me know when you think you have it working the way you want, and I'll give it another test.

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To tell you the truth, I already figured out that the Smokey and the Bandit things were sort of tacked on for flavor, and not really part of the original game concept, but I used examples from that in hopes to spur you on to deepen the gameplay.

As a first game ever, this one is very well done. Not many first games ever by anyone are this polished. Incredibly good job! However, I think the most important thing in my post, and what you should pay attention to the most, is this sentence: "This seems more like a prototype of a system than a full game."

The things like ship speed and the others are important, but the most important thing that stops this game from really being fun is that there isn't much to do and it doesn't have much character. Whether you want to flesh out the Smokey and the Bandit aspect or go in a different direction, in order for this to be a fully realized game, there just needs to be more complexity. If you are ready to dump this game, call it finished, and move onto the next then that's fine and understandable, but if not, I think there is really a lot of potential here to make a really good game, and I don't think I've ever said that to anyone about their very first game before. :-)

What you have right now is a damn good framework for what could be built into a really fun game, but not so much a fun game itself. Look at a game like Orbox C. It's a really really simple game concept. Get the square from the start to the end place. Easy enough. But then they add on additional goals to that which make the game more interesting and varied. Sometimes you have 3 or 4 goals in one level, like you have to get the square from beginning to end but first you have to collect all the glowing things and also break all the ice squares and also turn all the sides of the circle things on. This is a concept that could be really handy in your game. The primary mission is to gather fuel, but there are other things that have to also be done. And the intensity has to ramp up as the game goes on.

Also I do have an idea of about how much time it took to get through the levels. On my final playthrough (on difficulty 100) it usually took about 2 minutes (120 seconds) to get through a level. This explains why I never saw enemies I guess. I was almost always out before they spawned.

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I played the game for a while and here are my comments :-)

First of all, I completely love the concept. The idea of Smokey and the bandit in space is a primo idea that can really go places. That said, this game in its current state doesn't really capture that. here are some critiques:

  • The first thing you notice is that the ship flies really really slowly. I'm supposed to be the counterpart to The Bandit here, a fast driving dare-devil outlaw, but I'm cruising around in asteroid fields at the speed of a grandma out for a Sunday drive. In fact most of the time I didn't even have to move an inch from where I started. I just shot at the asteroids around me until I progressed to the next level.
  • The music doesn't elicit any excitement either. Eventually I started listening to the Smokey and the Bandit theme "East Bound and Down" while playing and that helped quite a bit actually, but made me even more want to be zooming through avoiding the cop space ships rather than sitting in one place shooting at asteroids over and over. Could you imagine a space game with an upbeat country music soundtrack? That would be awesome and very original. The music that's there now just sounds like generic spacey music.
  • Repetitive game play. I've hit on this in my last two points but all there is to do all game is shoot asteroids over and over and over and over. Even on the hardest difficulty, I rarely ever even saw an enemy space ship. It was just sitting in one place shooting asteroids every single level.
  • Far too easy. I cranked it up to difficulty 100 my third play-through ever and had no problem at all getting to the end. There's no challenge in this game.

The graphics are fine, I didn't find any bugs or glitches. It seems to work well for what it is, but this seems more like a prototype of a system than a full game. Getting fuel from asteroids is a fine base goal, but there needs to be more variety than that.

Think back to the Smokey and the bandit movie. The bandit's job was to distract the cops so the Snowman could drive through without issues. What if that was part of the job of the player in this game too? Instead of being able to sit and shoot asteroids, you had to seek out the bad guys and keep them distracted or they would go attack the smuggler!

And what if you couldn't actually shoot them (at least very easily) instead you had to get them to chase you and then outsmart them by running fast through the asteroid fields which included other obstacles like tunnels through very large asteroids and other things which your fast and agile ship could avoid but they would crash into. This is the kind of fast-paced action that would really bring the spirit of the movie to life. And it would give the opportunity to give the different regions a very different feel since the layouts and obstacles would be different and increasing in difficulty.

So while this game has an incredibly cool concept, I don't believe that concept is realized in its current form. I hope you keep working on it as the idea has so much potential.

So Smokey and the Bandit in space? I love the concept. I'll give it a try :-)

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I'm getting closer to finishing my somewhat absurdist comedy fantasy point and click adventure game Unicorn Dungeon! I figure I will attempt to keep a dev log until release.

Story:

The game follows the adventure's of Sir Typhil of Creulor who sets out in search of a unicorn and become king.  What actually happens turns out... a bit different. Unicorn Dungeon is the first of a planned series of games following the adventures of Sir Typhil, which will become increasingly more absurd as time goes on.

Comedy:

The game features my own brand of comedy, which may or may not be a good thing... It's not slapsticky silly or filled with one liners but the humor is derived from a story that takes itself very seriously (thus the narrator can even be seen as a primary character), and characters who largely fail to notice the completely absurd and surreal world and situations around them. Thus the comedy often ends up quite dry and takes some turns toward dark.

Trailer:

This trailer is actually the entire opening cutscene of the game with a splash screen at the end.


Gameplay:

The game is a point and click adventure game with all that entails. However, I'm not great at sticking to only one genre in games. There will be a few scenes that will be in a completely different genre (one rogue-like scene in Unicorn Dungeon, for example). This might not be the case in every episode, but I certainly don't shy away from suddenly changing genres mid-game from time to time ;-)

Timeline:

With most of the framework in place, I currently expect to have the first three episodes out before GDC in March. This first episode, Unicorn Dungeon, should be out within the month. Episode two has already been completely designed, and some work has already been done on it.

With that, here are a few more screen shots:



Thanks for the additional info. The overwrite warning is a very good idea! I find a good strategy when fighting (especially in the first fight level) is to jump over the enemy and attack from behind before he can turn around, then get out of the way before he swings at you.

Thank you very much for the comments.

  • I will look into this problem. To give me a clearer idea where to look, did you exit the pause menu by clicking the "resume" button or by pressing the esc key? (btw, the game autosaves, so you should be able to load and get back to where you were without completing the first section again.)
  • Are you completely certain that you had to jump way high like was it the same as if they were standing? I'm trying to figure out if this is a collider bug that is keeping the collider in the standing position, or designed behavior. It was designed so you have to jump over dead bodies, but the collider should be pretty low, matching the body on the ground.
  • I will consider putting a parry in. I'm a bit concerned this would make the fighting sections too easy if instead of avoiding the attacks, you could just press a button and block them.
  • You can skip dialog after 1 second. The first time you click LMB it completes the scrolling dialog and the second time it skips it. This is to avoid people accidentally skipping dialog which happens all the time in game that don't have a skip delay, and can be quite annoying.

Thank you for your comments so far. I look forward to reading what you have to say when you have had a chance to play it.

I just hosted the $101 Adventure Game Challenge jam which will be a yearly event, and I wish to use all of these features for the next one, but that's about a year away since the first one just finished. I may host other jams in the meantime though which would use these features, and I'll let you know if so. Also, feel free to contact me any time about them as I would love to be involved.

Thanks!

Thanks for the feedback. You are right that it is somewhat odd in that it doesn't fit neatly into a particular genre. Although it is primarily in the point and click adventure game genre, it has elements of other genres that may turn off some hardcore adventure fans. If this were the nature of comments I had gotten, I would completely understand that. Thanks very much for taking a look.

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Hello folks. I couldn't figure out where to put this post, and here seemed like the best place. It is a finished game so not technically a dev log, but what I'm looking for is not to announce its release (it was released 4 months ago) but to try to get feedback and understand some of the scant feedback I have gotten.

It has been like pulling teeth to get feedback on this game, and I haven't really gotten any, but I have gotten a few comments, and I cannot understand what they mean. From the comments I have seen, it sounds like the person is playing a completely different game. And they never provide any details about what they mean. I won't print the comments I have gotten here just yet since I don't want to influence anyone who wants to help me out, but I find them truly baffling.

Can some people *please* play this game and tell me if it's actually horrible and I'm somehow not seeing it? It's free to download. Sure, it's not a AAA game or anything, but it's pretty fun... I think?

It's primarily an adventure game with a few side-scrolling action segments. If you love adventure games, I especially want to hear from you, but feedback from anyone is very much appreciated.

Anyway, I would really really love to hear any feedback you have, the more detailed the better.

https://stand-off-software.itch.io/youre-my-hero

Thanks!

The installer and game both worked.

It works now! :-)

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I did a bit more research and apparently there is something called Smartscreen that some people have enabled on their computers. I still don't completely understand it, except that it's nothing but a huge nuisance and should be turned off as soon as possible. Are you using Explorer/Edge by any chance? It seems like most results I found in my search related to people using those browsers. Or maybe you're using Winows 8? (the worst operating system ever made) I see a lot of issues with that related to Windows 8 as well. In any case, rest assured that it has to do with settings on your own computer, and it's Microsoft's fault. I don't know how many people have this thing enabled, but I haven't heard of any problems with people trying to play my games yet, so probably most people know how to shut it off or get around it or don't have it active. (it's deactivated in Windows Defender settings I think)

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I just downloaded and unzipped your game. I am running Windows 10. It gave me the same old message "The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want run this software?" message. I get that message pretty much every time I run an exe file. All but the biggest noobs to Windows will be used to that message by now. They just decide if they trust the source they downloaded it from, and if they do, they click the "run" button. Nothing out of the ordinary. Is this something different than you are seeing?

P.S Your game didn't work for me. it's just a black screen after the Made with Unity splash screen.

P.P.S. Please go back to Inno Setup. Your Winzip self extractor didn't even give me any options of where to unzip it to. I still don't know where it unzipped to. It looks like some kind of temporary folder or something. So you want people to unzip it every time they play it? Inno Setup has been around for 20 years and is very trusted. In fact I dare say it's the best install program out there and I've tried quite a few.

I suppose I should jump in here and introduce myself. My name is Vance. I am the programmer and game designer for Stand Off Software. I have been making games for quite some time but haven't been on itch.io all that long. I guess my first relatively successful game was a MUD in the late 90's called 'Epic of Krast." Successful in that it got a lot of players, not that it made me any money... My recent success has been with a trilogy of adventure games within Second Life called Lutra City Mysteries which also gets lots of players but doesn't make me any money. One of these days I'll figure out this money thing. For the last year, I have been working on adventure games including a stand-alone Lutra City Mysteries series which failed on Kickstarter but I will figure out how to fund it somehow. Meanwhile I am concentrating on a different series of adventure games that are sort of absurdist comedy fantasy.

I currently have two games on itch.io: You're My Hero and Novelist Simulator, both free.

I also write music and play in two rock bands. Since everyone else mentions it, I suppose I will too :-)

Happy to be on this great site!

My Twitter

My Discord Server

bumping this back to the top because it's important, and I see from another thread that some people aren't seeing it.

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No, people who aren't interested in your games are not "trolls." You asked why you are not getting downloads. I am trying to help you figure out the answer. After watching the gameplay footage you provide on the pages, I am fairly confident that a large part of why you are not getting downloads is that the games don't look fun. One appears to be a cheap bejeweled knockoff, and the other you just shoot people coming through a door over and over. Congratulations on completing some games. That in itself is a great accomplishment and you should be proud of it. A few people might even think these games look fun? But my opinion is that not many will, and that's likely part of the reason you are not getting downloads. Other reasons are what I stated above which are that you are limiting your audience substantially by making VR games, and that marketing is really really hard. Soul-crushingly hard.

I watched both of the videos for your games and, if I can be completely honest with you here, neither of them look very fun. I don't have a VR thingy but if I did, I highly doubt I would download those games. In fact, after seeing you post above that you make "amazing things" and then seeing those videos, I'm kind of starting to wonder if this thread is even serious.

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For a variety of reasons, I prefer this site to other similar distribution platforms, but I think we all know there is another site that is beating the pants off of this one when it comes to game jams. Having run two game jams on this site, I have a few suggestions to bring itch.io up to the best of the best when it comes to game jamming. Some of these are things the other site already has that this one is sorely lacking, and others of these ideas are my own ideas from my experience running jams.

1. Custom pages - Be able to add pages to the jam that have separate tabs across the top. Right now the jams are all on one page and if you have a lot of info, the description gets quite long-winded. Jam organizers should be able to add other pages to categorize the content.

2. Awards - Right now there is a rating system that ranks games by voting criteria, but you can't single out games for specific awards. Example of awards might be a "judges choice" award for each of the judges or "smallest file size" award or any number of things a game could be recognized for that makes no sense to be a judging criteria.

3. Weighted Criteria - The jam organizer can weight the criteria as to how much they will contribute to the overall ranking. If a jam is very story-focused, the organizer will want to weight the "story" and "characters" criteria higher than "graphics" and "sound." This can be done by having a multiplier for each criteria that defaults to 1.

4. Multiple Voting Systems - Each game could receive a community vote and ALSO a vote by the judges that are counted separately from each other. Both systems have their good and bad points, so why not be able to have both.

5. Manuel Ranking - An additional ranking system is added which can be enabled and then ranks are entered manually by the jam organizer. The organizer gives each game a rank by hand based on either his sole discretion or any other way of judging that takes place off the site such as in-person discussion with the panel of judges.

6. Back Bin - This is an area in which games are put that are disqualified from the jam because they did not follow the rules. Many jam organizers, including myself, don't want to wantonly toss games out of the jam entirely if they failed to follow one or more rules, but they should be excluded from the primary ranking system. This is important because people who come to the jam after it's over to play the games, are going to lose interest pretty fast if they keep running across games that didn't follow the rules. After all, they chose to play games in this jam for a reason, presumably because they are interested in the theme or rules. They don't want to find games in there that didn't follow them. On the other hand, people did work hard on those games, and it doesn't seem completely in the spirit of a game jam to just toss them out.

Thanks for reading my suggestions.

Ooooohhh. All you have to do is promote the games. Gee why didn't we think of that.... (e_e) Or I suppose you may be right that free is too overpriced.

Thanks Negativo!

This thread should be pinned in my opinion. Half of the inspiration and motivation that comes from game jams is due to chatting with and sharing with the other participants. A Discord server is a must-have.

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I understand your pain. I have two games up on this site and they get few downloads, the more popular one has 30 downloads total. And my game doesn't require additional hardware. Your VR game is going to have a much smaller potential audience. The issue isn't the site, it's the fact that games need promotion. There is no magical place to put your game that's going to make people aware of it. The easy part of indie game development is making games. The hard part is that you also have to be a marketing expert or it's all for nought.

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Just went back and listened to the music again. It looks like there are three pieces of music. The one at the intro screen is interesting. I really like that one. Also one of the two that play during the game is quite interesting as well, but the other doesn't really stand out much. It's fine background music but just doesn't really stand out and that seems to be the one that plays more often than the more interesting one. Also it seems the music stops playing after a while and is completely silent until you do something that makes it start up again. I suppose those are the reasons I didn't notice the music very much. The more interesting piece plays more rarely and a lot of time there is no music. But yes some of the music is quite interesting.

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The rock was the main one. I didn't see it there cause it just looked like a blob of grey. But I don't know how you do a rock any better really. And like I said it wasn't really an issue cause eventually found it since the words pop up.

What's a rock doing inside on the floor anyway? :-P Well, it's an adventure game. Rocks are all over the place.

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I eventually figured out how to win but the game play made no sense to me. It's just random trial and error to see what things do. Like interacting with a crate makes an orange move... I couldn't make any sense of any of it.

The interaction method is pretty strange. Why do you have to hold the mouse and wait for a circle to fill to interact?

no audio

The graphics are ok.

This game is kind of confusing without much to do. The protagonist is apparently famous, but it doesn't make it clear why. Also why did they knock him out and take him out onto a boat just to try to kill him? The story didn't make much sense. It wasn't until the second time playing that I even realized how he got on the boat. At first I thought it was a dream he was waking up from and he was on the boat all along.

The graphics are very nice. There isn't really much to the game though. Didn't make sense to me why I couldn't jump over the rocks to the boat, and also couldn't pick up the bucket. Eventually found that I had to go down another path, see some fire, then go back and it would let me get the bucket.

No story or character development.

This seems to me like a game that was supposed to be a lot longer and then got cut down due to time constraints. There are many rooms but only 3 that are good for anything. There is hardly anything to interact with, just people (most of whom are useless) and one object.

The art is good enough to see what's going on but not great. It's so scribbly that it's kind of confusing to the eye.

The music is not particularly noteworthy but at least it has music and that's something.

I found the puzzle unintuitive, and eventually just solved it by dumb luck going around and clicking everything.

There isn't a whole lot to this game. It has an interesting concept but doesn't really follow through with it.

The art is good, it's a minimalist style but works well. The music is decent as well.

The game play consists of two puzzles both of which I solved before I even knew they existed. I got the key before I knew the door was locked, and I got the shovel before I knew I needed to dig a hole.

What little story exists is told completely through the radio, which you never need to click on so you could miss the story entirely. Neither of the characters are developed at all really.