Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Kudos 2 design update

I’m now firmly at the ‘play the game until you detect an imbalance, then make a note and fix it’ stage. This can be a tad dull, because you are playing to test, not to have fun. The truly great news is that despite playing the game for hours at a time

1) It never has any performance problems of any sort ever, even in debug and

2) It never crashes.

I currently have a little list of niggles to fix for tonight and tomorrow like this:

todo : check that people get bored with an event even if you didn’t show up.
if you ignore a phone ring and go to the next day, its visually still flashing.
birthday screen friend description can be blank!
dog status text runs out of room.
I need new button graphics for graph screen
muscles should degrade slower
motorbike should give you some kudos or charisma or confidence
I maybe need some alert sound if dog fights off a burglar
might be funny to slightly stretch and squash avatars with weight.
paint ball gun needs a use button, for all year round.
dogs never eat any food.

I also have just one biggish design issue. Acting jobs last forevere, and as they have no promotions, you can get into condition for the job then ‘let yourself go’. I can’t decide right now whether to make the jobs a finite length (as in kudos 2). or have you sacked if your performance (job suitability in effect) falls below a certain level. Both ideas require horrid custom coding, but I thuink they are important to making the acting career more playable.

Today I also got some more NPC artwork, and switched payment providers abck to BMT. It’s all in a good cause (getting the best deal, and the best customer service for people buying the games).

5 thoughts on Kudos 2 design update

  1. Hi Cliffski,

    (I will have a comment some paragraphs down on the design issue you mention, but first some general comments introducing myself).

    I feel a bit badly as I was one of the individuals on Slashdot that grumbled (even ranted) about the order processing time on your games being 48 hours. That is what I was told, but the order was fulfilled in a couple of hours. Still slow, but not as horrible as I had thought it would be.

    After thinking about the situation, I realize why you (and your fulfillment processor) operate this way given the rate of fraud.

    You’ll be happy to know I didn’t need to pirate your games and am now happily enjoying Kudos and Rock Legend. Haven’t even installed Dem 2 yet as the other two have been so much fun.

    In the end I felt my experience with BMT was adequate. Not great, but adequate, and I apologize for my blunt Slashdot post.

    Let me ask you (since I know you’re aware of them; some interview mentioned you liked Galciv2): why not go with StarDock? Would they take too big a cut? I really like their approach to software, and their CEO seems like a good fellow.

    I intend to buy Kudos 2 (and would love to beta test if you’re having a beta). Perhaps having people preorder the game would automatically get them beta access?

    On the design issue you mention — acting job being indefinite and you can let yourself go.

    From a gameplay perspective I really liked the fact in Kudos1 that the acting jobs were limited in time. It was a shock to me when my first job ended, but I realized, yeah that’s the way acting works.

    Second, I think “being terminated” should apply to most Kudos jobs/careers. If you keep showing up drunk to a courtroom and partnership meetings as a lawyer, you’re probably going to get fired. (The equivalent of “letting yourself go”). If you’re a surgeon and your IQ falls significantly, then you might just be unable to hold on to your position.

    I recognize that from a programming perspective my response here is singularly unhelpful; I’m saying that not only should you write one custom bit of code, you should write both! That said, if you visualized some jobs as being temporary — e.g. realistically most office assistant jobs these days start off that way — and some as having hard requirements, then your “custom” coding could be made to apply to all jobs.

    I know, more of a hassle, but offhand I think it would enhance gameplay. I could, of course, be wrong.

    I admire your tenacity at pursuing your vision, and look forward to buying Kudos 2.


  2. And sorry, to add to what Jack Norton said above — “a game that never crashes is already a great success!”

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    I’ve played so many nifty-looking demos that crash (and you do have a nasty bug in Dem2 demo; it crashes if you try and mess with the time settings; more detail available if you don’t know what I mean).

    Such demos and games are ultimately singularly unimpressive. Your games run almost 100% error free with only a few internal quirks (sometimes graphics — e.g. phone/dialog box — stay up when they shouldn’t and clicking on them causes a crash. Sometimes tabbing in and out can do so, though that may not be your fault.) Overall, your games fit into the top 5-10% of consumer software I use in terms of reliability. Well done, sir.


  3. stardock already sell some of my games (democracy 2 and rock legend). I’m a big fan of stardock and their impulse system, and will hopefully sell future games through them too.

  4. I seem to have found a random crash – I use XP Media Center, and for some reason any time I try to visit the most expensive Mexican restaurant, the screen goes dark black (can still vaguely see the outline of the menu, and hear the music) and my computer is hard crashed. You can’t control alt delete to close the program as you can’t see anything, so the only option is to manually reboot.

    Any suggestions? Does anyone else have this?

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