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

Scary lack of indies

Why are so many indie PC developers only making casual games?

It seems every new ‘indie’ game I hear about is just another hidden object or diner dash clone with its sights aimed clearly at getting into the top 100 games at BigFishGames.

It seems that nobody is remotely interested in doing original, interesting games for the PC aimed at the 18-30 mostly male hardcore gamer.

I really hope that there are a bunch of people in that category, probably people loving Company of Heroes, Civilisation and Galactic Civ II who are looking for more games to buy, and will buy (not pirate) them on the PC. Because that’s my current plan. It may seem like swimming against the tide, but when the tide is making Diner Dash clones for bored housewives who can’t use two mouse buttons, for a 25% royalty, I think I’d rather stack shelves in ASDA than do that.

I’ve been distracted by various tedious non-game-coding stuff the last few days, but progress continues on the new game. It’s looking ok, and I’m still very keen on the idea. There’s a ton of work (especially a lot of GUI and AI work) to do before I can sit and play it and know how it’s going to end up. Recently, a lot of the work on the game has been doing faster rendring stuff, although tbh it runs at over 300 FPS on my machine, so I doubt it’s a major issue. Next week I’m determined to work on the ‘second’ part of the game (the game is basically three major components interlinked). Thats much more GUI-centric.

Tips for Using Google Analytics

Here’s an article I’ve added to the positech website today. It’s a few basic tips for people who sell software (like me) and use google analytics to look at their website data:

Hopefully some people might find it useful. maybe one or two of them will check out my games. Who knows? I’ve submitted the article to digg, and you can digg it here if you have a free digg account:

And if you can stumble it in stumbleupon that would be great! I’ve actualyl really come to like stumbleupon. It genuinely does seem to be able to find websites you like, but didn’t know existed. Check it out if you haven’t already.

The future? Casual? Strategy?

I’ve learned a lot from the success of Kudos, from making kudos Rock legend and Kudos 2. Especially Kudos 2. Those 3 games have taught me what polish really means, how to ship a product once it’s finished, rather than when I’ve had enough, and how to make games easy to learn and balanced enough for most players to enjoy right out of the box.

But most of the casual games out there bore me to tears. I want games that make me THINK. Not in a predictable, mechanical way like sudoku. Not just give my eyes some boring seek and find workout such as in the hidden object games. And certainly not in the click-fest time management sense.

I want a game that makes me think creatively. that challenges me to think outside the box, to evolve strategies and plans and tactics.

that’s what I hoped Kudos and Democracy did. Democracy was mroe clearly a strategy game, but Kudos was one too. My next game is all about strategy. Not TACTICS. That’s what most RTS games are about. This one will be about STRATEGY. But it will be (hopefully) as polished and accessible as the casual games.

The only emails I don’t reply to (sorry!)

It seems every tenth person with a computer is a composer of music for Video games, who currently has a gap in their schedule and wants to make music for my next game.

At least, that is what you might think if you saw my inbox. I’m sure I’m not special, I bet anyone who makes indie games, and who has the budget to actually pay people to make music gets the same number of CV’s and emails sent to them as I do. generally speaking I try to reply to everyone who emails me, regardless what it is about (unless it’s yet more justifications of piracy – I’ve read enough now thanks). However, I confess I don’t reply to unsolicited CV’s from music composers.

Partly this is because there is such a glut of them right now that I know I’ll never have a problem finding one when I need one, and partly because the guy I used for my last two games does exactly the sort of music I’ll need for my next one, so the chances of me needing a new composer in the near future are pretty much zero.

So if you are reading this at music college and hoping to make your fortune in the games industry doing music for games, trust me, get a different plan, because there are WAY too many people out there trying to do that right now. Learn C++ instead :D.