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

Great space sim

It seems small indie companies can still turn out very competitive space sim games. check this out:

I tried the demo earlier and was very impressed. I’m not sure how big the company is, but for a non-famous developer this is pretty awesome stuff. It’s good to play new space games right now, when I’m working on artwork for my own space game. BTW, finally got zooming in and out working fine, so the game has a bit more visual depth to it now. All I need to do now is make sure everything still looks good at twice the size (or four times the size), which probbaly will take weeks…

PRICE WARS : Episode I

The indie games community is ablaze with much shouting about how one of the big portals (I won’t link to them) has just cut the price of every single game to $9.99, and is offering a lot of them for $6.99.

Where the developers notified in advance, consulted or given the option to opt out?


Some portals (the ones I prefer to deal with) are really good like that. They treat the relationship as a real partnership, they credit you correctly and link to your site, and try to co-ordinate any sales or promotions with you. Other portals act like WalMart treating it’s suppliers, and basically regard the game developers as people producing cattle-feed.

This price war is going to be a major kick in the nuts for people whose business plan amounts to “make what these big publishers want, and take what they offer me”. I have to say, it was predictable a long way off. I even wrote an article be-moaning the complete lack of independence amongst so-called ‘indie’ developers a while ago.

For me, the solution was easy. I don’t consider my games to be disposable throwaway match-3 clones and do not want to be priced the same as a game that even a child finds boring after 20 minutes, so I’ve sent out the emails that remove my games from that portal. I know another indie dev has done the same thing. We have decent direct sales, and we base our businesses on selling through multiple channels at the same time. This is true independence, when nobody can tell you what games to make, or dictate terms to you. This week, people with strong direct sales were able to breathe a sigh of relief that they are not 100% dependent on portals.

We live in interesting times.

Separate updates for rendering and processing

All my previous games have had quite a simple main loop to them, in theoretical terms, because mostly they were turn based, so you are responding to GUI events or doing end of turn processing. Even my old space game StarLines INC adopted the simplest system in each loop tick which was this:



over and over again.

The new games ‘real-time’ bit, has a LOT of stuff going on, and there is a whole bunch of stuff that really doesn’t need to be processed every frame. Lots of it only needs doing five times a second at most.

So today I split things up into





etc. of course, the stuff like ship movement and animation all gets processed every frame, otherwise there is no change and you are wasting time, but stuff like updating target selection and checking shield status is now only done 5 times a second. This speeds things up a lot.

The problem I still need to solve is that I do all that processing in one chunk, which might stutter older PC’s. ideally it would be a seperate thread, but that might be a total nightmare to code and debug. I’ll probably split the data into chunks and manage it in discrete subsystems at some point tomorrow.

I also added a new spaceship graphic, and I’m getting the hang of making them look less like stock models now :D

Kudos 2 on the Mac. DONE

Kudos 2 is now available on the Mac. As usual, I partnered with to handle porting the game, as I know little about Macs these days.

The games demo download link is here:

The buy page is here:

I’m mulling over the possibilities of an iphone port for the game, with a few people interested in doing it. I think it would do very well, but it would also need some redesign, and I don’t really have time for that right now.

Now I REALLY must get my head stuck into the space strategy stuff.