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


I spent some time today on a new race for GSB. It looks like I’ll release this pack before the campaign is finished. I actually had expected to have finished the campaign and have released it by now, but it’s much more involved than I thought, so I’m still working on it. Once I’ve finished complete bug free playthroughs as 2 different races, I’ll get some people testing it for me, then there will probably be a pre0order beta thing, then release. That is probably another month (best case) of work.

So in the meantime, luckily I have artwork for a new race all complete, and am working on the data and the balance. There is nothing radically different in the race in terms of gameplay yet, but the style is interesting. The backstory is that it’s a very very old race, a bit like the dwellers from The Algebraist (Iain M Banks). Over the years, they have rebuilt their ships from the salvage of their enemies, so you will see that their ships have some rebel engines, some order engines, and various other components. They are also the first race to have multicolored ships. I’m calling them Nomads, and they basically fight out of sheer boredom on their multi million year journey across the universe. They have a cool retro look.

I was lying awake at 2AM this morning unable to sleep, thinking about new weapon and ship modules for that race. This pack will be different, likely no new missions, just the raw fleets for you to use. I had originally thought no new modules, but I think I’ll at least add some variants.

A lot of the more interesting ideas involve a ton of code, which I’d rather not do when I’m so busy with the campaign, but there is plenty of scope for module variants that work within existing parameters. I keep thinking that a very long range sniper laser with high penetration but low tracking speed and low damage could be interesting. Hopefully I’ll do some work on it tomorrow.

Nobody wants my money

I’m interested in two new games, that I might like. Patrician IV and Starcraft 2. Neither game has demos. If they do, they don’t want me to find them. So I spent the money on an Iain M Banks novel and some archery target pins instead.

It’s like these companies owners are scared customers might find out what their product is actually like.

I’m not. Try some free demos. if you don’t like them, you won’t like my games. It’s easy:

valves big surprises

People keep mentioning the UK PC Gamer article on Valve, where they say they have 3 big surprises coming up in the next year or so which will really freak people out.

It amazes me how mediocre peoples guesses have been, as to what the surprises will be. Some suggested Left For Dead 3 or Half Life 3. That would surprise you? Really? You think that is radical thinking outside the box? c’mon.

Here are some things valve could do, that really are surprises.

1) They could convert steam to a subscription model. All current steam games free, to all subscribers. Subscription is $20 a month, a revenue split is worked out with the developers.

2) They could launch a TV or Movie based venture.  Maybe an online streamed TV station based on gaming. They aim to become the #1 global media source for games news.

3) They could strike a deal where steam is integrated into the service pack for windows 7. Steam becomes the new games explorer, installed on every windows PC.

If I was Gabe, I’d be considering all those options, and lots more. Decisions such as ‘what game to make next’ are pretty small fry in terms of the big strategic picture in which valve are now a big part. They took all their Half Life 1 money and spent it to make steam. I expect them to take all the steam money to do another big thing. I’d still like to be surprised though*

*although anything that reduces the open nature of the PC platform would not be a pleasant surprise, for small little indies like me.

It’s good to have big, long term, strategic goals. If positech ever makes £10 million, I’m going to build a BIG wind turbine somewhere.