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

The next positech game: Clue #1

I don’t want tot alk too openly in a press style way about my new game yet, because I don’t have whizz bang screenshots to show anyone at the moment, and the game is a long way off, but I know a lot of people are curious. maybe some of you will buy it! (I hope so…)

Anyway, I thought I’d trickle out a bunch of clues about the style, design, backstory (oh yes) and general theme of the game.

I also thought, that what with this being the internet etc… it’s a nightmare to hint at anything without giving the whole game away, so they will hopefully be very obscure.

Here is the first one:



REFERENDUM DAY. (Democracy is cheap today)

I’m 41, and I have never voted. Nope, thats nonsense, let me re-phrase it. I have never cast a vote that ever influenced anything, ever. That’s because I’ve always lived in a ‘safe seat’ meaning the local MP had nothing to fear, knowing he (and it was always a he) had a job for life, huge salary and expenses to boot.

Today I will be voting in the UK referendum on changing the voting system. I’ll be voting yes, but regardless of my personal views on that, my vote will actually be counted, because it’s not being done on some patronising non-proportional system like constituency voting. I know that AV isn’t PR, but it’s better than FPTP. I have grown incensed by the total lies put out by the No2AV campaign. I’m strongly pro-AV, and I could make a much better argument for FPTP than they did, but they chose to pretend it would cost more (what price democracy eh?) and that the money would be taken from intensive care wards to pay for it. They literally tried to claim that if you vote YesToAV, children would die.


I hear that the No camp will be annoyed if yes wins on a low turnout, which is ironic, because the whole problem of first past the post is that there is no actual post. You can win with 1% of the vote, if every other candidate only gets 0.99%. So if there is a 1% turnout and yes wins, it will be a victory on the terms of FPTP. Bwahahahahaha. I got 3 No2AV leaflets through my door, with the postman, meaning it’s not being done by political activists for free, but being paid for, no doubt by some wealthy people with a vested interest in the current system.

So anyway, back to the voting system cost issue, to prove to them that the cost of Democracy should not be an issue, Democracy 2 is 50% off today with a special code. Check it out:

50% off Democracy2.

Happy voting,

Indie retail… why bother?

I came to the conclusion a while ago that retail selling of indie games was a total waste of effort. I have a bookcase to the right of me with a big pile of boxes of published games on it, I can see Kudos 2 (lovely box), Democracy 1 in English and German, Oval Office, and the e-games ‘Space Arcade Collection’. However, I have concluded that the long term utility of these deals is thus:

People who aren’t in the industry who visit my home-office are very slightly impressed.

As that number of people is somewhere between 0 and 2 people a year, and as I never care what they think, I wonder what the point is. Oh the money? Well… in theory yes, but the problems with retail are huge:

  1. You need to spend 4 hours reading the 30 page contract 3 times, to spot the bit where they say they can deduct whatever they like as expenses from your royalties.
  2. You do a ton of work up front doing stupid crap like animating publisher logos at the start of the game, and it only sells 6 copies.
  3. You don’t get paid for retail until long after the end of the sales quarter. If at all. If the company doesn’t go bankrupt and then re-incorporate the next day owing you nothing (commonplace).
  4. You have NO IDEA how many copies were sold. you have to trust a person you never met, in another country. He trusts the distributor, who is in a third country, in the developing world. Yeah right…
  5. Your game is pirated immediately, as 50% of the staff in the packaging warehouse think they are ‘l33t’ because they are in some childish warez ‘scene’. *sigh*
  6. You are now commited to providing tech support to peole for whom you have NO IDEA if they bought the game or pirated it.
  7. People who bought the game through the Swedish branch of a French-owned store selling copies of your game made by the Belgian distributor for the Canadian publisher you signed a deal with through your agent in Los Angeles now email you saying they want a refund. They think it’s your fault.
  8. Once a quarter, for the next 10 years you get mailed a $3 royalty check it costs $20 to cash.
  9. Half the boxed copies you sell sold ‘second-hand’ on online sites turn out to be copies manufactured by some dodgy CD-replicator who pocket 100% of the cash.

When I get email from someone that says “greetings, we are a retail publisher of high quality…” I just bin it. I don’t care who it is. Retail blew it big time. I no longer care. I have enough boxes now. They are fab, but if you want to own Gratuitous Space Battles, buy it online :D. I had a poster made for my office instead.