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

TAX DAY SALE (Democracy 2)

Do you know what day it is today? well if you are in the United States today is TAX DAY!!! (The day federal taxes need to be paid). You may be happy/sad about the taxes that you pay, and the activities that the government spends it on. Not sure how to feel? check out this handy chart to see where it comes from..


and where it goes is shown in explicit detail here…


Want to change some of those numbers? Then you are in luck! Because to commemorate this day, Democracy 2 is…




Go grab it, and if you aren’t sure you will like the game, check out the official website that explains it here.

Democracy 3’s Minister portraits

Here are a bunch of close-to-final randomly generated minister portraits for Democracy 3. They are made up from a large number of layers, with a different image for each jacket, shirt, tie, eyes, glasses, hair, skin and so on… it makes for quite a complex image, but means I can vary the color of someones tie and shirt independently so I get tons and tons of variety. It really bugged me that I had such a limited choice of minister portraits for Democracy 2, because it made it really obvious how limited the game was in that area. I know it’s an indie game, but your chancellor shouldn’t use the same character sprite as you law and order minister right? :D

I know I have gone totally overboard on the complexity of this part of the game. I bet 95% of the players will assume I got 50 portraits done and picked them randomly, which may have made more sense from a code POV, and an art-asset integration POV. Coding the layering system, and splitting up and processing all the art has taken probably 2 days, and I still have 7 more varieties of male minister suits to add… Obviously that’s plus the artist time, and admin of dealing with that.


I do think they look pretty cool though, and I love randomly generated stuff, it has the rare ability to surprise the creator. The closeness to the original source artwork amuses me too. Occasionally I spot louise mench’s jawbone or george osbornes eyes here and there :D.


Evolution of democracy menu screens…

Just putting the final touches to the menu screen for Democracy 3, and thought it would be interesting to compare how it’s changed over time. I think the new one is the best :D




On the topic of marketing spending

I know where I am with advertising. I can spend $X and get Y clicks. That works, in a sense, very simply. It’s true that working out if clicks translate to sales is incredibly complex and vague, but there is at least some vague connection there.

I am currently assessing the other side of the promotional coin: expenditure on marketing. This can come in many flavors, but some of the ones that immediately leap to mind are:

  1. Attending trade shows and Consumer shows like Develop/Rezzed/GDC and meeting people (press/fellow indies/other industry folk).
  2. Actually having a booth at shows, hiring the booth, and associated leaflety stuff maybe some T-shirts, other swag.
  3. Getting someone to do ‘professional quality’ trailers and ‘making of’ videos for upcoming games.
  4. Paying PR companies to chase coverage and reviews

I’m investigating all this stuff, and am definitely going to be doing a bit of 2). I’ve never had a ‘booth’ before and am nervous of doing it because my games are not vaguely typical ‘show games’, but I do wonder if there are people at shows who might really appreciate that, and take the time to give them a look. I’ve decided that it’s no good doing 2) in small measure. I always promised myself if I *did* do a ‘booth* I’d do it properly, with multiple PC’s and a proper printed pro-looking stand. This is all in the pipeline.


3) Is something that I’m new to, and just considering. I have to wonder if it is worth it. I’ve done quite a few videos to promote my games (my youtube channel is here BTW), but I don’t have a huge amount of spare time, and it would kind of make sense to pay someone to make more. I own Sony Vegas HD 11, but I’m sure the pros use something cooler, or at least know vegas like the back of their hands. Is it worth paying for a pro trailer? I suspect it is.

I have toyed with the idea of buying a decent camcorder that captures HD video, and taking that to trade shows to film some footage of people playing the games for playtesting purposes, as well as some general ‘flavor’ footage for putting together videos about the games. Decent camcorders seem to be a pittance these days. Is it worth getting one? (I wouldn’t use it much otherwise).