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

Kudos 2 on Gamers Gate, more to follow

Soooo… Kudos 2 can now be purchased somewhere else other than direct from ME. Why you would do that is beyond me, but in case you have some sexual fetish that makes you order games through third parties, you could go HERE and buy it from gamersgate. A few other ‘portals’ will also start selling the game later today, and in the next few days.

I’ve been very busy with marketingy stuff, and checking for any bugs in Kudos 2. Now the code is all finished and put behind me, I start getting twitchy fingers on the topic of improving btis and adding new stuff. I’m on holiday from the start of next week, so there isn’t enough time to get anything big done, but providing the entire positech business empire isn’t crumbling when I get back, I’ll hopefully find time to add some more stuff to the game.

Getting the word out

Getting heard about when you are a small PC developer is a nightmare. Many websites are console only, some cover just a few ‘Triple A’ pc games, and most of them have the attitude that it’s their job to cover the games their readers are currently interested in. That might sounds reasonable, but let me re-phrase it.

“It’s their job to cover games their readers already know about.”

What’s the point in that? I don’t turn on BBC news to hear what I already know. That’s not the point. I expect there to be journalists out there finding interesting stuff I need to know, or may be interested in. I buy PC magazines that I like the style of, i don’t go in a shop and see a certain game on the cover and think “I’ll buy that one”. Why would I? if I already know about the game, I can just google for the developers site and read everything about it msyelf. I need games coverage to tell me about the games I do NOT know about.

I wish more gaming news sites, blogs, forums and magazines actually did what they used to call ‘investigative journalism‘. That means scouring the web, asking around and seeing what’s new and what’s cool. Running emailed rpess releases through a spell-checker and then sticking them on the front page is *not* journalism, it’s just working for the extended PR dept of EA/Activision.

I’m sure Kudos 2 has a big audience if people hear about it, but the web is becoming so corporate that unless your new indie game is on the front page of bigfishgames, it flies totally under the radar. If you know any gaming sites that might cover the game, do me a big favour, and email the editors and tell them about it. It’s always best to hear about new games from a gamer, not the developer.

And if anyone hangs out on a forum with a graphical sig, and wants to stick this in their sig, even for a few days, that would be awesome.

I really appreciate any help people can provide in getting the word out about the new game.

The post-release crush

There is tons of stuff to do after you release an indie game. There isn’t much of a relaxing pause as you might assume. Sadly, many indie devs DO take a few weeks off after they release a game, which is a mistake. There is much work to do! (I am planning on a holiday but not for about 3 weeks yet).

Firstly there is the telling everyone you have released a game bit. I’ve done a *bit* of that, and a proper press release will go out to people on Monday. I told a few journalists I know personally, and have a few more to do. If anyone knows a website that reviews games and might be interested in Kudos 2, point them my way (or me at them)

Then there is the download sites like download.com. They are less and less useful these days. They are still worth submitting to, but their relevance compared with ten years ago is minuscule. These days it’s all about the ‘portals’. This sucks slightly, because the download sites ranked stuff according to popularity and often thus, how good it was. The portals rank stuff based on how much money they make from that sale. This is very different :(

Then there is the tech support. All games ship with bugs, and Kudos 2 did too. And even after the patch it seems I still have one. It’s to do with the script parser. Basically, some of the scripts have blank newlines in them. This is no big deal, as any script parser worth it’s salt will discard empty lines and not process them. Mine does this fine, at least it does on my two test machines, and all my friends test machines.

But lo! There are machines which seem to interpret low level text reading code differently and thus the empty string discarding isn’t working. I think this is trivial to fix, and tbh, I could have fixed it in the last patch, but I wouldn’t have been understanding the bug then, just sticking big sticky tape over it and pretending it was dealt with. That is the WORST way to debug. Proper debugging means you find out exactly what circumstances had caused the problem, fixed it, and verified that those same circumstances now no longer cause issues, as well as being 100% certain you are aware of how the new code operates in all circumstances.

This is harder, and takes longer, but bitter experience eventually persuades you it’s the way to go.

So far sales are ok, but nothing that inspires me to buy a new yacht, or indeed a new car. I am going out for a meal at a pub tonight (it won a gastro pub award once!) so that’s about the level of riches the game equates to.

“Cliff is a stressed, tired software-developer.

The unavoidable Kudos 2 patch

So the game is now on sale, and a few early buyers had a horrid crash bug, which I’m hoping is now fixed. I’ve certainly fixed *a* crash bug, so I’m assuming it’s the same one, as the crashes I used to experience in certain circumstances only on my XP laptop have now definitely gone. A few minor typos and other fixes are in the new patch too.

So right now I’m uploading demos and full copies of version 1.01 and will be doing a patch for those early buyers soon. Sales have been reasonable, but not earth shattering, although it takes a few days to get going normally, and press releases and review copies have not been sent out yet.

I’m in it for the long haul anyway.