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

Everything is changing

It’s been a busy few weeks. The whole debate over piracy basically swamped me for days (and it’s still having repercussions now), and it’s lead to all kinds of positive changes. Obviously the big one was taking DRM out, and the kudos price drop, and this will be followed by some demo changes and similar stuff later on. One of the other changes was that I got a lot of (brutally honest) feedback from people who had one or another criticisms of my site, my order process and my games.

To be honest my site isn’t anywhere near as good as it should be. I’ve been tweaking it the last few days (I’m the web designer and webmaster too), starting with the main page, and I think it’s a bit better already.

I also changed the site from sharing a server to having its own dedicated physical box, which took ages and involved a lot of learning some linux stuff to set up the site properly, debugging email problems etc. That all takes time.

Then finally, there was attempting to address the issues people had with my order process. I basically have 2 problems here:

1) People don’t trust the payment provider because they haven’t heard of them before and

2) Regardless of fraud protection, legitimate customers are annoyed at the occasional processing delays in ordering games.

Now I *thought* I fixed this today, because I found a new payment provider which seems to entirely address the second point. HOWEVER, I now hear that my current provider may be working on implementing amazons one-click payment system (complete with using amazon accounts). This is VERY tempting.

So right now I’m undecided, whether to switch to the payment provider that offers smoother fraud checking, or stick with the one that will put amazon in. Of course, the problem is, all of this waffle takes TIME, and none of that time is going on game design and coding. So tomorrow, I’m going to ignore it all, and just work 100% on testing, coding and design for Kudos 2.

Snow and websites

I tweaked the code for the snow effect in Kuos 2 today.  I always was unhappy with it, and wanted it to be better in the new game. The snow used to ‘settle’ a bit in K1, but that effect was always a bit poor. In the new game it looks better, plus I also coded a system that lets me adjust the colors of all sorts of interface bits depending on stuff like whether its snowing which makes the game look much more interesting.

As part of doing all this, I reinstalled Deep Space Nine: The Fallen, a game which I remember had awesome snow effects. It’s an old game, but it’s still quite funny to replay it and see just how poor those effects were. Despite using the unreal engine, their snow looks way worse than mine :D.

I also started thinking about the kudos 2 website today. I want a much better website than my earlier games, but I’m not sure I can justify paying a proper pro web designer to do it, and no pre-made templates seem to fit it at all. I knocked up a test page today, but it took me ages, and looks crap as I have zero web design skills. If anyone can recommend a talented and not uber-expensive web designer, just let me know.