Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 2014 Game Making Progress

I can only manage to work on my game in the first week of June. After the world cup has started, my attention is fully drawn to it. I manage to make a code for the music and SFX setting options. Also, I add a code for android devices to exit the game from the main menu using the back button. This code is unnecessary for apple devices since they only have home button. I learn how to use global variables and .ini files in my game. I use it to track the setting choice of music and SFX on-off option in the game. By creating and storing global variables into an .ini file, the setting will be ‘remembered’ by your device. This technique will also be useful for other aspects of the game such as scoring, level clearance state, local highscores, etc. I manage to make a neat pop up window for the music & SFX and exit menu options. Even for this simple settings option menu, it took me quite a while to figure it out and make it right. This knowledge will be useful in the future to make a beautiful setting interface in my game. I have some ideas to add certain animations to the pop up window, but I will leave it for the next game. For this one, I decide it to use a minimal simplistic menu design.

With The Colombian Fans
With The Colombian Fans

I watched two world cup games already. The first one is the match between Colombia and Ivory Coast and the second one is the match between Portugal and Ghana. My wife’s brother has come to Brazil to watch his favorite team, Italy. He has ticket for the match between Italy and Costa Rica. The match was held in Recife. One of my friend also come to stay at my place to watch the world cup games. I went with him to accompany my brother’s wife to Recife. We did not have tickets to watch the Italy vs Costa Rica game, but it was a lot of fun to gather with the fans near the stadium. They have a DJ playing Samba music. At one moment, we dance with the locals and international fans, united in the celebration of the world cup. Although Italy lost, my brother’s wife is very happy to see his heroes playing live in front of him. From Recife, we continue our journey to Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, we manage to go to Pão de Açúcar to watch the beautiful city from high ground. After that, we went to restaurant of Garota de Ipanema, where it is believed to be the place that inspire the song writer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, to write ‘Girls from Ipanema’. During our lunch, we also watch the game between Argentina and Iran. It was quite a difficult game for Lionel Messi and his team where they only manage to win 1-0.

After eating, we walk to Ipanema beach and stay there for a while. Then, we walk again through the edge of the beach to Copacabana beach. It was a perfect day, with warm sun, beautiful women, and people relaxing themselves by playing casual soccer, volleyball and frisbee. Near the sunset, we finally leave from the beach to go to the airport, waiting for our flight back to Brasilia. It was a great holiday.

One of my friends from Indonesia also asked me and my friend to write articles for a soccer tabloid where he works for. He asks us to write several small articles and one large article every weeks. We take the job with great pleasure. I did not do it for the money. I do it for my love of the game. The mobile game production has to wait. Until I know the winner of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The mecca of football…

Am I An Indie Developer?

I stumble to a mind-staggering retrospection reading this writing from Ron Gilbert. He is the famous creator and designer of ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’ and ‘Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’. In his article, he challenge the people who labeled themselves ‘indie developer’. He started his writing by asking a fundamental question: “What makes a developer ‘indie’?”. In the process of defining ‘indie’, he raised more questions to challenge their legitimization. Since I have said myself in this blog that I am an indie (game) developer, I will do my best to answer all of his questions and give my opinion on many of his statements. I intend to do this to defend my legitimization as an ‘indie developer’ and use Mr. Gilbert questions to introspect my position as a game developer.

Regarding to snob indie developer, I haven’t seen or talk to one of them yet. But if I meet one of them, I certainly will not approve their attitude. An implied definition from the article states that an indie must be independent from publisher. I am independent from any publishers by planning to self-publish my game on Android market and Apple app store. I also do not take any money from any publishers, investors, friends or family. I do not use Kickstarter to fund my game. I do not consider my idea independent from mainstream thinking ( I have stated before that I open to any ideas. If I like it, I will make it whether it’s mainstream or not.) In this regard Mr. Gilbert, am I an ‘indie’?

Making some type of game definitely do not define you as an Indie. I have never said to any people that I will only make a certain type of game where it has to be bizarre, weird, etc. If I found this type of indie devs in the future, it’s their rights to think like that. Relating type of game and definition of an indie dev is out of the context. Any game developers are free to make any type of game they want. I have never ever look down to any other devs and mock them as ‘not indie’. Do you have a stereotype-ill Mr. Gilbert? Can you generalize a certain group to have the same attributes all the time?

No, Mr. Gilbert. “Indie” games do not have to be quirky and weird. I do not understand when you said “indie” games have to be about the “art”. Every game is a form of art in its own way whether people love or hate the game. We make game because we love to make game and we make it the way we want to.

Why do you bother if someone said to you that you are not an Indie? I respect you very much and I do not care whether you are an indie or not. You have made great games and you should be proud of it. Also, making a lot of money and gaining huge success is just another stage for you as a developer. It is a choice: Do you want to keep your full ‘independence’ or not? If you look back at your definition of independence, it means that they are not considered to be ‘indie’ anymore if they choose to take investors money, and so on. How about if they still state that they are ‘indie’? It’s their right and I myself did not give a damn about what they claim.

Also being ‘indie’ not always about being scrappy and clawing your way from nothing. Most fans do not care if you gain success or not. Why so negative Mr. Gilbert? They only care about the quality of your games. That is what matter the most! Success unfortunately did not equal to selling-out. The important thing is how you handle your success. Selling-out or success is out of the context of your ‘independent from what?’ question.

No, not all indie developer are poor and miserable. If all of them are, why don’t we call them third world developers? I assure you, it is okay to be a ‘rich indie’. The issue is not whether indie can hire top notch marketing and PR people or only use grass-root network. It is stretching too far (again) to your question of ‘indie’ independence. An indie can use any resources they want as long as they have the money. Do you expect us to produce and publish game with only free resources, pirated software and stolen equipment?

And why would you complicate things by saying an “indie” just mean you’re not owned by a (big) publisher. You also mention on the required threshold size of a ‘big’ publisher required to owned an ‘indie’. So, if I am owned by a small publisher according to certain ‘smallness’ threshold, I become ‘indie’? That is just ridiculous. You also said that it is easy to be a publisher these days, by stating that most indies who put their games up on Steam are “publishers”. Let’s make it simple Mr. Gilbert. Relating to game publishing, an ‘indie’ is an entity (a person, a group or a company) who self-published directly or use other third-party to help them sell their products as is.

I don’t think being an “indie” is defined by the type of idea you have as you mentioned in the case of “The Cave”. Instead of irritating by some devs (or fans) that look down on other devs because they are not “indie” or not “indie enough”, you should focus your energy on something else. If “indie” is just another marketing term, who is the big mastermind behind it and who will reap the profit from it?

I also do not claim to have the best answers on all of your questions but don’t nietzsche-ing us with your rhetorical questions to a point of nihilism of the term “indie”, Mr. Gilbert. You should socrates-ing the notion of “indie” by building a consensus “definition” of it. As my position as an indie developer, I haven’t gain any success or fame. Thus, many of your questions are not relevant to my current conditions.

But I can tell you these things: I use my own money to buy all the resources I need to make and publish my game. I am a one-man game developer. I plan to self-publish all of my games through third-party (Apple and Android). I have to pay them in order to sell my game. I am not poor nor rich. I never work in game industry before. I never looked down to any other game developers. Instead I try to learn as much as I can from them. I do not try to make my game look bizarre, quirky, about the ‘art’, etc. but I do try to make it unique and fun. I also did not intend to use the term ‘indie’ as a PR plan. I use it to identify myself. I am now struggling to finish my first game. Also, I don’t know whether I will stay as an indie or not when I gain huge success. I will think about that later. I will take the term ‘indie’ from myself when I feel it is not relevant anymore to identify myself. I just want to make game Mr. Gilbert, as good as it can get, by myself, independently. Am I an Indie (game) Developer Mr. Gilbert? You tell me.

May 2014 Game Making Progress

During may, I am able to finish some neat animations and interesting sound effects in my opening menu to attract people attention. I also have finalized the logo icon of my game for both Android and Apple devices. It just need a very small enhancement, but overall the details have been done thoroughly. I have also been able to wrap up the design of my game prologue story. I still have tons of sprite animations to do and also starting to plan a ‘rough’ short dialogue scripts for my game. No no, it is not going to be a graphic novel type of game. I just want to make some ‘small’ short voice interactions with the player whenever they fail, succeed or in the process to make an action within the game.

When I am about to make the prototype of the game, I stumble into some programming difficulties. Even for a very simple gameplay that I am trying to achieve, it still required a lot of knowledge in GML (GameMaker Language) programming. I decide it to take a step back during this june to learn some advanced GML first while keep working on creating sprites, tiles, sound and music for my game. I actually have also decided to learn Unity engine (especially for its 2D game making capabilities) along with my activity in producing my first game. After reading many many stuff on game programming books and websites, I decide it to learn only javascript and C# now. I have tried taking the C++ route before, but then realized on the amount of work I need to get done to master the language. For an aspiring amateur game developer, I strongly recommend you not to learn  C++ first. I plan to continue and finish my javascript course at Codecademy and get some pdf books to learn C#. I apply the knowledge of these two programming languages in my Unity practice sessions. Learning all these new things gave me some diversified activities to avoid a boring process of making a game.  I also take the lesson process in mastering Unity very slowly.

I almost forget to mention one thing. The world cup is going to start soon. As an avid fans of the beautiful game, I will have less focus on the game production for the next two months and put most of my attention to the event. I also have acquired tickets for five world cup games. Yay! This will become one of my best experiences ever. Tchau!