Archive for December, 2007

Fairway Solitaire is released!

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Hi everyone, I’m *extremely* proud to present my latest game:

Fairway Solitaire!

It’s a golf-themed solitaire game. Warning: Highly addictive!

I was contracted by Big Fish Games to make a downloadable version of their most popular online game community game of 2006. I worked very closely with a BFG game designer and an American artist – we made a great team and it was a lot of fun (and hard work)! It has taken 8.5 months to complete. That might seem a long time for a solitaire game, but check it out and you’ll see why it took so long. The game has tons of features such as an avatar, storyline, shop, statistics, trophies, golf announcer + more … and it’s been SUPER polished.

I’m really proud of this game, it’s my best one to date and has been made with my BlitzMax Game Framework which many people have purchased to speed up the development of their own games.

I hope that you enjoy it :-)

Here’s some screenshots:

screenshot 1
screenshot 2
screenshot 3
screenshot 4

But don’t just look at them, please download the game and check it out + tell your friends and family! Thanks :-)

Where do you learn patience?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Someone on the Blitz forums asked “Where do you learn patience”. I responded as follows:

How old are you? Sounds like late teens if you are college? I never finished anything at that age too, but patience developed over time for me (by having a job and responsibility etc). However, I’m sure I could have learned it a lot sooner had I been taught what I now know.

Here’s some simple techniques:

- read this article
- I like reminding myself of the end goal and then I know that, even if it’s far off, every step I take is important. Then I can focus on each step properly.
- Break stuff into small steps and then get a step done and feel good about it.
- Take up a sport or martial art that teaches mental and physical endurance.
- Give up caffeine (and other substances) + eat healthy.
- Don’t fart around getting “ready” to do some work, just start it. After a short while you’ll probably get into it. Sometimes I have a boring task like filing paperwork to do, but once I start I get into it. I focus only on that and not “what else I could be doing”. So basically “Take Action”.
- Switch off email, Internet messaging, mobile phone and resist going on the Internet when you have something important to do.
- Make to do lists and do some planning. Enjoy crossing stuff off. But don’t spend all your time planning and no time doing.
- If you have been working for a while and start going nowhere fast, take a break, do something else and then come back to it later. You can even do another task on your to do list, but getting up from the PC is best.
- Listen to motivational music (probably without lyrics) so like trance or classical or SID chip music – whatever floats your boat.
- Don’t worry about it too much :-) You’ve got plenty of time to get better at focusing and at least you are aware you have a “problem”, and so you can now fix it. The single biggest skill you can have in my opinion is “awareness”, because then you can spot flaws (in you) and fix them.

Hope these help, I’ve got tons more…

Cloners and Idealists

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

It’s the age old rivalry that plagues the Indie game development industry (or more specifically the game development forums). In fact though, I actually think it’s mainly a one way thing: idealists attacking cloners – the idealists feel they have to bitch about clones but the cloners don’t seem to have much to bitch about (apart from why their clone isn’t selling as well as another clone).

Anyway, I was talking to my partner, Helen, tonight about the two opposing camps of indie developers. There’s the cloners who seem to be in it for the money and the idealists who are doing it for art of whatever. She pointed out that if you make a clone, and you enjoy making it and people enjoy playing it, then what’s the problem? You’ve delivered value and made money from it, fine. If people sit around criticising cloners and say they’d never lower themselves to such a thing and then never actually produce anything, then it’s just all about their ego – they aren’t delivering any value anywhere. If you manage to combine “high ideals” AND you make a game, then even better, good for you – but don’t expect it to sell unless you are delivering what a large number of people like (to spend money on) and not just what you like. Of course you can always release it for free so your work is out there – but these days it takes a really large effort to finish a decent game so you’d have to be ultra dedicated to do it just for fun; and whereas a lot of us might like to think we are dedicated enough to do that, the obvious reality is that we are not. Shame, but there you go.

At the end of the day, the portal owners can sit there content in the knowledge that they are doing very well from selling clones no matter what the idealists say. Some idealists say the market will self-implode, but I think this is wishful thinking on their part. Cloning exists in music, movies, books, food, clothes, mainstream games etc. and has done for years. People like familiarity.