So what have I been up to since my return to the UK in August 2012 and what is coming next?
Holiday Bonus GOLD
In December 2012 I released Holiday Bonus GOLD on PC/Mac/iPad/Android. I added 55 new levels and made some technical tweaks and released as a new game on some portals and as an update on others.
Sturdy Games also updated the iOS/Android version that they ported to mobile for me last year and we released Holiday Bonus GOLD as a new iPad/Android game.
Overall it did pretty well and has got me thinking about doing a GOLD version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Titan Attacks Mobile
In November 2012 I agreed to port Titan Attacks, by Puppy Games, to mobile. I’ve been working on this off and on due to other projects.
I’m using the Monkey coding language for the project and this means writing a whole new framework to support mobile games. The framework is basically done now though and I’ve had a basic test version of the game on mobile devices for a couple of months, which went down well when I showed it to people at the Game Developer Conference in March.
This is my main project and I’m working on it every day at the moment so expect to see another Developer Diary soon. I aim to release it in the early summer.
I used to draw a lot in my youth but that fell to the wayside for many years. This year I decided to practice doing some digital art and I made a few quick “paintings”, first with a mouse, and then with a graphics tablet. You can see them here.
I’ve never done digital art like this and I was quite surprised and encouraged by the results. Since I made these paintings I’ve become a bit busy with other things but hope to get back to it soon!
One Game a Month
I signed up to the One Game a Month thing that lots of indie developers are doing. The aim is to release one game a month in 2013. You don’t have to spend a whole month on each game, just release a game a month.
My January game is an online remake of a math game I made back in 2010. You can play it here. Try to beat level 10!
My February game is called Cyber Citadel, but I cheated a bit and uploaded a shell game that I’ve since done a bit more work on. I’ll finish it and put it online soon.
My March game is a relaunch of Spring Bonus on mobile (more on this below). I’d have preferred to make a brand new game for my March game, but I just didn’t have time, especially as the Game Developer Conference consumed a week in March.
I haven’t started my April game yet and time is rapidly running out! However, I plan to make it during the Ludum Dare competition at the end of April.
In truth I’m finding it quite hard to do this alongside my main projects which pay the bills, and many of my indie developer friends question why I’m doing it instead of just focusing on some cool larger indie game, or more casual games. They do have a good point, but I feel a deep need to create a bunch of small games like I used to play and program as kid and I’m determined to complete this challenge.
Spring Bonus mobile re-release
Last year Sturdy Games ported Spring Bonus to mobile for me and Hothead Games published it on iPhone/iPad/Android/Kindle. It did OK but not great and they gave us back the rights to self-publish it this year.
This time I had to set up the In App Purchase items myself so that players could buy level packs, which I’d never done before. However, after a bit of wrangling we got it to work properly. Sturdy Games also fixed a couple of bugs and improved the image quality on some screens.
Then we worked with Appy Nation to get it promoted. They also asked us to add Chartboost to the game so that players of the free version see adverts in between levels, and that has worked out pretty well revenue-wise.
The game even got featured in “New and Noteworthy” in Europe which boosted it into the top 10 in the iPad Board Games category in many countries. Ultimately though, it’s not a big earner, which is a shame. Still it’s good to have it out there again and players seem to love it which is why it has so many 5 star reviews.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz mobile
Lemon Moose Games have ported this game to mobile for me and it’s already been released for Blackberry.
I tried to get Big Fish Games to publish it but they only seem interested in Hidden Object Adventure games on mobile, which is a shame. However I’m in talks with a publisher at the moment about releasing it for iOS and Android, and it will also be coming to Windows Phone and Windows 8 soon too.
Techno Zombies was going to be my January “One Game a Month” but I got carried away making it and it was also pretty complex. So I decided to stop work on it whilst I get some other things out the way first, then after Titan Attacks mobile has shipped I’ll probably turn it into a Flash game that is more like a demo. Then I’ll put it on Kongregate and see what kind of reactions it gets and decide if it’s worth turning into a larger “indie game”.
I’ve put a few videos online such as this one that show early gameplay footage. People seem to really love the atmosphere even though I haven’t gotten round to adding techno zombies (think “cyborgs gone wrong”) yet!
Also I took it to GDC on my iPad and it went down well. It was good to see how people tried to play it on iPad and has given me several ideas for how to revise the controls.
I definitely think there’s a hardcore market of Dungeon Master fans out there who would play it if I finished it. However some developer friends have suggested that I should make better graphics for it instead of using my minimalist placeholder art so that it appeals to wider audience such as people who liked Legend of Grimrock, and this could be wise.
Anyway watch this space!
What’s Next in 2013?
First up I must finish Titan Attacks mobile, and ship Oz on mobile. Then I can decide what to do next.
If Titan Attacks mobile does well and generates enough money for me to keep going for a few more months, then I’ll either work on Techno Zombies or a new “indie” game for about 6 months and then release it on my site and also try to get it on Steam via my various contacts.
If Titan Attacks doesn’t generate enough money for me to keep going then I’ll make another casual game. I already have designs for at least two match-3s ready to roll. I know how to make these pretty well know and know they will make me money. This will then free me up to work on an “indie” game which is a bit more risky.
I’m also helping a casual game developer friend with the design of a new game which hopefully will come out before the end of 2013. I’m quite excited about the design of this game and I think it could do pretty well in the casual game space.
Naturally I’ll keep trying to bang out One Game a Month and it’ll be interesting to see what I’ve produced at the end of the year.
I’d also like to finish off my Dying To Live platformer at some point so that I can have a reusable platform game engine in my Monkey code framework.
Well it’s been a busy time since I’ve returned to the UK (I’ve counted 8 different projects in this post!) and it certainly looks busy ahead too.
Good luck with your own projects and wish me luck with mine! Thanks