Game Jam Progress

Hello Everyone,

Well it looks like I was not able to complete the game by Tuesday.  I really tried but a lot of things seemed to be going wrong for me. At the start I asked Daniele (sound/music designer at iconic games) if he would be able to do sounds/music for the game. Although he agree’d  we decided to have him finish sounds for psychic arrow first. (was almost done) But almost immediately we realized we had an error which set him back a few days (which has resulted in no music or sounds for the game jam project). I managed to come up with a cool game design and story and got right to work, but kept being hit with unforeseen circumstances that dragged me away from my work station.   Basically life happened and I tried to work around that. Even though I managed to get a lot done its still in an unplayable state and needs further work. Luckily every thing is made so I can easily use it to create future projects. (which I intend to do) Im still planning to finish the game but have decided to work on it a few more days so I have time to polish it up nicely. It still will be a short little adventure but I think overall it will be a nice quick 1-2 week project.

Below I have uploaded some test area images. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think in the comment section.

As always feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I will keep you guys updated on the project as I go.

My Own Little Game Jam!

Hello Everyone,

I want to start off by apologizing. I know its been awhile since I have posted. We have been incredibly busy with all of our projects. I’m very happy to inform you that Marty is very near completion along with another game I have not really spoke about yet. Both are of great quality and I think those who have frequented this site will be happily surprised. All art assets are finished for both games (cut scenes polish and all) and are being tweaked to perfection by our very talented coders.

Since I have finished up most of my own work I have decided to have my own little game jam over the weekend. The idea is I have to design, do all the art and code a game by myself by Tuesday. So as of now I will have 3 days. Why am I doing this you ask? Well mainly because I haven’t released a game to the public in awhile and I want to prove that I still have it in me. I want to show everyone that I haven’t forgot about them and I strive to make awesome games. My goal here is to make something fun and engaging yet do it in a timely manner. Its quite the challenge but I have a lot of faith I can do it. I will try and update as much as possible during this period so you guys can kind of enjoy the journey with me. But that may be unlikely since I will be trying to get a nice game done in just a few days. So if not I will update everyone come tuesday when I wrap everything up.

For now im going to give you guys a sneak preview of some of the stuff we have been working on here at Iconic Games. Even though the video quality is a little low I do think it will show we have all been hard at work.

Marty Previews:
Loader & Start Screen w/ Audio
Intro Scene

Psychic Arrow Previews:
Intro Scene
Start Screen Preview

Fun Little Physics Game In The Works:

Anyways that’s it for today. Thanks so much for reading and feel free to comment below. I will update you guys about my own little game jam when I can.
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Inexperienced Flash Developers Hurting The Flash Market?

Hello Everyone,

Today I wanted to post about something many experienced developers talk about frequently. Its a common gripe among the more experienced in the flash dev community and I felt it would be beneficial to offer my advice to other less experienced developers who may be seeking advice. Many may ask why no one has really spoke out about this before and I think I may know the reason. Its purely because a lot of developers have a “everybody for themselves” mentality. They feel like if they help then they are taking away from themselves, and in my opinion its having the opposite effect. If anything at all I hope to get some of you thinking and help in some way.  Now to talk about the actual issue at hand.

Now before any of you ask what makes my advice worth anything I would like to state that I have been developing and selling games since I was 13 (about 10 years). After I sold my first game for over 25k I even took on a marketing  job for a year and sold more games for over 10-13k. (meeting my employers expectations greatly) I had a lot of insensitive because when I met expectations I received bonuses which were very generous. Through my work I have been able to start and support a family of four while being able to purchase my first home (which resides in a nice neighborhood) and I am currently debt free. I am by no means trying to brag just trying to make the point that I have been able to live off of flash games for a long time. So I would like to think I know what im talking about. 😀

A lot of experienced developers (including me) believe that newcomers or the less experienced may be hurting the flash market, let me explain why. For whatever reason these developers enter the market and accept bids from sponsors that fall short of the games actual value. This could be due to lack of money, knowledge of their games value, patience or pure willingness to accept small amounts for their games because money is money to them. Or these devs could be feeling the pressure when sponsors are unwilling to raise their prices and are forced to accept. This has created a type of never ending cycle where many developers are not being able to reach the full potential for their games.

Basically this is what is happening. These new developers will create these very appealing games of great quality(not all new devs are so gifted :D).  They will pore their heart into it for weeks/months/years and then (due to lack of experience) they will throw their games onto FGL and accept a fraction of the games value. Lets be honest, most of these guys have no idea what the value of their game is and are happy to get anything at all so they jump at the opportunity. Some of the more experienced will say “Hey that means more for us”, when in reality that is wrong. The problem is that these guys are really hurting the market.

Imagine this if you will. Your a sponsor and your out to find a good deal.(nothing wrong with that, us devs want a good deal as well, but a fair one for both parties) Your strolling through the FGL games or your email and there is a lot of variety/quality titles. (quality of the average game has greatly rose over the years as well) Lets say you want a physics game so you continue to search and come across an appealing physics title. You check it out and it has all the qualities your looking for. Shortly after you decide to bid in hopes of snagging it for pennies. Now the game you just bid on was created by a veteran of flash and they have a decent understanding of the games value. So as someone who is experienced they are unwilling to accept such small amounts and would rather wait it out. They may contact you and let you know they had a different price in mind or even just ignore the bid all together. Regardless in a lot of cases you will continue to search and bid on another similar game. In this next case this developer is new and less experienced. They will be happy you bid and after waiting a short period (couple of days) will launch the game into last call. Three days later you are now the proud sponsor of this awesome game and you got an great deal. You will surely make a nice profit now.

Did you notice what just happened? (You) The sponsor came across two similar games, both of similar quality and mechanics but of course took the cheaper version. Why wouldn’t you? They are both very similar and one developer was willing to take it for a much cheaper amount. It will generate close to the same amount of traffic to your site so its a win for the sponsor and the new dev.(in their mind, but not really) Whats happening is developers are making it really easy to get high quality games for small amounts. In effect it is driving down the value of all games in the market. Devs sell them cheap, sponsors dismiss devs looking for higher amounts and opt out to get the cheaper versions. The only way to really get a fair amount anymore is to make something not available on the market. That way sponsors will fight over it. Even that may not work some of the time as well. Primarily because the sponsor can turn around and sponsor 10 less unique games for cheaper. (which generates the same revenue or more) Its making it harder for most of the guys who do this as a primary source of income to continue doing what they love. So in the end the veterans are forced to accept low amounts to just make it or don’t have the games sponsored at all. Both of which can be a big hit financially.

Its almost like an “outsourcing” effect. Why hire someone for 100,000 a year when you can hire someone else to do the same job for 10-15,000 a year? I believe this has become a real problem in the industry and the main problem is because these guys are not educated when it comes to the marketing aspect of flash games. Nor do they have experience in business practices/negotiation. A lot of these sponsors are business men and have an upper hand because they know how to manipulate situations in their favor. They enter the situation knowing what to say and do to get you to crack/sell.

So here is my advice. Everyone needs to be willing to sweat it out and really do your homework. Figure out what kind of revenue your game is able to generate and come up with a reasonable price for your game. You can do that by looking at statistics of similar games. (plays/clicks ect..) Also be willing to wait it out.(be patient) My first two games sold probably 6 months after I finished them but in the end I  hit my target amount. Do not be afraid to PM experienced devs and ask for advice. I myself am willing to help anyone out who asks. Make the effort to get your game in front of sponsors (email them with a private link to your game), get them to bid, build interest and be patient. The more guys interested the better it is for you. Always take all bids seriously, don’t write someone off because they give you a low offer. My second game sold for 5k because I was willing to talk with a sponsor and be patient when his initial offer was 300. Never dismiss an offer or burn any bridges. The internet is a funny thing. You can easily take what someone has said completely the wrong way and over react and intern destroy future business with a sponsor. Always and I mean always assume the sponsor meant no harm. Your not doing yourself any good if you get defensive.  Also when you are speaking with a sponsor you really need to think of it like a game of chess. You guys can be friends but when selling a game its business. Everything you say is giving them hints about your life and situation. Letting them know that your broke, need food, diapers for your kids or electricity is about to go off is not going to get them to raise their offer in most cases. A lot of the time it will have the opposite effect. It will hint that you need money and its not going to hurt them if they wait until your forced to accept. I am betting they will be willing to wait 1-2 weeks if it means they save some money. So if anything you need to let them know all is great and life is good and you are in no rush. If they think you have all the time in the world then they will be more willing to speed up the process by giving an offer worth considering.

I think that’s all for now. I am afraid I am beginning to ramble and I want to keep all the information I have stated relevant. I am just hoping I am able to help some of you guys who may be confused about what to do once your game is ready for sponsorship. If I am able to do that then today was a productive day.

For those of you don’t know we are currently working towards other gaming markets.(steam primarily) Its really motivational to know a community is behind us and rooting us on so be sure to keep up with the blog/comment if any of this stuff interests you. Once we are successful I hope it will offer some inspiration to others who have similar goals. I know it would have been great/inspirational for us to watch someone walk a path we were wanting to take. Unfortunately not many blogs like that exist so maybe we can feel a small part of the gap. Also feel free to follow us if you like posts like this because I try to offer advice/wisdom when I can. Its just hard because I always have so much to say.

As always fell free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think below.

This Is My Planet

Hello Everyone,

For those of you who don’t know we have another branch here at Iconic Games and they actually just released there second game. (Pirates Keep was their first) Its a tank shooter which is a ton of fun so you guys should check it out. Link is placed below.

This Is My Planet

Thats the link to newgrounds so be sure to vote. For those of you interested to know we are bouncing around ideas of having a different branding/studio name to represent the style of games released by this other Iconic Games branch. Let us know your thoughts on this because we are heavily considering this.

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FGL 48 Hours Competition

Hello Everyone,

Just thought I would drop by with a quick update. Some of you may know, but for those of you who dont Peter (Iconic Games Coder) and I entered the FGL 48 hours competition over the weekend. We had actually been pretty excited  since we first heard about it and hoped it would give us both a chance to work out of our comfort zones and on a heavy deadline. (we have never worked under this kind of pressure before) I personally was hoping for a new and interesting game idea and  knew we would have to think outside of the box with FGL staff selecting the theme and also whatever restrictions they may have had.

Day 1:

Since the competition began at 7pm Peter worked on our editor and added the export capability while I finished up a scene for Marty.  After working most of the day Peter informed me we got the times wrong and we were actually getting the theme at 6pm, not 7 (about an hour away when I found out). So I finished up work with Marty for the day and we both anxiously discussed details. We also took the time to ponder what the theme could be and possible routes we could take. Needless to say I was pretty much waiting to decide all that once we get the theme and restrictions.

I also spoke with the Iconic Games sound artist Daniele aka Sound Tricks prior and thankfully he was willing to participate. So that was  a major sigh of relief knowing he was supplying some awesome sounds/music.

After much anticipation we finally got the theme/rules and were now ready to begin discussing what we could do. Below I have posted a section of the post.

Contest Rules:

  • 48 hours to create a game
  • Game must work on fgl.com
  • Flash (AS2 or AS3), HTML5 or Unity is allowed.
  • Libraries and languages must be declared with entry
  • The theme needs to be central to the game

Game Rules

  • Mouse Control Only

Theme
Three words, no more, no less. Any three words you want, as long as the first word begins with “F”, the second word begins with “G” and the third word begins with “L”.

We were still pretty excited and jumped right to work. There were lots of ways to use FGL and the possibilities felt endless. I think one thing that may have slowed us down was the fact that it was mouse controls only. Over the next few  hours we shot out ideas back and forth. Just when we felt like we had something it quickly evaporated as we ran into time issues or a development problem with the game. Some ideas we had were; a fast paced super hero game where you had to save people, a fast paced super villain game where you had to destroy everything, launcher game ideas, shooters, collecting games and stacking games. There were definitely a lot more but that’s all I can think of at the moment.  This process ended up being a lot harder then we had anticipated and easily wasted a lot of time.

I dont even remember how we stumbled across our final idea but we went into it not as motivated as we should have been. We really just needed to do something at this point and we thought it looked doable and knew no one else would do anything like it. We decided on Frantic Guardian Latamere as the name of the game.  So Peter signed off because it was around 5AM in his timezone (must have been exhausted) and I got to work. My first target was to create the hero. Although it seemed simple I wasted waaay to much time here. I went through 4 complete designs and then decided to just start over.  It had been almost 5  hours since Peter had logged off at this point. It was now about 4am and my motivation was almost gone and I was becoming delirious so I hit the hay knowing I would start over in the morning.

Day 1 Continued:
I awoke about 3 hours later because my 2 wonderful children had just woke up and wanted me to feed them and change there diapers. Not the best way to start the day with a deadline looming over your head.

After a few hours raced by I managed to get myself back to the computer and finally started work again. When I glanced at skype I saw that Peter messaged me about 15 minutes after I went to bed so I knew he had been hard at work for awhile and I needed to get some work done. This time I did something I wanted to do originally but didn’t  because I was afraid of the time it would take. I did a zelda styled top down view of the hero and luckily it turned out better then I imagined.   Only down side to this style is that I have to draw the hero 3 times and animate him 3 times because of the 3 different view points needed (front, side and back). This looked better but was also very time consuming. The original character was a front side view, but it just didn’t look right to me.

Once the character was designed I felt a lot better about the game and started working on the environment. To my dismay Peter did not happen to like the world art because it didn’t fit with the game. So after doing and redoing it I realized maybe we were not understanding each other. So after a long discussion we were now on the same page. At this point I had designed the character *not animated* him and had a bunch of level art we couldnt use.

End Of Day 1

I then began to animate the character which dragged on to about 7 am. Both Peter and Daniele had went to bed and awoken at this point and I was running on fumes, but I felt I needed to get something definite done to  make some real progress. Once I managed to get the character animated I passed out next to my wife on the couch.

About 3 Hours Later:
I awoke again to two screaming children who were hungry and needed diapers changed. At this point I felt like I couldnt do it but I managed to push on because I knew Peter and Daniel were relying on me.

Once the kids were taken care of I jumped straight to work and edited some art my Wife (she is also an artist for Iconic Games, but she has been working on her own stuff lately)did so it would work with our game. I’ve got to say without her help I don’t know if we would have been able to finish. She really did a good job.  After that it all kind of just blends together. The hours just flew by and I was trying to do everything at once so we would have a game to play. Things were getting done but it felt like I was going to slow and with the digital clock at the bottom right hand corner of my screen it only made me more nervous.

As time flew by I managed to finish all the art about 45 minutes before the time ended, but now I had to go through and prepare all the art for the game editor (no levels or anything were even designed). I managed to do that in about 10 minutes and then Peter told me I was missing a couple things so I had to finish that up as quickly as possible. Now at this point we only had about 30 minutes and we still had to design rooms, put content in them, upload the game to the site and post it to the FGL contest thread. So feeling rather drained Peter asked me to prepare uploading the game while he did the levels ( a job I typically do, but I was honestly happy I wasn’t doing them because I was completely scatter brained). It took me about 20 minutes to write a decent short/long description of the game. Just in time for Peter to upload the game to dropbox so I oould upload the game to FGL. I tried to quickly submit but for some reason it made me put a game image. Which managed to slow me down because Photoshop wouldn’t open.(so I was freaking out) It did manage to open though and I posted the game to the site and in the forum. With about 2 minutes to spare Peter uploaded an updated version of the game with sounds in.

Contest Ends:

I really just couldnt believe we made it. Also the feeling was a bit surreal to realize the first time to play the game was about 5 minutes before it was uploaded for the contest. I had only slept about 6 hours in those two days and was completely exhausted. I know Peter and Daniele both felt the same.  That really showed me I can trust these guys and honestly there the only people im really happy to work with.

Daniele had done all the games music and sounds, not to mention he had also sacrificed sleep and worked faster and harder then I have ever seen him do  before. He really impressed me. Something that was pretty funny was that after the dust had settled and Peter and I were celebrating Daniele messaged me with the menu music thinking we still had another hour. He was disappointed when I told him it was to late but without it he did a phenomenal job.

Courtney , my wife, had actually helped me with a lot of the game art and without her I am not positive I would have been able to finish the project. She really did an awesome job and I feel bad because both me and Peter were incredibly hard on her.  We kept having her redo art and complaining so it doesn’t surprise me that she left me to do it myself a couple of times, but in the end she helped me finish the game up and did an awesome job.

With this project Peter was a miracle worker. That guy moved like a cheetah on the hunt and destroyed this game. Really the best coder I have EVER worked with.(with this project and all of our ones before) I am normally the one to take the lead but he was definitely the one leading us this time around.  He had put together the frame work for our editor prior to this and coded the entire game in 48 hours not to mention put together the actual game and added all the sounds/a lot of art all in the last hour. I still have no clue how he did it.

Final Thoughts:
I am just incredibly happy that we managed to finish the game. It was a ton of work and all of us went without sleep but we have the basis for an awesome RPG.  And trust me we have plans to expand, polish and make this into a full fledged adventure RPG.

I went into this thinking we could come up with a good idea and turn it into an even better game once the competition was over. I am confident we have/will do that but I feel like this has revealed a lot about the people I work with and  really changed my perspective on a lot of game related stuff. I know now that I can trust all of these guys and that they truly have my back. I have no doubt that together we will continue to make some awesome games and I look forward to that. Some people may think that this may have been a waste of 48 hours but I wouldn’t have spent it doing anything else. This 48 hours has changed the way I will work with my team and develop games in the future.

Final Contest Game Name: Fierce Guardian Latamere

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