Monthly Archives: December 2014

Have A Happy New Year!

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I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2015!

We wave goodbye to the old year, and welcome in the new one. Hopefully it will be an even better year for everyone, dreams materializing and wishes fulfilled. If you’ve enjoyed a great year, I hope good fortune will follow you through to 2015. However, if 2014 was troubling for you, I am empathetic of the difficult times you may be going through – stay strong, better days are ahead. Sooner or later, we all encounter those dark periods in our lives and we have no choice but to deal with them. As trite as that may sound, it really is one of those truths that life bestows upon us.

I know many of the fine folks reading this blog are predominantly gamers, fellow game developers or those involved in other creative fields. Your interest and moral support is highly appreciated. This blog took off around mid-year and has gradually earned a small audience which I’m pleased about. Regardless of the niche subject matter covered here, the enthusiasm is great and that’s what counts in the end.

My own game development endeavours are moving forward steadily. I spent much of December streamlining my development pipeline and reorganizing the work schedule. As I’m now involved with two game projects, an efficient development process is now of even greater importance. There are plans to release both games in 2015, there are no set dates yet. If all goes well, at least one title will be available in the early part of the year.

At this point in development, I can safely say that both games are high on coolness factor. So high, that I sometimes wonder if they wouldn’t be better served as a kind of fashion accessory. Weird as it sounds; comparisons to wearable accessories aside, I do see these games as a form of expression – both for creator and player alike. As a creator I get to express my influences, personal style cues and signature within my projects. On the other hand, players who take to my games will also be expressing their own tastes. Of course the entertainment value of any game is of utmost importance, but our tastes often define us and that’s important to.

It’s time to wrap-up, I’m sure many of you are preparing for the end of year festivities. If there’s one thing I regret about 2014 is that I didn’t get to play many games. I just happened to be incredibly busy with business issues, and developing games on top of that doesn’t actually help matters. For those aspiring devs, thinking that they will have more time available to spend on their favourite hobby should think again. You’re more likely to spend time playing your own game over and over and over. Not necessarily a bad thing but missing out on gaming does sting. While one of my new year’s resolutions is to play more games during 2015, I’ll hold out until I have released my own games.

For the rest of you, happy gaming in the coming year!

Best

Demos Antypas / 16-BIT Shock

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Prototyping And Arcade Presentation

Recently I started working on a brand new prototype in order to test out some left-field ideas I’ve had in mind. Still sticking with a core shooting play mechanic and building upon a framework I’ve developed with Project MSG. However, this time the view point is from the side with completely different enemies and patterns. I wanted to explore a more disruptive science fiction theme than what would have been possible in Project MSG.

The prototype is interesting to say the least but is currently in a state that is comprised predominantly of place holder graphics. I’ll be starting soon on fresh assets and gradually polishing it up into a finished game. People that have been looking forward to Project MSG, will now have something extra to be excited about. There is a common thread and style running through both projects. I’m certain that if someone enjoys the one game, it’s quite likely that they will also enjoy the other.

Another issue that is close to my heart is that of game packaging, and how best to go about it. I’ve always felt that how a game is presented to the consumer is almost as important as the actual game itself. The reason why I believe this, is that we all start playing the game in our heads long before we actually do. It could start with some screenshots, a preview, an advertisement or any marketing materials of a particular game we’re excited about. On a subconscious level they just seem to infiltrate our head space, creating a mental play through and sometimes raising expectations to unrealistic levels.

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Sega’s Quartet is a cool game with a stunning arcade cab, Lee’s mustache makes everything better

If we’re purchasing a game that is available physically, usually the type and quality of the box art will serve a similar purpose. Owning a game with cool cover art helps to elevate it in most game collections, unless it’s a stinker. Of course we’re gradually moving in a direction where optical drives will go the way of the dodo, thus rendering games in physical form redundant. Already sales of physical games are in decline, while digital downloads are ever-increasing. There may be a market for physical games in the distant future, aimed directly at the core enthusiast. It may resemble that of vinyl limited edition runs, popular with music aficionados.

Unless there’s reasonable demand, I won’t be releasing any of my upcoming games in physical form. As a huge game fan, I prefer owning physical copies of my games versus digital. Reality and market trends dictate otherwise and it’s best to flow with the tide rather than against it. This creates a challenge on how best to ‘package’ a digital product that will generate similar emotions within it’s potential audience. For that I had to go back to my arcade gaming roots, where the logo, marquee, controller inserts and side artwork would be the first noticeable elements.

A cornucopia of bright, colourful graphic work, brilliantly combining marketing with play instructions. How arcade cabinets were adorned was a masterstroke to say the least, inevitably they still are in Japan where arcades remain relevant. While I wouldn’t fathom of packaging a digitally downloadable game as an arcade cab, the gist of it is similar. A visually powerful method to communicate what the game is about, and to quickly instruct the gamer how it’s played for their enjoyment.