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The long silence

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Possibly, maybe, hopefully? some of you might have noticed I haven’t been showing much code, graphics or general new stuff in months. There have been reasons for that tho:

The main reason; I lost my creative mojo for  a bit.

During the wrapping-up work on Ashworld, and getting it ready for the mobile release, I started various little prototypes and tried to get some new stuff going. There was the adventure/exploration demo that was looking promising, but I couldn’t really get my head around a clear gameplay idea for it.

I also started on a Space Grunts 2, but didn’t get much further than having the characters walk around in a new level-generator and a huge lack of interest from my side on building a game around it.

The problem wasn’t so much with these prototypes, but more with my head not being in the right place to “create”. So I took time off, and also took some steps away from all the social media and interaction that we have these days as there’s a LOT of information and data coming at us on a daily basis which just isn’t helpful when you want to clear your head for new creative stuff.

So I’ve spend a lot of time hanging around Aline’s shop, which is another big thing we’re doing, and running a store changes the whole flow of our lives (running a store is an extremely busy and time-consuming thing!). So I also had that to deal with, and find my rhythm in all of that.

Luckily the shop is all about creative people doing craft stuff with things like paint, paper, foam, etc. So it’s not a bad environment to hang out in, and I did some claying and painting myself!

The final work things for getting Ashworld on mobile have been wrapped up last week, which was mostly getting the interface and controls correctly working, and wrapping up the app-store present. Very minor stuff that only needed to take a couple of days, but my head just wasn’t in it.

Luckily, the game is currently approved for release on the App store, and the target date is set: December 6th  (Android will follow roughly a month later). So yay! it’s finally coming and it plays pretty sweet on mobile (disclaimer: I might be biased).

Ashworld took well over a year to develop, and I learned a lot of awesome new things in terms of game-design and code-design, but it also showed that a year-long development cycle doesn’t fit my style of game development. The world of games is changing all the time, and there are a huge amount of games released in a year. So business wise it’s a terrifying thing to commit to a year of development and then hoping to get a feature spot and hopefully enough sales to continue on the next game. Stressful, and dangerous!

It’s also a huge task to be diving into a single game every day for such a long time. I managed to break it up a bit by doing Meganoid 2017 back in January+February, but that only proves to me that slightly smaller games, with less fluff and more focussed gameplay, are much more fun to work on and judging how the players are still enjoying it 10 months later it’s do-able to create great good and fun games in shorter cycles.

So the last few months I used the time-off to refocus my head on what I want with my games, and what it is that I enjoy about the creation process. Having a clear head about things also made it easier to start on a new prototype, and I decided to get back to one of my favorite squad and design a new game around them (can you guess who from the picture?).

Currently got a very playable game running, not showing anything yet, since it needs a lot of content and content-changes, and I’m honestly not 100% confident in the outcome yet, but I’m aiming for a Februari 2018 release date so you’ll hopefully hear about it soon !

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  • Rohit Bhatia

    Favourite Squad? Hmm…Gunslugs??

    • the answer is in the banner! :p

      • Rohit Bhatia

        Heroes of Loot!?

        • you were right on the first guess ;) ( the banner shows a black duck! )

  • Kng

    Welcome back!!!! Been wondering why you went offline for so long. Really sad that you abandoned the exploration game, but hey, at least you learnt something new, no?

    • yeah some of the tech in that one is also used in Ashworld and in the new game.
      also, it might still become a game at some point!

      • Kng

        looking forward to it. I haven’t played Ashworld, but seeing how the whole building system works does look like the entrance system in explore. Though I think it might get disorienting.
        Especially if a player returns to the game after like a month without playing it (explore), and loads up a saved game. Pretty sure it will be less of “explore” and more of “lost” at that point/
        Anyways, looking forward to more of your tech related blogs, not that the rest are bad, but that I tend to find them very enlightening, especially the Ashworld ones on creating the world. Keep doing what you do!

  • Senthil Kumar K

    Wishes for your upcoming projects..

  • Gornova

    Welcome back!
    You should change genre, I mean move a little bit from action games to puzzle games ?
    Working also on graphic style, there are a lot of options around

    • I moved to twin-stick shooters (heroes of loot), then to turn-based strategy games (space grunts) and now I tried my hands on an open-world adventure (Ashworld) .. I’m pretty sure I’m trying more genre’s then most solo-developers ;)

      and as for graphic style, the low-resolution “pixel-art” is really my style, and I like it.. it’s okay if not everyone else does, but luckily there are hundreds of games with different styles for those people ! :) I do change my style and my games a bit, but it’s a process, and there are many variations in pixel-art alone.

      • Gornova

        Experimenting as you said many times in the past request time and you are living with on gamdev, it’s not only and hobby like for me, I get it. My suggestion is to try new genres/ graphic style to move your perspective and maybe get new ideas on your games/style

  • Walton Nuedorff

    Yay another Gunslugs.

    Seriously even if it’s exactly like the other Gunslugs but with lighting that would be enough for me to buy it BUT I have a feeling it will be new and original. Looking forward to it! :-)

  • Erin Gunn

    I’m happy to hear you took some time to take care of yourself and came back! Keep them games coming :D