I don’t know what else to say really. I think the Zelda 3/4 graphics are kind of ingrained into the conciousness of almost anyone who was gaming at the time, and seeing them in this N64 era/style 3D is a seriously potent collision of nostalgias. I think Link’s Awakening is a good choice for this upgrade because there will be quite a few people who passed it by, unlike the more prestigious Link to the Past.
Beavering is the word for what we’re doing. TV work is in full swing, with Thom under my direction doing some great coding. I’m working myself on getting the Synapse beta ready, and I expect it to start rolling out in a couple of weeks. All the features are there apart from the tutorial, and Bin is working on the menus as we speak.
A lot has been happening recently: I haven’t posted enough.
Firstly, we put out our initial press release announcing the game. Response was fairly lukewarm to begin with- it’s hard to get coverage before you even have a gameplay trailer – but things soon picked up and we got some nice placements.
My favourite was from Brandon at Offworld: a great supporter of the indie games community. You can read his post about Synapse here.
We also started a new advertising campaign for Visiting the Village and recorded a special edition episode to mark the occasion.
In conjunction with a few other indie devs, I put together an article on PR and marketing which I’m hoping to get finished soon. It may be suitable for inclusion on one of the bigger game dev sites, so I’m talking to people about that currently – in any case the content will be available here and via our blog if that doesn’t come about. There are a lot of things that we’re learning about marketing that I think will be useful for new devs.
One thing we’re planning is to get to some of the games events coming up in the UK and do some flyering. This is a very lo-fi technique but I want to push the word out about this game absolutely as much as I possibly can.
Today we had a big session of playing single player. We’re having to make some very tough decisions at the moment: we might need to compromise on exactly how much special SP-only content we have, as we need to return to polishing, balancing and tweaking the UI and multiplayer part of the game. This is predominantly a multiplayer game: although we’re having SP content, the focus is on the one-on-one side of things.
As all you small teams out there know, it’s really really important to keep things moving, avoid feature creep and make sure you spend time refining rather than chasing cool new features. Today was the first time I played 3 SP missions in a row – a defensive mission, and two very different “escape” type missions – and it feels good. I’m confident that even if we can’t go beyond what we have now, there will be something worth playing in there.
It’s good to make some decisions and move forward towards a beta, which we’re desperately hoping will be ready for September. Keeping motivation up through this tough period, while we also have a big contract project on is paramount. Ian is taking a short holiday soon which should give him a chance to chill out a bit and step back from the intensity of designing the game: always a good thing to get some perspective.
I have been working on the first part of the soundtrack and it’s going well. I’m not ready to release anything yet but the music will be up here as soon as it’s ready for your ears! On a slight musical tangent, I returned to gigging for the first time in a few years yesterday – here’s a silly video of the crowd behaving in a daft manner while I play one of my tunes…
You can find out more about my music here if you’re interested. I record and perform uplifting and progressive trance as nervous_testpilot.
Much less excitingly, we did a bit of work on the menu UI flow: I think so many developers mess this up because it is possibly the most boring thing in the world. We HATE bad menu design, though, so effort has to be put in to allow the player to get to the juicy fun bits inside.
Watch out for that marketing article coming soon – I’ll keep you posted.
Hey guys. Hopefully getting a lot of new readers/listeners to the site with the big PR push. Welcome to all.
- People seem to generally like this week’s ‘cast, which is good. I listen to a lot of podcasts, mainly while driving. Almost all of them are American sports-related, but one that isn’t is the Adam Carolla Podcast. If you want to listen to surely the most surreal 10 minutes of a podcast that has literally hundreds of thousands of listeners, listen to the beginning of this.
- There’s a great article up at FO about the history of (American) football tabletop games. Well worth a read, and of course if you like football at all you should be buying and downloading Football Outsiders Almanack right now.
- I’m currently downloading TimeShift from Steam – £7.50 for a bonus FPS on a friday afternoon is a good deal to me. I’ll post if anything particularly amusing happens.
- For some of our contract work I’m taking a long time getting to know Torque 3D. I’m not going to go on about it too much, but this is really an incredible engine already, and is getting better with every new beta. $1000 puts it out of reach for the casual game maker, but if you’re doing this seriously then I seriously recommend it.
- I’m taking a couple of days off Synapse after having finally finished the AI/SP coding. We’re going to have a big play-day on Monday.
Welcome to our 20th Episode Special Slightly Extra-Long Edition! This week, we tackle a raft of topics, from goggles to astroturfing. We try desperately to avoid legal entanglement and discuss Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, almost in the same breath! Come and marvel!
Check out links from the show on our official Google Reader page.
We recorded the show yesterday, and it is indeed a bumper one. It will be up for your listening pleasure tomorrow.
There’s a light at the end of the single player tunnel for Synapse now. I’ve finished pretty much all the serious coding for it, and now it’s up to me and Paul to design levels and Bin to make them. This has been a pretty stressful process really, and I won’t know until the beta if I chose the right direction.
We’re back with our Develop special recorded in a public house! We discuss everything that I spotted at this year’s Develop conference and also go off on a variety of stimulating tangents.
Check out links from the show on our official Google Reader page.
Hey guys. We apologise for the delay with the “real” podcast, it shalt be available when Paul puts it up, either today or tomorrow. I say real podcast, but due to time constraints we actually had to record it while eating dinner in a pub. Thusly, we did a different format. I hope you guys still enjoy it, but even if you don’t we will be resuming to normal service next week. We’ll also try to record a couple of backup shows so that we aren’t delayed again.