Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Idle, and why?... because botting is fun!

I want to share with you my motivation for making an idle game, a quickly growing genre in the past several years. These are games that do not require a lot of hands-on time to play. To me it just all comes down to one thing: progression. And steady progression tends to feel rewarding and "fun" to the player. It can be addictive.

One of my favorite idle games is not even an actual idle game. It is Diablo II that still has a community of online players. The game gets very tedious near the end of the game, to further progress and find items. That is where botting comes in, using custom scripts. Basically you design a character, play through the interesting content, and then have a program do most of the rest.

Sounds ridiculous and pointless right? But it actually is fun, to check in and find that your character mindlessly found that extremely rare item with a 0.000002% chance of dropping, while you slept through the night. You can then further refine your character by trading items online and revising the script files to improve your character, in order to reach level 99 more quickly - this takes an insane amount of actual time even for a bot.

Wait, it gets better. You can buy additional CD keys and run multiple characters at the same time. This is not my video, but it demonstrates the point:


By doing this, you get to find those extremely rare items more quickly, to arm additional characters. This way of "playing" transforms the game experience from skill to optimization strategies. Like, being a coach rather than an athlete.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Global Game Jam 2017

Global Game Jam 2017 was recently held worldwide. The event just keeps getting bigger with more cities and locations participating each successive year. NYC alone had over 500 participants hosted in the Microsoft Building in Times Square.





I showed up and collaborated with five others (four, after one had an emergency the first evening). We used the Unity engine and Discord to communicate easily and share extra files. I was really impressed by Unity's collaborate feature - built-in cloud source control.

The theme was "waves", which was open to interpretation - especially for fluent English speakers. Waves may only translate to physics based waves suggested by the keynote video, and not the additional interpretation of gestured hand waves.

This was the first game jam ever where I wrote virtually no code. I was basically an assistant artist, filling in gaps, and hunting down audio. So, needless to say, it was fairly relaxed for me, with the exception of the 36 miles I walked according to Google Fit.




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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Prototyping some interfaces

This is a stage of development where big decisions need to be made. I have to design the interface and most of the game design at the same time. I already have some idea of how this game will be played, by merging ideas from two existing games together: Clicker Heroes and Zombidle. This may be the first game I make that has the feature of guilds to offer a social aspect.

Interface sketches to elicit solid design ideas.

I have a good feeling about this project. I have gotten a better grasp on this type of genre, which is "clicker" or "idle" oriented. I actually play a few. It offers a great sense of endless progression and should be easier to balance over games that are designed to be played continuously in long sessions. For example, traditional first-person-shooters and strategy games can easily feel too easy or too hard if not balanced correctly, and is contingent on the player's skill, anyways.

It will be technically difficult to handle cheating if I make this game competitive online. Frankly, based on income from Zombie Guard, ads earn far more money than in-app purchases (thanks Google!). So, as long as people are playing the game, cheating or not, it ought to be lucrative anyways. I plan on having currency earned by watching video ads from time to time - it may sound incredibly greedy, but it simply works; as a player, I do not mind at all if it is optional.

Zombie Guard is more of an arcade game that has some freemium features tacked on. The player eventually runs out of gas to continue playing levels, unless they wait three hours in real life to earn more. Based on critical remarks, I eventually neutralized that feature so the game is more of an arcade game. Again, ads earned more, so I had less incentive to encourage players to buy gas "pay to play". Scratch Tickets on the other hand, had a similar three hour freemium feature, but it succeeded because of the limited depth of the game.

This game will have a little bit of randomness and a little bit of strategy. The various upgrades, heroes, items, and fighting locations will offer an interesting long term experience, especially as it grows with features post-release.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Heroes!

Basically all the characters for my "clicker/idle" game is finished, with various poses and animations. I've become more efficient using Clip Studio Paint, easily able to do line work and fills with shading in a simple two layer process. It's an excellent program.


I have forced myself to attempt poses that have more energy compared to characters from my previous games.

Now, I can move onto the programming, before I work on all the less important art and interfaces. First, I am making programming and design changes to Gassy Goat, which I have delayed releasing because I was not satisfied with its design.

Zombie Guard has gotten a few patches on Google Play in the past month. That app has performed quite well and income through AdMob and in-app purchases is quite nice. The game is expected to reach half a million downloads in the coming months.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Go Idle"

I have settled on making an "idle game" for my fifteenth project. Idle games are gaining a lot of popularity these days. They tend to be very basic and straight forward, where progress is gained over a long period of time. Generally people can play for as little as five minutes a day, checking on progress, and setting course for progress over time. Optionally, players can gain progress more quickly by doing tedious tasks like clicking an object repeatedly.

Here are some heroes that offer more dynamic animated poses, compared to my usual character design.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Adobe Animate CC and CocoonJS

Wow.. wow.. wow..! I downloaded the trial for the new Adobe Animate CC. Not only does it fully support HTML5, but it is fast. I took my HTML5 test project, uploaded it to CocoonJS and it spat out an Android APK app at full landscape resolution. It runs just fine at full frame rate.

In other words.. this is going to save me a lot of time. I can now create HTML5 web apps quickly, with the easy option to deploy to the mobile app stores.

It simply works.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dug Up Concept

I stumbled upon some old concept ideas I had laying around. These were made a couple years ago using art mostly from Zombie Tactics.




It was a concept for a group based match-3 turn based game. It was never fully fleshed out. It may be a more decisive path over the slot machine mechanic that I blogged previously.

Zombie Guard for Android has given me a lot of confidence in the mobile market. It has earned more than all my other apps put together and the Google Play console is such a luxury compared to sponsorship licenses for web games.

I had this other design idea, a satirical one, where you control a guy grinding away to be the first to reach the maximum level in a fictional MMORPG called "The Ultimate Guild Lords of the Runic Realm World of Ever Eve". The name particularly combines words from many actual massive online games.

Gold farming, job, maintaining hygiene, hunger, comfort, money. Random events, upgrades, sleep. There are a lot of dynamics here. The leaderboard would have scores showing how little time it took to reach the goal within the fictional game.


The idea, was partly inspired by the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft", where the boys attempt to grind away in World of Warcraft, sacrificing their health and social opportunities in the real world, to advance their virtual selves to defeat the realm's greatest warrior... played as just some random guy with nothing else to do.



I believe a lot of gamers can relate to this game concept, of role playing as a gamer obsessed over a fictional one. I'll have to think more about this concept.