Friday, December 27, 2013

Moving over to Nick's Indie development

I've made a new blog called Nick's indie development. I'm moving over there for game development in general, rather than just a specific game.

A new website will follow sometime, but probably not any time soon. All of the topics I want to talk about will be going on over there.

The specific link is

There isn't anything there yet but i may be doing some brainstorming sessions soon. I don't know when i will start developing my next game, it all depends on what happens over the next summer.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 14, 2013

On the topic of future development

This post will be more or less to help me put my thoughts on paper as how to proceed with future projects.

So far, Irritum has been relatively condensed. It has a local website, a blog (this) completely dedicated to it, and a store specifically made for it. This doesn't allow for very much flexibility with future projects.

What I need to do:
I need to make a developer website. Something local with a main page about me and my games and stuff, and then sub-pages for my games. I'll also make a single store for multiple products, so it will be easier for me to do cross-promotion.

I need to make a dedicated developer blogger. I want to continue having blogs for developing games, but also a general blog for developing in general.

I also need to make a developer youtube and Facebook page (twitter will be easy to modify).


I want to have a localized website with sub-pages for specific games, blogs, and stuff like that. I think it will be easier for people to see my page and see the multiple games I will offer as a developer.

I have about 5 ideas I think may be worth pursuing for my next game. I have a couple I really like, but they may be too ambitious. It will be something I need to look into a bit more. That being said, development will not start until a long time forwards.

That kinda sucks though. It is addicting designing and creating games, but I just can't dedicate that time to development right now.

I think also I may start a Kickstarter for my next project. I will probably just ask for a small sum ($10,000 or so) to get the game done. This will be the minimum amount of money I will need to make the game.

I also might experiment with the idea of stretch goals being additional games being made. Something like $10k for the main game, $20k for a second game, $30k for a third game, etc. It might be an interesting thing to experiment with. Maybe no advantage though, since if the Kickstarter is successful I will just do the same thing for my next game.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Things are slowing down

Sorry for the lack of posts coming in, and for that matter the lack of new videos. School this semester is much more demanding than I expected. I have lots of videos of the game development I want to put up, but they take so long to create. Maybe I'll try to put one up this weekend.

I will also be partaking in a Twitch event this weekend with Clann of Gamers. I will share more info on it as it gets closer to the date.

Other than that, nothing really new. Sales are slow... Trying to get the game on Amazon.. stuff like that.

Please excuse the absence of updates. I'll try to make a new blog post once a week, but no promises unfortunately.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Giveaway Code!

Hi everyone! Download code can be found below!

I finally finished my first game in Unity, Irritum, and to promote the game I am handing out some download codes. It is available for Windows/Mac/Linux DRM free.

About the game:
Irritum is a game revolving around the concepts of depression, and suicide. The player finds themselves in purgatory with no memory of their past life. Two mysterious beings, Cassus and Sollus, guide the player in their journey of discovery, and lead them either to retribution or oblivion. The only thing you know is to keep moving forwards, either collecting your memories in each level or ignoring them completely. Either discover the purpose of Irritum, or escape it.

The gameplay for Irritum is a 3d platformer with a puzzle-like twist. The player must use inter-dimensional planes to reach the end of each level, but they can only have one plane activated at a time. For example, the player can activate red platforms and interact with them as normal, but when blue is activated, the player will float through red platforms as if they did not exist. You also have the ability to create a ghost of themselves that is immune to damage, and reverse gravity at their will to overcome obstacles.

Code Redemption:
For exchange for the game, I would just like to ask your help in promoting the game. Please, if you enjoy the game share it with your friends or coworkers. Share the code below to people you know and help me get the game out there. At least put a comment below and share your experience with the game. I need your help to make it a success!

To redeem the code, go to the game's website here and click "Purchase Direct". You will be asked to enter in some basic information, but at the final order page enter this code:
The game will be made free and available for download. The code is (currently) only available for 50 uses so get it before they're gone!

Where to Follow:
You can always email me at [email][/email] with any questions or comments.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The game seems to be polarizing so far

More reviews come in, and more contradictions between them. It is becoming harder and harder to determine the actual value of the game. 

I think the nature of the game may just be polarizing. I can understand how the story and context of the game can polarize people, but everything from the graphics to the controls, people seem split.

Very confusing. Oh well, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Concerning Criticism, My theories

It seems like every time I find reviews, they seem to come in pairs. In the pair, there is always one good and one bad.

The game seems to be pretty polarizing with how much people enjoy the game. Some people say it is fun, and others find it not fun at all. Some people say the graphics are stylish and unique, and others say distracting and in bad taste. Some praise the controls, and others lament them.

Suffice to say, I have not heard one repeatable criticism or praise for the game. Every criticism I have heard as been unique, and not repeated by others as criticism, and the same goes for the praise for the game.

This makes it incredibly difficult for me to understand how the game is. I know there are some issues that some reviews bring up, and I try to resolve those. But apparently those issues are not issues for other people. I just find a hard time to separate bias from actual constructive criticism or actual praise for the game.

I don't want to turn my head from criticism because it will help me grow as a developer, but it becomes so hard when criticism for my game comes from, in my opinion, things that should not be weighed against my game. I appreciate reviewers for what they are doing, and I hold no hatred or ill-will towards them, but it bothers me when my game gets dinged for not being compatible with third party programs, or is not an open world title like many other 3d platformers.

I just find criticism like those so out of line when trying to review a standalone title. But I can't brush off this criticism because it has to come from somewhere. It has to be something that is wrong with my game somehow, and to improve the game I have to try and fix it.

I just don't get it sometimes. Hopefully more reviews will shed some light on this.

Edit: I can not stress enough how much I am not writing off all the bad reviews. I am simply exposing my internal thoughts about some reviews. I am incredibly thankful for all reviewers to have played my game and given it a chance, and I know their schedules can be crammed full. In my willingness to be open about all aspects of development, I am obligated to share my thoughts on the reviews.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Structure of giveaways / On the topic of reviews

For the giveaways, I will probably end up doing some kind of structure where I release one code than can be redeemed 50+ times. That way people won't have to keep editing the post to claim their codes and remove them as needed.

Hopefully this will make it more streamlined for people to download the game.

I'm also going to try to sync Desura and my Fastspring Service provider so Fastspring will give Desura keys when people download the game. This way, for the giveaway specifically, people will get a Desura key when they redeem the code. This will also help future customers.

In return for the giveaways, I will only ask for help promoting the game. I want to request people to share the game with their friends and talk about the game if they can. I will ask them to please comment how they felt about the game and give some feedback, any at all.

My hopes are that this will help stimulate sales. First weekend sales were lacking (I have never been a firm believer in Day1 = biggest sales) so hopefully this will help promote the game more.

Plans are to give away several hundred copies at least, and based on how well those go, offer more.

On to the next topic, reviews.

So far, the game has had mixed reviews. More positive than negative, but nonetheless mixed. I'm anxious to see more reviews, some more should start coming in soon.

It's very confusing, to read some people's thoughts and watch them play, and they appear to actually "get" the game and enjoy it. While others absolutely hate it and say it sucks. I don't know what is trustworthy and unbiased, but only time will tell.

Irritum now available on Desura!

Irritum released on Desura today! Head on over and check it out!
Desura Digital Distribution
It is available for Windows/Mac/Linux for only $9.99. Please head on over and show your support!

If you have any questions or comments you can always contact me at

Friday, September 6, 2013

Release today! Please go support!

Game is finally out! Please purchase the game at my website(! It is only $10 for Windows/Mac/Linux versions and DRM free.

You can also purchase the game via Desura ( on Monday, the 9th!

Please, if you are interested in the game go get it and try it out, it's only $10!

Also, please tell all of your friends. Share the game with people everywhere, I need your help and support to make this a success!

As always, you can contact me at with any questions!

Thank you everyone for reading, and I hope you enjoy the game! :D

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Release is tomorrow

Release is tomorrow. The game probably won't be immediately available through Desura, so if you want the game ASAP you can purchase it direct from (

I will also be doing giveaways this weekend. I plan to give away several hundred copies of the game. I will share some here, and others will be on Reddit, Unity forums, Facebook, twitter, etc.

I think everything is in order to go. I hope it gets off to a good start. My sales expectations aren't too much, but I would love the game to sell at least 1000 copies. My expectations are much lower, but I would consider it (in my eyes) a phenomenal success if I reach 1000 copies.

My plan is that, over the weekend, giveaways will lead to more sales. I hope my plan works out. Either way, I am excited and nervous to get this thing started.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Closer and closer to launch

Irritum is launching on Friday. I don't know what else to say.

I am working to get the game on Amazon, GameHouse, and Desura, so hopefully that will all be done soon.

I answered some interview questions recently, they should be popping up around the internet soon.

I have some news as far as how much people like the game, but  I won't share it yet. It is positive, but I don't know if I am able to release that info yet or not. So far, it is only one review though, so it may be an outlier. Hopefully others enjoy the game as much as these people did.

I may also post a new video to youtube on Friday, maybe a pair of videos. I know I haven't uploaded one of development in a while, but now with the game almost out I will have time to catch-up.

I really have nothing else to share. I expect I will have lots of news after launch, but only time will tell. I will post a new post on launch day, but otherwise I can't think of anything else to share at this time.

Here we go.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Working to put my game on Amazon

So, in my recent search for outlets to put my game, I contacted Amazon. They are on of the main outlets that contacted me back (quite quickly also) and told me the requirements for my game to be on the Amazon store.

They sent over a contract for me to look over and sign off, and then we can start working on the page for the game. I need to send over game materials and such, but this is how I expected it. This is the kind of service I was expecting when I would contact places to put my game on their service.

It just makes me even more frustrated that GoG turned down my game. It is a huge sales platform, and I would love to be featured on it, but I just don't get why they can't do the same as Amazon has. GoG didn't even play the game, they just said no without even giving it a try.

Just thought I would share a little more insight on this for everyone.

On that note, I will be out of town this weekend, so I won't be updating blogger or anything, but I will get some nice free time to work on the game. I am trying to "go gold" by Tuesday, as per my marketing service team thingy, which I will now reveal is Beefjack.

Today, as far as the game goes, I added some "color correction" to the game, which as basically just a screen overlay of a specific color. I also added a faded overlay to the screen edges. Other things was stuff like some bug fixes, making sure all the particles worked properly, and stuff like that.

Release date is quickly approaching, and I am very excited. I hope the gaming world latches onto my game and likes it. It is my first game, so I understand it won't be perfect, but I hope people enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sent out requests for places to sell my game

Today I sent out dozens of emails to outlets everywhere on the web to see if I can get my game sold through their website or service. I will share here what they respond with (hopefully most will accept). I don't understand why anyone would deny a game that wants to be on their service.

Venting time:
I mean, I can set up an account with Fastspring and have a store up in running very quickly (depending on how advanced you want the product to be integrated into the service), but for more purposes it took only a few hours, of which most time was spent waiting for an email response.

When you are ready to put your store live, you write an email to Fastspring asking them to activate your store, and then they review it, and activate it. It's that simple (not to mention free). Amazing service. Fair rates. Friendly interface. It really is exactly what someone wanting to do direct sales should look into.

Literally, Fastspring doesn't ask for any up front money or any reimbursement if you can't sell anything at all, but they ask for only 8.9% of all sales you make. They set up a distribution platform for you with absolutely no requirement for units moved, and that is absolutely fantastic. But I can't understand why other digital distributors can't do this.

For example, GOG turned down my game being on their site. The only costs I can think of would be that they would have to pay would be the server for hosting the files and related information about the game, which with a huge database of games already in there, should be miniscule. I am doing all the work, I am making the game, trailers, screenshots, etc. Literally all they have to do would be to activate my account, like Fastspring did, and let me set up a store.

I understand Fastspring takes a huge risk with their policies, but obviously the rewards must outweigh the risk, especially the failures. They know that for every 10 or so they accept, most will fail, but they can recoup those costs by the one that succeeds out of every 100 or every 1000. I just don't get why this model doesn't work for other distributors.

I know some of it may come from the fact that a lower quality game may bring down the general quality of the website, but when you don't even play the game, you can't make that decision. Not only that, but it's not their place to deny a game opportunity for success. They have a rating system in these services for a reason, to filter out the bad games. By jumping the gun and denying indie game developers like myself the opportunity to reach a wider audience for their game, they essentially condemn the game to failure, or at least a lower level of success, and it is kind of frustrating.

In fact, it is very frustrating. By denying indie game developers these opportunities, they are not helping the indie scene. They are narrowing it down and only giving attention and press to the games that "they" deem worthy. It is almost like a segregation of indie games based on content, but this is the heart of the "indie revolution". As indie developers, we should be able to explore other ideas and content without having to worry about not being featured on a distributors platform because it doesn't feature pixel art or isn't a rogue-like.

I know people have services like these to make money. I know that is what they are after, and they want to specify which games will make them the most money, and denying games which they expect will either net them a small return or make them lose money. But this is the same pattern of big game companies only allowing developer studios that want games published. They need to fall in line and make a game that will appeal to the masses. But this is inherently opposite of indie games, where we try to make something personal, and most often niche.

It just hurts the indie gaming scene. There should be more open platforms, with games that sell better having a smaller distribution cut, and games that are higher rated by users get more publicity on the service. That way, smaller games by smaller devs can still be included in the site, and if they make good games, they will get recognition.

 It shouldn't be the distributors decision what indie games get recognition, it should be the consumers. They way things are now, both developers and consumers of the indie game scene are being harmed.

Sorry if I appear to be rambling, I am just speaking my mind continuously.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If GoG changes their mind, I would still love to work with them. I am not putting an embargo on their service, but I think they should be more open to smaller indie developers, especially brand new ones like myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I have always heard the last 10 percent of the game is the hardest...

.. and it definitely is. I think what happens in the last stages of development will either make or break the game. The mechanics are there, the aesthetics are all in place, the only thing left is polishing and bug fixing.

I have been knocking bugs out consistently, and it seems every time I fix one, I find two more. I don't break two things when I fix one, I just happen to find two more after I fix one. That and I have spent considerable time trying to make the game's graphics more appealing. I removed a blur effect because it harmed performance immensely in some levels, and it made the game feel hazy, which wasn't the effect I was hoping it would do.

I also added many particles systems to the game. Today I added some on the character to make it look like the UV s moving around a little. Other ones I added was dust when the player lands from a jump and some rain.

On a side note, unity sucks sometimes. Their particle system is nice, but I can't access most of the variables from within code, and the particle system crashes Unity frequently. Not only that, but when Unity crashes, the particle systems remember some settings but not others, so they become entirely useless and I have to create a new particle system and start from scratch. Incredibly frustrating.

Unity is a powerful engine that is awesome in some aspects, but in others it is completely unreliable.

In other news, new price change. The new price is $10 for launch. I was suggested this by the marketing people I have partnered with, and hopefully it will lead to more revenue.

Oooooo I also recently had an article about my game featured on IndieStatik. It led to a little more buzz, and I am excited to see if my game catches on with other outlets. By far though, the most helpful way to promote my game so far has been Boogie reading it in his fanmail. I will definitely send him another letter and copy of the game for launch.

School started recently also :( I won't have much time to work on the game while in school, but since it is mostly finished I don't think that will be too much of an issue.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Updated Accounts + Publicity + Free copies of the game

To prepare for the game really getting out there, I created a twitter and facebook for the game. I added screenshots and stuff like that too. Hopefully this will let me connect with people on a more personal level.

I recently noticed on IndieDB that the game hovers around position 1000. I know this isn't really something to brag about, but perviously it was wavering around 5k or 6k or something like that. Within the past few days however it seems to float around 1k, most of the time closer to 900. This gives me some hope that the game is getting bigger before the real marketing push (which will begin in the next two weeks).

If there is also enough publicity over the game, I am considering doing a midnight launch event on twitch. I will stream what I am doing at launch, share sales numbers, and give away many copies of the game for free. I think I would enjoy doing some kind of giveaways for each game sold. Something like for every 1 game sold, I'll give one away, or something like that. Something that would drive sales and help promote the game. I mean, on Twitch people flock to giveaways, and hopefully if I give mine away people will flock to the channel and learn about the game.

But again,  I think I would only do this if I have tons of interest in the game. The last thing I want is to get on Twitch and have 4 people watching me be awkward. My self esteem would be damaged more than my sales.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Game is done - and other news.

State of the Game:
I think the game is pretty much done. I fixed the last couple things today and played it through a few times, and everything appears to be working nicely. I will do more testing to be sure, but so far I think my work is done. With this extra time I am going to be helping market the game, and maybe (possibly) translating the game into other languages if it isn't too time consuming. If you want the game now, it is available for preorder with instant download of an old build, and I will be uploading a new build soon so it won't be the two month old beta. So if you don't want to wait, you don't have to.

GOG denied me:
One piece of bad news: I contacted GOG to see if we could put my game on their service, and they turned me down :(. They weren't convinced of the sales potential apparently. Things like that are very worrisome to me. Maybe it was because of the lack of exposure so far, but I mean how hard can it be to put a game on their service? I would assume it isn't too much, but it may actually be very expensive. Again, I doubt it though.

Oh well. So far my main profit avenues will be direct sales and Desura (assuming they don't turn me down also for some reason, but I think their service is more accessible). I'm going to hold off on getting the game on Steam until the game seems to have more of a following.

It is disheartening to hear that someone thinks my game will fail. I assume the individual who contacted me for marketing purposes has faith my game will succeed, at least with their help. And the better my game does, the more money they will make, so I assume they believe in what I am doing.

The whole experience just puts bad thoughts in my head that I should be ignoring.

Going public:
Most of my nervousness has subsided since I revealed the game to my family, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. This has given me confidence to open up the facebook page publicly, and actually get Twitter working. I will work on all of this tomorrow, in addition to a new "launch" trailer.

This is it. The time has come to get it out there.

Thanks for reading.

Why the game was Postponed

Long story short: The game was pushed back for marketing time.

The real story:
 Recently I was approached by an individual who works for a company (who shall be unnamed for now) who offered to work with me for the marketing for Irritum. We weren't able to immediately work something out, but we now have an agreement in place and are starting to work on publicizing the game further than I would be able to.

They said they would need 3-4 weeks prior to launch to start marketing, and the original release date of August 16th would have been too small of a window for them. So I pushed the game back to September 6th.

The individual who contacted me did marketing for several other indie games, many of which hit their goals and have been successful (I am sure you have heard of two of them) but they will stay unnamed for now also because I don't want to reveal who this individual and the company is without their consent.

Anyways, they approached me and offered to do marketing for the game. This gives me more time to focus on the game, in addition to reaching a wider audience.

On a personal level, I am excited. This could open up a whole new level of success for the game. Time will tell though.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 2, 2013

More and more polish (as well as other news)

School is quickly approaching, the first day is stated as August 16 (a Friday...?), so I want to be done with the game by then, which is exactly why that was the first launch date. Coincidentally, it will also be my birthday.

With only two weeks of actual development of what I desire to include in the game, I am generally polishing the game. I changed the shaders around a lot to find something I like, in addition to adding some particle effects. The game seems to now have a real "atmosphere" that I like.

I added falling objects that leave behind little smoke tails, I added a glowish looking thing to collectible memories, I added a yellow fire effect to checkpoints so they are now visible (in addition to removing the "checkpoint reached" text), a small dotted line that follows moving platforms to enforce the idea of circulation, and some shards of glass that fall from broken platforms. I also added some fading screens between the scenes so the game transitions better. The game fades to white between levels, and fades to black between menus. Oh yeah, and a rain effect (still barely working) that I think adds some nice ambience to the game.

I have a couple of bugs I want to fix, one is game-breaking, but only temporarily. I know exactly how to fix it, and where it occurs, but I am too tired right now to do it. A job for tomorrow. Everything is just more polish.

As I begin wrapping up this game, I find more ideas of new games entering my mind. I have one idea that I keep dreaming of, but it may be too ambitious for my next project (depending on how this project turns out).

I also changed the HUD a bit, making it less cluttered and such. Also fixed some issues with resolutions. Added in some sound effects. Changed some sound effects, added in some music.

I am glad to be wrapping up this project. It's not that I don't like making the game, I absolutely love doing this, but I want the nervousness to end. I want to be able to relax and be happy that people like the game. Not even that, but I just want people to play it and know about it.

I need to update my profiles. I will probably be doing that next week. Find out how to use my twitter account, update and make facebook page public, update youtube, and update IndieDB. I have a lot of screenshots I want to put out there. Then I need to make a release trailer.

At that time I will also make preorders the full $15, and they will receive the build I have currently have, rather than the beta, in addition to the final build at release. I don't want people to pay $5 the day before release for my game.

My next post will be about why the game was postponed, I promise.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Launch Date - September 6

New launch date is September 6. It has been pushed back a little to accommodate some unforeseen events. Now this may sound like a bad thing, but this is a good thing. In my opinion, a very good thing.

I still won't go into the specifics until everything is signed off on, but that should happen within the next few days. Then, (hopefully) I will have the confidence to talk about it.

This is a good thing though because the game will hopefully reach a wider audience, in addition to being a better experience overall.

Exciting times everyone. Lets all hope this pans out well. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The current state of me.

I think now is an interesting time for me to explain how I currently feel about the game. I have watched many interviews with game developers, and many say that after the game is released, they become depressed. They compare it to sending a child off to school, or something of the like.

My game hasn't been released yet, but I think I am starting to feel a similar way. I wouldn't say I am depressed, but I would consider myself incredibly nervous to the point of minor paranoia. I consistently feel "butterflies in my stomach" to a huge degree. I don't know if it is because of the recent and exciting opportunities that I could be a part of, or because of the game going very public in the next few weeks.

For that matter, not many people I know are aware about this game yet. I guess you could say I am scared of what people will think of it, and of me for that matter. To increase my chances of success, I will have to show it off to everyone I know, and that kind of scares me. I may have nothing to be afraid of, but I feel this way nonetheless.

In addition, I am afraid my game will not be considered a good game. I won't stop making games by any means. I enjoy it a whole lot. Even though it may not be my main source of income, I will still do it. I also know this is a learning experience for me. It will make me a better designer, writer, artist, programmer, etc. But I still want people to like the game. I will be happy I finished my first game, but I may be heartbroken if people hate it, at least within reason. I know not everyone will enjoy the game, but I want people who like the genre to enjoy my game.

In conclusion, I am afraid. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of what people will think of me. I am afraid of what will follow after this game.

I'm not saying the game isn't fun, and it's dumb or anything. I just wonder if other people will like it as much as I do.

Thanks for reading.

Minigame is done and included.

The mini-game I wanted to include in the game was easier to implement than I thought. It is now in working condition and included in the game level hierarchy. It still needs to be ironed out and polished, but it is working.

They are really just simple levels that break up the action every couple levels. They take less than a minute to beat, but I just wanted to include something to break up the routine every now and then.

Now I am back to my routine of polishing the game. Tweaking sounds/music, performance, stuff like that. The last major thing I really want to get into the game is a new character model that looks a bit better.

In other news, I recently said the game will release August 16. Now I realize I may have jumped the gun. I initially thought the game will be completed by that date (and so far, it will still be), but because of circumstances I could not foresee, I may delay the game by about one months time.

This is all dependent on what happens within the next couple weeks or so. When I know for sure what is going on, I will let everyone know when the new release date will be, and why it will have to be postponed.

This has nothing to do with the speed of development, but rather with an exciting offer I recently received. The offer may fail to pan out, and it may not, but either way, I will let everyone know as soon as I am able to give a definite date.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New game modes

Yesterday I started experimenting with different game modes, and I'm going to try and make a run to get them in the game.

One mode is a one-life difficulty, which is exactly how it sounds. The player only has one life to beat the game. This wasn't hard to program at all, I just added a boolean so the player doesn't get "next level" or "reset level" prompts.

The other game mode is the mini-game I was talking about earlier this week. I as experimenting with it last night and I decided I'm going to try and include it. It's just a small addition that will occur after every few levels or so. Specifically after the player collects a part of their "brain".

The only hard part I think will be getting the minigame to load the correct level after the minigame is completed. I'll probably just have to manually enter the level every scene. Oh well, there will only be a few of these events so nothing to worry about.

I should also probably make a transition to the minigames. For that matter, a transition between levels other than a menu. Maybe a fade to white? I will have to think more on it.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting publicity

With release (August 16) quickly approaching,  I am wrapping up development on the game and shifting my perspective once again to marketing. To try and get the news out about my game, I have several things I am going to do.

The first thing is that I will be giving out many copies of the game. Probably at least several hundred in total. I will post codes on Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, IndieDB, etc. Hopefully this will drive awareness of the game and get people to be interested enough to purchase it. I am planning to have at least 200 codes, and divide them up based on audience download rate around different forums and stuff like that.

The second thing that I need to contact press members with my personal story. I think what the press may really latch onto would be that first of all, I have created this game all by myself (so far) without spending a dime on making the game. The second thing, would be that this game was only created in the span of about 3 and a half months. The third being that I am creating a game that revolves around the topic of suicide(loosely), which is very rare concerning the current state of the game industry. The final point being I am only 21 years old (I will be 22 on August 16) and have done this much work alone and in this short amount of time.

That's pretty much it. Within the next few weeks I will create the official Steam Greenlight page and promote that, try to get the game set up to be sold on Amazon, and look into the Apple app store to see how to get included in that (though I've heard horror stories about that so I am reluctant to get involved with that).

Best outcome:
Game is available on my website, Desura, Steam, and Amazon at least. Hopefully It will be available on Gamersgate and GoG at a later date. That would be my goal to get the game out there.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Most of the game is done...

.. now just for the polish. The game is in a functioning and working state that I believe is able to be released. I can't think of any bugs at the moment, which is a good thing, and the gameplay has been streamlined and polished.

However, the game won't be releasing just yet. You may remember my last post saying I was in crunch time. Well that still stands. I want to put so much more into the game than what I have now.

Some examples, I want to include some kind of opening cinematic kind of thing, which shouldn't be too hard, and a credit scene. Both of those can probably be done by the end of the week, if not tomorrow. But what I really want to include are transition levels.

As the game stands now, the player beats a set of levels, grabs the part of their brain, and then a new set of levels is unlocked. I would really like to incorporate a mini-game in between these two events. A small, maybe 1 or 2 minute break from the game, to change the pace.

The other big things on my plate are polishing some things, and increasing the average FPS. Sometimes the FPS dips below 30 frames on my macbook, but I want the game to run an average consistency of 60 fps on my machine. That way, lower end machines will still get good fps (I consider my machine in the mid-lower range).

I also want to make the player texture a bit nicer, and change the particle system currently on the memory collectibles.

One very large thing, is the music. I absolutely NEED to add more music to the game. Currently I have mostly ambience, but that needs to be updated. Most of next week will probably be dedicated to solely that. Honestly, the music also quite worries me. I have limited access to decent music programs, and I have not music savvy by any means. I guess we will see how it turns out.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Crunch Time

I am going to consider the next month or so up to release as crunch time. I have tons of new features I want to put in the game, and I have lots of polishing to do. The main topics I need to include are listed below:
  • Polish. I need to round out some corners and make the game more appealing to look at.
  • More game modes. I plan to have at least 1 more game mode included. A 1-life game mode where the player has only 1 chance to beat all the levels.
  • Achievements. I want the player to be able to have goals to beat each level. Such as within a certain time, or certain amount of deaths, etc.
  • Story. I also need to weave in the second story. This story really involves the outward audio that the player hears while in a coma. 
  • Story, again. I need to incorporate heavier story elements. Specifically I need to figure out how to incorporate the different parts of the brain into the "brain" levels.
  • Music. I need more. much more.
  • Final level. An endless, final level.
  • New player model. Lastly, I need a new player model, and I need it to animate correctly.
As you can see. I have a lot to do. I feel overwhelmed. 

In addition, so far people that have played the game appear to be enjoying it. They are frustrated with the controls and such, but most people do enjoy it. No preorders yet though. I'll probably do some giveaways on reddit and elsewhere to try and build some more buzz for the game.

Brainstorm: I can make a second character. The character can be an angel-like entity that guides the player. She can teach the player how to jump and stuff, and then fill them in when they get to the brain. This helps fill a few gaps in the design.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sending out beta copies

Today I spent all day sending beta copies to all kinds of people. Bloggers, youtubers, websites, etc. I sent out just under 100 copies of my game, so hopefully at least some of them make it to daylight.

One thing I underestimated when sending out all those emails was actually how mentally exhausting it can be. I am figuratively on my last leg.

Hopefully some of the institutions will get back to me for an interview or something. I would love to just talk to someone about my game, so that anyone that wants to know more can find it easily. I will probably do a gameplay trailer by the beginning of next week to show some more in-depth footage, rather than just two trailers. Maybe that will get some people more interested.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The story of my game and I that I will be posting around the web

(The game is currently in beta and still under development.)

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Nick and I am the sole developer for my first Indie game, Irritum. All the artwork, coding, and music have all been done by me. If you wish to contact me for any questions, comments, etc., my public email is Now, about the game.

To begin, Irritum is a game about suicide. You, the player, have recently killed yourself, and you are now stuck in a limbo-like state. All you know is that you have to keep moving forwards, you must continue to make progress. Memories echo through your mind, sometimes confusing you, other times revealing mysteries. Discover why you tried to kill yourself as you try to wake from your coma.

The gameplay is that of a third-person platformer/puzzle game with a twist. You can only stand on one type of platform at a time, and each type of platform is represented as a color. For instance, you can only come in contact with red platforms while red is activated, and all other colors would float through you as if they didn't exist. You can switch which colors are activated at any time, but be careful, timing is everything. Avoid obstacles in the void such as the bottomless pit below, lasers that would destroy your sub conscience instantly, and platforms that would push you into the abyss. Master elements such as the ghost ability, which lets you create a shadow of yourself that is invincible to such lasers, or the ability to reverse gravity to bypass obstacles that are too formidable. Reconstruct your brain from scratch as you leap from one reality to another, attempting to finally land in the one that matters.

 Irritum is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and is currently available for pre-order from ( The preorder costs $10, and will give you an instant download to the Irritum Beta as well as the final version of the game when it releases in August (final retail will be $15). The final game will be available on my website and Desura, and with luck on Steam also.

TL;DR - Buy this game... :)

If you are interested in the development of Irritum, check out my youtube page ( and my blog (

Beta version is slowly rolling out

So far my store is active, and my beta trailer is completed. Now, I need to send out the press copies. I have about 101 outlets listed whom I wish to contact. I want all of them to play and talk about my game, but I expect much less will actually do that.

I would hope that they would at least try a little bit of the game. Preferably I would like it if they talked about the game a little bit as well.

I will send most of the beta copies tomorrow. Wish me luck :)

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Making a business

Sorry for the long drought of updates. I have been working hard on polishing the game. All the beta levels are done, a lot of bugs have been resolved, and a lot of new aesthetics have been added.

My next steps are to make a business and submit all the required documentation in order to sell the game. This week, while I wait for all of this stuff to go through, I will probably re-create the player model, and include the story for the game.

I have the script for the game done, however I still need to record it. The story and the official business being created are the only two things I am waiting for before I contact my list of press people and give them a free copy of the game. I want to wait for the business to be done by that time because I want people to be able to preorder AND get instant beta access at the same time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beta is well on its way

So far, the beta looks like it is going to be about 40 levels in total. I already have 30 of them done. After I finish all the beta levels, I will update all the sound/music in the game. The next, and probably most important part, would be to include the story elements. So far there are no story elements included in the game, but I will stat to work them in after the above steps are finished.

After that, I intend to re-work the menus and buttons for the menus, followed by the options menu. Then I can work on updating the website and creating new trailers and such.

While I wrap up the game, I will try to create a sole-proprietership so I can actually sell the game, and contact Fastspring and set up a way to sell the game, in addition to launching the game on Steam's Greenlight as an actual game, rather than a concept.

Then, after everything is set up, I will give the game to the press and hopefully start a whole new ad campaign.

I hope to finish all of this by the end of June, and I think that is reasonably possible.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 31, 2013

International audience

Today I was able to have the first look at the teasers youtube audience demographics. To my surprise, the most time watched of the video is spent from German users. This is very interesting, and it made me realize that to increase my chances for success, I will have to somewhat cater to an international audience.

At the beginning of the game I will just have a prompt as to what language they prefer the game to run in, and based on that the rest of the games dialogue and text will be translated. But what languages should I support? If I do this, I will have to support many languages. At least English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese. Maybe Mandarin as well for some of the gigantic Chinese market?

The order system I plan to use (Fastspring) automatically translates for users based on their ip-address so that won't be an issue. I wonder how Desura and Steam handle users from other countries. Maybe I will have to flag my game compatible with international users or something.

This is definitely something I should keep in mind, and I may work on it closer to release.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Another thing I found with testing

I found that testers often complain that they cannot accurately judge the distance between jumps. I am looking into how to solve this. I have a shadow beneath the player to help, but it apparently isn't helping.

I will need to do some research to figure out what I can do.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Insight on testing

Today I let my brother play the alpha version of the game as I watched. I noticed some areas he had trouble.

 For one, if I taught him to do something early on, whenever he encountered a situation even vaguely similar, he assumed he needed to do what I taught him. Now, in most cases this is good. It forces the player to think in ways they hadn't previously, which is why its a puzzle. However, it wasn't like this. It was simply not clear enough what he had to accomplish. He could indeed overcome the obstacle the way that he was trying, but it is much more difficult than the way I expected players to do it.

He definitely had the skills to overcome the puzzle. In fact it is the very first mechanic I teach players about in the game. It just seems that after he learned it, he almost immediately forgot. Maybe the level was moving too fast for most players. I have somewhat foreseen this before the beta, and accommodated accordingly. However, the issue still remains.

My brother isn't much of a platform/puzzle gamer so maybe that had something to do with it. If one things for sure, I need to be clear in goals and design. It needs to be clear what the player can and can't do. This was just simply not clear enough.

I will continue to watch him in later puzzles and monitor his progress. After just watching him play for a few minutes on a single level, I have learned much about what I need to design for.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beta levels

For the beta levels, I am returning to my older plan. I dropped some mechanics because they were too confusing and didn't work well. So far, the plan is to have 2 mechanics introduced over the course of 6 levels, then followed by a "boss" level. The first level introduces the mechanic, the second shows what the mechanic can do, and the third is like a "test" level. After the player completes two new mechanics this way, they encounter the boss level, and then the cycle starts all over again.

Right now, I have about 12 beta levels done. This is about 1/3 of the normal levels included in the game. The second and third levels in a mechanic cycle now also include 2 collectibles per level. They can be obtained by the player without any future knowledge, but they are difficult to get to. I am not sure if I want them to reappear if the player dies or not.

Today I am going to switch gears real quick. While test playing some of the beta levels, I found some mechanics confusing. To make these easier to understand, I am going to polish them today. This also gives me time to do some art to replace some of the alpha art. Hopefully I can get most of this done today. On first glance I have about 10 things I want to polish, and I want to get at least 4 of them done today.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Advertising the game

For the larger part of the day I have been spreading my game around the internet. Currently the game is on Steam, IndieDB, Unity, devmaster, and youtube. I need to move the game to more places though.

I was going to put the game on the TIGForums, however it appears that it is deeply frowned upon for announcing a game there. Not only is my game unfinished, but it would indeed be spam. I hope not many websites enforce similar rules. This may be spam, but I need it in order to be successful.

Irritum Teaser Trailer

Here is the first teaser trailer of Irritum. The alpha version is ready to download for Mac/Linx/Windows at my website,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Falling behind on recording

I have been falling behind on recording recently because of the content  am making now. Most of the levels are trial/error, and everything else is similar. In addition, it takes a lot of time to record things and make sure it is recording and then edit, so I am cutting back on how many videos I am doing.

Besides, most of the complicated stuff is already recorded, and everything I haven't recorded is just stuff that most people will be able to figure out with a quick google search. These include things like the GUI and interface, and designing the website and teaser.

All in all, video content will probably drop dramatically within the next several weeks, especially since most of the content will be revisions/polishing.

Thanks for reading.

Alpha version is almost complete

Today I worked on polishing the alpha version a little bit. Not too much about aesthetics but I found several game-breaking bugs when playing through all the levels. I believe I fixed all of them though.

I also finished creating the website using iWeb and uploaded a webplayer of the Alpha on to the website. It isn't live yet, but it will be soon.

Lastly, today I added some music/sound effects to the game and created a teaser for the alpha. The sound effects are basic just to add a little ambience to the game. The teaser however features the most amount of music.

Tomorrow I will probably take some screenshots of the game and get a collection of about 20-30+ photos to upload to various websites. After that, I will upload everything to everywhere. Greenlight, GOG, Desura, etc. Tomorrow will be the big day to put the game out there (well, the alpha), and get some buzz going for the game.

BUT before I do that, I need the website to be made live. I'll probably work on that tomorrow as well, and hopefully everything I listed above will be done by tomorrow night.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Second Week of Work: Alpha is on the way

Today marks the end of the second week of work on the game. All week I have been fixing bugs with the more advanced mechanics and creating levels. The levels are by no means final levels, but just levels for me to test so I can figure out what works and what doesn't.

I have made a decision with my deadline process: Have an alpha done by the end of May. Put it for free on the internet and let people tell me what they enjoy. In June, polish the game to get to a Beta stage. This is where levels will be nearly finalized. Then, by the end of July, have the game ready to launch.

I have the alpha build nearly completed, all of the menus and transitions between levels are in place. Next week I MUST start doing music and sound. I pushed it back a week because I was unsure of how to approach it, and I am still no closer. This weekend, as I upload videos, I will probably keep researching for more ways to make music/sound effects.

 After the alpha sound effects are integrated, I want to create a trailer, and finalize my website with a webplayer version of the game, and then uplink the website to the internet. After that, I plan to spread the game to all other gaming sites and press sites and try to get people to play the alpha. There are two weeks left in May, so I think this goal is realistic.

My hopes are that people will play the webplayer and let me know what they think of it. That way, while I start work on the beta version of the game, I can receive feedback on what people like about the game and what they don't. I still have some polishing to do with the menus, but not much at all.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Finally uploaded the first videos

The good news: Tonight I finally got around to uploading the first youtube videos.
the bad news: Youtube doesn't let me squeeze video clips.

I will have to find another avenue to upload youtube clips that I have sped up. I will probably work on this tomorrow so I don't get so backlogged with the videos.

As far as development goes, it is moving smoothly. I have fixed many of the player animations and have started work on the first few levels. These levels are pretty much placeholders for better levels that will come after the first batch of testing is done.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 10, 2013

First work week is over

It is just after midnight (early Saturday) and this officially marks the end of the first week of production.

Today I was able to model, animate, UV map and import a character model into the game from Blender. The only problems right now are having the jump animations play at the right time, and STILL the double jump mechanic.

 I may end up dropping the mechanic after all since #1, it is pretty much a repeat mechanic of the "boost bubble" and #2, I have no idea how to get around working with the mess of Javascript files Unity came with.

I am importing all my recorded videos into iMovie now, which will take probably well into tomorrow afternoon until they are fully done, and then I will dub over them and upload them to youtube.

So, all in all, after the first week of development, I have completed all of the mechanics (except double jump, pending approval), the players model and animations, and most of it all hooked into Unity.

Come Monday, I will polish the animations and see if I can make smoother transitions between them, etc., create a basic working menu, and maybe start on a demo level. After the demo level is pretty much done, I will switch gears to start working on the sound effects and the music. I hope to have the demo level, sound effects, basic menu,and a polished animated player all done by next weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Most mechanics are finished

Most of the mechanics have been implemented. Production has slowed because some of the more advanced mechanics were hard to get to a playable state. However, the only mechanic remaining is the double jump.

This will probably be difficult because the character controller is programmed in UnityScript, and I code in C#, but I will make do.

Tomorrow, after I get that mechanic working, Iw ill try to work on third person mode again. I want the player to be able to scroll forwards or backwards to change the distance the camera is to the player, anywhere from first person to a distant third person angle.

I feel like production is on track, and that I am making good time.

Another thing I want to talk about is the mental/physical toll development is having on me. My body has been degrading over the week, and I can feel it get worse every day. My back is beginning to ache due to my poor posture. I also have pain in my knees which I have no reason why I have gotten it.

I can also feel my mental awareness diminishing. I almost feel like I have a lack of sleep, even though I have been getting healthy amounts of sleep. I feel like mental exhaustion is a driving force in these feelings because of how demanding coding is. Problem solving consistently all day for the whole week has left me literally mentally "out of breath".

However, I can continue developing. Tomorrow I will add in the last mechanic, try to incorporate third person mode, and start working on a player model for the 3rd person camera. On Saturday I will spend my time editing, uploading and dubbing over my recorded videos to share on youtube. This will probably pour over into Sunday as well.

Next week, my main focus will be the player model, UV map, and animations, and polishing third person mode.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

First day of Work

Yesterday was the first day of work on the game. I got quite a lot done. I will upload videos to youtube later with a dub over them, but I will wait for the weekend because iMovie takes absolutely forever to do anything. I can't put many videos to youtube directly because many are quite long, and I want to speed them up.

The three main problems that have arisen are:
1. Third person camera. Right now I can use a FPS camera and controller, however I want the option for players to use a Third person camera also. I will implement this before I do a trailer/teaser or demo.

2. Laser obstacles. The Line Renderer used in Unity isn't that appealing. The lines are far too think. I ended up modeling in Blender a simple line but it won't take the materials correctly, it is really weird. I may just end up using a temporary cylinder from within Unity.

3. Double jump. Since I am basically recycling a FPS controller, a double jump function isn't already included. I have to code it myself, and this proves to be difficult because the controller was scripted in JavaScript, while I script in C#.

I hope to update this blog once for every day I get work done.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Last day of finals

Today was the last day of finals, which means tomorrow will be the first day of development.

Today I will probably just create the asset folders and everything to keep the game in, edit and upload a few videos to youtube if I can, and in general just get ready for a busy summer.

My post on here will probably be a little shorter than they have been previously, mainly due to me wanting to devote most of my time to the game.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New videos every weekend

I have been thinking a lot lately about when to spend time uploading and editing videos to youtube. This will be a very time consuming process, and I have to take care of it after every little thing I do, very little will get done. For that reason, I will probably only upload videos on the weekends.

This is because my part-time job will be on the weekends, so I will have little time to work on my game anyways. However, those days I can still use what time I have to edit videos together, dub over them, and then upload them to youtube.

This will be a huge amount of content. I have no aim for minimum / maximum amount of videos per weekend, and it depends on how long I can make the videos. I will probably aim for about 10 minutes per video, and just do a time lapse of my work.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

iWeb for a website

I was looking up easy to use website creation tools that I could use. I already downloaded kompozer but it seems to have deleted itself. I don't want to have to re-download it again, but I found an alternative.

I found a program called iWeb on my computer that seems to be a free resource from Apple to design a website. It isn't too advanced, but it seems good enough that I will be able to use it for the simple design I am going for. The only issue I haven't looked in to too much is how to add other html code in to the webpage. I expect this will be absolutely essential in order to get Fastspring working.

I will look more into it tonight and tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: After some more research, it seems I can add HTML code. I also played around with adding in links and stuff, and so far iWeb appears to be perfect.

The design I am going for is similar to Braid's. I will probably have a background image of the game, with the games title at the top. This will stay in place for the length of the webpage. On the right side I will have links to youtube, facebook, twitter, etc. On the left side I will have an RSS feed for my blog. The trailer will be right in the center of the webpage, followed directly beneath by the Fastspring purchase link or window or whatever. Below that I will provide links for other portals to purchase.

Following all of this, I will have the pitch for the game. A list of screenshots with descriptions of the game next to them.

This simple design should save lots of time, and make it easy to purchase.

Thanks for reading.


I am brainstorming ways customers can preorder my game, if at all.

Without preorder, the game will be released on whatever date it is, and people can purchase and download immediately, as normal.

But if people preorder the game, I need to add some kind of incentive. Maybe I will charge the game for $5 less than retail price. Maybe I will need to add some kind of extra content for people that preorder. Possibly they can receive the game a week early or something. 

One issue I need to solve is how to actually do the preorder. Maybe, with Fastspring, the customer will just be able to purchase like normal but receive a code after they pay for it. Then on release day, or whenever the pre-release is or whatever, they can enter the code in to Fastspring and then be able to download the game. 

That will probably be the best course of action. Have the customer pay for a coupon code and then redeem it whenever they want.

The preorder bonuses will probably just be $5 less than the retail price (either $10 or $15 depending on what I want to sell the game at), and early access to the game.

Thanks for reading.

The Use of Kickstarter

I recently got an idea, but I am not sure how it will work, so I will present it here.

I wonder if it is possible to use Kickstarter as a marketing tool.

 I don't want to use Kickstarter to earn money for the game. A big thing I am aiming for is to make the game with all costs out of pocket. I want to be a example for indie developers that cannot afford expensive tools. However, Kickstarter may be able to help me reach a larger audience.

Like, what if I make a kickstarter with an absolutely outrageous price goal, so the game will not get funded, but this will help the game get noticed. I can point people to my website, youtube, etc.

Just an idea I found when brainstorming. Like I said before, the greatest threat to my game is people not knowing about it. Maybe this strategy will help spread the world.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Start date is quickly approaching

My last finals are on next Monday, May 6th. Tuesday will be the official day I will start working on the game full-time over the months of May, June, and July.

Over the month of May, I intend to complete the base mechanics, and have most gameplay elements integrated. Not polished or perfected, but have most of the basic functionalities in the game code. I expect this to take anywhere from 2 weeks on the short side to 1 month on the long side.

After this is completed, hopefully around the beginning of June, I will switch gears and get all of my media synchronized. I will create a website, set up Fastspring, connect Twitter and Facebook together, and set up a game profile on gaming websites and Greenlight. Simultaneously, I will create a demo level in the Unity webplayer I can put on my website, in addition to a downloadable one in other sources.

Whenever this is finished, which I aim for the ABSOLUTE latest is July, I will again switch gears back to the game. I will polish and perfect the mechanics, add some nice effects to make the game look nicer, and incorporate audio effects. At the beginning of this phase, I will send out free review copies to bloggers, gaming press sites, youtubers etc. That way, I can continue to work on the game while hopefully several people will promote the game and gain knowledge about it.

By August, the website should be finished, marketing should be going strong (I intend to give away free preorders and beta keys to keep people interested and word of mouth to continue spreading), and the game should be nearing completion. In the early weeks of August, I will just be testing for bugs in the hosting services, coupon codes, etc. The game should be nearly ready for release, with just a few bug fixes remaining. Most of the testing will be to ensure that the website is working properly, and build a last burst of buzz before launch.

Right now, launch date is aimed at around August 20th. It may be sooner or later depending on however things flow, but this sounds realistic to me.

I hope I am not underestimating the code involved to get this working. I already have an algorithm developed for the base mechanics, and I know how to achieve most other mechanics, with exception of reversing vertical gravity. There are a few here and there that may prove troublesome, but I know what needs to get done in order to make them work.

Like I said before, coding should take about the first month of development, and some design. The rest of the time will be spent on promotion, creation of website and update of profiles everywhere, and designing the actual levels of the game.

Whatever the case, I have convinced myself to put in as many hours as I can in to making this game. I am planning to upload all of my work to youtube, so I will record everything I do. This may be an accurate way to determine how much I am working per day.

This next week will be spent on studying for finals as well as meditation before the oncoming storm that will be this summer. I plan to stay up well past midnight every night, and work every minute I can outside of my part time job (to at least earn some definite money) and some time to keep my girlfriend happy.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Success of "Thomas Was Alone" (*Spoilers*)

I recently stumbled on a Reddit AMA with the creator of Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell. It was very inspiring. Many comments praised him and his game for the relationships and characters he created. I honestly haven't had a chance to play the game, but I have watched Lets Plays of it. It looks pretty fun, and the dialogue was very entertaining.

I wonder if emotions can be met with the same praise. I really want my game to push emotional boundaries for the genre. I want the last level to make the player say "wow" when they learn the complete story. Not a wow as in "that was amazing", but a wow that you feel after watching, say, Donnie Darko.


I am still unsure of how to accomplish this. I think, after beating the final level, the player will be stuck on an empty plane while the credits float around the screen. Maybe then, the player will see the complete story, and I can give some kind of cue that the player is imprisoned in this coma. Maybe I can add in sound effects that resemble a hospital, and maybe some words or phrases that echo around the void.

I want the player to have a revelation that, all this time, the player has been putting back together the pieces of their soul, but they are still imprisoned.

Maybe, when the player is standing on the plane at the end of the game, his wife will be standing on an adjacent plane, but the player can't jump the distance. The model has to be recognizable as the wife from the slides, so it will have to be nearly the same model. The female will stand on the plane, and as the credits go on, the distance will increase until the female is no longer visible.

I should probably introduce the female character earlier in the game also. Maybe a hazy yellow figure at the end of each level. It can be a marker the player aims to move towards. After the player arrives at the last platform where the girl is standing, she disappears, the player gains a piece of their brain and a description of the piece of the brain, and then the slide. This continues until the after the last level. The female figure is perfectly visible, and while the slides play in order, the female moves further and further away.


I digress. The Reddit AMA was very inspiring. I just hope my game forms a community as well. I think my game has real potential to invoke emotion in the players.

I can see some people hating the game because the story is too abstract, and I can see some understanding it. The only problem is not knowing whether most people will understand it or be confused.

Another useful piece of information I found was that Thomas Was Alone sells for $10. This makes me think I may be able to charge no less than $15.

If I can invoke the emotion of distress and sadness in the player, than I can consider myself successful.

Thanks for reading.

The story of Irritum (*Spoilers*)

                                            ***SPOILERS ARE IN THIS POST***

I have been thinking of the story for my game lately. More so than usual.

I don't know when to include many of the story elements. What I do know, is that they need to be frequent. Other than the gameplay, this will be my main tool to keep the player playing. If the player finds nothing of the story after some levels, then they may get frustrated or bored. There needs to be some sort of reward after each level.

From here on out, there will be MAJOR spoilers.


The game will begin with the player just appearing in the void. No background or anything. I may add a cinematic beforehand, or for a trailer, to just lead in to that moment, but it will have no effect on the story.

Again, I suggest you read this ONLY AFTER you have already beaten the game. This may RUIN the game for you.

I want the story to be told out of order. After every level, you gain a memory. 

The story will be about suicide. The player would have commit suicide in their lifetime because of some reason. The reason will most likely be because of a loved one leaving them, or cheating on them. So the player finds their lover cheating on them, and then commits suicide. The player is then left paralyzed in a coma. The setting of the game is the player stuck inside the void of their mind/body.

I have 24 levels planned for the game. Each level implements a new mechanic/obstacle. After each level, you gain a new memory. This means I will need to have a story spanning 24 "slides". The memories will only be pictures, with no text explaining them. I will brainstorm about the slides below.

Man looking at a gun in a box. Man and wife on a date. Ambulance speeding down the road. Man laying in medical bed. Man with a gun to his head. Man crying into his hands. Man walking in the rain. Man looking in a window and sees wife with another man on a date. Man's heart falls to darkness. Man meets the woman. Man and woman spend time together, woman pays attention to strangers. Wife holds mans body. 

That is 12 right there, and most of them are highlights. I need 12 more. Maybe the other 12 can be transition slides, to bridge a gap between big story events.

The characters in the slides will probably be colored, just like the objects in the game. This is not only to cut back on need for great artistic talent, but also to help differentiate between the major characters. 

Maybe when the player collects the cerebrum, he is able to move the memories in to order. When in order, he could unlock the cinematic?

After every level, the player will gain a new memory, a new body function related to the levels completed, and a piece of the brain related to that body function. The piece of the brain will be accompanied by a description that shows what the brain controls. The preceding mechanics will be based on that brain function. There will also be a small sound effect when the brain piece is found. 

For example, the first piece will be the medula oblongata, which controls autonomous control for the body. After collected, the player will hear breathing and a heartbeat. 

By tying all of this together, I hope people will see a connection between the whole game.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Next Few Weeks

I probably won't be updating this over the next couple weeks. Finals are swiftly approaching and I will be putting most of my attention towards those.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Textures, Part 2: With pictures!

In this thread I have contained pictures of the textures I created yesterday.

As I have said before, my game revolves around the player being able to switch between several planes of existence at a time. These planes are signified by different colors, and objects that exist in these planes have these colored textures.

With the blue design, I wanted the texture to look relatively like water refractions, which I believe I achieved. The black in this photo (and the others) will be transparent in game. 

Green: I am not very satisfied with this texture, and I will most likely work on it more at a later date. But for now, It will do nicely as a placeholder. I was going for some kind of Ancient Chinese design, but I don't think I captured it very well. I may end up ditching that idea and incorporate some other kind of lines. If something comes to mind, I will let you guys know.

Orange: This is the orange texture. Initially, I had an idea where the orange texture was stitched, but I felt that this was kind of lazy on my part. I ended up throwing this together off the top of my head, and I am actually very pleased with it.

Purple: Another color I am not entirely pleased with. My initial ideas was just a simple galaxy twist, but this looks like a lazy attempt at a Tim Burton-esque cat tail. Will most likely end up being changed at the same time as the green.

Red: The first color I designed, I was aiming for a texture that was kind of wispy, but still very hazy. I think this feels nicely, and it helped me establish the wispy ether lines that I would later incorporate into my orange and yellow textures.

White: This color was the first I designed, and it's only purpose is to distinguish between a the planes you need to have active, while white is always active ( because white contains all colors). I am pretty pleased with this design, and I may just touch it up later around the edges.

Yellow: This is another texture I am happy with. I was aiming for a kind of texture that is wispy but still very elegant. I think I captured that with this texture.

All of these textures are subject to change, as I do not know how any of these "feel" in-game yet. Gameplay may cut out one design from the others, but only time will tell. If the textures need to be re-designed, I will do it before I take the actual promotional screenshots and videos, in addition to the demo.

First Day of Development plan

On the first real day of development, I plan to do several things. The first, is to upload videos I need to.

I have three listed right now, one for my old youtube game development channel letting them know the game on that channel, "Symbiosis" is cancelled, and they could follow me to my new channel. Hopefully most of my subscribers will choose to come with me to my new channel and support me there too.

The second video I have planned is an introduction video to my new youtube channel. I will explain my game a little bit, let people know where else they can follow me, and basic things like that. It will probably be similar to my first post on here.

The last video will be a video that is a timelapse of me creating the textures for the game. I will dub over the video and talk about the textures, what kind of aesthetic I am going for and stuff like that.

After the videos, I will start a forum thread on Unity about my development, and I will probably try and create one on Reddit also, however after reading some of Reddit's rules this may be impossible. I will have to do more research.

Later in development, I will go on to more design forums and start more threads.

After catching up with what I have now, I plan to start implementing the major mechanic algorithms to my game. I expect this coding will take about a week to implement, debug, and polish.

Thanks for reading.


I haven't gotten any work on the game done today. Mostly because I have had a huge influx of schoolwork today. The semester has about two weeks left, after which development will be in full swing.

But to talk about something that concerns me greatly, Steam's Greenlight. I want to get my game on as many distributors as possible, in order to maximize sales. I will already sell the game through my own website using a service called FastSpring, but that can't be my only way of selling my game.

I also plan to put my game on Desura, Gamer's Gate, IndieDB, GOG (and others if suggested). This way, my game can get the most publicity possible. I already plan to stretch past only these audiences with at least Windows/Mac support, with another huge goal being Linux support.

But the real giant in the room is Steam. If I can't get on Steam, then I can expect sales to be at least halved. I have seem reports of where Sales from both Desura and Gamer's Gate combined only account for around .3% of total sales. That is abysmal, and while some money is better than no money, those kind of sales can't be something I can rely on.

Obviously, this leads me to want to be on Steam. Greater access to more customers, instant patching, etc. But with most major Greenlight games that seem to be accepted, the games seem to revolve around FpS's, zombies, or something else. This is disheartening.

I think I may have an advantage over some of the competition because of (hopefully) Linux support, but I will also have to make a HUGE push for Greenlight. I think I have decided that after I have a playable demo, go ahead and take all the screenshots, videos, and trailers I can. Then spend a week or so updating all of my profiles for the game, syncing them together, and getting the game out there. The sooner I can do this, the better.

This means putting it on Greenlight ASAP also. I need to accumulate votes as quickly as possible leading up to launch.

On a sidenote, Boogie2988 has recently uploaded a video where he has given out a P.O. box to send him promotional items. I already planned to send him a free copy of the game for himself, in order to help me promote the game, but also some copies to give out for his fans.

Anyways, I am just concerned my game will not get accepted to Steam. If it does, then that would be fantastic. In fact, in all truth, I really need it to be accepted.

P.S. I am making this game because I want to make this game. If I wanted money, I could go find another job that is much safer, and that will probably pay more. I am doing this because this is what I have chosen to do with my life. That being said, I need money to live off of. If this is successful enough, I will have faith in myself that this is my true calling, and I can continue to make games (albeit rarely because of school).

I really want this game to succeed because I need to prove to myself that I am able to succeed in life. This is what I want to spend my life doing, I need to know I am respected and talented in doing it.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Today I decided to get a head start on my game, specifically textures. I was waiting for assignments to be posted, so in my free time I went ahead and created the textures. I am not entirely pleased with the green and purple textures, so they will most likely be placeholders for now.

I also recorded me making the textures, so I will upload it all in to one video and probably dub over it and introduce people to my game. The only textures I didn't do were textures for activated-movement platforms, the player model, and other small, miscellaneous objects.

I am pleased that most of the texture work is already done, and when I find some free time again I will try and finish the rest of the textures. This would leave me to have the three months dedicated to a little modeling, animations and coding, and hopefully I will be able to dedicate most of my time to the actual level design and implementation.

My hopes would be that before the summer starts, I can have all the modeling, textures and animation done. This gives me about 3 weeks(during finals) to finish these. It will be tight, but it will afford me much more time to polish my game.

Stay tuned to my youtube channel, I may upload the first videos soon.

Edit: Ended up doing a model and some more textures today. Now the big thing in the way is the player model and animations. I also need to develop some kind of model or algorithm to make lasers have some kind of parabola or exponential curve to them, but this may be possible to do with modeling rather than some kind of physics coding.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Level Layouts

Today I designed the order of levels and the introduction of new mechanics. Right now, I am following a simple pattern of how to introduce players to new mechanics.

The process goes:
Introduction level - The player sees the mechanic in a nearly death-free environment. Relatively simple not to die, and the player has a degree of freedom to experiment with the new mechanic. The objective for this level will be simple, and the level will be pretty short.
The practice Level - After the player progresses through the initial level where the mechanic is introduced, the player then comes to this level. Here, the player is given the mechanic in a environment where the player must understand the mechanic well enough in order to proceed. The player mustn't know the full advantages and disadvantages of the mechanic, but they should know the general gist of what it is and how to work around it.
Mastery Level - This level is where the player is pushed to their limits of expertise with the mechanic. By this point they should know what the mechanic is and how to effectively deal with it. This level will build off of the assumptions the players have made on how to deal with the mechanic, and flip them on their heads. Almost as a re-imaging of the mechanic to try and trick the player.

This pattern continues for the entire game. Every segment of the game is broken in to three stages, and each stage has three levels.

From an easier perspective, the game will be set like this.

Mechanic 1: Level 1, 2, 3.
Mechanic 2: Level 4, 5, 6.
Mechanic 3: Level 7, 8, 9.

So far, I have 6 planned segments. Doing the math, this is about 60 levels, including the boss levels. However, this also includes the extremely simple introduction levels for each mechanic.

Another option I am considering is just adding together the levels for each mechanic. This would mean each mechanic would have its own longer level, rather than three shorter ones. This way, the game will have 24 levels. I kind of like this idea more, but we will see how it goes.

Whichever option I decide, each "level" will essentially have three areas, and all three areas focus on the new mechanic introduced. The following boss level will be a level including all of the mechanics (don't get me wrong, all mechanics will be in every level after their introduction), which revolves around defeating one boss "entity" where you will acquire an object.

That is where the story comes in, which revolves around these objects, but I digress. That is for another time.

Long story short, today, I set up the pattern and order that the levels will need to occur in. I still need 3 mechanics for the last level, however. The last level has to do with memories or learning, so I will probably just make them extended levels that combine all mechanics and culminate with the final boss.

Thanks for reading.

Being Open

One other thing I think whoever reads this should know, is that I am going to be open about everything I do. I want to be open about programming, design, art, and even sales.

I know when I was (and still am) preparing for this project, I could only find a few resources for actual sales numbers and design decisions. I want to be as open as possible with all of this.

Why? Because if I was an indie developer, or deciding whether I wanted to be an Indie Developer or not, this is the information I would want to know. The information that is hard for me to find on the internet is the information I want to show everyone. I want would-be designers to find this blog and my youtube and see exactly how many hours I put into the game, what hurdles I met, how I overcame them, how I marketed my game, and how my game sold.

In my best hopes, this will inspire future Indie Developers to get in to this market and start making some great games.

If I can't make great games, maybe I can inspire someone who can.

Thanks for reading.

Developing Alone

One thing I may have not mentioned in my first post is that I will be developing this game alone. I will be doing everything. I will go in to more depth below of how I plan to do this.

I consider myself artistically talented, and in fact, I was planning to go to school for art before I switched to computer science. I have a little 3d modeling experience, and some real-world painting experience.

I will be using Blender(Maybe Sculptris) to model and Blender to animate, in addition to GIMP for doing textures. I may actually use Unity to animate because apparently there is some kind of new "Mecanim" animation inside it now. I will have to look into it more to see if it is actually useful to me. Anyways, I digress.

The art for the game will be minimal. The only real model I will have to create and animate is the player, and then apply a UV map to him. Modeling him will not be too much of an issue, because the design I have in mind will be very basic, he only really needs to resemble a man somewhat. The game world will also be flat textures I can create in GIMP and then use a transparency shader to achieve the desired effect.

For anyone else interested in game design, and you want to try art for yourself, then I suggest you download GIMP, Blender, and Sculptris, all free software. GIMP is like a free version of Photoshop, Blender is like a free version of 3DSMax or Maya, and Sculptris is like a free version of ZBrush. All of these, if you are talented enough, can help you create AAA assets.

I have been in school for a computer science degree for over two years now, so I have some programming experience. Most of it is in Java, and a little in C#, however C# and Java are already incredibly similar in syntax, so it should be an easy transition.

The engine I will use is Unity because it already has a 3D engine with a language(C#) I know how to use. I have no clue how I would make my own, in house engine, so Unity will have to do.

The basic programming for the game shouldn't be too difficult. I already have an algorithm developed that will enable the core mechanics to work. The script should honestly only take one day, at the very most, to implement and debug(hopefully).

If anyone else reading this is interested in learning how to program, I suggest you either take a college course at a local school for Java or C#, or otherwise pick up a book. One that I own, that is phenomenal, is How to Learn Java in 21 days. I learned stuff in there that even my college course didn't teach me. As for C#, I suggest picking up a pocket reference. The big thing to keep in mind is once you learn one Object Oriented Programming Language, the concepts in all the others are very similar. Once you become familiar with methods, objects, interfaces, and classes, you will be able to use the language efficiently to make a game (at least in Unity).

I had experience with FruityLoops a long time ago, however that was a pirated version and the real software is expensive (I am trying to make this game with little to no direct costs). I plan to use Audacity for the sound because it is a free program, and another program called Ardour has caught my attention, but I know little about it. I will have to research it more.

I want the sound in my game to be simple, yet intriguing. I have ideas of using whistles, bells, and other such sounds for interactivity, but I am not sure yet. I will have to start experimenting with these programs later on.

This is the one area in the development I am entirely unsure of how to continue. This will probably be one of the later things I work on.

Hopefully, if all goes well, this will be where I can spend most of my attention. I know the biggest threat to my game is obscurity. I would rather have a bad game that everyone knows about, than a fantastic one that no one knows about.

At a later date, I will sync up youtube, blogger, facebook, twitter, google+, steam, indieDB and Desura to try to be everyone. The more places my game can be seen, the greater the chance for success.

I will also periodically send emails with free game codes to indie game news outlets in addition to Lets-Players. Hopefully this will inspire their audience to at least go to my webpage and try the demo.

My presence on youtube will also help gain attention for my game. I will try to give out free codes whenever I can to my viewers in contests, as well as on Reddit.

My best hopes are that the game catches on because of how interesting it looks, and then I keep the attention when everyone learns I am making this game alone.

The most important piece I will need is a website. I know very little HTML, and I have used Dreamweaver before, but it was unfortunately a pirated version, and to purchase Dreamweaver is, again, out of my budget. I am looking at free alternatives to Dreamweaver, but so far very few look promising. The webpage doesn't even need to be that advanced. I like the look of Braid's website. (  Straight forward and to the point. Title. Video. Buy. All on one page. I may have my main page as that, then another page for more screenshots and videos. The links to my other websites like blogger and youtube will most likely end up being on a sidebar.

I will probably be using a service called FastSpring to sell my game on the website. From what I have gathered, they can take many forms of payments, and even though it will redirect you to another site, the site's design and background will match your own. That would be terrific. The next big milestone would be getting my game on Steam. I hope to be able to put my game on several other portals also, but we will see how that goes.

One big selling point of the game is that it will be on PC, Mac, and Linux. Hopefully this will lead to larger sales on both Mac and Linux, while I expect these sales will promote the game to PC users as well. The Unity engine allows me to publish to these 3 platforms with "the click of a button", so we will see. I hope there would be no problems with the ports :(.

Thanks for reading.