My Next Game

After a successful twitter poll, where 96% voted yes, I'm going to develop my next game a bit more in the open. Meaning I'll blog and tweet a bit more about it, while it still is in development, even if there isn't much to see yet. So here is the plan:

My next game will be named Business Builder, a tycoon game with some quite unique features.

I already created a website for it (here), which was quite a bit of work. I wrote all the HTML, CSS, PHP and JS code manually and by hand, and although it is just a single page with a newsletter, it was surprising how much work it is nowadays: You need meta tags, icons, crawler directives, GDPR compliance, responsiveness, accessibility, browser compatibilty and more.

I did a bit of pre-production work already, so that's why there is even a screenshot visible on the website, this is from the actual game already. But there is a lot of work to do in order to make this a playable and fun game, so let's stay tuned.



A couple of random Game Development Tips

If you want to create a game, you'll probably figure this one out quickly: Game development is not easy.

You probably have read an article or two with tips about how to start game development, and I'd like to add a few things from my experience so far:


The "What if somebody else creates my game idea" syndrome

A lot people have this problem: Once you start working on your game which probably has a unique idea, you start worrying that someone else might be working on a very similar game like you. Maybe it even has the same title or similar graphics. What if he releases his game just before you?

I must confess, although I have single-handedly created 11 commercial games already (the latest few listed here), I still have this problem from time to time. I know some game devs accusing other of "stealing" their idea in public forums, although they haven't even published anything about their game publicly.

It's a strange, irrational fear. The best strategy to avoid this is either to ignore it, or better: Do the opposite: publicly talk about your game, show screenshots, write about your ideas. Let people know what you are working on. It's advertising and in the worst case, people will know you had the idea first.


The "Make a unique game" myth

When thinking about starting to create your game, you probably have read multiple times that if you create a unique game with a new and revolutional fun game mechanic, you will be successful. This is mentioned in a lot of communities, but according to my experience it isn't necessarily true.

Best allegory: Take a look at how many take-away pizza shops you can find in your city. Now think about what happens if you start a take-away shop for vegan grilled unicorn legs. It stands out and is probably something very interesting to eat, but how many people actually want to eat vegan grilled unicorn legs? Most people want pizza. Sure, there are dozens of pizza shops making better pizza than you can, but there are much more people ok with eating not-so-great pizza instead of vegan grilled unicorn legs.


Motivational Review based Blowbacks

You probably know that once you released your game, it's not over. People expect you to update the released, finished game frequently. It is sad, but common that people consider a game to be "dead" if you haven't published an update to your game within the last two months, even if it is years old. And even then, lets face it: The gaming community can be a great place, but it also includes dicks. No matter how good your game is, you will be getting bad reviews. Even if they are just few. But they can really hurt, and this can impact your motivation to continue working on the software greatly.

You need a really thick skin for creating a game. I have gotten used to it, but it still hurts if someone describes your game as ""piece of shit"", when you spent months or even years working on it.

It will happen, so get ready for this. It also happens during development, which is probably even worse.


You won't be successful

This last point isn't something people rarely speak about, but it is very important, and I usually mention this in blog posts like these: You won't be successful. About 9 of 10 games won't make it, financially wise. There are too many factors you cannot control, so don't put all your money into your game. Don't risk everything. Keep some money aside, or work on your game only as side project. Just because of this, I'm personally also not 100% invested into games, the other part is serious software.



Please take all the things I wrote above with a grain of salt. These are just the things I learned during the 22 years I've been developing games, and I might be wrong. But maybe some part of this article helped you a bit.



Trumped up - Tariffs now in Government Simulator

I just added tariffs into Government Simulator's simulation engine and released it as version 1.4 on Steam. So basically, you can now be like Trump, if you like:

The effect tariffs will have depends on how the internals of the country you are running look like, and they have limitations: There are no individual types of goods on which you can impose tariffs, it is just an average factor, since the simulation isn't fine grained enough for this. It doesn't have a simulation running imports/exports between all the countries. But that would be something which would be also maybe cool to be added some day in the future.



Android SDK version updates

Today, I updated the Android code base to use Android Studio (instead of previously, Eclipse with the Android SDK). Which is actually nice to work with if you have enough memory. But the amount of stuff it is doing automatically is scary, and you can only hope that it will do everything right, otherwise you really have a problem, I guess.

Anyway, I now compiled the Android app to target API version 26, which is the minimum version to be allowed on Google Play (Google changed this just now to be a new requirement), meaning that if you create an Android game using CopperCube, you should be able to publish it on there again now:

The minimum SDK is still set to 8.0, and apparently, it works with this still, so your APKs still will run on very old Android devices as well, which is very nice.

You can grab a beta build of CopperCube with this feature from here, if you like.



RSS feed repaired

It took a while, but I finally repaired the RSS feed for this blog: Previously, all the links in the feed to the articles where broken, but they should work now. Please tell me if you find any problems anywhere.

RSS feeds went out of fashion a few years ago, but it looks like they are gaining momentum again, a bit, also judging from the amount of people complaining about this. Sorry for the long time it took me to repair this, it was quite difficult to debug this blog software, and took me three attempts to get it right. I'm still not exactly sure what caused this, since I'm not able to understand how it worked before, but from what I gathered is that something in PHP's API itself must have changed, and now returns a different string as before. When moving this blog to the new server, the link generation broke.

So I hope everything is fine now, finally.



RocketCake 2.1 and SFTP bureaucracy

I just released RocketCake 2.1, that's the free responsive website builder I am developing.

It now has support for SFTP, which it can use when the "publish to internet" button is used. It then automatically uploads your website (or the changed items) to your server with one click. It was quite a lot of work to make it possible so that people can write sftp:// instead of ftp://. A lot of work for just one character difference. :)

Unfortunately, there is a lot of bureaucracy related to the US law for crypto exports. RocketCake is a free app, and I don't have the time to jump through all that bullshit, so RocketCake on the Mac App Store simply doesn't support the SFTP feature for now. I think it isn't worth this. If you want SFTP support, you can still use the version from the website instead.



CopperCube 6.0 released and free now

I just released CopperCube 6.0. One of the major changes is this:

CopperCube is now free.


You can develop games, sell them, publish them on Steam, any App Store, any website, for free now.

In order to support the future development of CopperCube, there are also two additional editions available with a few more features which can be bought: Professional and Studio edition.

The changes in the release are:


You can see a detailed change log here: change log

If you own CopperCube 5 already, you can update to CopperCube 6 here
If you bought CopperCube 5 Pro in the last 2 months, just send me a mail and I'll give you a free upgrade.





Overload Review

I recently bought Overload, a zero-gravity shooter, which you play inside mines in a very small one-man spaceship. If you know the game "Descent" from 1995, then you know Overload: It's basically a remake without the rights to the original game. Descent looked like this:

Overload copies nearly all game mechanics and has modern graphics:

Even the default keyboard and mouse settings are the same.

I played Descent very much back then in the 90ies and loved the game, and even created levels for it. And I really like Overload. I even bought the sound track on steam, because it works nice as background music while programming.

The only shortcomings of Overload is the multiplayer mode: No coop-mode and if you want to play online against random users from the internet, there doesn't seem to be any players online. I tried about 15 times on different days and was only succesful twice.

But apart from that: It's great and much fun.It's worth the 25€ it costs on steam right now.



Realization

I just took a screenshot of the exact moment where I realized that I am old now. A few minutes ago:

Nothing more to say. :)



Working on WebGL 2 support

I just implemented WebGL 2, in order to make the images rendered by the WebGL target look exactly like rendered by the native platforms using Direct3D and OpenGL. This worked before (and will be improved in the upcoming update), but with the new post effects feature, it wasn't possible anymore since WebGL 1 doesn't support non-power-of-two render targets. The update to WebGL 2 was worth it:

Looks pretty identical to me, doesn't it?