Some early feedback.

posted in: Flash | 0

I threw a link to Company up on Reddit, and it’s gotten a fair bit of comment feedback–As of right now, almost 250 comments in 12 hours. I’m always intensely critical of my own work, and that makes it very hard for me to say that I really like something I’ve made until I hear opinions from lots of other people. I liked Spewer the whole way through its development, but I wasn’t ready to call it a good game until the people who played it called it a good game.

From the looks of it, Company is a good game.

I decided to handle all of the game design for Company on my own, because I wanted to find out if I could actually do it successfully–My recent projects have all been joint efforts, so I was getting nervous that the game design was only good because of the other person’s contributions.  Hopefully the positive response here is enough to convince me that I can indeed do this stuff and do it well.

A smattering of responses from Reddit users:

  • This game is pimp.  (Word.)
  • Braidish but cool.  (This is a very expected response, since the game is largely inspired by Braid.  The number of people who note that it’s similar to Braid is about where I expected it to be.  Good eye, gaming community.)
  • I would seriously enjoy having this game on a handheld system of some sort. It strikes so many awesome chords with me. I just love the style/storyline/atmosphere of the whole game so much that it would easily be addictive. You did a great job!  (At this point, I don’t really see myself doing more with this game, to be honest.  I did what I wanted with it, and I’m satisfied with leaving it where it is.  Making another version for something other than Flash would just mean reusing puzzles, and that’s no good.  A lot of people don’t realize how important it is not to repeat puzzles in these kinds of games–Making more content becomes really huge challenge by the end, and once you’ve done all you can, there’s nowhere else to go.)
  • Best flash game I’ve played in a long time. Gameplay is simple, but challenging and thought-provoking. Music is wistful and nostalgic. Graphics are crisp. Story is subtle but deep.  (This person managed to compliment all three people who worked on the project. Luka Marcetic did the graphics and animation, and David Carney wrote the music.)
  • Wow, great game design AND great writing! You rule!  (Bawwww, thank you.)
  • Add a mute button. (Whoops.  There’s volume control in the pause menu, but it’s obvious now that this isn’t clear enough for average-gamer-Joe. Next time I’ll make it more apparent.)
  • Very rarely am i impressed with an online game, but I thought this was very well done.  (I’m not tearing up.  I’ve got something in my eye.  Give me…give me a second.)
  • You’re fucking brilliant, man. Seriously.  (Hey, I love you, too!)
  • That was awesome. perfect use of challenge without being impossible. Neat story the game play, perfect music. Just the right amount of emotion to make you connect with your little mass of pixels. This is how it’s done. Thanks!  (This is pretty much EVERYTHING I strived for in development.  Hearing someone else tell me it works is unfathomably satisfying.)
  • Thank you for making this game, I really enjoyed it while it lasted, I am truly amazed how a small game like this can create such an atmosphere.  (Atmosphere, hooray!  Another big goal of mine, so it’s great to hear it turned out how I wanted it to.)
  • The way the story was presented reminded me of World of Goo, I liked it.  (This one confuses me, actually.  There’s no intentional WoG influence in Company, although WoG is definitely a very good game.  I’m curious what parts they considered similar.)
  • SUCKS! Is Crap!  (Hey!  Fuck you, buddy!  …Okay not really, but this is a good moment to share a bit of insight about art, business, and life in general.  I hate it when somebody makes a product and then gets all pissy about customers who don’t like it.  It’s not your job to like it.  It’s my job to make you like it.  If you don’t, that’s my fault.)

And with that, it’s just about time to work on something new.

“The Company of Myself” Releases.

posted in: Flash | 28

Finally, after lots and lots of wading through business delays and whatnot, Company is out in the wild. You can play it on a whole bunch of websites, as it looks like it’s started to spread around already. Find it right here.

Up next, randomly generated dungeons and adaptive difficulty.

Company nears completion, and a literal blank canvas.

posted in: Flash | 0

Company of Myself is basically done, and all it needs now is a little bit of business to close out. I’m cutting off sponsor bids tomorrow, so I’ll know who’s paying for it then, and we can finish everything up and get ads in place and all that jazz. Look for the game pretty soon.

Those of you with keen eyes might have noticed that there’s a new demo up in the tabs–This is crazy early in development (…maybe an hour or so, total), and there isn’t much to see yet.  At this point it’s basically just one of those little drawing apps, except that it’s got a nice and scratchy feel to it.  Some slightly fancy bitmap filtering gives the edges of your brushstrokes a bit of chunkiness.  I’m not very good at explaining it, but just take a look and you’ll understand.

You can’t tell how the game’s going to play from the demo, but the whole thing is built purely around customization and user-made content.  The painting is the way you create your own art assets for the game–When you make a level, you have a ton of visual control over it.  You can redraw anything you want–Character, level, etc.  The scratchy painting style would hopefully ensure that even though each person draws stuff differently, you could always tell that they’re from the same game.  It’s relatively subtle, but it should be a good enough cue to make you recognize the game.

Again though, this is all tentative.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

A new title, and more progress.

posted in: Flash | 0

Once More’s title has changed.  The new title is The Company of Myself.

Aside from that, I also finished a major section of the game–Specifically, the chunk that revolves around Kathryn, a person from the main character’s past.  She doesn’t have art quite yet, but Luka is getting her some animation either today or tomorrow.

This section was the last major design hurdle in the game, so it feels damn good to have it working.  Almost from the beginning of the game’s development, I’ve been debating how the girl would affect gameplay.  The way it works now feels good, is easy to understand, and fits perfectly with the game’s story.  It’s a win on every front!

The last thing to decide now is how to end the game.  The original plan was that the game would simply be a character study, instead of being a “beginning-to-end” narrative.  It would be sort of like asking a person to tell you about their life.  They’d talk for a while, and eventually not have anything left to say.  Their story isn’t over (unless you’re somehow talking to a dead dude), but they’ve said everything that they can.  This works fine for a conversation, but as much as I want it to work in a game setting, I don’t know if it would.  It would just feel too wishy-washy.

It’s still up for grabs, really.  I’ll decide on something soon.  The game should be done in a week or two.

A very brief intermission, and some character art.

posted in: Flash | 0

I took a one day break from Once More to do a quick commissioned job for an old friend of mine.  I’m not gonna bother going into detail about the game that amounted from this endeavor, because it’s intensely uninteresting and you have more important things to worry about.

Speaking of Once More, it’s got some character art, finally.  You can check it out in the demo.  Our little guy is now a person, and he’s got all of his little animations working.  Walking, jumping, falling, pulling levers, etc.  Things are going well.  I’m going to have to revise some of the monologue, though, because I sort of changed up the character’s background.  He’s also going to need a name, which I haven’t settled on yet.

For the people who haven’t talked to me directly about it, you may or may not (…but most likely not) have been wondering what the game is actually about.  Here’s the gist of it.

The main character is a hermit.  He finds himself unable to form relationships with other people.  Each puzzle in the game is a representation of him getting through his mundane problems throughout the day–He’s not literally jumping around and pulling levers.  The cloning mechanic is his way of visualizing his necessity to do more by himself than the average person, because he can’t rely on other people to help him anymore.

I don’t plan on giving the game any overarching storyline, but instead just having it be a little character study of this man.  One section will follow a little miniature story while he recalls what made him so repellant to other people (this section deals with Kathryn, who is mentioned once in passing in the current build).

Basically, it’s artsy as fuck because I’m a douche and that’s what I felt like doing.

Progress continues.

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One Response

  1. Nice idea with the musical instruments, that’s suuuuuuper important for learning something completely. Like you’re going to know about different materials and how sound works, thats cool. I learned about how meat dries, and now I have an idea of how things dry. Also, for the cell game, (maybe) making it more realistic, by like making it kinda like a 3d osmosis jones will make it more visceral and real. maybe. Yea but it’s gonna take you a while to make anything, just like my cousin who’s an artist, each mosaic takes like a month, depending how big it is. A big project, like on the side of a building took him like 8 months, but his work is…. rigorous and detailed and very thoughtful and carefully crafted. His works are good, old museum art good, like roman vases good. Anyway, yea it’s good that you are making your own instruments because i’m doing the same thing, but with economics. It really helps you understand precisely how the physical world works. It’s nice.

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