It’s been a while. Can’t believe it’s been over a year since I was at E3 with In a Window. Since that time, I’ve been relatively quiet. Still working, but pretty quiet. Just not a whole lot to get excited about, really. No project I’ve worked on recently has really just caught my interest in such a way that the good projects usually do.
A game about monkeys fighting over bananas
A submarine game
A procedural spaceship game
A Combat game where players can copy themselves as a defensive stategy
Countless takes on the Hex Grid
Ascii Helicopter Game. Plus many… many more.
I keep going back to this, though.
Voxterium was received so well, however, Revision was not. Why? Well, that’s really easy. I took out too much from the first, and added too much to the second. The criticisms I received on Revision were very hard to hear. Not because they were mean, or because they were “insulting my baby.” It was because I completely agreed with (most) of them, and were related to decisions I made that I wasn’t comfortable with.
The campaign mode
Looking through my history of notes, I was always negative about the campaign mode. I felt that the campaign mode was not a good fit for this game, it felt forced. I didn’t listen to myself. I put it in the game because :
- It was an attempt to add some pacing. Start out easy, and slowly introduce new powerups, blocks and enemy weapons. You’re supposed to do that, right? Not necessarily. This ended up doing that, but at waaaay too slow a pace and contributed to a lot of the “long, boring slog” comments.
- Games have game modes. Games have campaign modes. What I didn’t realize is that a lot of people choose one game mode, and that’s it. If they choose the campaign mode first, and it is a “long, boring slog”, the assumption is that all other game modes are exactly the same way. If you have 10 game modes, and one of these is a campaign mode, they will choose campaign mode.
Long story short, I created a game mode significantly weaker than the others, and virtually forced all my players to choose it.
Of all the game modes, all of them are completely neu
tered save two. Even those two are cut down from the original betas. I balanced the game completely wrong.
Not necessarily a bad thing, but they really don’t add anything to the game and were kind of an afterthought. Again, the game has achievements because games have achievements. The time I spent on these, could have been invested in other areas.
The music for this game is great. Zeph’s tracks fit well and I believe added so much to the game. Much of even the majority negative feedback I did give praise to the music. However the rest of the audio could have used some work. Some of it was “grating” and a lot of it could benefit from some of the audio knowledge I’ve gained over the last 2 years.
One thing really bothers me, however, and I want to address it. More than one set of submission feedback referred to the game as a “rhythm” game, and one kindly suggested a number of rhythm games I should play to get a better handle of the genre. I don’t know what to say. This is not a rhythm game. Not even close. All I can do with this feedback is take it as a compliment to the “marriage” of the gameplay and the soundtrack.
When I played Terry Cavanagh’s Hexagon for the Pirate cart, and then played Super Hexagon when it came out, I immediately noticed a similar story… I’m not comparing my game to his, as his is absolutely brilliant, but it is the same story of refining an original idea. But where Terry Cavanagh made the right decisions, I made the wrong one’s. He listened to the game, while I spent my time listening to other games and trying to make mine more like others. This is not how you do it.
I learned a lot from that experience. and I feel I need to spend some time giving Voxterium the remake it deserves. There’s a good game in there, and I completely let that idea down.
So my new game I am working on, is my old game that I was working on. Up to this point, I have concentrated on stripping stuff out of the game, and refining the survival modes, as well as a few graphical updates. Stay tuned for more updates, as I hope to be posting some more info and updates soon.