Getting Work Done

Getting very close to announcing my game. Got some major work done today, which has made it look prettier and hopefully slightly more fun to play.

I currently have a couple of clashing design ideas, which got me thinking of...

Killing your darlings.

As anyone occupying themselves with something creative, taking away elements you're fond and proud of fucking sucks. This has ended quite a few projects of mine already. Oh well.

I am also wondering about if it's the best time to start showing the game, or if I should wait with it until a release date comes up. I'd like to try and build up some hype around it.

Anyway, back to mak gam!


Wut I Want 2 B and Tweet Tweet

In order to give you a hint of what to expect from anything I might release, I decided to make a post about it. Yay for posts!


There are several developers and artists that provide me with a healthy dose of inspiration. Jonatan Söderström (aka Cactus) has recently stunned me with his and Dennis Wedin's upcoming release Hotline Miami. Derek Yu's famous roguelike Spelunky is excellent. When doubting the power of the Game Maker software, the elite of the community always came back and crushed those doubts. It made me want to become better and understand more, and it paid off.

That said, it's not only people known for creating things in the relatively simple Game Maker that has inspired or gotten my attention. Team Meat blew me away with Super Meat Boy, and then half of Team Meat made me cry of joy with The Binding of Isaac. This post is turning silly, because everyone love those titles. What I want to say is that there's no shortage of inspiration. I currently have about twelve indie titles unplayed on Steam after the Summer Sale. That's plenty of ideas right there.

Personal Approach

Most of the prototypes and unfinished projects I have created has been focused on telling a story. That has been my personal challenge - to tell a story with the aid of gameplay. Somewhere along I realised that no one playing a free indie title would give a crap unless the story was incredible. It was beyond my ability because of the limited work I had done in the field. And the games got boring quickly, based on gameplay solely.

Today there's a different mentality from my side. I try to experiment with gameplay more than anything. I want to create a consistently fun and challenging game, where the story should only be a sort of bonus. It took me a year and a half to figure this out, even though I'm an avid player of exactly that type of games. It's more about the general themes and feel of the game than the actual story (Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac are perfect examples of this).

One thing I made that was kind of fun.

My current project tries out some different things. My initial idea was to remake something I threw together years ago. It was a top down game with Atari-inspired visuals where the objective was to save your people that had been kidnapped by *insert whatever evil here*. You simply ran around and beamed them up to your ship when you found them, and finished a level when everyone was safe and sound. So I threw together something quick. It was, of course, boring and simple. So I added a gun mechanic, that also controlled the camera view. This was fun and looked interesting, but gettng the controls to work was a nightmare. So I settled on a simple "shoot-towards-mouse" feature, and started looking around for other, interesting things to implement.

The current version (subject to change, mind you) I would describe as a cross between VVVVVV and The Binding of Isaac, sprinkled with a little bullet hell. This might sound awkward and complicated, but it works surprisingly well (of course, no one has tried it yet, but hey). More on this when I get closer to releasing a full preview/devlog.


On a different note, I just got twitter. Yay for technical achievements! Follow @swordpond to get what this blog offers, but less... Kind of. Will add a feed to this blog as well, because that's how everyone else does it and I like everyone want to be a tweeter because its awsum i think lol kthxbai.


The State of Things

The State of Swordpond

About two years ago I created this blog, with a strong hope of being able to produce some quality indie gaming goodness.

This never happened. At about the same time as I created this blog, I had just started out with Game Maker again, after some years hiatus. I learned a lot at the time, and realised that my ideas actually had a chance.

That's not the whole truth though. I had no idea what an actual project would be like to drag all the way to the end. Tonnes of prototypes and projects were started, and just as many were abandoned. I wasn't skilled enough, and I didn't know it (or didn't want to acknowledge it).

There never was a clear goal either, other than the rookie-mistake of maintaining a "Make Game! Profit!"-mentality. I'm not saying that I am any more ready now then I was back then, but some more clarity has definitely come my way.


So, after wanting to be more than I could ever be, a redirection of my approach this time around feels at hand! This will be my honest attempt at getting back on the saddle, finish my current project, and see what lays ahead.

The State of the Industry

The independent development scene is constantly expanding. Thanks to the early introduction to computers, children are currently growing up with a thirst to explore and try out digital systems, and replicate their interests - video games for example.

At the same time, the gaming industry as a whole is still in its cradle. The internet isn't much older than me. While big budget companies and publishers have trapped themselves in a narrow corner of sequels and a phobia for real innovation, the indie scene is arguably free to explore the future of interactive entertainment. The last year alone has made me lose interest in the myriad of AAA-titles that gets a release each year. But then indie games still put me in awe from time to time. And there's constantly new means for it to grow.

Crowd sourcing has been a very prominent topic so far this year. Services like Kickstarter and the wildly debated upcoming Steam platform Greenlight are all making it easier for people with quality products (or just an appealing pitch) to fulfill their dreams. Greenlight hopes to give the power to the community, with mixed feelings from the actual people. Steam has been the holy grail of indie devs for a couple of years now, and some worry that this will devalue the platform. If the people from places like yoyogames.com start flooding the service, it sure is screwed in my humble opinion. But they will. It's only a matter of time.

"Steam is to become a republic again!"
No matter how you look at it though, it is a very exciting time to be a part of the industry. It is rapidly growing and maturing. The rise of the casual market has opened up for new possibilities for a lot of developers. The overcrowding of the same market has created competition, but also the burying of titles that deserve more attention.

And finally...

There's my five cents. And I'll just go ahead and welcome myself back to this blog, that will be seeing a prominent makeover as soon as time is on my side. Also keep an eye out for posts regarding my current little project. It might actually become something this time around.