The Release!
August 25th, 2012 by

It’s out! I present to you, Literally Insane Racing!

Click here to play Literally Insane Racing!
Literally Insane Racing

This is really trying to show what Flash games can be, to me. Each car has its own feel, and no single car is able to win every race. There’s over 60 races, though they are nice and quick – I believe the game can be finished between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the choices you make. And that’s really what it’s about – giving the player free reign to buy all sorts of cars, and discover their own personal favourites to upgrade, so they develop an attachment to their own garage.

A lot of heart went into this one. I cared about little details, such as how brands in-game have a consistency between their car types, or how they are affected by the era they were built in. Before release, I was panicking that I had wasted time, and that no-one would care.

So it is thrilling, for me, that they do. Out of 6600 players today that Playtomic recorded, 32 players spent presumably 4+ hours collecting every single car. There is no incentive for this – the game can be completed with 10-20 cars on average, there are no achievements, and the game does not provide anywhere near enough money to buy all the cars in one playthrough. But these few completionists have made me feel totally justified in putting in as many cars as I did, and I only hope they enjoyed the time they spent with the game. Better yet, they are not alone – from the data, it appears that there is a respectably big drop as players work out what the game is and some dislike it, but of the ones kept, the retention rate is excellent; of the players who get 3 cars in their garage, 20% go on to spend long enough on the game to get 20 cars – that’s a lot of gameplay time! The average play length is very healthy, between 20-25 minutes.

Right now it is an exclusive for Mousebreaker.com, who hired me these past 8 weeks. The reaction has been more positive than I hoped for, and I am pumped for the global release!



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Potentially Insane Developing
August 8th, 2012 by

I have been hard at work on a game called “Literally Insane Racing”. It is basically everything I wanted Slide Racing to be 3 years ago, but now I have the skills required to make it.

I have drawn 40 cars for it, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, all handling noticeably differently. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and I don’t think I hit genius.

“I’m glad there weren’t 35 cars.”



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Summer Punch
July 20th, 2012 by

Surprisingly, though I have rarely touched Flash this year, I got a job this summer working 5 days a week at Mousebreaker. (That’s this Mousebreaker). As such, I have been powering away at Flash, and with any luck I’ll come out of it with something cool to show for it. Here is a little preview of the first.

Literally Insane Racing

Menu ripped off from the original Driver. Let’s call it an homage.

The working title is “Literally Insane Racing”. This is one I’ve been wanting to make for a while – the biggest Flash top-down racer I can imagine, with 40 cars available to play. The hook is that the cars are all useful for different races – rather than a linear progression from slow to fast, in this game no one car will be able to win every race. Oh, and it’s going to have a stupid story attached, because it’s one of my games and that’s what I do.

I call it LIR Yep, still LIR

(I think I got better at drawing in the last year despite not drawing at all.)

We’ll see how that goes. Incidentally, there’s nothing quite as scary as opening up your game on your home PC and seeing how the colours look vastly different.



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Get Rich Quick(ish)!
February 6th, 2012 by

Also known as: Why I will never be as rich as Notch.

It bothers me how often developers ask, “What’s the in genre? What will make me the most money?” I am not bothered by developers being callous and in it only for the money; I am irked by the answers usually given. Indeed, I think any answer that involves a specific genre is wrong.

Tower defense. Physics puzzles. By the time they are popular enough that they are well known as the in genre, there are already dozens if not hundreds of competing games available. If a potential, money-hungry developer asks this question, by the time they have produced their game, sold it, and released it, they will be at best a few months late to the party. At worst, they will become yet another developer whining about how there is no money to be made in Flash.

I would like to draw your attention to Minecraft for a moment. It is freeform. It is creative. And you already know about it.

This is a diagram of how players go through my games:
Direct

This is a diagram of how players go through Minecraft:
Open ended

I like to craft experiences, where the player is made to feel the emotions that I want them to. (I just made myself sound like an evil dictator. I promise, I do it for the good of my players!) What this means is that I have all sorts of fans, who really enjoyed spending half an hour on my games – and no more. There is a built-in limitation to how involved my fans can be. The way to get the ultimate fandom is to have an experience that never, ever ends.

Give a child a jigsaw, and they will be occupied for a while. However, give a child a bucket of LEGO to build from, and you may occupy them for hours, even days, before they need feeding again. This translates directly into the gaming sphere: Fantastic Contraption, Line Rider, and Canvas Rider are the first Flash examples that spring into my mind.

I confess, this is not how I build games, so I will never be as rich as Notch. But it does answer the original question.
The way to get rich somewhat quicklyish, is to build an addictive game that lasts forever.

Has anyone tried building a game-creation engine in Flash?



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He’s Dead, Jim!
January 23rd, 2012 by

Post-mortems are terribly, horribly interesting. I love seeing how Flash games died. Some developers are willing to describe all the gory financial details, writing up accounts so that we can all learn from their mistakes.

I have written two post-mortems in the past, and now I have finally added them to this site (with some longer-term stats added to the bottom):

The Man with the Invisible Trousers
Slide Racing

PS: I have a secret wish that people will read those and decide that I should be paid far, far more. 4 million plays per game is worth more!
PPS: For what it’s worth, Unevolve has 210,000 plays and earned $200 for 2 people, so that’s alright for a 2 day game.

But I am not the most interesting developer, nor the richest, nor even the most bitter! I present to you, a list of every post-mortem I could dredge from the mirth of the internet.

Concerned Joe
Community College Sim
Gravinaytor (Which I always read as Gravy-nator, and you should too.)
(I Fell In Love With) The Majesty of Colors
MegaDrill
The Moops – Combos of Joy
Pixel Purge
Plastic Attack
Robo Riot
Solipskier
SpeedRunner
Steambirds
Tentacle Wars
TumbleBall
When I Was Young

I will attempt to keep this list updated with all the post-mortems I can find. If you know of any I’ve missed, comment or shoot me an email with the address at the bottom of the page.

For what it’s worth, this week I also added three more short stories, if anyone still does fiction!

Until next time… *Batman swoosh*



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