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Moonpod Homepage Starscape Information Mr. Robot Information Free Game Downloads Starscape Highscore Table
September-06: Hack Attack
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick! Call them and ask if it has been started yet!
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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing *gulp* hehee Rolling Eyes pardon me for destroying the ilusion of having the natural-curl-cover... I mean.. I love it anyway! Its not about the curl, is it? ;]

Oh! means i finally have to order my version.. by now i only played demo and on the account of a friend of mine. Unfortunately I still got no credit card and there is no option for paypal.

What is it about the "ill-fated Starscape Mac port". I adore your work for years now .. but seems I'm not that much into it [this is my second post!]
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Fost
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Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewerybody wrote:
What is it about the "ill-fated Starscape Mac port".


We got part way into a Mac port, but it ended up taking far longer than expected (Mainly due to huge problems getting the Mac tools to work properly, and some sunsystems like SDL playing up. I think these are much improved now, but at the time, they were causing us endless nightmares). Darren (who was working on it) actually came pretty close to chucking his iMac out of the window on numerous occasions. It reached a point where we were desperate to get him back to work on our other game, so we decided to shelve the project. Since then, the Starscape PC codebase has changed dramatically, so it would probably be a case of starting from scratch again if we wanted to do the conversion. Still, one day, hopefully there'll be something we can do. Definitely a big dissapointment though, and we felt like we let a lot of people down - so near yet so far, as it was up and running bar controller and audio support, and some minor glitches.:



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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh poor shht. But looks stylish :] I'm always jealous of the borderless application windows with just a title bar (and of course title in the middle!!). Windows' windows have always a border unless you install some kind of window blends theme thingy .. or flyakite OSX or whatever... but I rather go oldschool ;] .. oops drifting away:

looks like another example how so unshiny it can be on the mac.

btw!! AAAHRRRRGGG!! : I've seen you DO offer paypal to buy starscape! I always just clicked the bye now-button, browsed the icons, seen no paypal, resigned. But there is an option one click further... *gulp2*... Embarassed making myself so awkward on the first posts.. Can I still be Mr.Robot-beta tester under this circumstances!??!
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Fost
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Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewerybody wrote:
I've seen you DO offer paypal to buy starscape!

Yes - although be aware that our payment processors add an additional charge for using paypal, and that their system for paypal is not the smoothest way to do things (It's ok, just make sure you read the instructions). I should really integrate paypal payments as a seaparate page with a direct purchase option in the future, but we stopped doing that in the past because Paypal causes about 10 times as many payment problems as any other method (Mainly due to e-checks not being explained properly).

ewerybody wrote:
Can I still be Mr.Robot-beta tester under this circumstances!??!

Nobody is guaranteed to be a beta tester - all we've said is that anyone who owns Starscape will be able to apply. Although, I wouldn't buy Starscape for that reason - that seems a bit crazy! There will be a form to apply with when the beta is ready.
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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nah ... i wanted to buy it anyway. And I think there are more than enough good reasons to buy it. Thats just one more!

OK so for the raw mass I guess you will randomly select some of the Starscape customers.

What are you going to do with the data from the testers? Only take bugfixes or will you even think about adding/changing features related to tester feedback?
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The game only gets better with the involvement and feedback of players, with Starscape you'll see threads asking "so what do you think". We want feedback and we act on it with updates, they aren't all just for bug fixes. This is true for the beta period and post release.
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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yea, I've seen you still updating starscape a very lot, long after the realease. Thats quite unusual but very commendable!!

That speaks for you stand behind the product, the customers, your code ...

Cool situation not to have to develop a game based on an order ,]

how came you are making such a kind of puzzle game? Has it anything to do with the c64 mr Robot? (am I far too late for this question again?)
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewerybody wrote:
how came you are making such a kind of puzzle game?

We should probably stop calling it a puzzle game, as it's a bit of a misnomer. More accurate would be a 'game with puzzles in it' Smile. The game was initially inspired by classic isometric adventure games like Knight Lore, Head over Heels, Cadaver etc. Those games were great, but punishingly hard. We realised that you could take the same format, and bring it up to date with 3D graphics, and reworked gameplay so the same elements are there, but the 'punishment' aspect is taken out and it becomes a lot more fun. We could also expand greatly on the format by adding adventure elements. Part way in, we still felt there was something else missing, and Mark came up with Ghost Hack. This has delayed the game quite considerably, but we think it was worth it as it has brought in RPG-style features that make the experience more rounded. The great thing is, we can add all kind of ideas into this format, and it just seems to work. The other day I was thinking that it would be cool to put a shoot-em-up section into the game, and it's one of the things we are considering in the first update Smile

So, it's more like we are making an action/adventure/puzzle/rpg game, with perhaps a shootemup addon. Now, If we could just work a beat-em-up and driving game into it somehow Wink

ewerybody wrote:
Has it anything to do with the c64 mr Robot?

Proper name 'Mr Robot and his Robot Factory' - no, it's totally unrelated.
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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah cool, taht enlights me a lot!

I knew that its not only puzzles, thats why I wrote "kind of" ;]

Mr. Robot and his robot factory was the first thing I thought of as I saw this project here. Its so long ago.. I played it hours, never knowing that it has this name. We were always calling it mr robot. Maybe the fact that I couldn't even speak good english back then explains this too..


Pardon me for stepping back that far in the thread. But seems no one talked on that by now:
Quote:
Our next game will be different though, a realistic and comfortable schedule, time to reflect on the design, stable tools, prototyping, multiple platforms, focus groups, extra staff to spread the workload, full time tester, weekly game play and stability testing, full time customer support and website staff, ah I can see it now - honest Smile


Interesting that you as an independent developer think just like a dependent one whould like to have it. Is your schedule really that tight? I mean.. ok there must be some butter on the bread, some money I mean.
Of course you are somehow in debt with all the peeple hoping on you but mainly with the group itself i guess.

oh darn Rolling Eyes if I could always have the time I'd like to have for my stuff. In my experience its never enough.. but thats of course the way I am. a lot of talking, always lazy in the beginning then creative under pressure in the end and finishing it in the nick of time.

btw: what are focus groups?
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Poo Bear
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Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewerybody wrote:
Is your schedule really that tight?


It wasn't, but it is now Smile


It is similar to mainstream development really. The publisher agrees to fund the project through X milestone payments, usually one a month for 18-24months. The developer then knows how much money he has and how long he has. When he inevitably get delayed he has no choice but to force his staff to finish on time regardless. If he takes longer then he has no money.

An indie developer is in a slightly worse position as he can work on a project only as long as his last project keeps paying all the bills. As soon as the last game stops paying the bills the indie developer goes bust and gets a job or has to start borrowing money. So unlike the mainstream developer, the indie has no idea when the money is going to run out, in practice you can see it falling off and make a reasonable prediction, but if the game is half finished it can be difficult to suddenly cut the schedule in half and not damage the game.

Alternatively a game can be so successful it keeps the indie in beans and electricity indefinitely and they can spend however long they like on it. I'm not sure such a successful indie exists? I'd guess you need to be releasing something new each year ideally.

ewerybody wrote:

btw: what are focus groups?


A focus group is about 20 people who resemble your expected audience, in our case it would be single males around 23 years of age (that's what our forum stats say anyway). They are all invited to a specific location, given the game and then the developer watches them playing and listens to their comments. Normally you video them so you can study what happened in detail and usually you don't offer them any help as you are trying to work out what is wrong with the game and how people react to it. It is usually a lot more productive than remote beta testing as people often find it hard to express things like intuitiveness, fun and difficulty. It's easier to see that for yourself in the flesh (or on tape).

Obviously it would be expensive to organise, but one option is to appear at game/comic conventions and have playable versions of games on display. Tricky to do in the UK as we don't appear to have any game or comic conventions Wink
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Darth Dallas



Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 411



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got an idea for a mini-Mr. Robot game within a game besides a shoot 'em up and the Ghost Hack. What about an homage to the Rock 'em Sock 'em robot toys? First one to knock the other robot's block off wins! Wins what, I don't know but could be cool. And to fulfill the driving game part, maybe the main character can drive around through the corridors with his other pals in the Starscape Golf Cart (TM) equivalent.

Love the new Starscape CD cover art.
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darth Dallas wrote:
What about an homage to the Rock 'em Sock 'em robot toys? First one to knock the other robot's block off wins!

Only issue with this kind of thing is that you need to integrate it with Mr. Robot's control system - which is move + two buttons (Jump and use by default) You probably lose one in the 'transition'. So, for instance - if we wanted to do a shootemup section, we'd have some form of laser Asimov can pick up. Press the use button next to it, and he picks it up, press use again, and he drops it. Whilst carrying the laser, pressing the jump button would fire (Hold down to strafe works pretty well - I think 'Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters' worked that way Smile.

That quite neatly allows us to limit where it's used too - since you can't jump with the laser, exit and entry points to the section can just be a few steps up.

So - does that work with punching bots? Did they have any control other than lft/right punch?
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ewerybody



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
we don't appear to have any game or comic conventions Wink

hehe :] ECTS is dead, is it?

Why not come to Leipzig, Germany? Games Convention has always open arms for indies ;]
nah.. I don't really know if that'd apply on you but I know that there were contests held for independently developed games.

And what about demo-parties? None either in UK?

In germany there is also an indie gamedev-convention called dusmania. But maybe thats far too geeky to get to the customers.

ok hava nice evening now. Was fine to talk to you :]
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Lothar
Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 522



PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered having people set up non-local focus groups and video them for you? Like, say, setting up a LAN party way out here in Seattle with a pre-release Mr Robot and having people play it, and then you can watch the video for comments?
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