Hi, I'm Blake. my big project is a tower defence game called 'Forgive Me My Henchmen'. you play as a typical head 'bad guy', deploying henchmen and sabotaging a building to delay an unstoppable one-man army.
I joined TGIForums today (a site for indie developers), and to do so, I needed to write a quick bio. The bio I wrote outlined (very briefly) my journey with gaming. Because it is a bit more complete than my 'about me' page, I thought it would be cool to share. So here it is, word for word:
I got a PS in my teens, and that is when my story of obsession with MGS began. That game still wrecks me. For safety reasons, it is better that I don't play it.
After HS, I went to uni and did a business degree, then I went to another uni doing a masters degree (in arts and social sciences) and it was during my masters that I started to delve into game making. I fell into it because I'd need a break from studying and I thought building a game could be pretty fun to do in my spare time...and now look at me!
I ended up falling for game dev so hard that it completely derailed my life's projected path. Since then, I've completed two really simple games, but my passion project over the last few years has been a game called 'Forgive Me My Henchmen' - a 2D tower defence game where you play as the typical action movie head bad guy, deploying henchmen and sabotaging a building to delay a one-man army. The kickstarter campaign for it launches tomorrow!
Even though I'm Australian, I've been back in Swaziland for the past while. It's a beautiful place, but there isn't much of a game dev scene, which is why when it comes to game dev stuff (and the game dev community) I've been pretty out of the loop. My encounters with other game devs have been few and far between - it was only cause of luck that someone recommended TIGForums to me yesterday!
Anyway, I'm part of this community now - I'm stoked to be here and will be sticking around. Thanks for having me guys :) If you're ever curious, you can check out my blog at http://www.eezystreet.com
So yeah, now you know a bit more about me :) Right now, as I write this, I am continuing to get ready to launch the kickstarter campaign tomorrow. I've done everything I can think of to prepare, but am just hoping that those who encounter it like it enough to share it...the time of reckoning is upon me.
Wish me luck guys! Cheers!
I was trying to do some work today when my laptop started being its usual demonic self - shutting down in my face when I needed it the most.
I started thinking of all the terrible things I will do to my demonic laptop once I replace it.
It will rue the day it tried these shenanigans - IT WILL RUE THE DAY!
I think that this has been my most eventful month so far.
On 31st Jan, I released the official trailer to the public and the response has been gooooooooood! It got close to 400 views right away, which is fantastic, and also got quite a few people showing interest and asking questions. One of my favourite interactions happened on Screenshot Saturday, when John Matrix and Bennett - rivals in the Schwarzenegger movie 'Commando' started riffing in the comments. It was comedy gold :)
The new mechanic is that the crimelord will now be a part of the action - you'll be able to equip him with weapons, use him to block doors, and also use him to pick up items scattered throughout the building. I have been testing it out for the past few days (ironing out all the kinks) and it has already made the game even more intense - I like it. There is still a lot more work to do, but I'm on the right path.
This month ahead will be a big one too. The biggest thing will be the launching of the kickstarter campaign on March 1st. I will also release a gameplay video within the next week.
It's crunch time - wish me luck!
Follow the game's development on twitter (@FMMHenchmen), on facebook, or follow me on twitter @BlakeMcDeezy
I have a 20GB internet limit per month. Last month I used up the 20GB limit faster than you can say ‘marketing’ and as a result, I’ve been internet-less the past few weeks...But INTERNET IS BACK! Therefore, I can finally blog again - woot!
The biggest change, however, has been the decision to introduce a new mechanic into the game. Perhaps it is a bit reckless to introduce a new mechanic this late into development, especially since now I have committed to a July 9th launch date. That being said, my goal is (and has been) to make the best game I possibly can and I think adding this mechanic will help me to do that so...game on!
Before, the crimelord was a passive agent. He would just wait on the roof for the helicopter, and run towards it when it came, and that’s it. He would never get directly involved in the action or play an active role in delaying the vigilante. Well...that’s changing now.
And to make this happen, there will be a lot to do! I'll even have to redesign quite a few of the levels...but I truly think it will be worth it in the end.
Gosh...so much to do, so little time.
Anyway, life's good. In other news, it's Sunday Funday so I went for another hike today. I pulled a Forrest Gump and walked for a bit, then arrived at a destination, decided to walk a bit more etc, until I found myself deep in the mountains. It was pretty cool. Here's a couple of snapshots from today:
Unlike last time, I didn't get hopelessly lost, so at least I am improving in this regard.
Usually I blog about whatever I feel like blogging about, but if there's ever a particular thing you want me to write about, let me know! Just send me a DM via twitter (@BlakeMcDeezy) and if it isn't too crazy, I'll try to do it :)
Challenge number 1: not being surrounded by game developer community
I currently live in the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland. It's a wonderful place and I love it...it isn't, however, known for its thriving games industry. I met a cool Peace Core volunteer who is taking steps to introduce children out in the rural areas to game development (which is awesome!) but as far as I can tell, the Swazi games industry consists of one person...me. (Cue Celine Dion's "All By Myself")
One of the reasons I moved here is that I knew I could develop my game pretty cheaply here (due to the low cost of living) and it was a smart move. That being said, developing a game in isolation is weird...sometimes you just want another developer to put their arm around you and say "ain't glitches a bitch?" Then we could start discussing explosive barrels without fear of being arrested.
Challenge number 2: Shit tech
At the moment my laptop is unusable because the AC adapter went completely bung. The laptop only charges reliably when the lid is closed...have you ever tried working on a laptop with the lid closed? It's really difficult. In addition, the battery doesn't charge properly and battery indicator is no longer accurate, therefore I have no idea when the computer will suddenly shut itself down...usually it waits until I'm emotionally invested in what I'm doing.
Anyway, I've ordered a new AC adapter and it will take another two weeks before it arrives. If there are still problems, then I'll buy a new laptop by selling my least favourite kidney.
Challenge number 3 - being obscure
This is perhaps the hardest challenge to overcome. Is making a great game even enough these days? I dunno, but at least the people who are hearing about my game seem to love it, so there is hope. I'm just gonna keep on trying different things and see what happens.
How do you know when you’ve made it as a game designer?
To understand my answer, you must first understand my journey with Metal Gear Solid. It’s a story of obsession.
One day, by mere chance, I came out the other side of the vents...and that is when my love of Metal Gear Solid began.
The gameplay, the graphics, the convoluted story that I skipped...I loved it all.
What I love about MGS is that every time you play it, you feel like you are playing the best that gaming has to offer at that point in time. MGS always feels like the pinnacle! The Peak!
When it did, I was in University. I didn’t have a playstation 3...but my roommate did, so I bought the game, I put it in the machine, and my life was gone for a few days. I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t change clothes, I ate pasta...plain! All weekend long! I didn’t even leave to the store to buy condiments...ugh. I remember a screen popping up saying ‘You’ve been playing for “AN INDEFENSIBLE NUMBER OF” hours, you should really take a break.’ I remember thinking ‘Fuck you screen! You can’t tell me what to do!’ and going straight back to it. I even made excuses not to see my girlfriend at the time. I remember Sunday that my friends staged an intervention. ‘We love you Blake! Don’t do this to yourself’.
I haven’t played it yet. I’ve been yearning to, but I can’t. I can’t for two reasons. First of all, because I don’t have the hardware. I don’t have a fancy TV or a console, and my laptop (as I’ve blogged about before) is evil...I don’t have a device strong enough to play it. Secondly, playing MGS5 would mean that life gets completely put on hold for awhile, and I can’t do that right now. There is too much to do.
I’ve succeeded at life.