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.
Most of this is my fault - there are definitely things I could have done differently which would have made the launch more successful. This includes building up a bigger email list before hand, emphasizing the ‘why’ behind the game more, as well as countless other things. Amongst these is I tried to move too fast.
That being said, despite a weak launch the word has been spreading, and the kickstarter has - slowly but surely been gaining momentum. This is in part due to my crazy marketing efforts, but also a large part of this has been due to the journalist rockstars who have decided to write about the game, as well as the kickstarter community who are doing wonderful things to spread the word.
This may all be too little too late - there are only 9 days left - but there is still hope! I’m gonna work hard for that strong finish!
In other news, I finally may have also reached a truce with my laptop. This may not sound like a big deal, but for most of you who have read this blog before, you know that this may be marking the end of a hostile, bitter war that has gone on for months - war is hell.
But yeah, that’s about it guys! I am happy to say that, even with all this going on, I’ve also been able to make forward progress with the game. I have finally figured out a way to introduce the upgrade system in a way that works with the game and still means that the player gets to make meaningful choices - I’ll likely write about this in the week ahead.
Wish me luck guys!
PS - if you know about my game and have been thinking “Hmm, I’ve been meaning to commit my life-savings into kickstarting Blake’s project but just haven’t found the time...” I wanted to let you know that there is no better time to do so than now. Here’s the link ;)
First of all, I may be able to charge while the screen is up AND therefore that laptop will stop shutting down in my face - this could be a game changer.
Anyway, if this works, then I may be able to start overlooking the 8052 other minor issues that this laptop has. But if this doesn't work, then I am going to go tribal on this laptop's ass!
I am going to work for a few months at a menial job, use the money I save to buy a ticket to the tropical island of Vanuatu, hire a guide to fly me to its famous volcanic island, hike the few hours it takes to get to the top, then I am going to throw the laptop in lava! Molten fucking lava!!
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!
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.
Wow...what a month it has been - it started with a breakdown, and just got better from there.
I really did put a lot of time into it, pulling three post 3am nights in a row. The bags under my eyes ended up being so big, I could carry groceries with them...but it was worth it. The feedback has been great, and from the comments it seems that the people who play it, like it. Check out the comments!
I think once the deadline passes, I am going to revamp ‘Shapes Are Mean’ and make a whole bunch of improvements and changes. I think it could potentially really shine as a mobile game, but we’ll see. Right now, ‘Shapes Are Mean’ is free with no option of donation, but I might change that...afterall, I need money so I can take another shot at making profitermotherfuckingroles.
So the second draft is what Iam spending time on now.This version is down to a minute, and I think it is a pretty decent minute indeed. I am still struggling to find the wording that will make the game’s purpose crystal clear...anyway, I’ll keep thinking on it.
The only thing which has irked me this month has been my laptop charger, which I am now convinced is possessed by the spirit of Beelzebub. A large portion of my day is spent twisting my laptop cord into various shapes to find out which one will allow current to flow through...sometimes I win, but mostly, the cord wins, leaving me a lot of time to imagine the terrible and horrible things I would do to this laptop if I could afford a new one...
But enough about evil laptops...this is the season for joy! It’s Christmas afterall, and there is tons to be grateful for. One of the many things I am gratefeful for is YOU, dear reader! Haha, thanks for following this blog :) Hope you’ve found it entertaining, insightful, and Blake-alicious, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
See you in 2018!
Follow the game's development on twitter (@FMMHenchmen), on facebook, or follow me on twitter @BlakeMcDeezy
I try to avoid complaining in life, and therefore in this blog entry, I won't complain about my laptop - rather I will objectively explain why my laptop is evil.
When I bought it a few years ago, it was fine. Granted, typing was a bit tough - a mere tapping of the keyboard keys wouldn't register (keys had to be tapped with the force of a falling hippopotamus) but that isn't worth complaining about. On the contrary, I think it has been a positive thing - I now have a grip strength that can crush skulls. If that was the only one of my laptop's quirks, I would have no problem with it.
Unfortunately, my laptop has more quirks than an antagonist's wacky sidekick - I will start by talking about the battery, which is perhaps the main cause of my woes.
My battery first decided to start systematically destroying my soul on a fair summer's day. I remember it was plugged in, and the power was on, but it wasn't charging. "Hmm", I thought. I decided to check the connections and when I tapped the 'thingamajig' (the thing that actually plugs into the laptop) it suddenly started charging again. "Glory Be!" I said to myself, and then continued to use the laptop without issues. It didn't happen again for another week. This time, it took a few more adjustments to fix, but much like Rambo, I overcame the problem at hand and progressed forward. Little did I know what this problem would one day evolve into. Getting my laptop to charge these days involves props, luck, and the thingamajig to enter into the port with an x offset of 3 and a y offset of 2.67 degrees. Even then, it will only charge - sporadically - when the lid is closed. Using a closed laptop is immeasurably difficult.
According to Chaos Theory, the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil may cause a Tornado in Texas. It has made me think that maybe there is a butterfly on the other side of the world, and every time its wings flap, it creates a chain reaction throughout space and time that eventually disrupts the impossibly fragile connection of my thingamajig. Fuck you butterfly.
I use a mouse with my laptop; I have no choice. My mouse - much like the Dark Tower - keeps a whole plethora of evils I don't fully understand at bay. As soon as I unplug the mouse, the cursor starts bouncing around the screen, clicking on everything. It right clicks, it left clicks. When it first happened, I tried grappling with it using my mousepad. We fought each other for control: I dragged left, the cursor resisted right, and eventually I was clicking on folders I didn't even know I had, and my laptop, through its random clicking chaos, was choosing what to do with them. I mourn all the files that got deleted and misplaced that day. May they rest in peace.
Sometimes, my laptop will run completely normally. No battery issues, no spastic mouse movements - it acts just like one would expect a laptop to act. But I think it does this just to lull me into a false sense of security. As soon as I am learning to trust it again, the mouse starts thrashing around deleting my files, and the battery light starts flashing on and off to the beat of a dubstep song. I hate this laptop because it chooses to give me hope...then crushes it.
Even on its best day though, it is ssllloooooooooow. To test the changes of my game, I have to run it, and wait for assets/sprites/etc to load. Apparently, this isn't a process that is supposed to take millennia. I have watched youtube tutorials where someone will click 'play' to load their game and a few seconds later, it plays! It's incredible! I, on the other hand, click 'play' then have time to do something else for awhile, albeit it get a sandwich, have a bath, begin and complete an undergraduate degree, cycle around a continent, dig a hole to China...I was a young man when I first clicked 'play'. Oh, to be young again.
Anyway, the whole point of this story is to inform you of how evil my laptop is, and therefore, as I unveil what my plans are, I don't seem unstable or deranged:
When my game is launched, if it does well, I am going to use the money to buy a new laptop, and then I'm going to destroy this one with a sledgehammer. That's right, a fucking sledgehammer, I am going to sledgehammer the shit out of this thing.
I can’t wait to say ‘Stop! Sledgehammer time! OOOoo OOOoo OOOOoo OOO!
I’m a simple man with simple motivations, and it is Sledgehammer time, readers, which is motivating me to make the best game I possibly can.
Fuck this laptop piece of shit.
Follow the game’s development on twitter @FMMHenchmen, or follow me @BlakeMcDeezy.