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.
This is going to be one of the tougher blog entries to make, and it's definitely going to be a landmark one. I wrote it last week, but wasn't ready to publish it. My feelings have changed since then, but this is something that I went through. Here is the post in all it's glory:
I've got a lot of news to share:
"Not only did we despise the game, but we googled a picture of your face, and we hate that too!"
On the contrary, every publisher was really cool. They all said pretty much the same thing, which was:
"Thanks for sending us your game - it is just not what we are looking for at the moment, and I wish you the best of luck in the future."
And that - in itself - is okay. Any creative work is usually shit as first, before it goes through tons of iterations to make it better. That's just the grind of the creative process, and there is no way around that. The issue I'm facing is that after hundreds of iterations, I've reached a stage where the game's not good enough, but I also have no idea how I could make it any better.
Even cosmetic changes - or fixing all the glitches - might not necessarily take it from being where it is to a game truly worth playing...and that is why I am stuck. That is why I am also at a stage where I'm seriously considering letting FMMH go.
Fat Thor - minus the muscles, height, beard, and amazing face...Fat Thor, minus the Thor.
I'm trying to get through this Fat Thor phase, and I realized perhaps the first and most important step is facing the pain that is underneath this all.
There are a few thoughts which really get to me:
Facing these thoughts sucks, but it's better than continuing to live in this Fat Thor phase.
In summary, this is not a good time for me, but I'm going to be alright.
Regardless of what happens next, I'm still happy I got to pursue this dream. Despite all this pain, and embarrassment, I have more peace with the fact that I still tried and it failed, than I would have had if I had never tried at all.
And who knows? The gap that FMMH is creating in my life means that potentially I can find something good to replace it with. I don't know what that will/could be, but I'm asking that question.
I don't know what is going to happen to this blog - in all honesty, it might be time to let it go.
Whatever the case, I would like to say thank you to those who - in some way, shape, or form - helped me and/or believed in me. It's been a really lonely journey sometimes, but now and then there were true blessings along the way.
Thanks to those who were there.
K, I think I should end this blog entry now. I will try to create another blog entry next week with another update. Keep well guys.
I have felt the full spectrum of human emotion this month, haha. But really, the best way to explain this month is that it has been divided into two parts:
Eventually though, I got sick of feeling sorry for myself. The game itself was getting - and continues to get - amazing feedback. Furthermore, it was becoming clear that the major reason why the kickstarter failed was because my pre-marketing was shit, and there were simply things I failed to do. It was hard to keep on feeling sorry for myself when I realized that my success or failure was within my control. This is what has led to the second part.
2) Getting Back On The Horse
This part was difficult. On the day I started programming again, I remember not wanting to, but also knowing it was time.
I also decided to enter into another Ludum Dare Game Jam!
For those of you who don’t know what a Game Jam is, it is when a developer (or small team of developers) makes a game - start to finish - within a short time frame. In the Ludum Dare Game Jam, that time frame is 48 - 72 hours.
This was my second jam, and this game was a lot tougher to make than the first one, but I had fun with it. Equally as importantly, other people are having fun with it so that makes me happy :) It’s not a perfect game, but I think the idea has potential - what do you think?
Anyway, I’ll likely write about the game jam more in depth sometime. That’s an entry to look out for. Until then, cheers guys!
Follow the game's development on twitter (@FMMHenchmen), on facebook, or follow me on twitter @BlakeMcDeezy
I haven't yet written about how the failure of the kickstarter has made me feel. Seeing as this is something I'm going through, this is something I wanted to write about. This isn't the happiest entry, but as I mentioned ages ago, I think this blog will have more value if I'm just authentic about all my experiences (not just a few of them).
I wrote the following on April 3rd:
And that is okay. Despite this, I am still okay.
PS - I'm reading what I wrote a few days later...even though I'm still in the slump, I've started taking steps to gain forward momentum again. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting back on track.
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.
I promised myself I wouldn’t just write during the good times...
The temptation to do so is there because it builds positive association with oneself, one’s game, and one’s brand. Who doesn’t want that? However, the drawback of doing so - and what would irk me - is that my blog would have a degree of inauthenticity, or rather ‘incompleteness’. All things considered, I think this blog can potentially have a lot more value to others - and likely even be more entertaining - if I choose to write about my entire experience, not just a cross-section that I pick and choose.
I’ve been trying hard to increase my PR. I use two social media sites: facebook and twitter, and post using a whole bunch of hashtags. It’s been fun, and I’ve got a few followers and likes out of it, but the truth is, with all my work, I have about 60 twitter followers and my game has 10. Holy fucking shit. Even twitter accounts like 'Bot45, I posted once back in 2011' have way more followers than this...
Seeing the results compared to the work I’m putting in makes me feel I don’t have a chance...more importantly, I don’t know what to change at the moment to make this happen. I am not admitting defeat, I am just saying that I’m fucking clueless at the moment. Fucking clueless.
A few years ago, I created a game called 89 Doors and upon publication, I realized it was okay if it didn’t make a splash (which it didn’t). It was a learning experience, and I had a ton of fun with it. If, however, Forgive Me My Henchmen launches and doesn’t make a splash...can I live with it? The truth is, no, I can’t. Game dev - although brutal - is the first thing I found in my life (work-wise) that made me feel like I was doing what I was meant to be doing. I think it is what I am best at, and as such, likely the area in the world that I can offer the most value. If this game doesn’t work out, I will have to walk away from this field for practical reasons...and what happens after that?
I can’t express through words how much it tears me up inside.
This may sound more dramatic than it is...I’m not saying that I’m nothing without game dev, or that life is not worth living - I am just saying that it would take me back to square one, and I just don’t know who I’d become as a result.I feel like I’d be losing perhaps the best part of myself, and the part that dreams.
Anyway, I needed to write this...more for me than anyone else. Even as I was writing this, another part of me was looking at it rationally, noticing how dramatic I was/am being. This same part was coming up with solutions, finding a way forward, and not using such ‘black and white’ thinking. That being said, I knew I needed to express my doubts / worries / fears fully, in all their insanity, because if I didn’t, these feelings kinda lurk in the background. Expressing these feelings without reservations is how I go about making sure I am no longer overwhelmed by them, and is the first stage I need to go through before I can ‘integrate’ these feelings, and then begin to heal and/or move forward.
Anyway, that’s it for now. This will be the first day I haven’t done any game dev in awhile, but that’s okay - I think I needed a break.
I have decided to spend some time reading my blog everyday...that way I know there's at least one person reading it! HAHAAHAAHAHahaahaahaaaahehhhehhmmmm....😒
I want to go to a library, then tear out the very last story page from one of the books, I want someone, sometime, somewhere, to suffer from the eternal cliffhanger...
And I want all of this because I am frustrated. I am frustrated at game dev, I am frustrated at my situation, but mostly I am frustrated at myself - frustrated at how long this road has taken, frustrated at how overwhelmed I feel looking at the road ahead, and even at the moment - frustrated that I committed to following this dream.
I can only hope that it will all work out in the end, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of moments when I sure feel like it won’t. This is me in one of those moments.
K, now back to work.
Follow the game's development on twitter (@FMMHenchmen), on facebook, or follow me on twitter @BlakeMcDeezy
I can’t speak for everybody, only for myself.
Most of the time, I don't care that nobody's heard of what I'm working on. Everyday I get to work on a project that I completely love - that is something I am incredibly grateful for regardless. There is a certain peace that comes along with following your heart and getting to work on something you do for its own sake.
Other times, I fear that following my heart into this endeavor - like I have - might all be for naught. There is always this looming, potential threat that all the time and all the life I’ve put into this project might not make an impact at all...like tears...in the rain.
In short, being a no-name game dev is like riding a pendulum between utter bliss and existential dread.
It’s like taking a leap of faith while being strapped to an anvil.
It’s like getting a Swedish massage which is sporadically interrupted by kicks to the nuts.