Wow, it can take ages to make a video for youtube if this is not something you do all the time. Basically I tried it with OBS, then got REALLY poor video quality, then tried instead with sony video capture PLUS fraps PLUS audacity, and got horrible synch issues, then eventually got the quality raised on OBS enough to try again (with audacity) and finally got a video mix i was happy with. At least now I know *my* formula is Webcam and video game capture through OBS plus audio through audacity and manually synch later (otherwise the sound balance can be a pain.

Anyway behold…

Essentially that’s me going ‘hey look at all the lovely character customisation options in shadowhand…of which there are many and they are extremely cool. I may finally break free of factorio once shadowhand is ready for serious playtesting :D.

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Thats probably the big thing for indie developers right now. Its about a week until Political Animals appears at PAX West, in the minibooth at the megabooth. Thats already 2 levels removed from being ‘at pax west’, and its not like there will be a shortage of stuff to grab peoples attention at PAX in general, and the wider world of gaming anyway.

Sure, we can email people who we know are going there to write about games and say ‘hey we have this cool game…’, but those people get a LOT of emails. If we lived in the USA, or better still, west coast USA near Seattle, we would have met a lot of the press people before/several times and our email *may* go to the top of the lsit…but probably not.

Which leaves 3 strategies:

  1. Dumb Luck. This is the strategy most indies go with. You never know which game will catch peoples eye. I see a LOT of indie side scrolling puzzle games…. I see a lot of amazing unity tech demos with a game wrapped vaguely around them. Hopefully as the ONLY political game at the show (we hope), and certainly the only one featuring ryans amazingly cute artwork… we should stand out, meaning we get coverage purely by being different. This could work. In this case, I’m saying the ‘smart move’ was to pick the right game early on, and give the team time to polish it and make it good
  2. Do something silly, crowd pleasing and hard to ignore. We could dress the team up as animals, or maybe hold a mock rally outside PAX, or commission a giant Donald Trump ice sculpture for our booth, or something like that. I think this sort of thing maybe *can* work, but there is a huge randomness factor involved, and it can seem kinda desperate. Also its drawing attention to you and your stunt, not the actual game.
  3. Splash the cash. The PAX booth thing is an experiment for me, I’ve never even been, so didn’t want to do a full non-megabooth setup without knowing how it would go, so the option to have a bigger or louder booth didn’t apply here. What I *could* do is to promote the game in the run up to the show, and hope that gives people name and logo-recognition as they walk by, encouraging them subconsciously to try the game. I may well go with this.

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Frankly, the whole thing is kinda scary. I am pretty lucky, because I only have 2 fears here, and compared to other peoples fears, they are pretty mild.

The first fear is that the PAX appearance is a waste, the game flops, and people think I’m a crap publisher as a result.

The second fear is that as a result of the first, I lose money when the game is released, and feel like an idiot/failure.

The reason I say I’m lucky, is that fortunately, neither of these outcomes really has any real material effect on me, its all perception. I didn’t get into any debt for Political Animals, or Shadowhand, or my next game, so I’m not going to be cancelling a holiday, selling a car or downsizing my house if any/all of them fail. There are a LOT of indies with more at risk and more to lose than me who will bee pinning¬† all their hopes on some internet celebrity loving their game at PAX.

But it still scares me. I like to win. I like to do well. I hate to lose, and I don’t like looking like a failure to other people. I’ll still be biting my nails checking twitter and hoping people try, and talk about Political Animals.

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Greetings Mr/Madam president! And welcome to the land ofcCorrupt crocodiles and meritocratic mice! Yup… we finally have our first teaser video to show political animals to the wider world. This is a political strategy game being developed by Squeaky Wheel, the studio founded by ex prison-architect & spacechem artistic genius Ryan Sumo. Its being published by me! Who would have thought I would choose to publish a political strategy game huh? SYNERGY BABY!

Anyway…here is the teaser video. Nothing is final, as is normally the case with teasers…

Why release this now…? well partly because <insert drumroll.wav> Political Animals is in the Indie Megabooth (technically the minibooth) at PAX. Details on the megabooth are here:

Indie MEGABOOTH PAX West 2016 Line-Up!

That means the intrepid Ryan will be propelled around the globe to stand there and talk to members of the press and public alike about how Mousey and Croccy will battle it out for political control of the island. I’ll be honest… we are a bit of a disadvantage on the US press/PAX stakes. Ryan is from the Philippines, and I’m from England and I will not be at PAX (I’m not keen on too much long distance flying for tree hugging reasons), so we don’t have a ton of contacts in the local press. This means we are relying on Ryans intense charm, and my own ability to shout loudly on twitter to persuade members of the press to go check out the game.

It is the ONLY game featuring politically motivated mice in the entire show. So that’s one scoop right there. Plus I’m not sure how many other Philippine dev studios are showing at PAX but I suspect not many, so there is the whole ‘covering international dev scene’ angle to it all too. Plus…in case you have not noticed there is an election coming up soon in the USA (Seriously, its been quite low key, but I assure you that it is this year), so what better way to reference current affairs than through the prism of cute mice with megaphones.

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Seriously US voters…if mousey ran as a third party candidate right now, he would win right?

Feedback on our teaser is most welcome. Its obviously not our final trailer, loads more details to follow, plus I intend to finally get the hang of youtubing to the extent that I’m going to do weekly playthroughs of the game to get people in the mood as it approaches release. For UK press…do not despair, we are at EGX as well this year, so we recommend you pop along to that. More details on the Political Animals Website, plus we are on facebook and Twitter as you would expect.

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So…. ShadowHand is getting closer to release. Ahoy there! Stand and Deliver! May I have the next dance? etc… Shadowhand is a game Positech(me!) is publishing, its a card-battling RPG/Visual Novel/Puzzle mashup thing with cool art and frighteningly addictive gameplay, focused around the dual identities of an aristocrat/highwaywoman. I just recorded another video of me waffling whilst playing it. Sadly this one omits my amazing face due to a fuck up off dumb proportions, which I shall rectify in future. technology eh?

First things first…here is me playing the current build of the game…

Publishing shadowhand is interesting because the way the game is being made means that a load of content goes in really quickly towards the end, which means I get cast in the traditional role of publisher which is to bite nails, have sleepless nights and send constant Skype messages to the developer saying ‘yes yes yes…but when the fuck will X be in the game???? when???’, which is what publishers always do while developers who are coding ‘under the hood’ stuff think ‘For crying out loud, its all ready…it will all go in in a week once we finish this code thing’.

I hate to break with tradition.

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In any case…I’m rather excited about shadowhand. I like the gameplay,. its just bite-sized enough for me to have a ‘quick’ game without spending 20 minutes waiting for it to load or working out what I was up to, and yet it has enough complexity that it tickles my ‘hmmmm what to do next?’ bone. Plus I really like the art style and sound effects in the game. I’ll be honest…the original plan was for shadowhand to be simpler, smaller, and released much earlier, but once we started playing around with the way RPG elements could work with a card game like this, we realised that it was potentially a bit of an indie hit, and well worth taking the extra time (and as publisher…money) to really polish it and deliver something really good.

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The last game positech published was Big Pharma, and that was a big hit, so I want to make sure the same time, care and attention is available for this game.  I really enjoy making videos of it, so expect lots of these in the run up to release. Also remember we have a website and facebook page for it. yay.

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