I'll tell you about my indie projects of this year, which I did in my free time: my first release on Steam, my personal record at Ludum Dare, as well as an endless dream project.
Release of MARK-I: Mission Pilot
The first half of the year was mostly occupied by another personal project - moving and renovating a new apartment. Those who have come across this can imagine how time-consuming it can be. Nevertheless, I managed to find time to finish the project that I've been doing for almost the entire last year. As a result, the trailer was ready by summer (thanks to yaaawny for helping with the art) and the coveted green release button in Steam was pressed (in fact, the release process stretches over months along with the preparation of the page and other meta-data).
The preliminary mailing to publishers, as expected, did not give a result, and there were no high expectations from the game as a whole. The goal was to finish the project, which in itself is often quite a difficult goal, and to gain experience in the full cycle of publishing a game on Steam. At the moment, a little over 50 copies of the game have been sold, and I do not think that this amount will grow much in the future. If you suddenly want to treat me a coffee – you are welcome to the game page, where you can buy it for mere pennies.
Initially, I wanted to write a full-fledged post-mortem for the game, especially since I managed to learn a huge number of lessons. But I realized that I had grown so cold to the game that I really didn’t want to spend even more time on it. There are some ideas on how to rethink the current 20-minute demo into a full-fledged game, and in general I like the universe of the game that I began to sketch, but I definitely don't plan to return to the project in the near future. Perhaps one day...
LD49 – Ludens Fortuna
In October, another Ludum Dare took place, where, by tradition, I participated into the Compo category, where all content must be done in 48 hours, alone, and the source code must be attached to the game. The theme was "unstable", I decided to make a game about the instability of the world, as a mechanic I semi-ironically decided to use something like solitaire with meditative flow, where the player, in the role of some fateful creator, must play cards, trying to keep the world in balance from turn to turn, avoiding the collapse of instability. And as a small personal challenge I chose a deck of Tarot cards to study it a little.
One of the most interesting tasks was to create a visual display in a very limited time, as well as to come up with and code the logic for each of the 78 cards. As a result, I even felt the nostalgic spirit of indie, when in the last hours, of all, you were trying to meet the allotted time, regularly glancing at the remaining minutes. I remember very vividly how expressively I drew minimalistic art for all these fancy cards, wondering in my head how much time should be spent on each of the cards. Unfortunately, there was not enough time even for the simplest sound, as well as for a tutorial and tips to help you master the rules of the game, some of which greatly simplify the path to victory. Although raw, but still finished, the game Ludens Fortuna was uploaded on time in accordance with all the rules.
|The visual setting was a planetary theme to give the game some epic and pathos: from time to time on the planet you can even see the shadow of an eclipse|
The success of the game is seen as a large share of luck (which is ironic, given the name of the game - "Fortune / Fate Playing") due to the small number of votes, but it is still a shame that today the game from the top LD collects a miserable several hundred views, whereas before, even the most shitty games could easily collect thousands and tens of thousands of views, simply by being on the Newgrounds or Kongregate. The golden era of web gaming is far behind, somewhere near the resting Flash, and new proprietary mobile platforms make it much more difficult to find your player. But there is no choice but to treat this stoically, accepting the new rules of the game, and trying to self-identify in this new world.
After the release of Mission Pilot on Steam, the most of my indie time switched to one of my oldest ideas. "Procedurally generated RPG" is perhaps one of the most overused clichés for a dream project, but this definition describes well this ambitious project, peppered with ideas not previously seen in other roguelikes.
I have repeatedly tried to approach the project under the working name "Tavern", aka "WORLDS", but only recently I was able to find a suitable format in which I managed to dive into development. I wanted to get rid of the platform as much as possible (or better, focus on every platform) and update the project with iterations. Exactly by this way it has been possible to move so far, and I already released several updates for the game, which is for now available on the web.
Development may be extremely slow due to preparation for the future scale of the game, but this pace suits me perfectly. Internally, I have already committed myself long ago that not a single year will pass before the game begins to take on clear outlines. At the moment, the game is still in its very early stages of evolution, there is still a long way to go, so I recommend you to be patient and watch out for the next updates.
* * *
I'm not making grandiose plans for indie projects for the next year. I would like to release several updates for WORLDS, and, perhaps, take into work a new small-scale project, the basis for which can serve one of the old or future prototypes.
Shinji Mikami, author of the Resident Evil series, once said that he believes that developers make their best games between 30 and 40. Like, you still study before 30, and after 40 there is not much energy. So, if you follow this logic, my most important ten has only begun. And if all of a sudden, even before 40, nothing happens, then who is this bastard Mikami!
That's all, creative success to all aspirants!