Monday, December 30, 2013

End of year report for SBX: Invasion - Looking forward to 2014

Looking back on the year, it's been a fun ride, but difficult.  I've learned more than I ever thought was possible and through the process of learning realized how little I know about game development and design.

I've realized to be a successful solo indie you have to be an expert at Programming, Art, Game Design, Project Management, Marketing, Web Design, Sound Effect and Music Creation, Social Networking, Production, Business Planning, and Writing.  That's just the little tip of the iceberg, too.

I enjoy it but it IS exhausting.  I love learning so being an indie is incredibly fun, but it takes a continued effort to not succumb to Analysis Paralysis.  There are hundreds, even thousands of things to learn and all of them are applicable to game development, and I've noticed that unless I have a specific plan, it is easy to get overwhelmed.  I like to keep things organized with Trello, a simple interface for keeping checklists, and I highly recommend it.

So let's take a look at End of Year info, a look back at 2013 and forward to 2014.

End of Year Finances and Statistics:

So I haven't quite broke even yet.  SBX: Invasion was released November 1st, 2013 and has had 1 minor update so far.

During the first 2 months SBX: Invasion has:

  • Sold 31 Copies across all portals and made $61.11 USD.
  • Been the feature of 7 Youtube Videos by fans and reviewers.
  • Been reviewed in 8 articles.
  • Had 25 demo downloads (Demo released later on in December- derp)
  • Been played in an indie game stream alongside some other great indie games.
So the game made $61.11 and between setting up the website and other minor expenses I've spent $253.34.  So that leaves me $192.32 in the hole.  Which is piddly money anyway.  

So the year wasn't financially great while an indie (I started full time in July, so I made money at a job for the first 7 months of 2013), but I have learned a ton and feel good about moving forward in 2014.

So let's look back at 2013 and I'll touch on just a few things I could have done better.  This isn't a fully fleshed out post mortem (that will come sometime later in 2014), but just some thoughts at the end of the year.

A look back at 2013:

This is my first year as a full time indie.  Jumping headfirst into the industry has been stressful at times, enjoyable at times, and a lot of work all the time.  I've had to learn to self motivate, organize and network (among many many things.)

Things I did well in 2013:
  • I finished a game!  SBX: Invasion was a long process.  It started out as a terrible entry for the GMC Winter Jam in January 2013 and took a lot of love and revision to get it to a moderate state on release.
  • Iteration.  The game got significantly better after release, and update 1.2 coming in January should improve the flow of the game and address some issues that people have with the game.  Feedback has been critical to the game getting better.
  • The core idea.  People have enjoyed the base idea so far and feedback has been good on the games core gameplay.
  • Attended all the Boston Post Mortems since I moved here.  I've met so many amazing people at the BPM (the local IGDA chapter) and it's been a phenomenal place to learn about other indies, meet local developers and aspiring devs and be a part of one of the best communities out there.  If there's a local IGDA chapter in your area, go to it!  And if not, start one!
Things I could have done better in 2013:
  • An earlier demo.  I released the demo a month after release.  The feedback from Feedback Friday would have been good to get earlier before release.  
  • More polish before release.  I ended up releasing the game immediately after I finished the art rework but I could have spent one or two more iterations on polish before pushing it out.  That said, there is a balance between forever polishing and putting it out too early.  I was sick of the project and burnt out when I released it, but also, the feedback post-release has been great and very useful.
  • A better promotional video.  I might spend some money to get a really good promotional video made.  I had to learn video production myself in order to make the promo video, and as I AM a video production noob, the video looks like it was made by a video production noob.
  • I had no advertising budget.  Something I will do moving forward is budget a specific amount of money for advertising.  The biggest problem right now is lack if visibility.
  • Thinking about target market from the beginning as well as monetization.  The game falls loosely in the tower defense genre.  Well tower defense games are traditionally free flash games, so trying to find places to reach the target market has been a challenge.  If I released a free flash game or an iPhone game it'd be easier, but for a pay to play PC game, it's been a challenge.
So you can see there are lots of things I could have done better, and there are plenty more.  These are just a few things off the top of my head.

But, I do have a plan going forward.  I'm not quite done with SBX: Invasion just yet.  The game has potential and I've learned a lot and updated it a lot.  So what do I have planned for 2014?

A look forward to 2014:

First things first, I'm working on a large update to the game.  I've gotten a lot of feedback on various parts of the game and have put together quite the update.

Some new things coming out in Update 1.2 are:
  • New Movement System!  No longer will you bounce off walls and turn around.  The movement is more floaty and feels a bit more like you're flying a space ship in space.
  • Better Visual Feedback.  Things that aren't super clear like resources gained from enemies will now be noticeable in the GUI.
  • Refined Graphics and UI.  I'm not the world's most amazing artist sent from the heavens to awe mankind with my creative genius, but I have put together some new art for the UI to make it a bit more refined and cohesive.  I've consolidated fonts, textures and am reworking a lot of the UI art.
  • More compact Tutorial.  I'm going to combine a few more things into the Tutorial and open up the next few levels to be less streamlined and a bit more free form.  The result will be that the tutorial is slower and more tedious but the levels after will open up quicker and be faster paced.  I may even make the tutorial optional for new players.  
  • New Voice Acting (possibly).  This one is tentative, but I'd like to redo all the voice acting with a real person and some effects run over it.  
Once the update is finished, tested and iterated on, I'm going to be moving toward getting the game Greenlit.  Steam is something I've avoided so far as a smaller, unheard of indie, but now that the game is getting a bit of steam (no pun intended) I think getting Greenlit is possible.

In addition to starting the Greenlight process after Update 1.2, I'm also going to start a targeted advertising campaign.  I've only got a few hundred bucks reserved for ad space, but hopefully I can stretch that out over a few weeks to promote the Greenlight campaign.

I'm also going to be working with another programmer on a Chess type game in preparation for a larger project (if we work well together).  But that project hasn't been started yet, so hush hush.


Anyway, 2013 has been a wonderful year.  I've made many friends since I move to Boston and have enjoyed being a part of a wonderfully creative community.  I'm looking forward to what the new year brings and excited for the future of Wakeskater Studio.

Cheers and Happy New Year,

Jason C.






Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SBX: Invasion Demo at IndieDB - Marketing Sucks

It's been a while since I've posted here.  2 weeks almost!  I really need to get it together and continue to post on Fridays.  Lots has been going on, from Boston Post Mortem meetings to getting Demos out to starting on new projects and project ideas, it's been a busy month so far.

So first, I've got a couple demos of SBX: Invasion available at IndieDB:

Check out the downloads page at the link below for the FREE DEMO:

SBX : Invasion Base Defense

Demo Version 1.2 is the latest and contains a completely reworked movement system.  No longer will players reverse direction when bouncing off walls, and it splits up the direction from the player facing vector, which were tied together before.

The new movement system won't be released until Update 1.2 but the demo will give you a taste of what is to come with the next update.

Also, marketing sucks.  It's one of those things I'm still learning about slowly and making tons of mistakes, but it's hard to get out there as a small, new indie.  I've had a few smaller sites and youtube let's players pick up SBX: Invasion, but I still haven't been picked up by any larger sites.

So, I think starting in Jan, I'm going to go for Greenlight with Update 1.2.  In addition I think spending a little bit of money on advertising once I start the greenlight process is a wise decision.  Right now there aren't enough eyes on the project.  The feedback has been good and the game has been refined to get rid of a lot of the things that bugged players or stopped them from enjoying the game to it's fullest.

Update 1.2 should clear up the movement issue which was the last really big thing that I saw from feedback as well as a few other things I have planned.

It's been a slow road, but I'm not giving up.  I'll start work on my next project soon but I'll also be spending some time each week to continue marketing and getting info about SBX: Invasion out there.

I'll be out of town for the next couple weeks spending time with various families so I'll try to get back and write another post before the end of the year.

Cheers,

Jason Carter / WakeskaterX

Saturday, November 30, 2013

SBX: Invasion Update 1.1

Currently I'm working on an update for SBX: Invasion.  It's not a large update mind you, but just a small one with some polish work.


SBX: Invasion  Update 1.1 Notes:
  • Reworked Title and Level Select Screens.  Reduced the amount of fonts used to make it more cohesive and thematic.
  • Moved the Sell Building Key from 'S' to 'Q'.  People were having a lot of trouble with hitting the 'S' key while flying around, so 'S' now does nothing and 'Q' is used to sell buildings.  
  • Added mini graphics to buttons.  Some buttons will now have a small graphic in the corner specifying the hot key.  This is implemented for Upgrade and Sell buttons currently.
  • New sounds for selling and upgrading buildings.  I'm adding various sound effects to buildings when you upgrade them or sell them.  (No longer just explode).
  • Improving Options UI functionality - specifically with the slider bars.  I want to add in click on bar functionality to it so you don't have to click and drag the slider every time.
  • Increasing time between waves on Easy and Normal modes for Levels 1-6 and adding a Next Wave button in the last few seconds of each wave.  There wasn't enough time for newer players to rebuild and figure things out between waves, so on the early levels I increased the time between waves to give more time to explore the UI and rebuild after intense waves.  The Next Wave button will be there to speed the process up if the player gets bored.
  • Improve repair drone functionality -- Repair drones tend to get stuck with path finding and use a lot of resources, so what I'm planning to do is remove path finding all together and remove collision and let them fly 'over' the fortifications to repair them.  This will make them not get stuck as often and will use less resources (they have a really complicated system for locating buildings and then checking if there is a path to anywhere within 3 radii, etc, etc it was too complicated.)

So here are some screen shots of the old vs new title screen and level select so you have an idea of the new graphical polish that's being added:

Screen Shots:

Old Title Screen:

Old Level Select:



NEW Title Screen:

NEW Level Select:


As you can see it's not a MASSIVE change, but it does bring it together a little better and makes it feel a little more retro.

Also SBX: Invasion is 50% off on Indie Game Stand for CYBER MONDAY:  Woot Woot!


Cheers!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Submission to Indie MEGABOOTH

Well, I just submitted SBX: Invasion to Indie MEGABOOTH for PAX East.

Pretty stoked, we'll see if I get in, but I'll be attending regardless.  I haven't been to any PAX events so this is pretty exciting.

Also, you can get SBX: Invasion on Desura for 60% off!  Check it:


Desura Digital Distribution


That is all.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Indie's Greatest Joy


  I've been meaning to update the blog and it's been a while since I've posted, and these past few days I kept starting off with a negative view on things.  It's been a rough first few weeks for the launch of SBX: Invasion and I was a bit down but I kept deleting the posts, I didn't want to write something negative.  I sat down and thought for a bit:  What motivates me to continue working as an indie developer?  Why do I love it?

  And as I thought and waited, I continued my efforts of marketing the game and I found what I'd been looking for.  It's not about the tons of sales, it's not about the giant press articles or getting your game noticed by the big wig websites.  It's about that one person who plays your game, and forms a connection with it.  About that person who plays it and experiences what it has to offer and laughs and has fun.

  I've been sending the game out to all sorts of places:  Big name Youtube let's players, Indie game review sites, etc, etc.  But the most enjoyable response so far was from a little no name Youtuber named Xelipher who has a meager audience.  Watching him enjoy the game and learn how it works and be challenged but succeed is one of the best feelings.  Forming that connection with a player through the game is the joy of being an indie for me.

Here are the two videos of him playing through the first few levels of SBX: Invasion:

First Let's Play:

Second Let's Play:


  I learned a lot watching him play through the levels as well.  I'd tested the game extensively, but most of my testers were found on reddit and I hadn't really seen their reactions as much and it was mostly contact through forms and e-mail.  

  Watching Xelipher play through, seeing what was difficult and seeing the things he didn't do that I would have done or would have expected the player to do was extremely rewarding.  And it's rewarding because it's genuine.

  Right now a lot of indies are worried about the "Indie Bubble" but really, you just have to be smart about it.  Being an indie is art.  It's passion.  It's love.  If the bubble pops or if the bubble stays, it really doesn't matter, it's about doing what you are passionate about, what you love.

  Even if SBX: Invasion never takes off, developing the game was worth it just to form a connection with a player.  I've enjoyed creating the game, and I'll still continue to market it, but for me, it was a success.  I'll move on with other projects and start the marketing process earlier and apply the things I've learned from this one as well.

  For me this is the greatest joy of being an indie.  What about you?  Why do you do it?   Why do you love it?



Friday, November 8, 2013

[SBX:I] New Video for SBX: Invasion along with a refocused Marketing Effort

SBX:Inv:

Well, I'm still very new to this, but launch week hasn't really been what I thought it would.  I wasn't expecting much, but so far I have one legitimate sale outside of friends and testers from the website.  So I'm refocusing my marketing efforts and working toward getting my site out there.

So, I made a new video, created a launch page for SBX: Invasion (which I didn't have before) and tried some non-boring subject lines in my e-mails.

You know that post about How to NOT market your indie game?  Yeah, even after reading that I still kept doing dumb shit on that list.

But stuff like this comes with experience, so I'll keep trudging onward and learning as I go.

Here's the new launch page:



It comes with a new, very short promo video.

I still suck at these videos but here it is:



It's just a short teaser but hopefully it grabs people's attention better than my last one.  Starting an indie studio is a slow, long process, but it's fun and I'm learning more now than I would in a boring job somewhere.

The learning is exciting and I'm enjoying myself, even if I let myself get a little bit stressed out from time to time.  Keeps the blood pumping ha!

Anyway, just a little update about Launch week, stay tuned I'll be working toward making this a successful indie studio, it might just take a while ;).

Cheers,

WakeskaterX
Jason C.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

[SBX:I] SBX:Invasion is available for download!

SBX:Inv:

SBX:Invasion is now released!  It's been a long wait (mostly for me) but the game is finally done and out and we'll see how it goes!

You can download the game at my website here and if you use discount code "INVASION" during the month of November you'll get 50% off.



You can also get the game at Fireflower Games and itch.io.

Finally release day is here and I'm excited to finally put my game out to the world!

Cheers!


Jason Carter

Thursday, October 24, 2013

[SBX:I] Release Date: November 1st, 2013

SBX:Inv:

Hey everyone!  The official release date for SBX:Invasion is now November 1st, 2013!  That's next Friday!  Exciting stuff.  The game is completely done and I'm just putting the finishing coats of polish on the game and touching things here and there up.

I went to Boston Post Mortem yesterday and handed out a bunch of fliers and met a ton of cool developers.  Finally I'll join the crowds of people who have finished a game and released it!

So on November 1st, Look for the game at the Website, at Desura, Fireflower Games and on IndieCity!
Note:  The IndieCity Release date may be later as they're still working on coming back up.  You can also get the game at itch.io as well.

And if you buy it off my website, use code "Invasion" for a 50% discount.

Cheers!

Jason

Monday, October 21, 2013

[SBX:I] Art Rework Complete!

SBX:Inv:

Well all the game art assets have been completely reworked and the game looks much, much nicer than a month ago.  It has been a long haul and there is still more work to be done, but the art part is done for now.

Which is good.

I enjoy art and I have learned so much over the past month about pixel art, but I would rather spend my time programming and designing levels than drawing pixels.  I look forward to the day I can hire a decent pixel artist full time.  We'll see how this project goes :)

So the final big thing was the Final Boss and the UI elements that went with him so here is a nice little image of the old and new boss sprites (They're big):




The new boss art looks great in game and fits well with the other new assets.

Still left to do before release:

-  Update art on Desura, Fireflower and IndieCity
-  New Promotional Video
-  Update the Game Guide that comes with the game
-  Update Website Art
-  Few Optimization coding things in the game I want to touch up before release.

Pretty short list now, I'm super stoked to finally release SBX:Invasion!

I'll be shooting for early November so subscribe to the blog if you haven't to stay updated and get special promotions.  I'll be posting up some discount codes here on the blog at some point so keep en eye out!

Cheers everyone,

Jason

Monday, October 14, 2013

[SBX:I] Screen shots: Before and After

SBX:Inv:


Here's a few screen shots of before and after the art rework.  I'm still working on some stuff but this shows a few examples of how the art has improved.

Title Screen:
Before
&
After




Level 1:



Custom Map Mode:



Level 5:



It's coming along nicely.  Still quite a bit left to do, there are a few more enemies and a couple bosses left to do which is probably going to take the longest time out of the rest of the stuff I have left.

The final boss is going to take a while; I want to make him really look good.

Anyway, just a quick post tonight before passing out.

Cheers!

~Jason



Friday, October 4, 2013

[SBX:I] Art update - Screenshots

SBX:Inv:

Just wanted to post an update on the art revision so far:

I've got a lot of it done and wanted to share the new title screen because it's pretty cool and gives a good idea of how much has been done already.

I've completed all the turrets, generators, ship, half the enemy art, the base, and a bunch of other things as well.  There is still a lot to do but it's looking very nice so far.

Here are some before and after screen shots:

Before Art Rework:


After Art Rework:





Let me know what you guys think!  I'll be doing a little more work on the asteroids (including the Magnium Asteroids) to give a little bit more variety and depth to it.

Cheers!

Jason / WakeskaterX

Sunday, September 29, 2013

[Art] Featured in the Starbound Chronicle!

The Starbound Chronicle  came out today for the month of September and my Novakid Pixel Art got featured!

If you haven't heard of Starbound yet you need to check it out at:  playstarbound.com

It's one of the games I'm most looking forward to this year.

Anyway, thanks to the Starbound team, I appreciate it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

[SBX:I] Enemy Art Update

SBX:Inv:

Well lots of artwork has been reworked so far and implemented in the game.  Here is a sample of the first 3 enemy art reworks:


And here are some early pieces of art for Enemy D and E:


Old Vs New Enemy D:

Old vs New Enemy E:  (Boss 1)


We're redoing ALL the artwork so here is a sample of the new Title Screen as well:



We're plodding along but it's coming out very nicely.

Subscribe to the blog for the latest updates and I would say we'll be ready to publish around mid to late October!

Cheers,

Jason



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[SBX:I] Artwork Update Teaser

SBX:Inv:

So the artwork is getting an overhaul.  I'm working with another pixel artist and here is a teaser of what is to come:

The old (reworked) player ship:


And the new ship, reworked by Cody Rigby the additional artist on the project:

It looks very nice in game and adds a lot of feel to the game.  We'll be reworking every art asset over the next month.

Stay tuned for more info!

Cheers,

WakeskaterX

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

[Art] Art Overhaul for SBX:Invasion, also, another large Floran Sprite!

SBX:Inv:

The game is getting pushed back for a bit to accommodate an art overhaul in order to make the game look better.  I'm working with an additional artist now to really polish up some of the graphics and draw more players to the game.

So for now the game is being pushed back and will not come out this Friday.

Art:

I have spent some of my free time working on a new Floran Sprite for Starbound and have it for you here!

Here he is 400% size


And here is normal size:


Hope you enjoy the artwork!

Stay tuned for more updates on the art rework to SBX:Invasion soon.

Cheers, WakeskaterX

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[WSS] New website Logo and Forums are up and linked to the site.

Wakeskater Studio:

  I redid the main website graphic which was frankly ugly, and now is... well just slightly less ugly.

Here is the older header for the website:

And here is the new header:


Oh it's not the most fabulous header image in the world but it works for now.  At some point I'll probably redo the top image part, I like the buttons for now.

Also the forums are now up and linked to the blog and website!  
You can register at:  
  http://www.wakeskaterstudio.com/forum 
...so go sign up and introduce yourself!

Lots of little bug fixes and small things added to the game.  The last big thing is adding the last 3 songs to the custom map creator.  1 is already finished, but I'm just waiting on the last 2 before putting them all in.

That's it for now,

Cheers!

~Jason Carter / WakeskaterX~



Friday, August 30, 2013

[SBX:I] Ups and Downs - Getting ready to Release on Sept 13th

SBX:Inv:

  Been getting the game ready to ship on Sept 13th!  SBX:Invasion will be available to purchase from the website as well as at IndieCity.com and FireFlower Games.  I'm working on getting it up on Desura as well.

It's been a tough week of ups and downs, but things are going well and I'm excited for release.  This is my first game so it's tough sometimes to realize that it's not the best game out there.  It's fun, small and perhaps way too complicated but I've put a lot of heart and effort into making it and I'm proud of it.

I got turned down by GoG.com, which is understandable, I'm an unknown indie releasing my first game, and it's probably not as good as it could have been.  It was tough to hear, but I'm going to keep moving forward and try to find that niche market out there for the game.

Then I talked with FireFlower games and they agreed to host SBX:Invasion for 2.99 Eur at their site (about $4 USD, it's a little cheaper to buy from FireFlower so go there!)  [http://fireflowergames.com/]

I'm still trying to customize my forums, but the stylesheets for a style I downloaded are pretty complex so it's taking me a while to customize them and it's not the most important thing on my to do list.

I've certainly learned a lot from this project and will keep moving forward and growing as a designer and developer.  I'll probably do an official Post Mortem for the project a month or two after release, but for now I'm just getting everything set up.

The next couple weeks will be testing testing testing!

Cheers guys,


WakeskaterX


Sunday, August 25, 2013

[WSS] Dropping out of Ludum Dare


I've decided to drop out of the Ludum Dare for a few reasons.  

  • First is:  I don't like the theme too much.  This wouldn't be a huge issue if I could get behind what I was working on and put out something fun.
  • Second:  I couldn't put my heart into my project.  About 4-5 hours into development I found that I just really didn't like my project.  I don't know, I just realized that I hated the game I was making and when I realized that, I knew I couldn't work on it any longer.  It's not the idea, it's an idea I've had for a while but I just didn't enjoy the project at all.
  • Third:  I wasn't going to turn out a decent project.  I was trying to make something completely beyond my abilities and realized that.  
  • Fourth:  I was getting stressed and eating tons of junk food and energy drinks.  This is more just my fault for not taking care of myself but I was so focused on "Ludum Dare yeah!" that I didn't take care of myself properly this weekend.  (And the wife was out of town).
The Idea:

The game was going to be called Tzarr and was based off of a board game idea I've had for a while.  Basically it's kind of like a turn based strategy chess, where you have various units (soldier, lancer, archer, etc) and then you have your 'Tzarr' or king.  Units within 1 space of the Tzarr have bonus abilities so it's balanced around keeping your king safe but keeping him close enough to empower your units.

I like the idea, but I think it's best left to staying a board game idea.

What I learned:

Dropping out of the LD was a tough decision.  I don't like quitting things, but I was doing to the Ludum Dare to have fun and turn out a fun game, and neither were happening.

I fully intend to join up in the LD competition again, but I should probably plan it better and not just hop in when I'm already quite invested in pushing out another title.

So a few things I can take away from this as a learning experience:

  1. I need to focus on my current game.  I'm releasing SBX:Invasion in a few weeks and that needs to stay my focus and what I put my energy into.
  2. Scope.  Will I make something similar to Tzarr in the future?  Probably, I really like Strategy games, but I'll do it if I have the resources and time to.  I was trying to do something new with the Ludum Dare and that wasn't the best idea.  I didn't have the time or energy to figure out all the new things I needed and it was stressful.
  3. Planning.  I need to plan out what my options are for game types and practice making smaller versions so I know exactly what I need to do when the game starts.  Having set of game types to choose from will make coming up with an idea easier and make starting the game less stressful overall.  
  4. Eat properly.  I was kinda  just binge-ing on junk food and didn't think too much about what I was eating (I normally eat pretty healthy too) so my body just kinda crashed and burned as well.

I enjoy game Jams but this one just didn't click with me.  I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what people make for LD though and kudos to all those that finished a game!
For now my focus will stay on shipping SBX:Invasion.  That's what I need to do for now, and when the time comes when I can put my focus into the Ludum Dare, I'll do it.

Cheers,

WakeskaterX


Monday, August 19, 2013

[SBX:I] Late Week 7 blog + New Ship Graphic

SBX:Invasion:

 Little late on my weekly blog post for last week but a bunch of new stuff has been done.

  First I put out a press release on Saturday but it didn't go TOO great.  Some things I probably should have done differently:


  • Not doing it on Saturday when a bunch of the people I sent it to aren't working
  • Make a better polished video, it was my first time making a promo video and it wasn't the most polished so it probably didn't grab people's attention enough.
  • Better explain some of the features of the game in the press release.
That said, I don't know if I'll get a better response over the next week, I'm hoping to get reviewed by at least a medium site, so that I can start to get known.

It's the beginning of a long journey to getting recognized as an up and coming indie dev.  

Anyway, I'm not discouraged, just pondering how it could have gone better.  I've read a lot about marketing but experience is the best teacher.

So about the game:  I've been working on the Custom Map Editor.  I've got the map creation finished.  And I've got the loading capability and editing capability added, all that's left is to actually make the maps from the map file and create the waves.  This will be the difficult part.  I have the data all there exactly how I want it but now I need to put it all into action and tune the wave creation process (that's the actual hard part).

Also, I just made a new player ship graphic.  The old one just didn't look ALL that great.  I'll probably be streamlining my graphics and updating some of the older stuff until the game is released.  I'm trying to rework graphics to keep them similar thematically (such as buttons, etc).  Or at least have thematic groups (to avoid monotony in graphics).


The new Ghost Mode looks a lot better than the old one and it fits a bit better with the enemy graphics.  The old ship model was too pastel compared to everything else.  I may rework some of the enemy graphics and turret graphics as well but they're less of a concern than the player ship.

The reason you have ghost mode (secret lore tidbit) is because you have Fuscian Powered tech on your ship.  There won't be any story secrets within THIS game, but part of the Fuscian back story (if you play SBX [Space Blaster X]) is that Fuscian energy was discovered and humans attempted to harness it's immense power by fusing it with various alien lifeforms.  But it got out of hand and Fuscian Parasites started taking over machines and other lifeforms.  Yadda yadda, you have to go save the galaxy, that's the first game.  SBX:Invasion is kind of a side story separate from the lore.

But anyway, that's why you have the Fuscian Tech on your ship.

This week I'll be trying to finish up the Map Creation from the save file and getting the game into it's final state where I just need to polish it up.  (Bug fixes galore, though I don't have any on my list atm, but I'm sure they're out there hiding.)

Also, I'll be going to the Boston Post Mortem Summer BBQ on Wednesday and I'll be taking part in LD48 # 27  (Ludum Dare Comp 27)  I'll be streaming my entire FIRST Ludum Dare Comp at twitch.tv/wakeskaterx

Also follow me at my new twitter:  @WakeStudio

I'll try to post sooner this week,

Cheers,

Jason Carter
aka WakeskaterX

Monday, August 12, 2013

[WSS] Ludum Dare Coming up and Press Release

SBX:Invasion

  Well I'm gearing up to do a press release soon for SBX:Invasion.  I've got a list of a bunch of reviewers and writers for various websites and what not and I'll be pushing out info on SBX:Invasion to all of them probably  this weekend!


Also I'm going to be taking part in the Ludum Dare this year and I'm super excited!  It will be my first Ludum Dare and I'll be streaming the entire process.

I'll also be streaming for a few hours on certain days to start building up a stream audience and let people see what I do on the game.

You can check out the Ludum Dare here:



Cheers!


-Jason Carter-
WakeskaterX

Thursday, August 8, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 6: Vacation & Marketing

SBX:Inv:

  This week is a short one.  I'm leaving to visit my wife's family this weekend so there wasn't a whole lot on the game production side.

  Mostly I've been working on a Promotional Video for SBX:Invasion.

Here is an early version of the Promo Video:



Also I'm working on getting the game up on some Indie Game sites to prepare for release.  The next month and a half will be finishing the game, polishing it up and then getting it ready for release!

Exciting stuff!

Well, there will be more next week as it'll be a longer work week and I'll have started work on the Custom Map Creator, which is the only big thing left.

Cheers,

Jason aka
~WakeskaterX~

Monday, August 5, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 5: Endless Level / last leg of Development

SBX:I:

  Little late about posting the blog, but here it is.  The Unlimited level is finished, a bunch of things were optimized and a few bugs were fixed.

The Endless Level is slightly random, giving you one of five different:  Starting Caches of Materials, Base Locations, Ore Locations and Portal Configurations.  These make for a wide variety of difficulties and starting options available.

Some of the configurations will be very difficult at the beginning, some of them much easier, but it provides a little bit more variety and randomness.

What is coming up this week?  Well I'm going to be working on a Custom Map Editor, that will allow the player to save maps to an external file and load them in and play them.  This will let people make custom maps and then send them to their friends to play and try out.

You have to get 50,000 points in Endless Random Mode to unlock the Custom Map Mode, but it'll have a lot of options for customization and will reward you with four new enemy types only available in the custom mode.

Over the next couple weeks I'll be working on these new enemy types, implementing the saving and loading mode and re-working some of the graphics for the game.

And then once that is all finished I'll be polishing it off for release!  It's exciting and I'm looking forward to shipping my first game.

Well that's it for now, maybe next time I'll have some screen shots to view.


Cheers,

~WakeskaterX/Jason~

Friday, August 2, 2013

[Art] Starbound Wallpaper

Art:


I made a wallpaper out of the characters I have made so far.

Here is a 1600x900 version:



Cheers!

WakeskaterX

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Art] Starbound Sprite: Tak, the Floran Hunter

Art:

Someone requested a Floran on the Starbound Forums and I was feeling the need for an art break so here is my latest spritework:

Tak, the Floran Hunter





Hope you guys like him.


Cheers.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 4: End of the Campaign / Final Boss Time

SBX:Inv:

Well the campaign is done mostly.  There are some balancing things, some bug fixes, the ending credits and a few other things for the main campaign to finish up but things are coming along nicely.

The big bad boss was a lot of work and he's pretty beastly in the game.  I'll still need some feedback on how he feels / if he doesn't make his appearance enough / etc etc, but he's in the game and now I can tune him.

Mostly what is new is the Final Level, a new Website (check the button on the sidebar) and a bunch of other little things.

Lightning Turrets now bounce exponentially (to 2 enemies per bounce) and Arc Flash Turrets bounce to 3 instead of 2.  This makes them feel stronger while letting me reduce a lot of the power.  They'll bounce to a shitload of enemies and are stronger the more enemies there are.  They are niche turrets, you don't want to use them against lots of high, single target enemies, but they work great against massive groups.

Here is a screen shot of the final boss:



He's got a hefty arsenal of powerful weapons and a MASSIVE health pool.

With Powerful Rockets, Defense Piercing Lasers, Scattering Blast Shots and a Cargo Hold FILLED with all your favorite baddies, he'll push your defenses to the limit.

Up next week will be a bunch of tuning for the levels, some possible art reworks, the Unlimited Levels and planning for the challenge levels.  

Once the Unlimited Random and Challenge Levels are completed I'll be opening the game up for Beta to get some final testing and polish before release.

Also once Jim finishes the final song for the last 2 levels I'll post it up here.  It's a good one from what I have heard so far.


Cheers!

~WakeskaterX

Friday, July 26, 2013

[Art] Starbound Sprite: Ray, the Dueling Hylotl

Art:

Here is some fan art I drew today to get my creative engine started.  It took me 2 hours (longer than I had wanted to spend doing it but it was fun.)

I wanted to draw out some Hylotl Pixel art so here he is:


Ray, the Dueling Hylotl



I'll continue work on SBX:Invasion for the rest of the day but I hope you enjoyed the small art break!


~Jason/WakeskaterX

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

[WSS] New Website for Wakeskater Studio!

Wakeskater Studio:

  Over the past 2 days I've been working on getting a website up and running for my business!  And it's coming along decently.  It's certainly not done yet, but it has a lot of functionality already.


That's the website and this blog is now linked to it as:  blog.wakeskaterstudio.com.  There is also a hyperlink button to the side =>  that you can click to get to the website as well.

So far I have a personal page up that has info on me, a few cool graphics and a game download page where you can download SBX and it has some info on SBX:Invasion.  I'll probably have a dedicated SBX:Invasion page once the game is closer to release.  The last thing left to do tomorrow is the Media Page with screen shots and whatnot.

I've been teaching myself HTML and CSS and the entire site has been made by me without any kind of building tool.  It's actually a lot of fun, I've never really gotten into HTML before.  

Well, check it out if you haven't and look for more soon on the website!


~Jason Carter / WakeskaterX

Saturday, July 20, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 3: Levels 8&9 - Burnout and Boston Post Mortem

Personal:

  It was a rough week.  I got burnt out about halfway through the week working on the last building system for SBX Inv.  It just took a lot out of me, either because I wasn't at my best or for some other reason but I've just been exhausted this week.  I took things in chunks, worked as much as I could and called it quits when my brain was emitting smoke from the ears.

  I got my first taste of burnout but it was a learning experience.  I felt completely burnt out Tues and Thurs, but more productive Wed and Fri.  When I came back on Friday after barely getting my Repair system done, my mind was fresh, I was able to figure out some of the small problems I couldn't wrap my head around the day before and I completed all I wanted to do that day.

  We did get all our stuff last weekend and it is nice to finally have a nice office chair.  Although the weather has been absurdly hot and my office has been pretty warm.  I don't have an A/C in the office but that may change if the weather doesn't.

  I also went to the Boston Post Mortem (local IGDA chapter) this past Tues and it was a lot of fun!  A few guys gave a speech on their 3d Animation and Rigging tools for use within Maya.  They demo'd their set up, and even though I have never done anything with rigging it looked fairly simple (compared to the alternative they showed).  You can check out their stuff at:  http://www.anzovin.com/

  I had a nice chance to meet a bunch of kids looking to get into the industry as well as talk to one of the developers over at Anzovin.  It was a good time and I met two people that speak Japanese!  The odds!  (Well at event involving video games I suppose they're higher and one of them was Japanese).  Anyway it was a ton of fun and there were lots of people, I was very surprised, and I look forward to the future IGDA meetings there and also the Boston Festival of Indie Games (http://bostonfig.com/) coming up in Sept.

  I didn't have any business cards to hand out at the BPM so I made some to have to give out.  Check out my new temporary home made business cards:


SBX: Invasion:

  Lots got done this week, level 8 and 9 are pretty much finished and I've begun work on the Final Boss.  I have a feeling I am going to go back and tune level 8 and 9 a bit and level 9 is pretty laggy because so much is on the screen at one time, but other than that they're pretty intense and fun.

  The repair drones took me the longest to figure out.  Basically I needed them to find a path to anywhere within 3 blocks of the target so they could use their beam to repair it.  This gives them flexibility to find a path to repair turrets deep within blocks but requires them to search 3 giant circles around the target structure.  I fried my brain working on this one but when I came back the next day, there were only a few minor bugs to iron out and it worked great!

  I also purchased Game Maker: Studio, but haven't yet ported the project over.  There are a bunch of things I'll need to change on the back end when I do.  It'll allow me to purchase ports to Linux and Mac but for now I'm focusing on getting the core game structure finished.  After the campaign I'm thinking of adding challenge levels or something along those lines.

So what is new with version 17?  Let's check it out!

Version 0_017 patch notes:

  • Level 8 is finished.  You are in the midst of an asteroid field and must defend from a dual attack. Smaller more numerous enemies will spawn from the North West and larger, more powerful enemies will spawn from the South East.
  • New 'Gasser' type enemy is introduced in Level 8.  It will spawn trails of gas that expand and corrode your buildings.  When destroyed it will release a massive burst of gas.  The gas fades over time and blocks you from building in that area.
  • Level 9 is finished.  You start with a massive base against 5 portals!  Enemies will continuously rush your base and try to finish you off.  You must build massive defenses to keep up with the rush of enemies.  Ore Economy is key.

  • In level 9 you have access to the Repair Drone Facility.  This facility will allow you to build Repair Drones.  These drones will seek out damaged structures and repair them slowly with their repair beam.  

  • Increased the damage and range of the lightning turret.  It was too weak for the cost and just didn't FEEL powerful.  now it should help take care of those bunching enemies that can pose such a problem to your single target turrets.
  • There is now a Game Guide that comes with the Zip File.  This guide has details on all the stats on structures and enemies, gives you tips and tactics, and tells you a lot about the game in general.
  • New Graphics for most of the Building Structures.


Well the main campaign is nearly finished!  That's pretty exciting.  I still have an Unlimited level to do that will score you on how long you can last and will be slightly random.  I've started using Trello as a Dev Tracking service to keep track of the things I am working on, set myself due dates for systems and levels and try to give myself a sort of time track to follow.

This way I'll be able to see how I'm pacing myself and estimate a completion date.

That's it for today, hope you enjoyed reading a little about my new experience as an Indie Dev!

Cheers,

 ~ Jason / WakeskaterX

Friday, July 12, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 2: Level 6 & 7 - Optimization!

Personal:

It's been a good week, a long week of working and programming.  I'm excited for this weekend because our stuff comes tomorrow!  So I won't have a shitty chair anymore, and then the Internet is getting fixed Monday.  Hurrah!

SBX:Inv:

Lots has been added this week.  Level 6 and 7 are finished, and much has been added on the back end.  Ghost Mode has been added as well.

Version 0_00_15 Patch Notes:


  • Ghost Mode has been added:  Pressing R will now disable building, but allow you to fly through walls.  You can go back to Build Mode with R or by Right Clicking to cancel Ghost Mode.  Ghost Mode replaces the old long range mode from before.  Here are some screenies:\
Normal Mode:

Ghost Mode:

  • Menu Music!  A nice slow beat now plays during the Level Select and Options Screens.
  • Level 6 and 7 are out!  You can now defend the frozen glacier belt of Level 6 and defeat the massive Satellite Laser Boss in Level 7!  
 Level 6:  Glacier Belt

Level 7:  The Orbital Defense Satellite


  • 2 New Enemy types!  The Cargo Bomber which will release Kamikaze Bombers when it get's destroyed and the Turret Builder enemy!  These 2 guys are tough and will force you to think up new strategies.
Enemy G:

Enemy H:

  • You can now turn on Quick Text:  It'll deactivate a lot of questions and checks that appear throughout the game to streamline your experience!  
  • Also there is a larger Building Structures List!  It's much easier to see and read now and is about 50-60% larger than the old one.
New Building Structures List:

  • Updated Pathfinding:  One of the big back end things that was finished this week was a revamp of Miner and Enemy Type: Sabo pathfinding.  They now check for multiple paths, and then prioritize which ones are the most efficient.  It fixed a lot of issues and is a much better and more solid system than before.
  • The Placement System is more accurate.  It now adjusts placement of buildings to feel more natural and more accurate.
  • Enemy Staggering.  When Enemies Pile up, they will stagger just slightly so you can see them easier.
  • Split Error Messages and Enemy Drop Messages.  Error Messages are larger and more noticeable as they are much more important.  They now are a bit to the right of the drop numbers from enemy kills.
  • You can now press 1-5 to select the Structure in your currently selected Category.


Well that's most of the big stuff.  So many little things were done this week too!  If you want to be added to the alpha tester list, shoot me an e-mail at:  WakeskaterStudio@gmail.com and I'll put ya on the list for the next alpha testers.

I'm recruiting another 5 testers at this time, so feel free to contact me if you're interested.

Cheers and have a good weekend!

~WakeskaterX / Jason~








Saturday, July 6, 2013

[Art] Starbound Sprite: Novakid

Art:  
I was bored so I drew a sprite of a NovaKid from Starbound.  Here it is:




Enjoy! 
Peace.

Friday, July 5, 2013

[SBX:I] Week 1 of Full Time indie development coming to a close.

Personal: 
Well week 1 of being an indie is coming to a close.  It was a slow start this week as I was sick for the first portion and then busy with the 4th of July but overall it was a good start to the week.  My wife and I are still waiting on the majority of our stuff to arrive, but we are surviving.

We tried to pick up some internet but apparently our place isn't wired properly so it's a no-go until Sun.  For now we just mooch off the Vet practice downstairs with it's abysmal internet quality.

SBX:Inv:
Lots has been done on SBX:Invasion.  I've got a few people testing the game out for me, a nice little team of dedicated Alpha testers.  I opened it up on Reddit for up to 10 testers to join the Alpha team, but I only have 5 people at the moment.  That works out great though as it's not too many to have problems organizing feedback.

A LOT of things have been fixed/added and improved with suggestions.  So let's take a look at the patch notes:

Version 0_00_11 Patch Notes

  • Options Menu Added - You can now select volume settings and a few varying resolutions.
  • New Title Screen Graphics
  • Added Build Panel.  You can now click on icons to select buildings as well as use hot-keys.
  • Added a Level Between 1 and 2 that is the new Level 2.  It serves as another Tutorial type level.
  • Level Select now starts on farthest level attained.
  • When you lose the level the base blows up and there is a bit more feedback letting you know you lost.
  • Removed some double questions for exiting game and replaced with a pseudo menu.
  • Removed some bugs with Cheat options and Intro screen.
  • Added Fade Text during Tutorials to let you know what to do.
  • Added multiple start options instead of just Enter at title screen.
  • Streamlined new game text.
  • Fixed Sell/Upgrade Buttons to work when InfoScreen is minimized.
  • Builds now show when you hit a category and stay on screen after building for quicker builds.
  • Escape now cancels the build selection.
  • Increased Difficulty on Level 2, slightly reduced difficulty on Level 5.

Screen Shots of new stuff!

New Title Screen Graphics:


Base Destroyed Graphic:


New Build Panel:  (it's a bit too small in game)



New file downloads will only be available to alpha testers at this time.  If you are interested in testing for the game let me know there are a few spots left!  And rewards to come with it.  Check out the reddit post here:

Things are going well and tomorrow should be a busy week!  

Cheers,

~WakeskaterX


Thursday, May 23, 2013

[SBX:I] Level 4 finished, balanced and some small updates.

SBX:Invasion:

  Level 4 is finally finished.  It was way too difficult so I toned it WAY back.  It's still hard at this point but definitely more doable.  I was losing to my own level before.  Hah.  Also there are tons of little things and bug fixes.  There is a nasty bug where saving to the .ini file bugs out the screen sometimes and lags the game. I have this mostly fixed (I think) but it still happens some times.  It might have to do with read/write accessibility of the folder.

  So what's new?  AIUA has a voice!  That's probably the biggest thing, AIUA now has spoken lines for all the story and a few announcements such as your miners dying.

  Also, Laser Turrets are less buggy and sniper turrets are more accurate especially on stopped enemies.  There are still a few small niggling bugs but most of the glitches are taken care of.

  New songs have been added to the game as well!  Level 3 and 4 now have new music thanks to some awesome work by Jimecide!  The tutorial and starting levels are also a bit slower and walk you through a little better.

  Here are the new download links:
  Yoyo Games - GAME DOWNLOAD
  Mediafire - Game Download

Check it out and let me know what you think:  Specifically I'm looking for feedback on Pacing and Difficulty.

I'll try to get a bit done when I can but for now enjoy Level 4!

~WakeskaterX~