First day of development. Pleased with my scroll code on “MagnaBall”, I thought that would be perfect for my Cannon man game, so today I spent my time porting that code over. I’ve created a very flexible standard game structure for any games I work on, so switching from working on one game to another is no problem. All my games from now on will use this basic structure, the only snag might be when I switch to AS3, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Anyway, I grabbed some graphics I had and placed them into a background, combined them with some cannon firing code I had, and eureka I had me a cannon firing an object over my background landscape only problem is the scrolling wasn’t working properly. The problem basically came down to how I was detecting at what point the code moves the actual object in the air (cannon man) to when he’s reached the middle of screen and the scroll kicks in and he remains static. Going to bed thinking about that bug, and some possible solutions.
Woke up, straight on the computer to try my solution and it worked! So now I have a very rough turret/cannon thing firing carrots! Ok so not what it should be doing but it works. Now I’ve got that working it’s onto making some “you lose a life” msgs appear on the screen, and the “have another go” code.
Finally managed to get back to working on this. Spent most of my time putting in new graphics, including the cannon, better background graphics, character graphics and a splash screen. Didn’t have much time to work on the actual gameplay though, that’s for tomorrow.
Today is finish everything off day! Or at least get as close to it as possible. Things on the agenda are, put in the gameplay rules. What I mean by that is, right now it’s more a demo then a game, you can fire off the character, and he flies off and lands sometime later but there’s no real “game” there. Also you have 3 lives, and then nothing happens! So I have to put in what happens after you have lost your 3 lives. I’m also thinking about perhaps ditching the lives, and making it so that you can try as many times as you wish with an easy and quick way to re-start.
4pm and I’ve got a lot done. You now can have 3 attempts of getting a good distance, and then it goes back to the splash screen. The instructions/control screens are in. I’ve sorted out the mess that was the bottom panel, and it now displays your best distance, current distance, attempts, music on/off and a quit button, oh and I managed to finally get down on paper (well the stage in Flash) a design for the logo of FlashGameMaker that has been knocking around my head for a month or 2. Put the first sound FX in! A cannon firing sound. Also I put in different types of messages for how well (or not) you did.
Showed it to some people and the response was not what I was hoping for. One of them flat out didn’t like it and the other was luke warm towards it. This though was a good thing! Sometimes when working alone on a game it’s easy to miss things. A fresh set of eyes is often good to spot gameplay problems. So with there comments in my mind I changed a few things.
Put in roll animation for when cannon man gets close to ground he rolls into a ball, I put this in to fit in with his new “bouncyness” that allows him to travel further. Bouncyness is something I noticed that all these kinds of games have, and are not as I first designed this game where you fire of something or someone and then they stop the first time they come down and make contact with the ground. Put in shadow effect. Took out old background clips, and replaced that all with some code that places the clips. This is so I can have much longer levels, and that I can place some other background tiles in there as well to vary the background more. Instead of having a 2 click system where you click once to set the cannon angle and then again to set the power I’m thinking maybe I’ll bring that down to just 1 click which will be for setting the angle and just make that faster and more erratic. Also quick restart needs to go in.
Quick restart put in, along with more erratic movement of cannon to make things more difficult. Rest of the time was spent putting in new background graphics, and tweaking things. It’s nice to be at the end of the project and I’m looking forward to putting it on the FGL website.
After a day or 2 of last minute bug hunting and correcting graphical glitches it’s finally online at FlashGameLicense.com ! within an hour I had a private msg asking about an exclusive license. However I would prefer non-exclusive deals so let’s see what happens from here onwards!
Negotiations still going on in regards to the offer mentioned in the last diary entry, but only 6 portals have looked at it on FGL so far so I’ve emailed about 20 major portals directly. I’m going to give it at least another 3 days before I commit to anything. Also working against me is that it’s Easter weekend, so a lot of people are off somewhere. I’m also still wondering about putting mochiAd’s and the MochiAd’s leaderboard in, so far everyone’s told me that would be ok so I’ll probably put all that in before long. One of the emails got back to me saying they were not interested but liked the graphics. I saw on FGL that a few others looked at it, but so far no emails, and no offers.
The guy who was first interested has made a very low offer of $300 for an exclusive deal, which I promptly rejected, lets hope better offers are on the way!
26/03/2008 – 29/03/2008
Over the last few days I have been waiting to see if any more sponsors came forward but unfortunately they didn’t. There was a chance of the guy who offered $300 would take it for more, but that didn’t pan out. So after all that I thought to hell with this I’m going to put it on new grounds and see what happens. So I did! Currently it’s been on new grounds for about 2 hours and its rating at about 3.41 which I’m very please with. I decided to email a few (5) other games portals on the back of its initial success on NG to see if any would be interested now they can see that people actually like the game!
Only 1 or 2 of the portals I emailed got back to me. I just checked the stats on NG and it has a rating of 3.46 and has 1294 views, it also had a mention on the front page! (See screen shot) By just squeezing into 10th place for the top 10 games for Sunday. Sponsorship didn’t work out for this game and I’m not sure why. In total I must have emailed about 30 portals, most of them about 6 days ago, also it’s been on FGL for about a week. About 10 portals looked at it on there, with basically no interest and yet here it is on the front page of NG, so obviously an opportunity was missed by games portals. I still haven’t put it on Kongregate or anywhere yet but that’s the next step.
I’ve been scratching my head as to why games portals were not interested. Perhaps I didn’t give it enough time (it’s been about a week), although 1 did get back to me and was not interested. Perhaps it’s because the gameplay is too basic? But nearly everyone who gave it a review on NG (17 so far) seemed to really like it (also made some good suggestions for a sequel), and everyone accepts that the graphics are really good, so why no portal interest? I think it has a lot to do with what kind of games are sought after right now. Since I put Cannon Man on FGL I’ve seen a number of games which I regard as well, crap but yet had a sponsorship deal (because of a big ad on the front of them), and 9 out of 10 of these games are simple physics based games, without “fancy” graphics or animation.
List of lessons learned.
1) It’s harder then it looks, and I still have a lot to learn about monetizing Flash games.
2) Great graphics and animation are not needed.
3) Don’t expect immediate results from portals.
4) Physics based games are “in” right now. I think portals are looking for the next big physics based game.
5) Listen to the people playing your game! They make good suggestions.
1) Physics based games! Ha, I’ve actually been working on about 500 different physics based games over the last 2 weeks and have 10% demo versions done of them. I’m pushing forward on 1 or 2 of them right now and hope to have them done real soon (along with a new diary).
2) Should I create webpage’s just for the games themselves rather then just relying upon it being hosted by other people?
3) Keep pushing Cannon Man into other portals.
4) At what point do I switch to AS3