From Jay is Games
by LDora on September 21, 2014 07:00 PM
by LDora on September 21, 2014 07:00 PM
by kimberlyfelix on September 21, 2014 05:00 PM
by Johnny123 on September 21, 2014 02:25 PM
by Tricky on September 20, 2014 08:15 PM
by LDora on September 20, 2014 02:00 PM
by LDora on September 20, 2014 01:00 PM
by Ferret on September 19, 2014 10:33 PM
Ad-Free Gaming+ Members can now play “The Weapon Masters” with this Beta. Help the developers prepare for a full launch of this highly addictive tactical role-playing game. Gather armor and weapons, collect pets, and destroy monsters in epic battles! Sign-up for AFG+ today and get ad-free gaming, betas and more…
by LDora on September 19, 2014 06:00 PM
by LDora on September 19, 2014 04:30 PM
by Eric on September 19, 2014 12:17 AM
by artbegotti on September 19, 2014 12:00 AM
by Brian on September 18, 2014 10:56 PM
If you’re interested in joining us for some of FGL’s Community Events, be sure to check out our forums for updates on Game Jams and Contests! This week, FGL Game Night returns this Friday night so stop on by and play some games with the FGL Admins! FGL continues the Community Spotlight series this week as we sit down with developer PJBaron, creator of the smash hit racing games ‘Cruisin‘ and ‘V8 Muscle Cars‘ among other titles.
FGL_Brian: Hello, Pete! Welcome to the Spotlight. Why don’t you introduce yourself and your studio for us?
Pete Baron: I’m Pete Baron, I’ve been a video games designer and programmer for nearly 30 years, and I operate the web-site and studio www.insanehero.com. For the last… 5? years I’ve been concentrating on Flash games, and am just now starting to expand out into Mobile and HTML5.
FGL: You’ve put out an impressive volume of games. Do you tend to focus on developing one game at a time, finishing it and moving onto the next one, or do you like to work on different projects concurrently?
PJB: It depends on the project. A larger project like Aztec God Games takes up to three months full-time, so I work on those exclusively. A tiny project like Zombaby Bouncer might only take one or two weeks, so I tend to keep a couple of those on the boil at all times. I like to have a variety of options when I sit down to start each day… if I’m feeling “clever” I’ll take on a tough algorithmic task… but if I’m feeling a bit dopey, I’ll do presentation type easy jobs. Having a couple of games running out of sync with each other helps give me those options.
FGL: One of the fascinating trends I noticed across some of your more action-oriented games was a unique movement/combat simplification.
PJB: You’re thinking Working Stiffs/Pocket Platoon there?
FGL: Pocket Platoon, Working Stiffs, and Dead Vault all feature this mechanic to some extent
PJB: I’d been playing around trying to bring the old-school game mechanics into a more casual games environment. Then I saw a demo that Ben the artist had made. He had these people following the cursor but running away from Zombies… and I thought that works really well! I really liked the old joystick based games, and they converted quite nicely to keyboard controls… but touch screens are horrible for that type of control. So I was really trying out a series of different approaches to getting that same type of feeling through a touch screen interface. Ben’s demo showed me one way to move towards that goal.
FGL: Your games have excelled at simplifying the technical demands on the user, using only lightweight, non-intrusive in-level tutorials as needed. Is this a conscious decision you made during development, or did you gradually arrive at these user-friendly mechanics?
PJB: It was definitely a conscious decision in the first place. The actual solutions were the result of trying different things one after another and seeing what worked and what didn’t work. The user interface is one of the most important features of a game. It’s how the user manipulates the game world and sees the results of their actions. I believe it’s impossible to understate how critical it is to get that exactly right. I also think it’s astonishingly hard to come up with a great solution that is ‘new’. Generally, if there’s a popular game with a similar mechanic, you should always copy it. Innovation for it’s own sake will very often fail. But then, I still don’t see many popular touch-screen games utilising the kind of control I’m trying to perfect here… so I’m kind of stuck being forced to try these risky changes!
FGL: We can see some of the echoes of this commitment to the user experience in your highly popular racing games. The gameplay mechanics are fairly traditional, and the levels are very well-tuned, but you focused on other elements of the games that made them a lot of fun. What would you say is the ‘magic’ in those games?
PJB: I think a lot of players like to feel that they’re in control but on the edge of chaos. When I first wrote my Outrun style game engine I concentrated very heavily on that factor. I still go back to the original settings for V8 Muscle Cars with some of the newest racing games, because I think I nailed it just about right in that one.
There’s a feeling as though you’re an amazing driver when you swerve and dodge amongst the slow moving traffic then take a corner with the rear end sliding way out there… I think that’s gratifying to almost anyone.
FGL: Big time. Racing games in particular can live or die based on the core mechanics and race difficulty tuning.
PJB: I’m not a great games player myself. I tune the games so I can *just* beat them if I try really hard or upgrade everything to max. That seems to be another sweet spot.
FGL: We had a question from the community for you: “You’ve produced a large number of games of varying size / length, but each feel professionally polished. When you’re wrapping up development on a game, are there any small things a developer can do to give a game that ‘big budget’ feel?”
PJB: It’s mainly the same thing everyone tells you – attend to the details. There’s nothing worse than starting a game and seeing a bad font, an ugly title screen, poor spelling, or buttons that don’t work properly. If you have time *after* making sure that’s all correct… it’s always nice to throw in a surprise in the first couple of screens. Defense 1942 had a verlet-physics dog tag chain that you could fiddle with. Danger Dungeon flames would react like you were passing your finger through them. Cruisin has this ‘oil painting’ type title screen, but when you click ‘play’ the car drives off into the distance. Little surprises really draw the player into the experience right at the start.
FGL: Do you have any new projects you’re working on these days? Anything coming out soon we can look forward to seeing?
PJB: Well, I’ve got three games up for sale on FGL right now (a new rally racing game, dash n dog, and hedgehog cute)… right now I’m having a go at a “parking” game (on request from a sponsor) but I want to do something a bit different so I’m combining the game mechanics with another popular genre to try a new hybrid. I’ve just written a highscore table (just for fun) which meant learning about PHP, mySql, and TCP/IP communications… that leaves the door open for some turn based multiplayer options which I’ve been wanting to explore for a long time. So at some point soon, I’d like to release a small test game that uses those factors to try to bring a more social element to it.
FGL: Looking forward to that! Well, that’s all for my questions. Do you have any shout outs or thank you’s you’d like to give before we wrap up?
PJB: Thanks first to FGL for providing a marketplace which has allowed me to be independent for recent years! A quick shout-out to the artists who work with me to make these games look great, especially Ben and Andrew!
I’d like to thank PJBaron for answering our questions and sharing these stories with us. If you have any other questions for Pete, post your questions below! If you know someone who would be a good candidate for the Community Spotlight, comment below, send a PM to FGL_Brian or send us an email at email@example.com.
by artbegotti on September 18, 2014 04:00 PM
by Tricky on September 18, 2014 01:00 PM
by LDora on September 17, 2014 11:00 PM
by Rich on September 17, 2014 10:56 PM
by freezairmsilvereye on September 17, 2014 07:00 PM
by LDora on September 17, 2014 02:00 PM
by LDora on September 17, 2014 01:00 PM
by elle on September 17, 2014 04:00 AM
by LDora on September 16, 2014 09:00 PM
by LDora on September 16, 2014 06:00 PM
by Chris on September 16, 2014 05:38 PM
Back in July we shared a success story from our Mobile Platform. Since then, we’ve had a few more games break the top 10 on various Play categories such as Top Free and Top New Free. We intended to update everyone on these individual successes, but things have been growing so rapidly that we decided to do a larger write up instead.
The growth of FGL’s Mobile Platform
When we started FGL Mobile in late 2011 our goal was to help game developers and publishers in the mobile space, or looking to get into the mobile space, to distribute and monetize their games. Our first plan of attack was to get games onto smaller markets and OEM channels so that we could build up market share and spread traffic through cross promoting games.
We had great success doing this. We built a system to help convert existing popular flash games to mobile, and we then sold them as premium titles across Nook, Amazon and a few other stores. As you can see from the snapshot below, taken this month from the Nook store, our success in this area continues to this day. 3 out of the top 6 paid games are from the FGL Mobile Platform.
However, we’ve always known that, if done right, most of a developer’s revenue would come from the larger markets: Google Play and the Apple App Store.
So for the last year we have focused heavily on Google Play. Our particular focus is on free games supported by ads since many of the indie developers we work with are used to that model, and premium game sales are almost non-existent these days.
Our foray into Google Play has been extremely successful. As you can see in the graph below, the games going through the FGL Mobile Platform have enjoyed healthy growth in their revenues thanks to our Google Play efforts. The different colors represent the different ways we monetize the games: various ad networks, in-apps, premium sales, etc..
One of the strengths of our system is that we now manage a portfolio of well over 1,000 games, and we are able to use cross promotions between them to push quality new titles up the charts to point where they can be discovered.
We wanted to share some details of how we promote games on the Platform. Unfortunately, not every game has a shot at ranking up the charts, but we give a fair chance to all the games in our system. New games are given enough cross promotion to give us a good sample of data. We carefully look at the usage metrics and natural organic discovery trends to identify titles, new and old, that can succeed. When we find a title that has potential we put the bulk of our cross promotions towards it as well as targeted paid UA campaigns to push the game up the rankings.
Below are a few examples of this strategy. You can see how the games shot up the ranking charts from the efforts of the FGL Mobile Platform:
One recent hit is a F2P game that published by Tamalaki, Blackstone Mysteries. It hit #2 in the top new Free charts on September 2nd.
And here are some more games we’ve helped top the charts.
Currently we are looking for quality games that haven’t been able to achieve a significant audience. If your game has an LTV per user > $.20 or averages over 6 sessions per install then please contact us.
For smaller games you will still need to go through a publisher but we are working on a self service platform which will open up the platform to all games in the near future.
We strongly suggest developers work with a publisher as we’ve found they can be invaluable to a game’s success. We’d like to specifically point out Tamalaki (run by everyone’s favorite Martine Spaans) and Happy Planet Games. Both have built out a huge portfolio with powerful cross promotion capabilities.
And, of course, you can use FGL.com to find a publisher. Many publishers are willing to pay up front to get publishing rights to mobile games. And if you are a publisher interested in joining our Platform, please let us know! Our system is set up to publish games under a publisher name so you get the benefits of our system without sacrificing your branding.
You can find more information about the Mobile Platform here: https://www.fgl.com/mobile-platform/#devs
There are a lot of exciting things in the works. Keep an eye out here for more news coming soon!
by LDora on September 16, 2014 03:00 PM
by freezairmsilvereye on September 16, 2014 12:30 PM
by Tricky on September 15, 2014 12:15 PM
by LDora on September 13, 2014 04:00 PM
by elle on September 13, 2014 02:00 PM
by LDora on September 13, 2014 12:12 PM
by Ferret on September 12, 2014 10:44 PM
by LDora on September 12, 2014 10:00 PM
by Tricky on September 12, 2014 04:30 PM
by elle on September 12, 2014 12:30 PM
by LDora on September 11, 2014 08:00 PM
by freezairmsilvereye on September 11, 2014 04:00 PM
by elle on September 11, 2014 12:30 PM
by Johnny123 on September 10, 2014 02:00 PM
by LDora on September 10, 2014 04:00 AM
by Lori.h on September 09, 2014 09:00 PM
by Brian on September 09, 2014 08:34 PM
FGL_Brian: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Izzy! Let’s start by introducing you to those who may not know you yet.
Iskander Aminov: Let’s see…I was born in Russia, but have lived in the US for most of my life. I knew I wanted to do something with art about the time I was in middle school. It narrowed down to graphic art by high school and by college I’d started making flash games as a hobby.
FGL_B: I was looking through some of your different projects on your portfolio website (http://izzyaminov.com/)
You have a wide range of projects and styles in the material there. What do you find are the key differences when creating art for games, as opposed to another medium?
I_A: Game assets are unique for sure. When you make a digital painting, you let your imagination run wild. You can do whatever. With games, you’ve got to consider a lot of things in addition to making the art look good. Things like, how do you improve performance? Can I cut back on the amount of frames I’m using? Can I reuse some of these assets elsewhere? So all these things should be in the back of your mind while you make game art. Part of the reason I actually like this is because it restricts you a lot. Too much freedom might end with you not finishing anything.
FGL_B: Almost like you can become paralyzed by the options available to you?
I_A: Yes. It makes you focus on the one path you can take as opposed to hundreds of options with too much freedom.
FGL_B: Is that something you’ve come across when pursuing collaborations? Do other game developers come to you and have a clear idea of the kind of characters / artistic elements they think would work for their game idea?
I_A: Most of the time my collaborations start with a broad idea like a vampire who’s vegan. We hash out some ideas, think about how long things would take to implement and start working fairly quick. The ideas don’t come in fully fleshed out, and that’s more fun for me because there’s more creative freedom in that.
FGL_B: That’s cool. So do you find it more natural to build a game up around an intriguing artistic concept like that as a ‘jumping off’ point?
I_A: Most of my games now have a similar art style, and that makes me happy because I enjoy when I make art the way I want. If I’m forced to go out of my comfort zone, I tend to second guess myself, which leads to bad art. The gameplay can be anything (as long as it’s not 3D) and I can adapt my art style to it pretty quickly.
FGL_B: You’ve done some isometric viewpoint work in games like ‘Lost Catacombs‘. Is 3D art design that different?
I_A: I’d say it’s pretty different since you’re working with models instead of images. Lost Catacombs was pretty hard but very satisfying to finish. It was one of my first games I’ve done so everything back then was new. Still a great learning experience, every project I finish I learn something new. But I guess I also learn something new with ones I don’t finish as well.
FGL_B: Your games tend to have a lot of great visual details, especially in the main menus and interfaces. Do you have any tips on improving visual polish for game developers looking to take the next step up in visual/graphical quality?
I_A: Put a lot of time into it. The graphics of your games are your “foot in the door”. If things look off, you’re going to lose players. Make things simple and easy to use and don’t be afraid to rework the art. Your second version tends to be a lot better than the first. Other than that, it’s all about practice and studying what other people do. Incorporate the good stuff into your work and try to improve it even more.
FGL_B: Taking a request from the community: “Do you have any tips for successfully collaborating on projects? What are some common mistakes people make when working on a collaboration or seeking out a collaboration partner?”
I_A: I would strongly recommend people who are just starting out with collaborations to participate in game jams in which you’re paired with random people. It’s a great way to find people to work with, you build a library of games, you gain a lot of new skills, and you get all that in a short time with little to lose. The most common mistakes I see people make is being overly ambitious and trying to make this amazing game that will change the world. It’s better to focus on making games quick, polished and fun. You don’t need a hundred features in your game to make it successful. If anything, it’ll make you hate the project as you spend a year trying to finish it. You might be committing a month or two on your game, might as well have fun with it and save some ideas you have on future projects.
FGL_B: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions today. Before we wrap up, do you have any projects coming up that we can look forward to?
I_A: Always have projects coming up. Right now I’m working on a top down adventure game, a roguelike fairy tale game, and a sequel to CraZ Outbreak. All of which we plan on doing a Kickstarter for and publishing on steam. That’s still a long ways away, but it would be great if we can get support from the community when the time does come around.
I’d like to thank Iskander for answering our questions and sharing these stories with us. If you have any other questions for Iskander, you can follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Izzy_IRA or post your questions below! If you know someone who would be a good candidate for the Community Spotlight, comment below, send a PM to FGL_Brian or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by LDora on September 09, 2014 01:00 PM
by Eric on September 08, 2014 10:04 PM
It’s been a while, but we’re still here. A lot has been/is changing around here for Hero (per usual), but we are still here. As you’ve likely noticed, things have slowed down a bit here on the blog, and will likely continue to be a bit slower for a little while, but I’ll do my best to keep some posts coming.
We’re playing around with the idea of releasing what we’ve got done so far of Hero Accounts, regardless of them not being finished. That way you guys could at the very least be using them while we push out further features as they’re completed. We haven’t entirely decided on this yet, but I thought I’d give you guys a head up to get your thoughts in. I’ll keep you posted, or you’ll just suddenly see Hero Accounts live on the site! We’ll see
As always, thank you all so much for your support, patience, and your awesomeness!
And here’s a featured tank because why not
Today’s Featured Tank is the Wrath of the Depth by Kolla!!!
Name: Wrath of the Depth
Tank ID: E10095600
(Know of some awesome tanks you want me to show off? Post the code in the comments!)
by LDora on September 08, 2014 01:30 PM
by freezairmsilvereye on September 07, 2014 04:00 PM
by Satori on September 07, 2014 01:00 PM
by Tricky on September 06, 2014 04:00 PM
by LDora on September 06, 2014 01:00 PM
by LDora on September 05, 2014 09:00 PM
by LDora on September 05, 2014 04:00 PM
by Lori.h on September 05, 2014 01:00 PM
by LDora on September 04, 2014 10:00 PM
by LDora on September 04, 2014 03:00 PM
by joelybean on September 03, 2014 04:00 PM
by Tricky on September 03, 2014 01:00 PM
by elle on September 03, 2014 04:00 AM
by Ferret on September 02, 2014 09:44 PM
Want to win an iPad Mini? Send us a picture of you with your clone and be entered to win a bunch of out of this world prizes. Real twins are welcome, but use your imagination… capture yourself with your “clone” in a mirror or digitally edit a photo!
To enter, send an email to email@example.com with your Armor Games name, the type of image (actual twin, Photoshop fun, or reflection), and attach your entry. The Gemini Strike ‘I think I’m a clone now’ contest runs until 9/8/2014 at 11:59PM PDT, with winners announced on or after 9/11/2014
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED!
UPDATE #2: WINNERS ANNOUNCED!
Grand Prize Winner – MattEmAngel:
Winner – Kirsten:
Winner – Dookay:
Winner – youassassin:
Winner – Emanuele:
Winner – ninjatree:
Winner – liquidvenom13
THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO ENTERED! I’ll be contacting all the winners today, but you can always reach me at Ferret@ArmorGames.com!
by freezairmsilvereye on September 02, 2014 04:00 PM
by Colm on September 02, 2014 01:56 PM
That's not an oxymoron! While the whole point of being 'indie' is to be independent (primarily of a publisher!) there are many other ways a publisher can help you while letting you remain independent. Traditionally game publishers would pay an upfront fee that paid for a studio to develop their game, but in return own all of the IP and almost all of the revenue from a game (and sequels!!).
Nowadays with digital distribution one of the main reasons to need a traditional publisher is gone but there are other things they can help with like PR, advertising and marketing budgets around launch, getting you onto marketplaces like Steam, etc. Sometimes this could be more of a partnership than a publishing deal.
I've just started talks with a few indie-friendly publishers for Guild of Dungeoneering so I thought I would share my list for others considering this approach. Some of these are full-on publishers with a focus on indie games, some are actual indie developers who also publish other dev's games, and some are marketing specialists.
I'm focused primarily on PC, as is most of the above list, but if you are looking for help with a mobile game I'd recommend looking through this twitter list as quite a few of the list are mobile-focused.
Thanks to the Indie Game Developers facebook group, @kristruitt, @LukeD and /r/gamedev for helping me put this list together. If you have any suggestions to add to this list feel free to leave a comment!
by Tricky on September 02, 2014 01:00 PM
by grinnyp on September 01, 2014 08:00 PM