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Member Since 03 Apr 2003
Offline Last Active Aug 29 2014 10:44 PM

#5135450 New challenges in writing meaningful game dialogue while working on my second...

Posted by Koobazaur on 28 February 2014 - 01:48 PM

Hmm, Interesting. I am already planning on adding different "entry points" into the convo that get triggered at different times (i.e. player initiated vs. npc confronting player after spotting him trespassing) which could kind of function as modules...

#5135281 New challenges in writing meaningful game dialogue while working on my second...

Posted by Koobazaur on 27 February 2014 - 10:43 PM

Hey all,


I'm working on my second indie game after publishing a very dialogue-heavy Postmortem: one must die, and realizing my old approach won't work as well with a more complex narrative and many more variables affecting the conversations. So I wanted to share my musings and get some feedback:


Don't want to re-post the whole thing so here's a link to my devblog post about it. Let me know if you have any valuable thoughts from the writing trenchese :)

#5134188 Postmortem 50% off - play as Death incarnate toying with the fate of a nation...

Posted by Koobazaur on 24 February 2014 - 02:03 PM

Just wanted to let you guys now about a big discount on my current indie game on Steam:


^ Clicky above ^

What Is Postmortem?
Narrative-adventure playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation!

Free form exploration, Rich Dialogue, Meaningful Choices and Unintended consequences!

Think The Walking Dead meets Home and The Last Express, with a dash of To The Moon!


postmortem-game-with-info.jpg postmortem-game-1.jpg postmortem-game-2.jpg

Check the Postmortem Homepage, Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter

#5110370 What "Indoor" environment tools do you use?

Posted by Koobazaur on 18 November 2013 - 10:34 PM

Blender is always a good free choice, especially since they vastly imrpoved the interface a while back.

Game-specific, I think gtkRadiant was used for Quake BSPs, then you got Unreal's own level editor which was neat too and well suited for indoors given it was based on carving rooms out of "solid space" rather than creating walls in "empty space."

AFAIK, most engines nowadays just make 3D models of various spaces and then dump em onto a 3D scene (unity, UDK, Crysis, torque), maybe with some portals and occlusion culling to help.

#5095983 Would this be a good idea? (Episodic release)

Posted by Koobazaur on 22 September 2013 - 12:35 PM

If the content is worth it, you will encounter little problems.


If the content is not worth it, you will encounter many problems.


Also not getting into legal/licensing/pr/marketing/etc. side of things here. 

#5090611 Tutorial: Designing and Writing branching and meaningful Game Conversations i...

Posted by Koobazaur on 31 August 2013 - 11:27 AM

Here's our approach to writing complex, branching, and meaningful conversations in our indie adventure game Postmortem: one must die,
which has been often complimented for it's intricate dialogue:

... an example of how to write nuanced characters with a reach into complex late-game branching narratives ... which happens little elsewhere in videogameland.
- Cara Ellison, PCgamer.com

... video games can function as a medium for important messages and Postmortem is a prime example of that.
- Cassandra Khaw, USGamer.Net

It took many attempts to figure out a good way so sharing the lessons. We broke the process into following steps:
  • The Editor – setting yourself up right
  • General Concept
  • Distill and Make game-ready
  • Conversation Outline
  • Narrative Beats and Branching Filler
  • Non-essential side branches
  • Test, Refine, Repeat
READ full article HERE!
(note: I wasn't sure if this should go here or in Writing but figured since it covers design aspects of characters and convos as well it would be more useful here. Feel free to move mods smile.png )


#5085018 Self publishing via online sales - Terms, EULA, Readmes etc. are they even re...

Posted by Koobazaur on 11 August 2013 - 02:43 PM

My game Postmortem is releasing very soon so I am trying to tie up a few loose ends. Since I am using PayPal to sell it online I figured I probably need some sort of "Terms & Policies" as well as EULA to go with the game.

For comparison I checked other small self-published Indie titles like Home, Hotline Miami, Dear Esther or Lone Survivor and was frankly baffled to find they all lacked any form of legal disclaimers! Home doesn't even have a readme, Hotline Miami is just a list of troubleshooting techniques. Nothing on their website, nothing in the game files, nothing ingame.

Am I missing something here?

#5079632 Case for Dumbing Down – because others deserve to enjoy games too

Posted by Koobazaur on 22 July 2013 - 12:20 PM

Bit of a shameless plug, but just wanted to share a story from developing and testing my own game I was just writing about:

Item highlight, arrows or contextual controls make “hardcore” gamers rage but developing my game I learned they’re not always about dumbing, but accessibility.

Full Article here
TL;DR - I learned that "dumbing down" is sometimes about allowing players with slightly different skillsets but similar gaming tastes to enjoy your game. Other times, it can also be a last-minute solution to a design problem that you simply ran out of time to fix properly by redesign, often a monumental task in itself. 
And other times, yes, it's just plain dumb tongue.png

#5062375 Need advice

Posted by Koobazaur on 16 May 2013 - 02:39 PM

Also, it may useful to check out some online video lectures from big name universities to get a "feel" for what sitting in a given class might be. Not the same as attending the class, but another tool in exploring your major. 

#5042966 Task and Timeline management tools?

Posted by Koobazaur on 13 March 2013 - 11:17 PM

Hmm I looked at the options and Trello seems to be the closest, but nothing quite seems to do what I want:

* Trello - good for creating and managing tasks BUT majorly lacks in terms of task customiziation (no tags, only 6 pre-defined labels, no custom fields, no time estimates)
* ChilliProject / Redmine / Track / Mantis - lacking in terms of timelining, cumbersome to use for non-coders, and requires Ruby
* PivotalTracker - almost exactly what I need, except it automatically splits tasks into sprints and does not support separate departments (a sprint includes ALL tasks even if they are done by different people at different velocities)
* GanntProject - nice graphic capabilities but becomes really cumbersome with many tasks spread across a long timeline (numerous weeks/sprints). Plus, mainly desktop non-collaborative solution
* Jira + Grasshopper - looks good but also isn't free so holding off on that for the time being. I got a webserver but couldnt host their flat-fee solution myself (no spare PC that can run reliable 24/7).

I think I'll stick to Trello for the time being and as the needs grow maybe consider Jira?

#5040718 Task and Timeline management tools?

Posted by Koobazaur on 08 March 2013 - 01:17 AM

I also found  Redmine and its fork, ChiliProjects which seem pretty interesting if a bit techy (too cumbersom for artists?)

#5038590 IDE/windows development dilemma

Posted by Koobazaur on 02 March 2013 - 07:28 PM

Errr honestly if your hello world program crashes either your install is terribly terribly broken or you're just downright doing something wrong. Don't dismiss vs before you even got a chance to actually use it, it's by far the most powerful IDE out there particularly with debugging and Xbox development.

#5036930 My contributor's agreement - feedback? And feel free to reuse!

Posted by Koobazaur on 26 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

Hmm, well the NDA is actually a copy of the one provided by Thomas Buscaglia the highly praised and recommended Game Attorney behind the GameDevKit. While he does state it's not strictly developer one, he still recommends it over nothing, which you seem to disagree with? I was considering the DevKit as another option as well.

It honestly boggles my mind that, with the wealth of indie projects and steam/desura/indedb making distribution easier, there really aren't better readily-available legal resources. I know I know "each project is different" but you'd think at least a few basic, plain-language templates could be gathered for the common free/hobby cases.

I think I saw a list of game attorneys in LA posted somewhere on the forums but can't quite find it right now, would you happen to have a link handy? Again, I am a bit reluctant to this given the hobby and nonprofit nature of the game, but if the cost isn't too steep then I might just bite the bullet and go for it to be safe. In any case it might be good to go through that once to learn of the process.

#5036799 My contributor's agreement - feedback? And feel free to reuse!

Posted by Koobazaur on 26 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

alright, I I'm done with simplifying the agreement. How does it look now, I wasn't sure if I understood all your points and addressed them correctly. Is it still too official? Should I skip the "company" and "contributor" and just refer to myself directly (I wanted to keep it ambiguous so its more easily reusable)? And is the little NDA part sufficient? I'm also posting a separated NDA below if you think I should have that signed too:

Contribution Agreement

Thank you for your interested in contributing to the game! The purpose of this agreement is to establish and clarify the relationship and intellectual property licensing rights between XXX ("Company") and a person or entity ("Contributor") when submitting a contribution ("Contribution") for the XXX video game ("Game"). Please read it carefully and submit a signed and scanned copy to XXX@XXX.com.

Description and License
The Game, currently a non-commercial, non-profit venture, is accepting voluntary Contributions in multiple areas such as graphics, writing or art. There is no compensation for submitting a Contribution and Company may or may not choose to use it in the final Game as it sees fit. If the Company chooses to distribute the Game including the Contribution for a fee, it may set the price for such distribution in its sole discretion, and a separate agreement explaining the Contributor’s share of the profits and payments would be drafted.

By submitting a Contribution, the Contributor grants the Company a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, no-charge, royalty-free, assignable right and license to a) use, copy, reproduce, distribute, sell, lease, rent, publicly display, publicly perform, modify, and create derivative works from the Contribution in any media, b) identify the Contributor as the source of the Contribution, and c) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.

Once submitted, Contributor may request that his Contribution be removed from the Game or any related media, but Company is not obligated to do so and may choose to keep using the Contribution with the terms outlined above.

However, the Contributor retains the right to use the Contributions as they wish, even in the context of another game. This Agreement does not grant the Contributo any rights to any other Company materials or the finished Game.

Types of Contributions
Contributions include but are not limited to any product, design, document, text, writings, artwork, image, drawing, photograph, animation, texture, video, musical composition, audio, sound effect, audiovisual work, files created by 3rd party tools (such as graphml created with yEd Graph Editor), proprietary files used by the Game and its engine, or any other files and assets used in creation of the Game or being distributed with the Game to the end users.

Confidentiality and Non-disclosure
The Company may choose to share "confidential materials" regarding the Game with the Contributor, such as design documents, development binaries of the Game and its tools, files and assets used by the Game, other Contributions, development and marketing plans, timelines, policies, strategies etc.

By accepting this agreement, the Contributor also agrees not to copy, share, lease, rent or distribute any such "confidential materials," take any screenshots, or disclose any information regarding the game, its assets, story, characters, gameplay, mechanics etc. to any 3rd parties besides themselves, unless given explicit written permission by the Company.

Changes to the Agreement
This Agreement is subject to change. Company will do its best to notify all Contributors every time changes are made to this Agreement. Company will not knowingly change the terms of the Contribution without attempting to notify the Contributors. All Contributors are subject to the most current agreement.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this Agreement to be duly executed.
        You                                                               Company
Name:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Date:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Signature: _______________________                                             _______________________

And the separated NDA by itself:

Contribution Confidentiality and Non-disclosure Agreement

Thank you for your interested in contributing to the game! The purpose of this agreement is to establish and clarify the confidentiality between XXX ("Company") and a person or entity ("Contributor") when submitting a contribution ("Contribution") for the XXX video game ("Game"). Please read it carefully and submit a scanned and signed copy to XXX@XXX.com.

The Company and Contributor each wish to protect any Confidential Information which may be disclosed by each to the other. The Confidential Information concerns the concept, implementation, marketing and design of The Game and any other related ventures.


  • "Confidential Information" as used herein, whether or not reduced to writing and in any and all stages of development, shall include but shall not be limited to: all Contributions, all information which relates to; policies and practices; files or data; concepts; software or hardware development; specifications; documentation; lists of names; forecasts; trade secrets; techniques; product plans: marketing plans; customer information; or financial or non financial information or related information which were directly or indirectly disclosed or revealed to a party by (I) the other party or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents, attorneys or representatives; or (ii) by any other means connected with a party. Confidential information shall include written information that is designated as such in writing or oral information that is confirmed promptly in writing as having been disclosed as confidential or proprietary.
  • "Confidential Material": as used herein shall be any and all tangible materials and objects which embody Confidential Information or from which Confidential Information can be read, reproduced or utilized.
Confidential Information does not include information, technical data or know-how which (I) is in the possession of the Receiving Party at the time of disclosure and is free from any disclosure obligations as shown by the receiving party's files and records immediately prior to the time of disclosure, (ii) prior to or after the time of disclosure becomes part of the public knowledge or literature, not as a result of any inaction or action of the receiving party, (iii) is approved by the disclosing party, in writing for release, (iv) is developed independently by the receiving party, or (v) is received from a third party not having an obligation of confidentiality.

Non-Disclosure of Confidential Information
Each of the parties that receives Confidential Information (the Receiving Party) from the other party (the Disclosing Party) agrees not to use such Confidential Information disclosed to it for its own use or for any purpose except to carry our discussions concerning, and the undertaking of, any business relationship between the Contributor and the Company.

The Receiving Party will not disclose any Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party to third parties or to employees of the Receiving Party except those employees who are required to have information in order to carry out the discussion of the contemplated business. All employees of the Receiving Party to whom Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party have or will have prior to disclosure, sign a Non-Disclosure and Non-Use Agreement in content substantially similar to this Agreement, and the Receiving Party will promptly notify the Disclosing Party in writing of the names of each such employee upon the written request of the Disclosing Party at any time. Each of the Parties agrees that it will take all reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure or use of Confidential Information of the other party in order to prevent it from falling into public domain or the possession of persons other than those persons authorized hereunder to have any such information, which measures shall include the highest degree of care that each of the parties uses to protect its own Confidential Information of a similar nature. The Receiving Party agrees to notify the Disclosing Party in writing of any misuse or misappropriation of Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party which may come to the Receiving Party's attention.

Return of Materials
Within ten (10) days of a written request from the Disclosing Party any materials or documents which have been furnished to the Receiving Party will be promptly returned, accompanied by all copies of such documentation, after the business possibility has been rejected or concluded.

The foregoing commitments of the parties regarding confidentiality shall survive any termination of discussions between the parties and shall continue for a period of two (2) years following the date of this Agreement.

This Agreement shall be binding upon and for the benefit of both parties, their successors and assigns, provided that Confidential Information of either party may not be assigned without the prior written consent of such party. Failure to enforce any provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any term hereof.

Each party understands and agrees that Confidential Information is secret and proprietary and of great value to the other. The parties further understand and agree that the relationship between them is of a confidential nature and imposes an affirmative obligation upon the each party to protect, foster and respect the confidentiality of Confidential Information.

The parties further understand and agree that they are under no obligation to disclose or reveal anything to the each other. Each party may in its sole discretion, elect not to disclose or reveal.

The parties agree that the obligations of the Receiving Party provided herein are necessary and reasonable in order to protect the Disclosing Party and its business, and expressly agree that monetary damages would be inadequate to compensate the Disclosing Party for any breach by the Receding Party of it covenants and agreements set forth herein. Accordingly, the parties agree and acknowledge that any such violation or threatened violation will cause irreparable injury to the Disclosing Party and that, in addition to any other remedies that may be available in law, equity or otherwise, the Disclosing Party shall be entitled to obtain injunctive relief against the threatened breach of the Agreement or the continuation of any such breach by the Receiving Party, without the necessity of proving actual damages.

#4978484 Valve introduce greenlight fee - is $100 too much?

Posted by Koobazaur on 09 September 2012 - 11:34 PM

I think the problem is people fundamentally don't get Valve's model. Valve isn't a "plan ahead" company; Valve is a "realese this, get feedback, tweak tweak tweak." Look at Steam - it started as horrible, opaque and boycotted mess. Today it matured into PC's leading digital distribution system. Team Fortress 2 went through several (unbalanced) changes with its items system, until reaching fair stability of today, and expanding even more. Same could be said with episodic content - they tried it, and clearly, it hasn't worked out as much as they hoped.

Greenlight is no different. In the short time, they already added and removed the "required x% of votes" and changed the wording on the vote buttons.

I think Valve's plan is to get the system running for a while, collect data and improve on how it works, then maybe take like the top 10 games, and make their "success-level" (aka votes up vs. down) as the effective barrier to enter Steam. In the end, I think it's a better way than arbitrarily saying "you must get x likes" just because x felt right. Tho, I agree they could do a better job of communicating that is their approach, IF my speculations are right.

Also, they can't fairly base that number on existing sales or other website popularity, as Greenlight is a different platform (pre-digital distribution) with different level of commitment ("would you buy" != "bought/like") and community (just registered steam users willing to put in personal time to vote).

Lastly, it was all fine an dandy initially, but the $100 fee creates a bit of an expectation of calculable ROI. Without knowing what one's chances are, it's hard to estimate if it's worth investing into the system (regardless of what the fee amount is). From reading a few online forums, that seems to be one of the main reasons behind the negative reaction to the fee.