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Experiment #2 in game promotion: Press Release Results

[font=arial]After releasing my Android game [/font]Stupid Human Castles, I quickly realized I have no idea how to market my game. The task of actually getting the world to take notice of it requires a set of skills I don't yet posses. These blog posts will document a series of marketing experiments that I'll be attempting, recording the possibly embarrassing outcomes for all to read.

The Experiment:
In my second experiment I wanted to test the effectiveness of press releases. I figured this would probably be my best bet at getting my game noticed as I had been lucky enough to have a few sites review my game already without me asking. Considering they gave it good reviews, I felt positive that I could get a couple more to respond to my emails.

After sending the emails out, I let them run for a little over a week. A few of the sites I emailed a second time with a follow up email. Of the 15 or so places I emailed I was expecting a pretty low rate of reply. I figured that due to the nature of email I might get lucky with 2 or 3 sites, but that might be enough to drum up a little bit of attention. I felt more positive about the sites that cater to giving indies exposure, but also knew that they must get 50+ submissions per day.

The Result:
The final result of the number of sites that reported on my game are:

Number of places that reviewed my game: 0%.
Number of places that mentioned my game: 0%.
Number of places that looked at the press release: 6%
Number of places that downloaded the free copy of the game I sent: 0%.

Overall result: Level 5 Catastrophic Failure.

But my inbox was flooded:
Now here's the interesting part. While I didn't get any coverage from these sites, I did start getting one very specific type of email: sites started asking for a paid review.

It turns out that there is a large number of sites out there who will charge anywhere from $50-$200 to review your game. In exchange they'll give you a text review for a base price or a video review for a premium price. I don't know how your supposed to have an objective review when someone gave you $200 to do it, but that might be why several of these sites had nearly every game rated 5 stars. All these emails were followed up with very optimistic traffic numbers, the validity of which I don't know.

This seems to me like a pretty terrible industry that is, in my opinion, just exploiting indie devs who want to get their game out into the world. I'd like to think that most people would turn down these sites, but if their huge catalog of reviews is anything to go by that's not the case.

The lessons:
1) Sending out press-releases might be useful, but you really do need contacts first. Mike Rose mentions it fairly often in his article but it only now dawns on me how true that is. I don't really know anyone in the industry and I'm not sure how I would solve this. I see lots of articles online about how to get your game noticed, but not many articles of how to get the developer noticed first. It's a bit of a chicken/egg problem - How does one get their own name out without having a cool game to be noticed, but how does one get their cool game to be noticed without having a name? It sounds like that could be an article in itself.

2) While my press-release experiment was a terrible result, it was still extremely worthwhile process and I highly recommend it. In my case I thought I was ready to go once I had a full version, a demo version and a email to contact me at. It wasn't until I was reading the checklist that I realized how unprepared I was. So while the actual press release submission stage might be a bust, I highly recommend you actually send out at least a few for no other reason that it forces you to get prepared.

3) Without knowing anyone to contact in advance, sending out press-releases comes down to a lot of luck. That being said, there's always a chance you might get lucky! As a form of cold-calls I found press releases less effective, but these sites do cover a lot of games so you might be the lucky one that day.


Next Experiment
For the next experiment I'm going to try taking out some ads on sites like Facebook. I won't be spending much money, but I'll be interested to see what kind of conversion rates happen. I'll be making a blog post starting that experiment in the next few days,

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Experiment #2 in game promotion: Press Releases.

[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]After releasing my Android game [/font][/color]Stupid Human Castles, I quickly realized I have no idea how to market my game. The task of actually getting the world to take notice of it requires a set of skills I don't yet posses. These blog posts will document a series of marketing experiments that I'll be attempting, recording the possibly embarrassing outcomes for all to read.

In experiment #1 I tried submitting my game to indie forums around the web. While the traffic was smaller than I expected, it was actually more beneficial in ways outside the direct promotion of the game. In place of traffic it got me pages and pages of valuable design feedback from some really smart communities, nearly all of which ended up in the game. This time I'm going to try another tactic, I'm going to try:

Experiment #2: Press Releases.




I've never sent a press release to anyone in my life. In fact until I started researching this I didn't realize indies even sent out press releases. It seemed like a strange level of self-promotion that requires a lot of talking in third person. To start with I began reading some articles that jbadams linked me too that covered the basics of talking to the press. These include:

An Indie Game Developer's Marketing Checklist - Robert DellaFave
How to talk to the video game press - Mike Rose
How to contact press - Pixel Prospectors

The article by Robert DellaFave was the first one I read and it suddenly made me realize how woefully unprepared for this I was:
I didn't have a facebook account
I didn't have a twitter account
I didn't have a trailer
I didn't have a website
I didn't have a press release page online.

It took me about a week to get this all done, but it was an important step. Don't leave it until the last minute like I did - you have to get these up and running. If you don't think you need a press-release page, it just means your not prepared for when someone who wants to cover your game asks for a press release. If you don't think you need a twitter account, you won't be prepared for when that same guy wants to retweet a screenshot. Follow the guide by Robert DellaFave and get his list done. To help with this some tips are:
presskit() is awesome. Download it, run it on your server and use that as your central hub for all your information. It runs on PHP so even the most bare-bones webhost should be able to run it.
While setting up a Twitter and Facebook account seem easy, they will require header images that you might not have yet. In my case I didn't have anything the size of what they need and had to get them drawn up specially.
When you upload a trailer to YouTube, make sure that video is 100% utterly final - Once you send that link out to people you can't change that video content without generating a new URL. I found this out the hard way by posting the trailer on twitter then realizing I had 'Loudness Equalization" turned on in windows. This meant the actual audio levels of my trailer were all messed up. OOPS.

The Press Release:
My press release will consist of 4 main sections:
An opener saying hi
A paragraph on the description of the game
A few lines about the history of the game
Links to the press-release online, a link to the game on the android store, a link to the trailer and a free copy of the game.

As I'll get into below, the actual content of the email I'll be customizing based on how well I know the site.

The Targets:
I have a list of about 15-20 websites I would like to contact. They fit roughly into the categories of:

Places I actually visit often and care about: 6-7 sites
I'll be writing emails that, based on the advice from Mike Rose, will be a more personal. I'm going to try and make it sound like I'm not a robot (beep-boop) and start with a little bit of info on how I know the site.

Places I sometimes visit: 2-3 sites
I know the names of a couple of the editors but nothing in particular. The emails will probably be a little less personal but not a complete copy+paste.

Places I had never heard of: 7-9 sites
These I'll be places that I will copy+paste cover letters too. They are pretty generic in their content.

And now we sit back and wait.
By making all the marketing content very easy to find and trying to make my trailer look at least halfway decent, I think I might be able to get 2-3 of the sites to report on my game. I'll run this for about a week and then post back with the results!

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An experiment in game promotion: Part #1 Results

It's been a week since I started game promotion experiment #1. I wanted to see how useful different promotion techniques were for my new game Stupid Human Castles.

Experiment #1 was to see how useful posting on a series of forums around the interwebs would be. The ones I settled on were:

[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]gamedev.net[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]libGDX forums[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]TIGSource[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]reddit.com/r/indieGaming[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]reddit.com/r/androidGaming[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]javagaming.org[/font][/color]

I tried posting on a few other forums like indiegaming and indiedb, but ran into problems. Most forums I came across were pretty restrictive about new members posting their game without having a history on the site.

The Results:

[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]gamedev.net[/font][/color]

I posted a thread in the announcements forum with a title that could have been better. The thread itself had about 210 views, of which a grand total of 16 people went and played the demo.



[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]libGDX forums[/font][/color]

The thread had 250 views, of which 10 people clicked through to the demo.



[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]TIGSource[/font][/color]

The thread had 95 views, of which a whopping 4 people clicked through to the demo!



[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]javagaming.org[/font][/color]

I'm still a little confused by the stats from javagaming. The thread itself has had over 1100 views which is far and above any other posts I made. They have a brilliant way of presenting new games by having a screenshot presented next to the game itself. Not only that, but new games posted in the showcase forum are advertised on the sidebar throughout the site. It's fantastic exposure and I would love to see more forums adopt this system.

The part that confuses me is that despite having 1100 people view the thread, only 66 people clicked through to the demo. There was some good discussion in the thread so I'm a bit confused why the click-through rate is so low.




[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]reddit.com/r/indieGaming[/font][/color]
(I'm not 100% sure how to merge the different URLS from reddit together into one view, so this will be just text.)

From /indieGaming my post recieved 2 upvotes and 26 people clicking through to the demo.

[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]reddit.com/r/androidGaming attempt #1: 13 click-throughs[/font][/color]

[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]I had about the same as indieGaming for the first two days, which was about 1-2 upvotes and about 13 click through's. [/font][/color]

--------------------------
Now at this point I was pretty disappointed with the views I was getting. It was around now I wanted to try a different take on the title. I had originally chosen a name that I thought sounded intriguing, but my number of views was telling me otherwise. I spent the next day trying out various ideas and then posted a new thread on /androidGaming.


reddit.com/r/androidGaming attempt #2: 600 click-throughs

At this point I had a new title which was targeted more to people who like tetris. I think by ensuring that the people who were checking out the post were already interested in tetris, it made them much more likely to stick around and try the demo. Because of this I had about 600 views come through over the next few days. It was the first day I actually started making sales.


What I learnt about forum posts.

1) A catchy title is important, but it's probably not the one you think it is. It wasn't until i started experimenting with different titles that my game started getting any attention. I thought I had an interesting title, but what I thought was pretty good turned out to be kinda rubbish. It takes quite a few attempts to really narrow down the most attention grabbing part of your game and it's not always obvious how to present that.

2) Getting views is important, but targeting a demographic is better. I think the problem I ran into at the start was that people were seeing the title of the thread, looking at some screenshots and then thinking "oh tetris? I hate tetris!" and closing the thread. It wasn't until people could see what the game was like before clicking through that it began converting to click-throughs and sales. I would suggest then that instead of coming up with a title like "XMan - An rpg set on the moon" which could get a lot of views, it's ok to go very specific and say "XMan - A top down rpg in the style of FF2".

3) Most showcase/announcement forums are flooded. I already knew this going in, but I thought with some nice screenshots I could stand out. With the exception of java-gaming.org, most threads are pushed off the front pages too fast to be of any use. When I would find a thread with 10+ posts to see what they were doing different, it was usually the developer talking to himself

4) WIP (Work in Progress) or general feedback boards are much better than Announcement boards. Finding that it's better to use forums for gameplay feedback rather than promotion, the WIP forums are much more useful. Showcase forums just move too fast to be of much use, but WIP forums give a much longer exposure of your game and will get you much better feedback.

5) Finding indie forums to post advertisements on is actually really rare: When starting this experiment I was expecting to find indie forums everywhere. I thought I would be able to post links on at least 10-15 different boards, so I was surprised when I was only able to dig up 4-5! There were a few other indie forums I came across, but none had boards for promotion. Perhaps the lack of data for this experiment highlights one of the bigger problems - trying to promote your game on forums is made all the harder by the lack of any forums to promote them on!


Would I do this again?

If I released a new game, I wouldn't post on forums again just for the express purpose of getting exposure. The most useful part I got from posting on these forums is not so much the views that came through, but from the bug fixing and gameplay advice people were able to give about the game. If I were to do it again, I would probably only post on one or two forums in WIP boards with the purpose of getting testing feedback. Once that was done, posting on exposure sites like reddit would be useful.

So I'd suggest pick a forum and a WIP board and use it for game feedback. Later you can use reddit or similar sites for exposure. Simply canvasing every forum you can find with a link to your game isn't that effective. Coincidentally enough, if you look back at the forum thread Notch made in his first minecraft post, he was posting it for game feedback, not exposure too


Anyone else have any experiences with promoting their game using forum posts?

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An experiment in game promotion: Part #1

Preamble.

I finally got around to releasing my first game, Stupid Human Castles! It took a good number of evenings after work, skipped social events, rubbish dinners and a deal with the devil that is Java, but it's done! It's complete!

Unfortunately, programming the damn game was the easy part.

Next comes the harrowing task of actually getting people to look at my game. Being someone who knows about as much as marketing as the mating habits of furniture, I'm completely out of my comfort zone. I've tried reading some articles, I've read some guides, but for all practicality I have no freaking idea what the best way to market a game is.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to start this series of blog posts called "An experiment in game promotion". Each post I'll be experimenting with a different promotional method and then, after a week or so I'll post the results. I'll be describing my plans on how to promote my game before I have a crack at it, and then do a post-mortem on how successful it was. For example, forum posting, Facebook ads, emailing websites with press releases etc.

I'm hoping that by using my game as a bit of a lab rat I can figure out what techniques actually had a positive result. In the end if we are lucky this will benefit everyone!

Experiment #1: Forum posts.

One of the easiest, and probably the first ways, a lot of people try to promote their game are forum posts. They are easy to do, don't take much time and given the right circumstances can be extremely positive. Posting on forums though is made slightly trickier by the fact that a lot of them have a zero-post policy - people posting their games with no posts tend to be looked down upon as spammers. Without having given anything back to the community first, it can often come across as a bit self serving.

With that in mind, I'm going to post my game on a bunch of forums with zero posts.

Ok to be fair not all the forums I'll be posting on will be zero-post accounts. It's actually quite hard to find ones that don't make you to post for a week or so before promoting your game, which is fair enough. Below is a short list of the forums I'll be posting on, but over the week I'll increase this as I hunt down more forums.

gamedev.net
libGDX forums
TIGSource
reddit.com/r/indieGaming
indiedb.com
javagaming.org
indiegamer.com
...
I'm going to run these for about a week and then I'll see what the results are. Some different techniques I'll be trying are:

1) Descriptive forum thread titles - Does having a title like 'A new spin on an old game' beside the name make much difference?
2) A stand alone title
3) One screenshot - Is one screenshot enough to pique intrest?
4) Multiple screenshots - Do too many screenshots kill the curiosity?
5) Including [Released][Android] style tags. I'm curious if pointing out it's an android game has a good or bad effect.
6) Call to action style headlines - "Spectragate releases first android app!"

Hopefully giving these a bit of a spin results in some interesting data next week.

For science!

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S.H.I.P C.R.A.F.T.E.R - Update #3: 382 Items so far!

The game is at http://shipcrafter.stillholdsup.com

Ok, it was painful but it's done. The game now has 382 damn items in it, so there should be enough content to progress all the way to level 20. I think this should make the game more interesting to test now. This means that a bunch of the items/numbers are unbalanced right now, but just getting the items setup was the time consuming part, balancing them all should be easier and can come later.


New ship chassis: This includes (under Ships > Chassis Types) - 12 new ship chassis! So once you hit level 5 you can buy some different ships and build them up. At the moment they have no special abilities and the stats are kinda out of whack, but this will all be fine tuned later.

Ship Packages - While there are new chassis types, I've not created any new ship packages yet. I figure once the game gets a bit more balanced and people have some good builds going the packages can be created then.

Issues: There's no descriptions for most of these items and it's using the default icon at 0.0 which is the CPU icon. That should make things nice and confusing. Sitting down and coming up with icons for all these items plus descriptions seems like a big task that could be better spent on fixing broken code. I don't suppose anyone wants to help with this do they?

Whew, making a browser game is tiring.

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S.H.I.P C.R.A.F.T.E.R - Update #2: A whole bunch of items!

http://shipcrafter.stillholdsup.com

So I just finished building out around 150 items for the game. That was exhausting 0_o

All the items I've added are system modules which means once there are some new chassis types there should be enough content to build ships all the way to the level cap and the highest combat class!

There are a few cool things that come out of this:

1) Pi formulas: All the PI values for items are figured out based formulas specific to that item type. This is exciting because it means that we have a perfect little number to display how powerful an item is, barring any special abilities. Because each module type has its own formula to calculate its PI, I'm going to start a page listing how they are all calculated. Starting the process of exposing the formulas (including the combat) behind the game should lead to much better development and happier players. Exciting!

2) Module Items: The next part of the painful process begins - creating module items (reminder - There are two module types, item modules and system modules). Rough numbers came to needing about 1100 items to create enough content to the level cap, which I don't think I'm going to do now. Just creating those 150 system modules nearly killed me, so I think I'll create enough item to get to say, level 15, maybe 20? That should keep everyone busy for a while.

3) The next phase: Once these are done, we reach the most important phase of all - [color=#ff0000]The dreaded Fun Test. [/color]I'm going to try and wrangle as many people as I can into giving the game a shot (huge thanks to those trying it out and reporting bugs so far) and get an answer to the most important question so far - Is all this fun? My goal for adding all these items now is to give people enough possible enticing content that when they play it for a few hours or a day they can get a good feeling of whether it's fun. For all I know people find this kind of game boring...

4) Item listings I noticed that now there are so many items listed in under the system modules tree in the marketplace it looks pretty rubbish. I'm going to have to add a scrollbar to it or change how the items are displayed somehow. I had the crazy idea of making a separate site to buy and sell items that would look similar to http://ncix.com (Is it obvious where this game is getting it's inspiration from yet?), but that's just wishful thinking. It would be cool though....

So that's the status!

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Ship Crafter - Semi-Launch and looking for alpha testers

So for the last few months I've been working on a little browser game called (for now at least) S.H.I.P C.R.A.F.T.E.R. It's a pvp focused browser game set in space where you buy ships, buy modules, configure and optimize the ass out of your ship, then send it off to combat with other players.








The Game: It's currently hosted the subdomain of my other site. Once it's developed a bit more and I've settled on a name I'll buy a proper domain for it:

http://shipcrafter.stillholdsup.com
[s](Note: Some of the artwork is just temporary artwork from conceptships.blogspot.com. If anyone has an issue with it, I can pull it and replace it with some other sort of temp artwork).[/s] I've replaced them all with some open license images.

Testing: At this point the game works but needs some balancing. You'll also find some areas such as the docks and rankings pages are turned off. At the moment I want to get the combat and ship building working really well before moving onto developing any new areas. What I'm looking for is some Gdnetters to create and build a ship, enter combat a few times and report their feelings on the game as well as any bugs. Is the interface shit? Was ship building confusing? Is the text based combat unbearably boring?

Registration: At the moment there are no players (woo!), but ships can be entered into combat for up to 6 hours, so don't let the ghost town scare you off. Hopefully we can get a few of us playing! Also to make it really easy to signup you can just register with a username and email address and the system will just auto-generate a password and email it to you so you don't have to bother coming up with and storing a new one.

Tutorials: You will notice that at the moment there are no tutorials or help guides of any kind. I'm going to post some guides here in this blog to get everyone started.

Future Development: At the current point for testing there are only 3 E-Class starting ships. Once some feedback rolls in and the games gets a bit more balanced I'll add in some more ships and more items. Or this post will garner no attention and I'll cry myself to sleep. Either way.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tutorial Overview:
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I'm going to make some more posts covering these areas in more detail later on. For now, here is a very rough overview of the game to get started.


Overview of ship building: Ships come in two varieties - Ship Chassis and Ship Packages. A ship chassis is the bare bones frame that makes up a ship and has certain bonuses applied to it which helps it's primary usage. A ship chassis comes with an attribute called "Area" which allows you to install "System Modules".

System Modules are what make up the core statistics of your ship, such as your powergrid size, the base speed of your ship, the starting mass and strength etc. These are installed into the chassis and consume "Area".

Item Modules are installed on top of a ship now setup with it's system modules. These are items such as afterburners, shield boosters, targeting computers etc. These are designed to extend your ship beyond the system modules and customize the roll of the ship.

If ship chassis are the basic frames that make up a ship, ship packages are buying them pre-built with system modules (albeit at a marked up prices). Since the numbers of system modules can get complex fast, numerous ship packages will be available (only three right now) that allow you to buy ships already setup with certain types of play in mind. At some point there might be 8 different types of "Hawk Chassis" type packages you can buy all with different strengths and weaknesses.


Overview of Combat: So you've got a ship cobbled together with some items you found in the marketplace with stats you only half understand! Now you can enter your ship into combat!
As you install items on your ship you will see your performance index will go up. There are several brackets of combat you can enter into, each with their own PI restrictions. If your ship is 170/PI, you can enter any bracket upwards of 170/PI (which is all of them). If you have 580/PI you will be in bracket C which has a restriction of 770/PI, meaning your ship cannot exceed 770/PI or else it gets bumped into bracket B. If your ship is 771/PI you're probably not going to do very well in combat so you're better off coming in at 669/PI and being at the top of bracket C as opposed to the bottom of bracket B.

You are free to fight against players in the bracket above you and if you win you'll get much more XP and money rewarded, but you cannot enter combat lower than your current PI class.

Note that this is different to the chassis class - The ship chassis comes stamped with a PI class on it, but this in no way restricts an E class chassis being sent to fight in bracket D. The class on the chassis is just a rough estimation of it's ability based on it's area, slot count and bonuses.

When you enter combat, you will see a dropdown for "Time Period". This is how long your ship will stay in combat for. If you select 1 hour, your ship will search for other players in the bracket you chose, fight, get any possible rewards, then automatically enter into combat again. This is a good way to rack up money and xp while being away from your pc. If you change your mind you can leave combat at any point by clicking "Leave Combat", but any matches in progress will still be carried out before you return to dock. Also note that you can't work on your ship while it's in combat (but you can buy other ships and work on those in the mean time)

-----

So like I said, very brief overview. I'll be doing some more posts covering system modules, chassis, some more details on how combat is figured out, which stats are most important and other areas soon.

I'm interested to see if anyone is interested

Cheers!

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Hellboy

There's a few of us around Gdnet who keep an eye on each others art, so I figured I'd chuck this up.

I saw Hellboy 2 a few days ago (finally) and screamed "Must draw hellboy!" in my friends faces when the movie was over. Unfortunately, seen as I was too lazy to use any references, his guns a tad small, I forgot he even had a tail until the last moment and his hand is probably nothing like what his hand actually looks like. Oh well, it's my version of Hellboy [looksaround]


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Hulk Vs ???? (drawing)

So this little drawing I started yesterday afternoon and finished up this morning. It's for a "Hulk versus ???" thread at conceptart.org where you have to draw Hulk battling some other superhero. I'm stuck drawing on a tiny hamster powered laptop at the moment, so trying to ink this thing sent the quality downhill quickly. Oh well. Good news is next week I get my new fancy computer with a 22 inch monitor, BOOYAH!



In retrospect, pitting the Hulk against Professor Xavier probably wasn't the fairest matchup...


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go go spiderman

First time I've put pencil to paper in over a month, I've been so busy with moving. Over at ca.org they had a little spiderman challenge, and I drew this up when I got home after having a few too many drinks with Coldacid at the pub (multiple pints later, still didn't find a beer I really like). It's nothing too good, in fact it's pretty bad as I only had one piece of paper, half a pencil and a grubby eraser, but still I figured I'd chuck it up [grin]


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"Clocked out" - GTA is warping my artwork

I lurve black and white artwork, so I decided to try my hand at it. I was hoping to make it a bit grittier, and I think the table is a bit bare, but overall I guess I'm happy with it. Except hands, I couldn't draw good hands even if the Russian mafia had a gun to my head, and I plan on spending the next week studying them again (in between GTA...which may or may not have affected the theme of this drawing...but probably did...yeah it did).

"Clocked out"


Right, time to go play some GTA :D

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Cowgirl part 2 - Colored and finished

So the other day I posted the inked version of a drawing I was mucking about with, and here is the finished color version. The background was just going to be temporary, but I kinda liked it so I left it as it was.

edit - I might as well replace it with the updated version down in the comments:



Original

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Wild west cowgirl =D

I'm about to start coloring this piece, but I want to add more detail and "stuff". The thing is, I can't quiet think of what else to do. So I figured I would chuck it up and see if anyone can notice any horrible gaffs or has any suggestions on what to add before I color it.

It was actually a real challenge doing this piece because it was the first picture I've drawn and inked completely with my Wacom tablet! Hurah! I saved a tree!


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Painting peice for Seventh Sanctum comp

Over at the website Seventh Sanctum, a great place for all sorts of random generators, they run a competition every now and again which is a lot of fun. Based on the results you get with the generators, you have to draw/animate/bake etc. whatever it is you get. I entered into one ages ago which was a ton of fun, so given that the new comp was based on "Evil and Company", where you draw a monster and his minions, I jumped at the chance. The first generator we had to use was "The Evil Name Generator" and then the minions came from "The Dark Minion Generator". My results were:

-Metalshade The Worm-ridden
-Toad Mass

So based on that, I came up with this piece:

*Update*
Due to a suggestions it was a little too dark and hard to see, I've cranked up the colors a bit. I think it helps a lot.



old version


I don't think the worms pop out enough, but I was having a bit of trouble trying to make it not look like he wasn't just covered in confetti...so I just left it as it was [smile]. Oh well, I'm still learning [grin]

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Wacom + YouTube, part 2

This is my second attempt at recording a Wacom sketch. The video worked out a bit better by keeping to the middle of the screen, although the final image is a tad small. I slowed the drawing down a bit too so it's easier to see what is going on.

I started this drawing with a decent idea of what pose would be, I just had no idea what I was going to do with it once drawn, so I kinda just kept fiddling and adding stuff to it until I forced myself to stop. Gah.

">Watch YouTubeness!

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I decided to draw on the YouTubes

I like watching people draw on YouTube, so I decided to get everything setup and give it a go myself. The results were...well...it's my first attempt [smile]. I tried going to fast, messed up the layers and before I knew it I'd screwed it up. I was too lazy to do it again so I put it up anyway [grin]

I learnt a lot from this drawing, so hopefully next time the video runs a bit smoother.

"> Wacom sketch in 1:30 (damn lack of embedding videos)

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Mass Effect wallpaper

The Bioware forums are running a 'post a wallpaper of Mass Effect' thread, so I thought 'eh, why not?' and put this together. It's missing out on a few races because I ran out of space (didn't want to use the left hand side for much because of icons) and I still suck major donkey dong at backgrounds. Ugh. Wallpaper is 1280x1024 but I'm not sure what resolution is best =/



Full size, 1280x1024

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I hate drawing buildings :

The following is a WIP. I've never drawn proper buildings before, so I started this yesterday with the aims of getting some practice in at perspective and cityscapes. The idea is to have Spiderman freaking out as he is being chased by a rocket through the city, hence the different style of eyes. The buildings are not complete yet and so far there is no rocket, but the sheer amount of balls-ups I've had in relation to perspective is pushing me towards giving up and not finishing this pic. So on the high chance this picture stays at this stage forever, I decided to post it now.

Oh, and the sky in the background is a temp photo I used that I forgot to replace. Screw it, it's staying in now [grin]


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Boredom + Pencils = Pictars

A week or so ago I went to visit the parents, which becomes very boring at night owing to the TV being locked on game shows. To stave of boredom I drew this up while I was there with some pencils I found in my bag.



Generic man to the rescue!

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woot + woot = acorn?

Ok, I still can't get that lounge/chick/Bush thread to sound right. But, there was nothing that special on TV so I accidently typed this out.

Just learn to fly, like normal people.

In other news, The Help Portal is now open!

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Don't play that RPG!

I was going to do a guide on 'how to pick up chicks by making informative lounge threads detailing the evils of George W', as suggested by Kazgoroth, but not surpirisngly it turned out to be a bit tricker than I planned ^_^

I will try and get that done soon.

Instead I slapped the keyboard for a while and and wrote a letter to the developers of the online RPG I am quitting I'm quitting "Life: The online RPG" - my letter to the developers

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How to - Post in the Help Wanted forum

Game development in a fun and exciting job, covered in creaming layers of private jets and frivolous sex, these perks are not only common, but flat out expected for anyone who decides to enter this thrilling industry.

Over time, you have no doubt played various video games, and you have arrived at a point where you are convinced you can do better. World of Warcraft? Terrible. Half Life 2? Boring. If only the developers had listened to you, maybe your brilliant game ideas could have saved them from the mediocre software they release time and time again.

But how can you show these companies that they are wrong? By making your OWN game! Then, once they are all begging for spare change as you ride over them in your chariot of diamonds, they will look at you with respect.

This is where the Help Wanted forum comes in. By now you probably have a rough idea of what kind of game you want to make, but don't know just where to go from there. The guide below will step you through the process of recruiting a team, and ensuring your ideas become fully fleshed out games, ready to be unleashed upon the world like a warmed up porn star.

The game concept:

So you already have some ideas for different games that you think will work. Instead of making three of four different games, just combine every good idea into one colossal title! For example, the world is just craving a World War II sports game. Or what about a FPS version of Tetris?


A rally driving point and click adventure. Are you excited?

Creating the thread:

So now you need to recruit programmers, artists, sound engineers, caterers, car washers. Basically, any job you can think of you will need at some point or another, so it's better to recruit them now than later. You may have noticed that we still haven't fleshed out the game any more than before, but don't worry; this comes later.

The Team Name:

First of you need a team name that will gain attention. Remember that people will only skim past these, so it is crucial this grabs their attention. Also, it needs to accurately show just how awesome your team is. Is your team awesome? OF COURSE IT IS! That's why people must know just how great you really are!

Examples:

Awesome games
EXRTEEEEEME games
Evangelion rawks!!!9 - This is good, because people like Evangelion.
Below Average software - This one is bad. It suggests your life may be daily a misery, your wife has left you, and nobody wants to work with someone who has erection problems.


A description of your game:

This is where you type out your concept. Try not to write more than 1 line, because the forums only have limited space as it is, and all those extra words will grind the entire site to a halt, meaning nobody ever gets to see your idea.

Following the example above, the words "A game with sports, but in a war. The second one. You know that one? It was the sequel" will be fine. In fact, this is maybe a little too precise. Those who do not like wars or sports will find your help wanted ad unappealing, and will probably become so enraged, their wife will 'fall down the stairs' like last week. Do you want that on your conscious? An even better example would be:

"A game with the and but awesome".

This way, none of your potential new team mates will be turned off by unwanted themes. Unless they don't speak English.


Screenshots:

In order to show the forum members you are serious, it is very important you show some screenshots of what the game looks like. Since you actually have nothing to show yet since you have no programmers, concept art will do fine. Even the biggest game companies in the world use concept art, and look at the games they are able to make. You know what the Brooklyn bridge started with? Concept art! Bet you didn't know that little secret! Now you can take this hidden power and use it to create works usually only the empire like game companies can usually create. The members on the forum will be so amazed at this, expect to be inundated with letters full of man mess at your home address.




Compensation:

No doubt at some point, some of the worst troll posting members on the forum are going to ask how you are paying people for their work. What they really mean to say is that, due to their own insecurities, they believe there is a small chance that your game won't be making $3 million by the next financial year! Whenever anyone asks this, make sure you respond in the only language they understand: Pure anger. Make sure they realise that they will be payed not if, but when your game goes Triple turbo platinum. You should be typing so fast with such a seething hatred for humanity, grammar doesn't even become an issue.

Example:

"YOU IDIOT! Il pay yu when the game sells. Are you saying it wont?! I DON'T WANT YOU ON THE PROJECT ANYWAY! Just get lost and stop ruining this thread. My game is going to go Triple turbo platinum, and when it does and I am living in luxury, Il make sure to spit on yu when I pass you in the gutters. Because yu will be living there. Because your a hobo. Like, cause your poor. Because I never hired yu."

Attempting to trick members into visiting goatse at this point is highly advised.



Technology:

A lot of game companies make the mistake of only releasing their game on one platform, or releasing it with specs so high, nobody can actually play it. When posting your help wanted ad, remember that potential team members keep an eye out for this stuff, and don't want to be involved in a project nobody can play.

This is especially true when advertising MMORPG's. In order to avoid this, never reveal details of what hardware you have access too, or if you happen to post details by accident, never reveal where it came from. This is because most forum members are vapid blood drinking criminals who will steal your hardware at first chance they get. Posting just how you plan to get hold of the hardware, or proof you already have it, will cause them to get your IP address, which leads them straight to where you live.

On the topic of cross platform games, just remember this: Everything is written in DarkBasic (hence the reason the Xbox and PS2 are painted dark colours). By the time you finish writing your game (or rather, your programmers have), they will find it very easy to copy and paste the code to a blank DVD for these systems. PSP's and GBA's are just like normal consoles, just with less colours.

Positions available:

Now comes the part where you detail what members you need on your team. Just copy and paste the template below, since every game requires only these people.

----

4 programmers
1 artist
----

Website:

Some people may want to see your website for further information. If ever asked, just say "we are currently making one". On a related note, never make one. They are a waste of time and just let people hack your game.


By now you should have a very well presented thread to be submitted. At this stage, I suggest upgrading your internet connection to a network cable running into your ISP to cope with the amount of applications you will get. You will soon be on your way to an easy life, so be ready to start submitting threads claiming you have a fully formed team in a few hours (even if you don't, still post this anyway. It will make the position seem even MORE tempting). Also, don't be surprised if your thread gets closed. It is expected that the servers will crash under the enormous amount of submissions you will receive, so closing the thread is the only way to save the site.

Good luck!


Ordered to be destroyed by court order


Forgot to put the options. I can't actually think of anything to do next week, probably because I am a bit of a rush at the moment. Heck, I might just leave it up to you guys. Just post any stupid crap you want me to write about, and I'll do my best to strip any humour from it in next weeks update.

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Next week is a bit different

For next weeks update, I want to try something a bit different. Below are some options for a stupid 'How to guide' I want to write. Please leave your votes on what you would like to see a guide written on. If you do not like any of them, feel free to leave a suggestion as to what you would like to see a guide on.

A) Understanding the MMORPG community
B) How to create a popular humour site
C) How to post in the Help Wanted forum
D) How to write amazing fan-fiction

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Next week is a bit different

For next weeks update, I want to try something a bit different. Below are some options for a stupid 'How to guide' I want to write. Please leave your votes on what you would like to see a guide written on. If you do not like any of them, feel free to leave a suggestion as to what you would like to see a guide on.

A) Understanding the MMORPG community
B) How to create a popular humour site
C) How to post in the Help Wanted forum
D) How to write amazing fan-fiction

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