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DapperDave

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About DapperDave

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  1. I've been working on a physical Escape Room and it's important to me that the game have a strong narrative. There needs to be a good, contextual reason why the clues exist in the way they do. So I've been trying to think of a unique explanation for it. When you break it down to the most abstract, an Escape Room is simply a room where the needed information (the "code") to escape ("unlock") is obscured for some reason. But why? Here are the categories I've found: 1) The Information Meant to be Hidden From Most but Discoverable for a Select Group: Why isn't the code to a combination lock simply written on plain paper? Because whoever created the lock doesn't want everyone to know. Then why is there a clue to learning the combination? Because whoever created the lock wants a select group to discover it. This is the most common abstract narrative for an Escape Room. Examples include, finding the combination to a bank safe (bankers need the code, everyone else shouldn't know it). Escaping from a prison cell using someone else's escape plan (original escaper created and needed the code, prison guards can't know it). Entering a forbidden tomb (maybe only those "worthy" enough to solve the puzzles can unlock the code) 2) The Information is Available to All but Accidentally Obscured: Here, the "code" to the "combination" is not meant to be hidden by whoever created it, but it is accidentally hidden due to some other factor. Perhaps the person behind the lock is an alien who simply speaks another language. Or maybe some unforeseen act of nature hid the information and the players must put it back together. 3) The Information Is Available but Was Never Deemed Relevant: An example would be if you are trying to find the location that someone went to, and while this information isn't necessarily secret, it isn't immediately accessible. Players would have to comb through documents, like a travel planner, to learn this "code". 4) The Informer Cannot Easily Communicate The Code: In this category, the person behind the lock wants to give the players the information but cannot due to communication problems. For example, they call the players on the phone but are only able to give out a fraction of information due to static. Or the informer is a ghost and cannot speak directly to the players and can only communicate to the physical world through the clues (by the way, this is the narrative I'm leaning towards!) So I'm wondering if anyone can think of any other categories not listed here or can come up with some great examples of each. I believe most escape rooms fall under the first category but I haven't actually been to that many so I don't have a lot of examples to go on.
  2. I'm not opposed to paid marketing promotion. But I would have no idea where to go, who to trust, or what kind of return to expect on the investment. There's also the consideration that 80% of people simply aren't going to be interested in my game because it is niche and any marketing would need to focus on a very specific audience. I just meant the more popular youtube players and websites. I've never considered getting a publisher. I suppose I'm just ignorant about the benefits of one. Sure if I had the time and resources I'd port it to every platform I could. Why not? Porting is just time consuming, frustrating and very boring. I'd rather move on to new game ideas but it's probably worth the effort to get more ports out.
  3. I released Boot Hill Bounties about a year ago on Steam (https://store.steampowered.com/app/727290/Boot_Hill_Bounties/. Now I have the opportunity to release it on the [redacted] platform. I made another post on GameDev where I asked for input on some updated storefront art for the game (https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/699493-help-me-decide-on-storefrontboxart-with-voting/). Some people were interested in what marketing I had done for the game when I released it on Steam where it received very little notice. Still not even enough reviews for it to qualify for a rating. It was a year ago so I may have forgotten some things. I’m explaining mostly everything I can remember I did to see if anyone has any suggestions on what I might do differently or in addition to as I prepare to release on [redacted]. Or maybe another dev will find this useful. Keeping the Fire Going: I made an uncommon decision early on to not do any marketing whatsoever until the game was close to release (originally, I planned to go dark on development until 100 days before release). Before you tell me this was bad, please read. Why did I do this? The idea was that I felt like marketing is like starting a fire and keeping it going. You start it, feed it, make it stronger until it grows and grows. But if you start it and then neglect it, it dies out - then all the work you did on it was wasted. So rather than dedicating a chunk of my time over the years to keep this fire going and staying lit, instead I waited until near release and then put all my time into growing it over a 100 days. That was the idea, but in actuality I was still too busy fixing bugs and stuff to put all my energy into marketing. Also 100 days turned into just 50 days. Anyway, the controversy is whether it’s better to keep marketing going during a long drawn out development or put your energy into it when close to release. In retrospect, I don’t know if it was a bad move or not. One thing though is that making a game without talking about it was pretty lonely over the years, so I think next time around I would not follow this path. Countdown: When marketing did begin I started the Corral Countdown (http://www.experimentalgamer.com/corral-countdown/corral-countdown/) where over the next 50 days until release I would talk about some unique/interesting feature in the game. I was following the Super Smash Bros Dojo from when Brawl was coming out, if anyone remembers. This idea had a few aims 1. Talk about the features of the game 2. Have something new to talk about eacy day 3. Build hype that culminated in the release of the game. So I would write these countdown posts a week in advance and release them on my website, twitter, facebook group, Kickstarter and IndieDB pages. It did more than nothing, but was it all worth it? I don’t know. Contacts: Over the years I collected a number of contacts from gaming websites/youtube twitch. I got these from simple research, conventions, meetups, other devs, etc. I would email them during the 50 days before release to tell them about the game release, the corral countdown. Of course I’d offer early review codes. I had a Press Kit (http://www.experimentalgamer.com/Press/BHB/BHBPressKit.zip) with images that were easy to pop on their websites. Or they could just go to the Pres Page (http://www.experimentalgamer.com/Press/BHB/). You want to do everything you can to make it simple for them. Few actually wrote about the game though. Youtube/Twitch: A wise person once explained to me that if you want the big dogs to notice your game, you have to get the medium dogs to first notice your game. And if you want to get the medium dogs to notice your game, you got to get the little dogs to notice your game. So I wrote to every YouTube/Twitch player I could find that would have any interest in my kind of game. Some very small time youtubers did a few playthroughs and some twitch players played live while I visited the channels. I don’t think any medium dogs ever took notice though. Scheduled Tweets: I learned a lot from a fellow dev about how to best use Twitter. I used Twitch deck to schedule tweets throughout the week. Many tweets would repeat but no one really minds that. It would be a mix of tweets about stuff revealed in the Corral Countdown, or other tidbits about the game, plus just any gaming-related opinions I had at the time. I think I probably got a few hundred more twitter followers during the marketing push. Conclusion: With marketing, it’s like none of these ideas were bad, but maybe it just wasn’t enough and I should have done more? It’s easy to say “yeah, you did a, b and c but you should also have done d, e, f, g, h, i, etc.” There’s no end the amount of things you can do. So how do you know when it’s enough? Maybe there was low hanging fruit here that I missed?
  4. Version H: Here's a new version I made after posting this from suggestions another artist gave me. It's zoomed in just two characters and some colors and shading are different. The fire is smaller to distract less. Also, since some of you were asking I made a post about what I did to market the game on Steam here: https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/699588-i-released-a-game-on-steam-a-year-ago-this-is-how-i-marketed-it/
  5. Okay, when I get a chance I'll write a longer post about what I did for marketing and we'll discuss it. Since this is a release on a new platform it's another chance to try something new.
  6. I couldn't disclose the exact numbers because I didn't bother check them. Why subject myself to heartache? The game didn't even acquire enough user reviews to obtain a user rating. Pretty disappointing for four years of full time development.
  7. Thanks for the input guys. I asked around elsewhere and someone pointed out that the image will be small in most storefronts. The smaller thumbnails are more of what I should expect. So, while they, and most of you, liked Version A the best they thought it had too much detail for its size and suggested I zoom in on that and focus on less things. I might try that to make a new version soon with less characters.
  8. Thanks for the quick feedback! I appreciate it!
  9. So here's a quick background: I now have the fantastic opportunity to put my Wild West RPG (I know, odd timing for a Wild West game) on the [redacted] platform and have a second chance to possibly find the audience that I was unable to find on Steam. In order to maximize my chances of this, I am taking great care to improve the storefront/box art of the game. Unfortunately, I'm not a great artist and have little sense of visual design. Now I wanted to post this in the "Business" forum because the point here is not just to make a great piece of art, ultimately it has to achieve it's purpose - does it attract the right people who would be interested in my product? Speaking of said product, here you can find it on Steam and here's some images from my website. Originally, I tried very hard and came up with this - which, while very good for me, is not so good by actual game box art standards. (Click for actual size) I didn't get a lot of specific feedback on that. I heard things like "badly drawn" and mostly "there's too much going on" and "the eye doesn't know where to look." See? I just don't get visual design. So the [redacted] Storefront needs images at 1000x1000 px so I made these four new versions: Version A: This uses the same concept but I increased some of the saturation and made it even more colorful and moved a few things around. The focal point of the image is more concentrated on the fire. (Click for actual size) Version B: So then I was thinking... maybe there is too much going on. I looked at other examples of storefront art and realized that they usually just have a single thing happening. So I removed the characters, which aren't that well drawn anyway, and just have the fire. Maybe this adds some mystery so people will be more likely to visit the storefront when they see this image? (Click for actual size) Version 😄 Here I'm starting to think, this is a pixel art RPG, so why hide from that? Why not show that to people up front so the audience that is interested in such things can identify it more easily? This one has the same campfire concept, but now I'm using the pixel art. (Click for actual size) Version 😧 I thought that maybe that last one was too dark and wanted to try something else. This one just has a sunset over a cemetery with a couple of the characters while still showing the observer, yes this game is pixel art. (Click for actual size) Version E: This one is similar to the last although the logo is featured more prominently and there are no character sprites. Somehow the colors look better here to me. (Click for actual size) Version F: Version E which is not pictured here, is the option that says "None of these four would be good enough box art, instead pay an actual artist to make new box art." If it's the best way to maximize this games potential I'm happy to go with this option. Version G: This suggestion says "Your concept is good, but there are too many artistic flaws. You should pay an actual artist to improve upon what you have and/or clean up the uglier bits that they can point out." If you vote for this option, please also pick which version (A, B, C, D or E) is your preferred concept. So please vote below for Version A, B, C, D, E, F or G and add your feedback in the replies blow. I really appreciate all your feedback. I'm flying solo here so I don't often get it! Version H: Here's a new version I made after posting this from suggestions another artist gave me. It's zoomed in just two characters and some colors and shading are different. The fire is smaller to distract less.
  10.   That made things blurry but I don't see the artifact anymore so you are on to something!
  11.   Yes. That isn't the issue. Coincidentally the person behind the website you linked to there has already looked at my issue. Small world!
  12. There is at least 1px of padding between the pigs and the rect borders.
  13. I have a 2D game (C#, XNA) that uses a 3D effect. Below you can see a battle against 3 pigs. These pigs look 2D but they are actually drawn using 3D quads. This is so I can invoke a tilting effect (when they get hit, they tilt back as if they are wooden cut outs).   I have noticed recently that when they are drawn in the neutral position, there is a strange and inconsistent graphical artifacting bug that occurs sometimes. What’s odd is that, after many experiments, I’ve found that the artifacting is related to WHERE the pigs are drawn on the spritesheet.     In the below image, you can see where each pig comes from within the spritesheet. The first pig has a lot of artifacting around the feet, the second not so much, and the third one is perfect. These pigs are the same in every way except where they are drawn from the spritesheet (which is 1024x1024 png).  So far I the artifacting appears more severe when a the sprite rect is close to an edge, but I’m not entirely sure.   Strange huh? I fear that this isn’t something that I will solve and the best solution I have is to just draw these pigs using the regular spritebatch while they are in the neutral position and switch them back to 3D when they are tilting. But I thought it was worth posting here in case any obvious solution jumps out to anyone.   Here is the most relevant code (removed are the many functions that handle the tilt effect).   (I kept the below images in their native resolution, which is very small and difficult to see the artifacting I’m referring to. But I didn’t want to create additional confusion by scaling them for visibility.)     Image is on pasteboard.co   Update:  Here I replaced the pigs with checkerboard (black and white 1px with green outline issues) and the issue becomes clearer. You can see a triangle where things are getting stretched here. Again, the third grid is perfect just like the third pig was perfect and the issue somehow relates to where images are placed on the png. And any idea you come up with would have to explain this difference.   checkerboard on pasteboard.co
  14. Hey guys, I have been porting a game made in XNA, a 2D RPG, to PSM using Monogame.  Unfortunately, I use a simple 3D effect that cannot be translated because Monogame did not write translation code for the BasicEffect class.   The effect is a simple 3D manipulation used in battle.  I know almost nothing about 3D coding so it was a struggle to get this work in XNA to begin with.   Here's how it works.  Enemies in battle don't move and are just standard sprites from a spritesheet, like this:   The enemy sprite is like a wooden cut out from a shooting gallery.  Now certain actions can move it around.  For example if you hit the enemy it will tilt back and forth.       Now the logic behind how this works is very simple, although it was difficult for me to find the right syntax.  I'm simply manipulating the verticies that draw the sprite.  For example, if I want it to look like it's tilting back, I simply move the top left vertex down and left and the top right vertex down and right.   Here's what the code for tilting looks like in my XNA code. public void TiltBackward(GameTime gameTime) { if (transitionTimer >= tiltForwardInterval) { transitionTimer = TimeSpan.Zero; TiltFinished = true; } else { transitionTimer += gameTime.ElapsedGameTime; gpuVertices[0].Position.X = startVertices[0].X + (((float)entity.Width * (float)bits / 4f) * (float)Math.Min(1,(transitionTimer.TotalSeconds / tiltForwardInterval.TotalSeconds))); gpuVertices[1].Position.X = startVertices[1].X + (((float)-entity.Width * (float)bits / 4f) * (float)Math.Min(1,(transitionTimer.TotalSeconds / tiltForwardInterval.TotalSeconds))); gpuVertices[0].Position.Y = startVertices[0].Y + (((float)entity.Height * (float)bits / 4f) * (float)Math.Min(1,(transitionTimer.TotalSeconds / tiltForwardInterval.TotalSeconds))); gpuVertices[1].Position.Y = gpuVertices[0].Position.Y; } //GetShadowVerticies(); } The XNA code that draws it uses syntax that I don't fully  underestand, like rasterized states, index buffers, basiceffect passes.  Here's what that looks like in XNA. basicEffect.Texture = image; basicEffect.VertexColorEnabled = true; basicEffect.TextureEnabled = true; //Will make colors black instead of red graphics.Indices = indexBuffer; graphics.SetVertexBuffer(vertexBuffer); graphics.RasterizerState = rasterizerState; foreach (EffectPass pass in basicEffect.CurrentTechnique.Passes) { pass.Apply(); DrawTriangleStrip(); } private void DrawTriangleStrip() { graphics.DrawUserIndexedPrimitives<VertexPositionColorTexture>( PrimitiveType.TriangleList, gpuVertices, 0, gpuVertices.Length, shortUshortConversion(edgeFaceList),//*edgeFaceList, 0, 2); } So now I need to simply translate this code to the PSM native language.  This is a difficult task for someone who barely understands the original syntax, has been using Monogame to port, and doesn't really understand 3D coding to begin with.   I've looked at all the examples and looked up some things in the SDK.  It seems like to pull this off all I would need to do is manipulate the quad points.  Unfortunately, those are read only and cannot be changed manually.     I understand the logic, I just can't figure out the syntax.  This is a problem where anyone with even a passing familiarity in 3D coding for PSM could tell me exactly how to do this in seconds.  But I've spent days trying to figure it out without any success.  I'm hoping such a person can throw me a bone. 
  15. Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes.
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