29 October 2012

The Awesome Debate

Shoot me now please! Shoot me before I start making another game. So I am writing a web based space battle massive online multiplayer card game. And for some reason ( we don't have a artist/designer to make the 150 cards we want to launch the game with ) it's taking a lot of time. So while we figure out a way to move that project forward we decided to experiment with another idea. And the new idea is a MIST/Riven/LightHouse like game. So the game development committee had a session yesterday and let me tell you, it's hard to agree on whats awesome.

Is the main character alive? A major contention was the question of motivation for the main protagonist in the story. Will he be fighting for something or against something? Who is the main antagonist? So we decided that the motivation will be just survival, so far so good! But a member of the committee decided that in the given situation our character should just wait to die and do nothing, and that from a 20 something year old man is sad. So to resolve that issue the same member of the committee wanted to kill the character and/or give him an objective that would preclude him from dying. Which is pretty much the same as what we were considering, but not that over the top. If the current situation would demoralize our hero then how would a terminal medical condition help with his motivation??? So we had that argument for hours. And it was resolved with a little sick and a little dying but all in all doomed so it was a discussion about how would it be more awesome. An important discussion, but awesome is a matter of opinion so it is hard to reach an objective consensus among three people.

How do we tell the tale? I don't know, I can't know. Before you decide how to tell a tale you need a tale, so the tale needs to be written. In our dev team the motivation guy is the story writer, he has written short stories before so we just threw a few ideas at him and he said that we need to write the story together or he is writing nothing. And now I am writing it, just so that he can hit me over the head with it when I'm done. I am illiterate, I shouldn't be allowed to write this blog. A short story in C++ or PHP maybe, not literature! Just look at the last sentence you read, I shouldn't be writing anything. But no it has to be that way because we don't have a consensus on what awesome sci-fi is. The motivation guy is a Doctor Who style magic science fantasy with borderline impossible science. I am the Alien realistic science noir guy who doesn't believe in force fields and teleportation. So again we were in a debate about something subjective.

HTML5 or Blender? The 3D guy is making the 3D in blender, because it is awesome. We don't have an artist so we are planning to take an engineering approach to the environment, and everything will be box shaped. But I don't care about that because my work is to make it playable. But if everything will be made in blender then why not use the blender game engine and make the game like the FrictionalGames's Penumbra and Amnesia. I was thinking about making it something like Morningstar because then I will write a canvas driven javascript engine that can be used in the card game. If we go with the blender engine we have a distribution issue, desura may be an option but steam may not be because you have half the code GPL'ed. Another problem is the amount of work needed to get the game running on the different platforms, and I don't know which would be faster.

So this is what the committee wasted time on. Now I am in the writeup process and I have to have a demo sized quest game all written up by next weekend, so that the team can make suggestions additions and corrections. With this one and the card game this would be the second time we do the whole writeup process and it seems to take as much time as the programing and design processes.

21 October 2012


So. Two months of indiegogo has failed. I took the time to register ,to write the description and to record a pitch video. I wasted time and I have nothing to show for it. Basically the people from igg give you a platform to get funded, but they don't offer exposure. The indiegogo business model is simple. People try to raise funds, if they are willing to give a percentage to igg they can raise the funds through the igg website. igg don't help you with the promotion of your project unless it is already popular, but if the project is popular then I don't see a reason to use igg. They give you some tips that can be boiled down to "Promote your project!", which you should be able to figure out yourself. So basically after two months of igg I came to the realization that you are better off just placing a donate button on your website and selling swag. There is an exception of course, non technical social projects that aren't associated with a product. Funding for education or medical needs or charity projects.

I don't want to hate on igg just because I didn't get a dime. It really isn't their fault. If you read the funding tips they do say that your best bet is to promote to people you know ( family, friends, other personally interested people ), and they say that it takes about 3 visits to the project page before a person makes a donation. So nag and spam a wide audience repeatedly, igg is an e-begging platform. E-begging is when you ask for money from people through the internet, but in this context don't think about the beggar on the street with just his hand out. This is more a guitar case tips type deal, but still begging. And begging fits better because it is an active process of asking, and if you don't ask you don't get.

So if it isn't igg's fault that I didn't get a single dollar then who's fault is it? It is my fault! And if your project fails it will be yours. For something to get funded it needs to be popular. So you need a good fan base for the project that are already engaged with it, and then you start asking for money. Another thing is that social media may seem like a good way to market such a thing, but even if you have a high Klout score and you have a ton of friends on Facebook and G+ you need to evaluate that resource realistically. On different projects the percentage of visitors that donate varies, for mine it was 0% for some it's 50%, but for the sake of easy math we will take 10%. So lets see what that means. I have 200 people in the social networks, 25% are geeks and would click on a link about Linux, so 50 people visit the campaign page. 10% are 5 people, if everyone donates 5$ you get 25$. What if you want to raise 4000$ dollars. You need 800 people to donate, so 8000 people need to visit the page so I need 32000 friends on Facebook. Do you have 32000 friends on Facebook?

Instant Business? OpenCart

Yes, you too can be corporate fascist scum. You just need a pile of junk to sell and opencart. From there on it's just sell sell sell... Opencart is a website CMS ( content management system ) system just like Wordpress and Drupal but it is build specifically for e-commerce. The installation process is just as easy as the process for the other CMS systems. You need Apache or IIS, PHP and MySQL. If you have installed Wordpress or Drupal before there will be no surprises for you. I love to build custom solutions but a good PHP solution can take time and cost money. Opencart allows you to start a business in a day. Even if you aren't very tech savvy yourself, once it has been installed it is very easy to manage. It has an intuitive admin panel that allows you to add products and manage your clients. It has sales reports and all sorts of other stuff.

I will not go into detail about the features or try to teach you how to install or use it. You can get that type of information from the opencart website, they have documentation and screencasts there. What I will say is that my company is currently launching 3 e-stores. Two of them are an expansion of our business and one is for a client. Opencart solves the same problems that Drupal and Wordpress do, as in it shortens time and cost to market. No matter if you want to start selling or if you have a client who wants to start selling stuff opencart is a quick and cheap solution. I love coding, and I like to code the same task from different angles so that I find different solutions to the same problem. But my clients don't like it when I spend 2 months rewriting an application several times just so that I am happy with it. It costs less for them if I just spend 3 days to tweak opencart into what they need. Exactly as if somebody wants a website and a CMS, why should I write the CMS from scratch when Drupal would do the job.

If you are a web developer you owe it to yourself to throw opencart somewhere and just play around with it, if you have an opinion about it drop me a comment.

01 October 2012

Finally some feedback!!!

So here is something somebody said about my indiegogo campaign.

Some Guy on Facebook.
" Some advices, use a microphone from game console games like singstar/rockband, it will be plug and play on Linux, quality may vary but most of the time, it's enough for most uses and it can be get used for 4-8$ sometimes in places like Ebgames ...

Puppet software make the servers easy to set up, maybe you could make your next videos about it, even ffmpeg may do screencasting, just record yourself with a cheap webcam like logitech sometimes at 10-20$ and embed it by editing with Pitivi ...

There's also tools like shelr.tv may help you ...

For your next pc build try : pcpartpicker.com

Build example :

i5-2500k is the sweet-spot for now, Gigabyte Atx board, 4go ddr3 sticks are cheaper I prefer G.skill there, just one may be enough for most users, Storage is a hard choice I would say OCZ Vertex 4 ssd and Western digital cavair blue harddrive, Evga Geforce GTX 660 are the gpu sweet-spot for Linux, Antec power supply, Antec 300 case and Asus monitor ...
September 27 at 8:00am · Unlike · 2 "

My response
" Thanks for the tips. But nothing you wrote will get you the linda.com production quality. Nor will it make the video production process faster and easier. As far as pc parts, I'm in the trade field myself so I can get most components dirt cheap. But my work requires remmina, a terminal, a text editor and a browser. I don't need a new rig for work and spending cash for a hobby isn't justified.
September 27 at 11:32am · Like "