Oh how time flies. A lot has happened in 2013. I got lost in Minecraft for 6 months, made a bunch of friends there, and mostly abandoned them when I decided to move back into game development mode.
So I’ve been challenged endlessly to jam-style game competitions and while I like the idea of mass producing many games in a short timeframe, it just doesn’t give any of the games any sort of ‘heart’. There’s no warmness to jam games. Even supremely cute projects end up with a major lack of content or juiciness because of rushed design.
But I can’t ignore the fact that I’m closer to releasing 2 jam games than I am to releasing anything else I’ve played with. My New Years Jam Game has actually produced a releasable game, but I decided to add a layer of polish that will require some more time to art – than time to program.
So how does one go about releasing these games? For Ludum Dare, there’s the obvious choice, but for something like Andrew Sandifer’s Power of Two jam? Am I just supposed to release on my blog, with a few social media links? It doesn’t seem like a large enough scale. Maybe posting Unity games on Kongregate? I’m not really sure how to go about distribution. Unity is a weird monster when it comes to getting your game out there, unlike Flash’s simple viral release system.
I’ve also been experimenting all year with multiplayer. The authoritative model presented in most MP / LAN games is fine for my projects. People keep recommending expensive paid game hosting services like Photon. Nonetheless, I can let the players host games themselves using Unity’s built in networking classes. The downside is that users will need to open ports to host a game. This isn’t a new concept, and anyone serious about hosting a match can forward ports in less than 2 minutes. Anyone who’s done it before can do it in seconds.
However, I have been experimenting with my own Master Server / NAT Punchthrough system. There’s plenty of open source systems out there, so I’ve been using PHP Master Server and some guides.
Oh, I’ve also redirected my old domain, trentsterling.wordpress.com to this new one. Before I just spattered a link to my new domain all over the site, but I was still getting more hits to my old domain because of the SEO I did for flash back in the day. Now every page 301s here, with some fancy permalink magic. I’ve been getting much better traffic now that I did the redirects. Im not really sure what this will do to my google rankings though. Seems a mess anyway.
I should also mention the stupid amount of time I’ve spent playing Terraria in the last week. All these building games like Terraria and Minecraft, yet, I still don’t want to clone these games directly. I’ve been using the Voxel art style for a few months now. I’ve been using Batching and Chunk generation for the same amount of time. (Mostly for draw call optimization)
But I haven’t recreated Minecraft. Somehow this makes me happy. I see so many other devs jumping on that boat, getting the prototype in place, and then dropping it like a bag of rocks. Not sure where I was going with that… Just an interesting observation.
Getting back on track. Ah yes, its 2014.
I’m not going to make a huge goal list here. Just release games. That seems adequate to me.