Well, it's official - I'm now working full-time on the
that I have more time available, I've been revisiting the list of
features and enhancements that customers have been asking for. More
and more of our Windows customers are starting to use Windows 7, and
some of our Linux customers have run into issues with some of the
newer Linux distributions. Also, customers have asked for some
enhancements for particular games, which I will describe in more
I've decided to split my time for the next few weeks between
supporting these requests and continuing development on Dirk Dashing
2. The rest of this newsletter will bring you up to speed on what
we're doing for each of our games.
- Troy Hepfner
Dashing 2 Production Update
that I'm working full-time, I've been able to figure out the problems
with the lighting effects. I've got it working almost perfectly, as
you can see from the screenshot below.
took a lot of work to get to this point, as you can see from all the
failed attempts below. I tried a lot of different techniques, using
per tile lighting, reversing the triangle direction depending on which
side of the light source it was on, using smaller tiles, etc. But I
finally discovered the right combination of lighting parameters and
triangle orientation to get it working just right.
of you have asked why I'm spending so much time on lighting effects.
As an independent developer who is now trying to do this full-time for
a living, I'm painfully aware of the reality of indie games as a
business. An indie needs to sell a full-price game direct to a
customer every 45 minutes in order to have a career as a full-time
indie. The average conversion rate of downloads to sales is about 1%,
which means someone needs to be downloading my game demo every 27
seconds. That means I have to make my game really good.
I'm competing for your money against thousands of other games, most of
which are produced by larger companies with deeper pockets than mine.
So I have to make my games better than they have been in the past,
just to survive in this market.
of the frequent criticisms that I receive about the first Dirk Dashing
game is the graphics. Even though the game itself is fun, I'm
painfully aware that the graphics in the first game are flat, and
parts of the animation aren't very smooth. I'm planning to address
those issues in the sequel by making the animation smoother, applying
cell-shading to the characters and objects, and doing more detailed
backgrounds with lighting effects. Hopefully that will result in
better screenshots that will convince more people to download the game
and try it out.
the way, I'm nowhere near selling games at the rate of 1 every 45
minutes. If I sell a dozen in one day, I'm doing exceptionally well.
This is one of the reasons why I decided to risk going full-time (even
though the business can't sustain me yet), so that I could spend the
necessary time to make my games better. I look at it as an investment.
finally gotten around to implementing a much-requested feature for
Rick Rocket: the ability to customize keyboard keys and joystick
functions. I'm hoping to release an update for Rick Rocket within the
next few weeks. Here's a quick screen grab of what the new
customization screen looks like:
Cents Gents Update
night, I finished a recording session with Hilary Burris, the young
gal who did the voices for Fashion Cents. (She was 10 when we recorded
the original voiceovers back in 2003, and now she's almost 18!) We
recorded a whole new set of voiceovers for Gents. The original
valley-girl voices just don't work with that game, but I haven't been
able to arrange for her to record new voices until now. The new voices
are much better. And those of you who were concerned that some of the
Fashion Cents Deluxe voices sounded too rude won't need to worry this
time - we took care to avoid that problem with the new voices.
for an update to Fashion Cents Gents sometime next month. We also have
some new add-ons coming soon!
for Our Other Games
other games are pretty solid, and we haven't had many feature requests
lately. So the updates for those games will mainly involve adding
support for Windows 7 and upgrading to the latest version of SDL,
which will solve a number of audio issues on recent Linux
distributions. Those updates should be available sometime next month.
Top 10 Sellers
are the most popular games from last month!
Dashing: Secret Agent
Adventures of Rick Rocket
Star Soccer 2010
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