Will Make Games for Food

So earlier on in the year I did a presentation at iFest Sydney about how to turn a passion for making games into a profession. It covers my journey from a student to a developer who makes a living off flash games.

I hope it has some useful perspectives you can take away if you’re looking to get started making money off flash games. If you have any questions just leave a comment!

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The Art of Level Design

Of all of my time spent on Mr Runner there is one thing which takes up most of my time – designing the levels.  I’d like to share a few lessons I’ve learned about level design that I think are really valuable.

1. Work out the feel of your game

Sounds simple, but its not. Mr Runner isn’t just a platfomer, it’s about conserving speed and momentum. Super Meat Boy is about very precise death-evasion. Knytt stories is about exploring. These are all platformers that have very different feels.
It’s important that you get a feel for your own game. When you work it out, this feel will be the root of all your levels. You’ll keep asking your self, does this level feel the way I want it to? For example, every level in mr runner you can do quickly by conserving momentum.

2. Only design levels that fit that feel

When I opened up Mr Runner 1 to the public, I let them design their own levels. Of these, only a handful were fun. This is because Mr Runner requires a very specific style of controls.

In Mr Runner, the controls are designed to be fun when you jump large distances, conserve momentum, time jumps perfectly, make big wall jumps. They aren’t designed to deal with very precise movements in small areas, stopping and starting, or waiting. The level design had to reflect this. It was never cramped, never required anything to finicky, and instead included large flowing movements that let you keep up your speed.

Put more simply, the game was never difficult because the controls were difficult. At all times, the player should feel as though it’s their fault they died, and this is almost entirely up to level design.

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Mr Runner Makeover

One of the most interesting things about writing a sequel is that you feel obligated to fix everything that was wrong with the first game. I’m being almost OCD about it, which might explain why the game is running very very very slightly late.

The latest thing that I’ve been working hard on is Mr Runner himself. I feel like he deserves extra treatment since the game is named after him. The first game didn’t really give him much context or character development. He was just a cute black square thing running through world. It was cute. He’s still a cute black thing running through a world but now, well,

Now he’s even cuter

[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAimation_Blog.swf" width=100 height=100]

And has a pet, Sir Scruffs

[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAnimation_Blog.swf" width=100 height=100]

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Why Pathos is Pathetic

I released Pathos Yesterday, and already it has had more comments than any of my other games… combined. It seems like people either love or hate it, in some cases both. I thought it would be worth writing up my own thoughts on the game and taking an inside look at the issues that have been raised online.

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Die Alien Die

Okay, I’ve got yet ANOTHER game for you to munch on. It’s a product of my 48 hours work in the latest Ludum Dare Competition.

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Announcing Chaos Invaders

There comes a time each year after about a month of slaving in front of your computer and seeing far too little of the world in general, where you get to announce a new game. Now is that time. I’m officially christening my latest project:

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Team Game Design

Over the last month, Sam and I have both started up new projects. The result of this is not only some seriously awesome looking half-way done games, but also a realisation on both our parts.

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Mechanic Design by Deconstruction

A little while back I wrote an article about developing games according to what I coined the “Experience Driven Game Design Paradigm”. You can check it out here, but I’ll sum it up for you anyway. Essentially, I was suggesting that in order to develop a game it is best to first start by designing an experience, then working backwards and fitting your mechanics into your game so it fully creates this experience. I went on to suggest that the best way to design an experience was by first experiencing it yourself by way of playing similar games. This article will look into the process of deconstructing these games and using their mechanics as inspiration for the experience in your own.

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Sam and Sash Break Down Splinter Cell

Sam Fisher. Professional Bad Ass.

So yesterday, we took some time off our tough and traumatic lives as Game Designers and Students in order to have a bit of fun. And by a bit of fun I mean a lot of fun. And by a lot of fun I mean Splinter Cell Conviction Co-op. Its worth sharing.

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Mr Runner Postmortem

All in a days work

So the adventure with Mr Runner’s development is pretty much coming to a close. I’ve still got a bit of work to do with selling some more non-exclusive licenses, but it’s done. It’s time to sit back and look at what has come out of the chaos of my experience. I’ll be talking about the creation process, finding sponsorship using FGL, working in partnership with cool sites like GameShed, and my personal analysis of the game.

I’m hoping that this article will be useful for any developers that are planning on making flash games of their own and finding sponsorship using FGL. Feel free to send me off an email with any other questions you might have about the development process! Read More

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