Wow! 2017 was a HUGE year for us! Even wist the rest of the world outside these studio walls not doing so well, in here everything's coming up Milhouse! With this post, I wanted to take a trip back through the year and a brief look forward into next. It's been an eventful year, so I hope you're all comfy! ALL ABOARD!Read More
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Hey everyone! Eric again... looks like I might start handling these more often. Maybe. Likely. Kinda. I don't know. Ask Jay. I just usually write the pretty stories. He seems to think I can write more editorial pieces as well. So, here we go. If you don't like it, not my fault. Blame the “Boss Man” and not me. I want to talk about the developer to publisher relationship in gaming today. Or at least, what was the relation and what seems to be changing about it recently. At least from my point of view.Read More
Hey guys, Eric here. Been a while since I did one of these... let's see if I can remember how to do this. Ahem. Welcome to the Wraith Blog! Wait... no, no... this is a topic much too serious for all the joking around I'm usually known for when I do these. This is about the current direction that free-to-play puzzle games, but really all free-to-play games, are going in lately. So yes, this may come across a little preachy on my end, but I promise I bring this up out of love for the industry.Read More
Hey all! I really wanted to get this blog post out sometime last week (I knew it really couldn't be Monday, though), because I wanted to start off by showing some pictures from our Microenterprise class graduation. It... well, it took them a while to get the pictures to us students, unfortunately, but we have them now! I have a few other pieces of news as well, but I'll cover those after this part. So lets make the magic happen!Read More
Hey all! Things have been going really well around here as of late, though, if I'm being honest, today's blog post will probably be pretty short. See, most of you already know roughly what we have to report on anyway, so none of the news is really "huge" or anything. With that being said, here are "4 Short Updates From Wraith" (and yes, that is supposed to be a Simpsons reference hidden behind several layers of incomprehensible). Let's rock!Read More
Hey all! It's been one heck of a week! Kristy and I started working on finishing up Radarkanoid for the Kentucky Fried Pixels game jam, interviewed a potential new member of the team, met with Mark about getting the new Collapsus demo ready for Indy PopCon (and subsequently the weekly builds), Steve has been working on some shirts and a new animated intro, Eric & Adam have been prepping to represent us at Indy PopCon, got the new sticker, buttons, two new demo tablets (and our monthly order of Monster), worked on finalizing our next three event appearances, and finally started uploading stuff to our Instagram (you can follow us there, here:
Hot dang! That's a lot of stuff going, on. Oddly enough, it's actually our Instagram I wanted to talk about. Well, in a roundabout way, I guess. Hit it!
Our Instagram has only been up for a day, but we've had well over 30 likes on our pictures already. When we really started to step up our Twitter game a few months ago we were surprised at how well we took to it and it really is starting to look like Instagram will follow suit! "But wait!' I can hear you say, "don't your pictures often suck?!" Why yes: they often do, unfortunately. Here are some pretty good examples:
Oh, god! What even are those! Yikes!
of our photos aren't as bad as these, even most of the "good" ones aren't the best. Heck, I took photography class in school! I should know better! Well, as with a lot of the best changes around here, leave it to Steve and our buddy Lance T. Miller to make it right.With Steve's amazing brand guidance and a great prep-course on taking brand photos from Lance, I'm ready to make sure you have the best brand photos for your eye-holes!
BAM! Now that's what we're talking about. Clean, well shot, in focus, and visually interesting! This is what you all can expect from our photos from now on! Bar. Raised. That's why it took so long to get this Instagram started. I had to make sure that this is the type of quality we'd be putting out from now on... and luckily, it seems to be paying off so far!
Well, that was a quick one. Obviously, we have tons of new stuff heading your way very, very soon. So stay tuned and you can bet your sweet bippy that the next few months will be non-stop (and well photographed) action!
Hey guys! Sorry about the lack of a post last week. We were doing quite a lot and it just wasn't in the cards, I guess. With Memorial Day yesterday, I guess this means we've been 8 whole days without a blog post. Yikes! Hey, remember when we'd go whole months without a post? Heck, we pretty much skipped all of 2013. Dark times, dark times. I'll make sure that won't happen again and I'll also try to make sure this article doesn't disappoint!Read More
10. It's not just passion. I'm reminded of Cal Newport's book "So Good They Can't Ignore You". Now, I don't intend to step on the points made in the book. It's a great read and you should really pick it up yourself. No, the reason I'm reminded of it is because it's entire point is that the whole "follow your passion" mantra is kind of bunk. Yeah, passion is important, but there needs to be more.
Early on, when I was trying to find team members, I was looking for people who were as passionate about game creation as I was (and I hate to say, passionate in the same way I was). Over the years, we've had a few people leave the team, and I hate to say, that did play into it. I was unfairly looking for people who would throw their whole lives into something like I did, and that just wasn't fair. I mean, I'm an entrepreneur after all. If someone was as passionate about my company as I was, they would have just attempted to make their own?
Expecting too much passion from your team members isn't the only problem. You can't expect too much out of yourself, either. At some point, you just end up burning the candle at both ends. Heck, I've seen too many times where creators end up hating the thing they once loved because they pushed themselves too hard. They didn't get enough rest, they set unrealistic deadlines for themselves, it can truly end tragically if you let it.
So, find a balance and be forgiving, to yourself and your team members. When you wind this balance, you'll end up making much better work than you did without it.
Last week we had artist extraordinaire Lance T. Miller and The One True Eric (Eric Baxter) of Nerdyish Things (yes, our part-time blog writer, Eric) in to kick this mural's butt! It seems to be coming along really well, if I do say so myself! It's really cool to look at the wall and see all of the cool stuff from games you've worked on (or plan to work on for some of them) sprawled out in front of you. It's just so awesome! Like, in the literal sense: it just fills you with awe! Okay, well it does for me anyway. Take a look:
Pretty nice, huh? It's really coming along. Only a little more sketching to do (probably another day's work worth) and then we're outlining the sketch with Sharpie. After that's the paint! Really no clue how long it'll take in total, but it hopefully won't be too long now.
That's pretty much all the news on the mural side of things. Now on to the blog news.
It's been about half a year since we started doing weekly blogs. It seems to have been a huge success! Before, blog posts were random and there was little incentive to even do them at all most of the time. This weekly format really makes us think about what we're posting and get something of value out of it. So, we're pretty sure we're going to continue this format for the foreseeable future. If it ain't broke and whatnot. Well, if we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing, what's this part about? Well I wanted to talk briefly about some things we want to be doing with the blog in the near future. A teaser, of sorts.
As you probably know, we've started up two ongoing series about the industry recently: "Where Do I Get Started" and "11 Things We've Learned from 11 Years in Game Development". We should have some new posts in both of those series here soon. The cool thing about those is that it (hopefully) won't just be me and/or Eric. We're trying to get not only the rest of the team doing little snippets on them, but also maybe some guest spots from other developers we know as well. Wouldn't that be cool?!
Other than that, we have a few other posts planned. We want to do a postmortem on both the mural & the studio remodel as a whole, a few more random development posts (for Collapsus, Physix, and Radarkanoid), a Radarkanoid launch post, a Radarkanoid postmortem, a couple posts about the status of the Collapsus weekly builds (when they're going on), at least one post leading up to the Collapsus Kickstarter, a Collapsus Kickstarter postmortem, a Collapsus Greenlight post, and maybe a few more Collapsus posts as well (like for the console releases, Arcade Edition, "weird ports", DLC, promotions, and the like). Then we shift into more Physix, JPH, and Cave Worm posts, but those are a while off.
Now, setting aside the 50 million development posts I just mentioned, you can also expect a post on the shirt making process, a post on the interviews we've been in recently, a post about making our old (crappy) game; FlyGuy, a post about our old (crappier) pre-FlyGuy games, a few posts about events we're either going to be at or breakdowns after we come back from them, a few posts about the game jam we're trying to organize, and hopefully a lot more (we are doing 52 blog posts a year, after all! That's a lot of air time to fill). There's even a few secret posts we have planned that we can't quite talk about, but we're sure you'll love!
There's just so many cool ideas we have ready to spring on you... so just stay tuned!
So let's start with Collapsus. Right now we're working on several things all at once on Collapsus. We're adding some new power-ups, getting started generating the Puzzle Mode puzzles, dabbling with true online connectivity, and tons more. That's pretty much where all our effort is, if I'm being perfectly honest. This is all in the service of getting the first weekly build live for you to all enjoy. After that is the Kickstarter filming (followed by the campaign's launch), Greenlight campaign, and hopefully the actual game's launch not too terribly long after that! So exciting! We have a long way to go, but we've already covered more ground in a relatively short amount of time, so we're confident we'll get there pretty quickly. We should have a lot of new WIP Wednesday and Screenshot Saturday content for Collapsus up on Twitter as we get closer to our deadlines, so watch out for those!
As for Physix, Steve has been kicking butt and taking names in the 3D modeling department. We're going for a modular approach to asset creation and what he's whipped up (or should I say, WIP'ed... eh... get it? That bad? Okay, I'll stop.) is simply breathtaking. He's just getting warmed up, too! Take a look:
Radarkanoid basically just has one bug. We're taking time to fix that bug here shortly. It sucks that it's one little thing like that holding us back, but it is what it is.
As for the studio, it's basically still just the floors and mural. Both should be finished up really soon, with a time lapse of Lance T. Miller working on the digital painting just around the bend as well! In the mean time, we do have some shots of Kristy and I working (taken by Steve), when the three of us were working a couple weeks ago:
Other than that, we do have a few other things of note going on. For starters we're trying to set up a big game jam here in Hamilton. You'll hear lots more about that as it develops. Also, we're in the process of completing our third interview of the year! Press coverage is awesome. You'll have a blog post dedicated to that here soon, too. There's probably more that I'm not thinking of, but I guess that just means we'll have more surprises at some point!
Hope that was enlightening! We're jam-packed with all sorts of awesomeness coming just around the corner, so stay tuned! Next week: More focused thoughts? Let's hope!
Okay, so as you probably know if you've been following us, the studio remodel is going pretty swimmingly. Got the "normal" painting done and all of the spiffy new furniture in! What we have left to do, though, is order those roller shades (either in purple or orange, probably purple), get a new filing cabinet (also the same color dilemma), get the floors ordered and down, and a few other things. Lets talk those floors first before moving on.
This Wednesday we're going down to a laminate floor place and picking up samples so that way we can know what looks good in the space as well as what the Hamilton Mill will allow. They're pretty flexible with that sort of thing, so whatever we choose shouldn't be a problem, really. Right now they're really swamped with other projects anyway, like the Municipal Brew Works brewery going in downstairs, Glance Software moving form one office space to a bigger one down the hall, the mural going up in the lobby and the one going in outside, so we'll try to make the decision for them as comfortable as possible.
After the samples are done, we can install it. We're doing it ourselves with a bit of help from some family and friends. Laminate isn't a very hard install.
The mural we're partnering on with Lance T. Miller on is ramping up in a serious way. Currently he's working on a series of timelapse videos chronicling the sketch and digital painting steps which will be edited into one big video that we'll share at some point here soon. He're a great black and white shot of the digital sketch of it he did a few days ago. It's pretty sweet!
Now, there are quite a few little things going on as well. Recently we got our "Verified" badge on Google+ and we're working on that for Facebook as well, which means that we're getting a phone number for the studio here very soon since it's pretty much required. Hopefully Twitter will follow, but those badges are notorious to get.
We've also just picked up an Instagram. Hopefully the're will actually be something on it soon. We should have a LinkedIn profile and a BBB page in a few weeks as well. Speaking of social media and search, though, after the remodel is 100%, we will be having that Google photographer back to do those interior shots for Google Maps. You'll be able to do a 360° tour of our little studio!
Other than that, we have some team news. It hasn't been all settled yet, but it's possible that one former team member (who will remain nameless until the official announcement) and up to three new interns will be joining us! This is all pretty cool, especially since with Collapsus almost finished, Physix will be top priority soon and that's quite a bit bigger.
Well, that's really all there is this week. We should have even more news next week, hopefully a postmortem on the studio, an official Kickstarter video shoot announcement, Collapsus news, or a team member announcement. Who know?! Maybe it'll be one MEGA post with all of them! Hey, I can dream, right?!
Until next time!
Oh yes, oh yes, we sure have been busy around here! We've shopped, picked up packages, assembled furniture, planed things, moved heavy stuff, assembled more furniture... we've done it all these past few days, and we have a ton to show for it!
Oh, yeah! Cant wait to start working here! The old desk was pretty terrible all the way around (though it was built like a WWII tank). This layout is so much more open and we can really get stuff done with a setup like this.
Lets take a look at our little recording area over by the greenscreen...
Yea, I know it's been a while. But I've been working on some projects that needed my attention. Though, maybe as I catch up, Jay might ask for some more help with the blog again. For now, you got me this week because he's rather ill. And I think I speak for us all when I say we wish him well again soon.
You're likely curious about what the blog will be about with no announcements and the remodeling on hold as we all know Jay is not the only one to be sick. Well, as a writer I'm not involved in an in-depth way with Collapsus. So I got nothing. What I do have is some insight on some really awesome trends I've been noticing online.
I'm sure we've all had trolls and people just looking to give you a bad time online. You can't avoid it. So I'll say it's been real nice to see some great communities with my streaming. Most other streamers I've met are rather down-to-earth people. They're just trying to make their way and enjoy sharing their games with others. I've even made a few friends with some others streamers on a solid enough basis that we're looking to start a stream team together real soon. If anyone of you happen to follow my personal Twitter, you've likely seen me elude to such things.
But the real surprise, and the major point I want to make for the blog, is just how amazing it has been to work with other indie studios. So many are ready to tap streamers and content creators and set a working relationship with them to utilize word of mouth to help spread hype for their games, and more-so treating even small channels, such as myself, with nothing but the utmost respect. I've not once seen a studio requesting me to give anything but my honest opinion, a fact many wouldn't believe unless they experienced it, I'm sure. I know I might have been skeptical had I not seen it myself.
The point I'm trying to make about all this is simple. Gaming brings people together. Developer. Content creator. Gamer. We're all in this together and it's been refreshing to see working proof of just that. Everyone, I'm sure this is a trend I know Wraith supports and strives to keep and I would implore you to reach out to your favorite studios. Introduce yourself in an email. Ask for updates. I'm sure more often than not, you'll gave a happy reply from a developer excited to hear someone curious about their game.
I know it's not your usual blog, but I hope it was enjoyable nevertheless. I miss writing these things sometimes, so make sure to tell Jay you want me back more often. Stay safe, everyone! And take care of one another.
Alright then, let's get to it! Que the title card!
Usually when people ask us "how do you get started making games if you don't know how to program" or some variation on that, instead of asking about how to get started programming, it's usually about what tools one can use instead of programming. I don't find this version of the question very interesting nor do I find it's answer very helpful (or honest, for that matter). I'll go ahead and answer it, though, because it does help broach the broader subject.
For general "programming-free" game engines, Construct 2 (our personal pick for best on this list), Stencyl, GameMaker, GameSalad and Fusion 2.5 (formerly Multimedia Fusion) spring to mind. There are many others, but these are some of the best. For something more specific, GameGuru (a spiritual successor to 16-year-old-me's personal favorite, FPS Creator) and RPG Maker. For making text-based adventures and visual novels, Twine is hard to beat. This is where the great lie is found, though! All of these claim to be "programming-free" and in a few, you can get some results without going under the hood, but to make the types of games that most people want to make and play, you have to get your hands dirty. These tools all have fairly powerful scripting languages inside of them, and while a lot of the time it may not look like programming (especially with the "general" engines I listed, which all look suspiciously similar to one another) you're essentially doing just that.
That's not to burst anyone's bubble, though. I'm just saying that to highlight how important to game development programming really is. Even in the "programming-free" options, they have to "trick" you (for lack of a better word) into programming. As such, these tools are actually great starting points into getting into "real" (again, for lack of a better word) programming and thus the ability to use more complex tools like Unity3D. Just know going into them what they really are and that nothing comes easy. You can't just make a AAA quality game without putting lots of sweat and time into it (and even then, you'll probably make something much smaller and less polished, but that's not a bad thing and can often be better, in my opinion).
So, what should you do if you want to get started with just programming? Well, might I suggest Code.ORG? It's a great place to get started with programming if you have no prier experience. It really helps get you into the programming mind set before moving onto bigger things. It uses a "language" called Blockly (which resembles the interfaces of those "general" engines, I mentioned earlier). Scratch (which is very similar) is also a great starting point.
CodeCombat is another great choice! It's a game that helps you make games! It's actually pretty fun as well! Code Hunt and CodeFights are other great games that teach you to program!
If you want a more traditional "class" format, right on your computer Coursera, Lynda, and Udemy are pretty great. Just be careful, though. Most of these classes aren't free like most of the other resources listed above and can actually get pretty pricey in some cases, but they often go on sale, so just keep your eye's peeled.
Other than that, even just watching YouTube tutorials on how to mod games you already love to play is a great way to get into programming. Bethesda games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 or Valve games like Portal of HalfLife 2 are some of the best because they tools to mode them are readily available and the developers actively encourage modding.
So, if you're wanting to get into game making, but don't know how to program... just learn to program! While it can be hard at times, it's more than doable for most people and can even be fun if you go at it the right way! The world needs more programmers!
We really hope this helps! If there's enough positive response on this article, we may do more. Perhaps a follow-up to this one? Or maybe one about sprite art, 3D modeling, sound, game design, marketing or any number of other things. Let us know how you liked it on Twitter, Facebook or G+
That being said, today, I want to talk about more studio remodeling! Any time we post about remodeling, we get tons of people mentioning how awesome what we're doing is. That was just Phase 1 (if you remember our blog post from a few months back). Now on to Phase 2!
What you're seeing right here is our new logo decal above our green screen! Pretty slick, huh? Well, it took several hours to put up, so it better look good. For some reason, they shipped it to us in pieces! Weird. It also didn't really like cooperating with our new wall paint. No big. We got it up and we're all pretty happy with it!
As for what's next for the remodel, we're going to start by getting a standing desk. We're thinking about the larger Skarsta from Ikea.
We are still getting chairs, for when we want to sit, however. We're modifying these with casters!
"Well duh", I can practically hear you saying. Well, yes, of course there is, but now is the right time for us to actually take those steps. As of this week, we've filed to become an LLC (Limited Liability Company). This is a pretty standard type of company; in fact, it's pretty much the most common type of business out there. A great big thanks to The Hamilton Mill for not only housing our studio, but for helping us get this paperwork out the door!