Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ticking Away

I don't write content as fast as I would want to.
If it were up to me, and I had time, I would write a new event for Misfortune every day. Unfortunately, time is a resource which I don't have much of. We have some vacations right now, which means my three and a half year old son is at home. He is trying to help me work. This usually causes for a very long random string of characters in the middle of any text I write.
In addition, I have some hectic events in my life which I really don't want to get into, which also consume much of my time and mental resources, so the whole content writing is a bit in delay.
I will try to write some more next week, I promise.
Diehard GameFAN wrote a review about Misfortune, which made me blush. In fact, the things he wrote in the review are exactly the things that we though about when designing the game, so it was wonderful to read.
In addition, Misfortune got second place as best Israeli developed web game of the year yesterday. That was nice. I wanted to get first place. Nothing is ever enough for me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You Keep On Knocking But You Can't Come In

I am running into difficulties, trying to advertise my game.
I do have a problematic policy of "don't invest money into marketing... yet". This doesn't leave me with a lot of options. I have blogs, and I have forums.
The forums are a big problem as well. I am not a long time member of any forum, so the only thing I can do is register into one, perhaps respond to a few threads, and then mention my game. Most often than not I am flagged as a spammer, which hurts my feelings, although granted, I am a spammer. I am a bit clumsy in my approach, and haven't honed it well yet. If the internet were a pub, I would be the creepy guy who approaches women and says "Hey baby, is your father a gardener...?"
The blogs are a different story altogether. The internet has a huge supply of game related blogs and sites, which stands to reason, since a lot of people want to be paid to play games. It's the new dream job, replacing being a star in Hollywood.
I wrote a nice template to send to blogs. In the beginning, I tried to personalize the mail according to the site to which I am sending the mail. I would read some articles, point out some notes regarding the site in the e-mail. I really tried. However, I discovered that when I do that, I get really hurt if they don't respond, and since only one in six blogs responded, I got hurt a lot. So now I send the template.
I've already earned about 10-15 positive reviews of "Misfortune", which to my surprise, didn't help me one bit. All those blogs have very few followers, and I didn't get many visitors from them.
The only real success I've had so far is by posting my game in reddit, which brought me about 1,600 visitors in one day.
I'll keep on trying different things. There are bound to be more reddits out there, right?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

You're IT

I am the person in charge of the server in Loadingames. Yup, I am the IT guy. And there is nothing I hate more.
I don't know what it is in Linux that inspires such fear in me. I swam with crocodiles in South America, walked over swaying bridges above roaring rivers in the far east, ate some really spicy food in India. None of those caused the tingling of dread I feel when I try to configure my server to do what I need it to do.
Which is why I feel Facebook really screwed me over.
For those of you who don't know, Facebook have decided that from now on, all applications in Facebook must have HTTPS security. They did so without consulting with me first, which makes me feel betrayed almost as Eduardo Saverin in "The social network".
So now I have to delve deeply into the joyful world of SLS, Apache configuration, certificates and the rest. Until I figure this out, we have a nice canvas in Facebook, sending all players to our site so that they can play from there.
On a lighter note, I've published a new wrestling event, which enables the players to wrestle with some shady characters. As simple as this event seems, it is one of the most complex and branched events in Misfortune.
Additionally, I've also published the events I've mentioned in my previous post, so anyone who wants to delve deeper into the story of Misfortune, merely has to log in and play a little.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Down With Someone or Other!

I never cease to amaze myself with my polarity.
I've been following Notch's blog for a while now. For those of you who somehow don't know, Notch is the founder of Minecraft, one of the most successful, if not the most successful indie games ever made.
There is a bit of a thing going on with Mojang (Notch's company) right now. Apparently they are working on a game called "Scrolls". A much larger company, familiar to all, called Bethesda, is working on a series of games called "Elder scrolls", in which the latest release called Skyrim is to be published on November. I am actually pretty excited for that release. I've played Oblivion, which is the previous game in the series and it was amazing.
Bethesda served some legal papers to Mojang regarding the trademark of the name "scrolls". It was a cease and desist letter with some mentioning of legal fees... I won't go into that.
This generated some buzz in the net, with Bethesda being the evil malicious corporate and Mojang being the innocent victim. I was caught up with the resentment and anger towards Bethesda.
Now, to set things straight, I have a pretty strong apathy towards things that don't concern me directly. It comes from a belief that the world is an evil place and life sucks, and we can't do anything about it. However I do want to care. I remember days when I was young and innocent and I felt very strongly about... well everything, and I really want to feel that again.
So I decided that I want to care about this whole Mojang/Bethesda thing. I thought about it, got myself pretty fired up, and this morning I started the day by thinking "Today, I am going to start a world wide protest against Bethesda!"
The thought was something along the lines of demonstrating to Bethesda that their consumers are angry at their petty and evil legal tricks. So angry, in fact that some of them will not buy Skyrim... this year. January is good.
So, riled up as I was, fuming and muttering, I went to Facebook and open a page which was called "Bethesda, we can read" (which was supposed to clarify that we know the difference between a game called "Scrolls" and one called "Elder scrolls: Skyrim"). And then Facebook asked for an image for the page.
This never happens in the movies. It should have been a done deal. Open protest page -> bang! millions of angry consumers -> Bethesda retracts their lawyers and I saved the day. An image? Fine! I went to Flickr and searched for scrolls. And then I went for thirty minutes through thousand of scroll images. Eventually I took one myself:

However, something happened during the time I was looking for an image. I stopped caring. I suddenly couldn't be bothered. I also read this post by Russ Pitts which made me doubt Mojang's stance... Who is right? who is wrong? Meh, what do I care.
Eventually I deleted the page, and went on with my day.
Final thoughts: I am still with Mojang about this issue, but I also don't want people to cut the rain forests in Brazil. However, I am not doing anything for either things. 
A new version in the game! The skills have tooltips which explain them! Events with skill tests have some clear explanations! Yay!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Think the Butler Did It

There's a lot of mystery in Misfortune.
Some of them are short term mysteries, like the "death in white" story, in which detective Dranus hires the protagonist to help him find out who murdered Mr. Popshaw. No, it was not Colonel Mustard.
However, some are encompassing mysteries - who tried to kill the protagonist in the beginning, and why? Why are there secret passages within the city? What's the deal with the fortune teller and her predictions? And so on.
The thing I hate most about "Lost" (and that's the reason I stopped watching the show), is that there is clearly a mystery, and the creators clearly don't know the explanation behind it. A mystery has to have a solid explanation. I don't think it necessarily needs to be shown, but if it doesn't exist, people can feel it. The question stops being "I wonder how this all ties in together" and starts to be "How are they going to tie this up?"
Don't even get me started about Fringe.
I make sure that everything I write ties up. If a question is asked, I already know the answer to it. Perhaps the player doesn't, and it is even possible he never will, but hopefully he will feel that the game isn't simply pulling rabbits out of its hat. No, it had these rabbits beforehand.
I am working on several events which will hopefully amplify the touch of mystery in the game, and they will be published later this week.