The end is pretty near...

by Niels Brouwers 30. December 2013 22:47

Well, at least the end of the year!

This year has been good, lots of great events have been happening in my life but since this blog is mainly about my game development activities I will stick to that. So far, The Carter Jones Adventures was released on BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone 8 and IOS. While the grunt of the work for the game was done in 2012 (and early 2013), it turned out to be quite challenging to find the time to actually finish the game for a specific platform. This was not due to the game, platform or tools but more because of my limited time for these activities.

Still, I did manage 3 platforms and there are a couple more coming up: Tizen, Android and I am considering Windows 8, the last one will be a challenge because it is not readily supported by the SDK that I am using. But it might be really easy and I will be investigating that soon.

Considering sales and downloads, I tried two strategies: the IOS and BlackBerry release were pay in advance downloads and did pretty bad considering sales. The Windows Phone 8 release was released for free with an in app purchase to enable level 5 and higher. So far the WP8 release got over 27.000 downloads, with just a few people who unlocked all levels.

So, financially, I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon :-). Something odd happened though, I included Flurry statistics in the IOS version and after a couple of days the number of users was growing but the sales were not! Turns out, the one sale in China (so far) got installed on 50 or so other devices, even on an ipad 1 with IOS 5.1! (I excluded that option in the App store, although the game runs ok on an ipad 1 - it just reverts to the lowres gfx, I intended a special release for this later on). So.....jailbreak anyone?

Anyway I hope everyone playing The Carter Jones Adventures enjoys it, I know I did while making it. I love to hear any comments so keep those coming please! I guess what 2013 boils down to is that I am now an official Indie Game Developer, and I think that is a pretty neat achievement!

And I plan on making more games, it is a great way to combine my art and developer skills.

Totally unrelated but still (literally) pretty cool: a swan I carved from a 50cmx50cm ice block. I actually made two swans facing each other but this picture worked out great solo. 

Halloween, monsters and all that!

by Niels Brouwers 25. October 2012 04:33

Hey everyone,

 It's been awfully quiet from me lately but there is a good reason for that. More than one actually! I can't mention them all just yet, unfortunately!

I have been very busy lately porting over my code from XNA to something completely different, it's now running in C++. In the process the whole idea of Carter Jones has been turned upside down: the graphics are different, the controls different, the platform is different. It is a totally different game but it will still feature Carter Jones as the main character. This was my plan all along, to have this one character starring in a series of games. I don't know what the future will bring, but at the moment I can safely say that the Carter Jones Adventures will be available before the end of january 2013 on at least one tablet device.

As soon as I have some screenshots that I can show you I will post them here!

Meanwhile, here's a monster that I did a very, very long time ago. I still like it but it wasn't designed to be animated and that makes it pretty useless for any in-game purposes.

I will be updating more frequently over the next period. For now, although maybe a bit early, I wish you a happy halloween from this place!

Smelly cat

by Niels Brouwers 5. August 2012 08:11

Today I just had to try out a new technique I saw on youtube. It involved making a drawing in Sketchbook and then adding a multiply layer and an ADD layer on top of that to create the shading in the drawing. Great technique, see picture below!

Maybe you remember Friends, Phoebe sang this song for smelly cat...



Productivity and stuff...

by Niels Brouwers 6. March 2012 19:00

When you are working at daytime on a 'normal' job and developing games in the evening it is sometimes difficult to get some productivity going on when you get back home from your day-job. Last week I was struck by some virus, causing headaches that started in the afternoon and had me going to bed early to try and recover more quickly. So I got nothing done at all in the evenings! Luckily this weekend things turned around, the illness has nearly gone away completely now and my energy levels are filling up back to normal. Being sick sucks...

Still, I did get some stuf done. I managed to work out some animation stuff (I am trying to build a simple editor using bones), it should enable me to do animations while on the go and I also did some level editing. I actually did some play-testing on games from other people as well, I like checking out what others are working on - it is one of the cool things about XNA / XBLIG development. Too bad many developers seem to be abandoning ship, even I am looking around at the alternatives. Ios, unity 3d, playstation suite - there is plenty to choose from! But first I shall finish the Carter Jones Adventures on XBLIG!

I am hoping to do some more drawing an finishing of stuff on the first level this week (especially enemy explosions need some work right now!).

Different cousin, different dog!

The year of the dragon

by Niels Brouwers 30. January 2012 06:36

'The year of the dragon'. Say that out loud a couple of times, it just sounds like a great (sub)title for a game or movie or something like that! I like dragons, never met one though, but I like them. Unfortunately I am a tiger according to chinese astrology and the tiger and the dragon....well...they don't seem to get along very well. I don't know if or how this will influence my plans for releasing the Carter Jones adventures this year, but I really want to get the game out there so I am putting quite a lot of effort into it!

In my next post I will get into some animation updates I have been doing / will be doing over the couple of days. Should be fun, animating anything is usually a lot of work: for each movement of a baddy in the game all the individual frames need to be drawn and although I try to cut corners here and there (using procedural animation / rendering stuff in 3D) it usually works out best if I drawn the core animations by hand.

I did make good progress last weeks. I refactored the entire background collission code which is now pretty much generalised and working great, to prove it worked I used the routines on the critter baddy and so refactored that code as well. In the process I managed to stumble upon a rare bug and fixed that as well.


Happy chinese new year!