The original list is from February. A lot has changed since then. There are 17 new videos in the Top 100. The 100th video viewcount increased from 58k to 93k. Total views from the Top 100 has increased from 22 mil to 33 mil. But other things remain the same… Armor is well in first, with BubbleBox still solidly second. Joey Betz is still my top dev, but John Cooney and Eugene Karataev are gaining. And the % of views from the Top 100 has decreased from 81% to 76%.
I received an email a few days ago asking me to fill out a survey about FGS, and what I filled in for the comments is pretty much what I am going to say here. I’ll only discuss those topics that I sat in on, which was all 3 developer story times that were in the dev room and all but 1 of the money panels (I also missed the NowBoarding storytime, but it was in direct competition with another story time). I did not hear anything about the 3 flash technologies that were discussed in the dev room.
Keynote: As stated in my previous post, we got to the keynote late, and only heard the last 10 minutes or so. However, I don’t understand the grandstanding of Jameson Huo (CEO of MochiMedia). I’ve said before that I have no idea how conferences generally work, but in my logical mind it seems appropriate for someone opening up a day of speakers to talk about the state of the industry, advances of the past year, hopes for the coming year… not to promote one’s own company and use it as a platform for announcing new services. People speaking are supposed to be imparting wisdom to assist those attending, not trying to boost their own bottom line (ok, everyone speaking is trying to boost their own bottom line… but it doesn’t have to be THAT obvious and in our faces).
AtomAtomic and Canabalt: I think I was pretty accurate with my statement in my previous rant from last month. Cool game, but no point/sense/need to have a 30 minute talk about how it was developed. It’s an incredibly simple game, and I think just about any successful game’s development story would have been quite similar, if not significantly more interesting.
History of Nitrome: Quite fascinating and entertaining, but I don’t know how helpful the talk was. I feel like their formula is fairly straight-forward… it just takes years of dedicated game development to get to the point that they’re at. Most developers could have taken a similar path as the Annals, they just didn’t have the drive or creative mindset to do so.
Next Gen Monetization: This panel was 4 guys who have microtransaction (MT) platforms trying to tell everyone why MTs are awesome, but that games need to be designed from the ground up to incorporate them; they can’t just be slapped on at the end. I certainly agree with what they said, but they pretty much covered everything they could say in about 5 minutes, then repeated themselves for another 55. The Social Gold guy barely spoke English (same with the moderator) and did not seem to add much at all to the panel. There was a question asked at the end of the panel that would have been quite worthwhile, except the douche who asked it was more interested in trying to be an asshole than actually asking something meaningful. He wanted to know why the 4 guys were only discussing MTs, when the topic of the panel was not “MTs in Flash Games,” it was “Next Gen Monetization.” Which is a perfectly valid question… and it stems from the selection committee either a) picking a bad topic or b) not picking a diversified enough group of people. I’ll go with B, given the group of people were all completely identical, just from different companies, although A could be accurate if all one wanted to do was change the name of the panel to match the people speaking.
Monetize Game Outside Sponsorship: So we got the money side of things from MT companies. Now we get the low and dirty from developers who all made a bunch of cash not getting their games sponsored… 3 through direct sale and 1 through MTs. Daniel James, while just as interesting as last year, didn’t really say anything new from last year (except the fascinating tidbit about Whirled losing 4+ million dollars). The Rocketbirds guy was a flat out terrible speaker, and probably detracted from the panel, having no idea what to say and admitting he had no idea what he was doing when monetizing his game. Colin Northway, after his plethora of comments and mockings last year, was rather refined when speaking. From talking with Andy Moore (Colin’s best friend, worked on Fantastic Contraption, and was the moderator of the panel) the night before over beers, I was informed that Colin had spoken about FC multiple times at conventions… my guess is he was a bit burnt out by it at this point. Overall, fairly interesting… you definitely can make way more money through this model, the game just needs to be really cool.
Sponsorship Panel: My proposed panel was so awesome that 2 of my speakers were stolen for this one. [/bitter]. Greg completely dominated this panel. Candystand was doomed from the start, because their member on the panel doesn’t even do sponsorships for them and she’d only been with the site for 4 months… my boy Dave Fahrer should have manned up and owned face on the panel. Joel Breton from Addicting Games seemed to be in his own little world during the panel, and apparently has a different opinion about his site’s sponsorship methods than that of every developer and other sponsor that I talked to (their speaker at last year’s FGS left the same impression). Lars is a cool guy, but he and Robin were toting the sugar-coated P.C. corporate verbage that nobody actually believes is truthful. And this is why Greg rocked it… he told the truth, bluntly. We’re all industry people, we’re all big kids, we all want to know the truth to make successful games as well as money… sugar coating sponsorships doesn’t help developers.
Boxhead: I’ll say the same thing I said directly to Sean Cooper about his talk… I didn’t understand 95% of it. But I’m not a developer, so it’s ok. The developers who I talked to about Sean’s talk (Jmtb, Gregory Weir, etc) all said that Sean is a genius. So I approve. However, it was also noted (and I agree) that he jumped around a lot, and didn’t really have a good flow from A to B in his talk. He also said something to me later in the day that I wasn’t sure if he was joking about or not (John said the same thing happened to him when talking to Sean); I’ll have to investigate more.
Zynga’s After Party: [rant]This started off strong… bus transportation from the conference to the bar. And it was all down hill from there. Let’s list the problems… 1) Extremely loud music is not conducive to networking. 2) Over 500 people at FGS this year, yet the bar is smaller than the 09 after party bar… could barely breathe, let alone move around. 3) Why, why, why, why, why did Zynga invite people from GDC to the party? Are they seriously that cheap that they can’t have 2 parties if they really want to host the FGS after party AND have a GDC party? It started off with all FGS people, but by about 8:00 it was filling in with old people in suits.[/rant]
So, I know this all comes across as pretty harsh… but this event is important to me and I’d like to see it be as awesome as possible. I also focused on the negative in this post, as I covered most of the positive things in the previous ones (networking, awesome people, etc). The event still needs to focus more on the games themselves, and less on profiting from them (I think we’re at the point where if we talk about monetization any more next year, it’ll just be a complete reiteration of this and last year’s talks). I think I have 1 more post’s worth of material, dealing with suggestions for FGS11.
Also, random note, I completely agree with something John said in his FGS10 blog post: it’s shocking how many social games are being developed in Flash; last year at the after party, I met all kinds of people doing random stuff in the industry… this year, almost every random person I talked to was working on a social game for Facebook.
by Tass on Feb.19, 2010, under ArcadeTown, armor games, BubbleBox, Candystand, Flash, Game, jmtb02, Joey Betz, kongregate, newgrounds, NinjaKiwi, NotDoppler, Pastel Games, Statistics, youtube, Zeebarf
I spent some time on 2/17/10 compiling a spreadsheet of my top 100 videos, their aprox viewcount (rounded down to closest 1000), sponsor, developer, and whether the video was featured in-game or not. From there, I tabulated the top sponsors and the top developers (only calculated devs with 3+ videos in top 100, unless they have 800k+ views).
I have 450+ total videos, so this is less than 25% of my total videos… but these 100 account for over 22 million of my 27+ million views, so they are a fairly accurate representation of the whole. Obviously, the farther down the list you look, the less accurate it is (like LegitGames having 1 video on there, but they have 2 others that just missed the cut).
Any questions or additional data you guys would like to see? I did not include the raw list of top 100, nor did I do any analysis of in-game vs not in-game. And TITOL2 is not counted in this list for Armor or jmtb.
I was just chatting with some of the fine folks in Kong chatroom Impossible is Nothing (IiN from now on) about how I didn’t know what to write about. Everyone was working on optimizing Wake Up The Box, which just got badges… so we moved on to discuss optimizing other games. Nudge was just released on Armor, so I challenged anyone to beat it in 24 hours without using my walkthrough… since even with the help of Rubix and 3 other people, it took us over 2 days to beat it.
I pulled Rubix in to back me up on how challenging a 24-hour 1st time completion of Nudge would be, and we started to reminisce about how amazing it was when we finally beat the final level (which took over a day, working together on strategy). To beat it, we had webcams set up so we could see each other’s strategies and discuss them in real time. When we did finally beat it, it was on Rubix’s machine, with me lending a 2nd pair of eyes through the lens. I’m pretty sure it was my best gaming moment to date. Not because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (I doubt it was)… but because of the massive undertaking it was, how god damn long the level wound up being, and because it was completely a team effort. It was pretty euphoric. (Here’s the level solved, if you want to see how crazy it is.)
From there, we moved on to discussing our favorite optimization games and creativity amongst game design within the Armor in-house dev team. Bix and I desperately want a 3rd TBA game and Zerris won’t ever shut up about how his Seppukuties levels are a gift from god (and to be fair, they’re really awesome).
So please share with me any gaming experience you’ve had that was as good as sex (and if you’re a virgin, just imagine what sex would be like). Also feel free to stop by IiN and say hello if you’re into high-end flash game strategy discussions and optimization.
I’m willing to bet that most don’t even know what FGS is. It stands for Flash Gaming Summit, and it’s put together by Mochi. It’s meant to bring together people in the industry, have some discussion, and generally make us all more kickass than we already are. Last year was the first event, and it directly led to many of my current business contacts. I can’t wait until March for the next one.
As someone who provides a non-crucial service, it’s hard getting people to know who I am and to listen to why I can help them. I’ve sent out countless emails to developers and sponsors over the past year, and for the most part… I’ve had a lot of success. I want to believe this is because I’m a flash-game super genius whose abilities have spread to all corners of the galaxy. In reality, I think it has to do with my ability to say that I work with sites like Armor, Kong, and Candystand. They give me clout. And it was at FGS09 that I had my first real conversations with Greg, Emily, and Jim from Kong and Dave from Candystand. Without FGS09, I likely would be working in a cubicle right now… and that is a scary thought.
So FGS is mega-important to me. To further promote myself (and, also because I think I have worthwhile stuff to say, in spite of this blog), I’ll be submitting a panel proposal; won’t share any details about the topic or who else will be on the proposed panel until I know whether it’s accepted or not though. I also hope that all of you fine folk will be attending. Please let me know if you will be… I’d love to say hello and share a danish. Plus, I’m curious if anyone actually reads this. :-/.
Coming soon to a Candystand near you is Nudge, a tasty morsel of Atomic Cicada puzzley goodness. It starts off as your standard “push” puzzler… move the object through the obstacles and to the exit. Sometimes baddies will try to stop you. But then it throws some new stuff at you. Purple and Green blocks that mirror your horizontal or vertical movements? That’s been done once or twice before, but is still fresh. But you may be asking yourself, “Self, why is this game called Nudge?” And that is what sets Nudge apart from other similar games. If you are 1 block away from a purple or green block, and you move towards it, it will Nudge you back a space. So you wind up not moving, but the blocks move a whole row. This creates a whole new world of possibilities for level creation.
Atomic Cicada is known for hard puzzle games, such as Minim or Grid. Nudge fits the bill. As I told Candystand’s Head of Game Development, Dave, “Nudge is hard. Really hard. Kick your grandma in the kidneys hard. But it’s still fun. As if grandma were a cartoon of herself.” You’ll be pulling your hair out, but you can’t stop playing because of the cute little creature you control and the catchy background music and sound effects.
Lastly, because I know you’ll want to explore the Nudge world a bit more, and create devilish puzzles yourself… Nudge comes complete with a level editor.
Look for Nudge soon of Candystand.com, and for my walkthrough of it at the same time! Here are a few more teaser screenshots of the game to whet your appetite: