Tag: Hero Interactive
Been way too long since I posted… so here’s at least a quickie.
I had submitted a panel proposal to speak at last year’s FGS, but was turned down. The same proposal was submitted for this year, and was accepted. FGS was this past Sunday. I spoke, along with my friends Jared Riley of Hero Interactive, Dan Stradwick of Monster’s Den fame, and Alex Shen from Mochi Media. Moderated by John Cooney of Armor Games.
You can watch the hour-long panel here, thanks to Adobe. I make some interesting commentary.
Jared Riley, the main man behind Hero Interactive, was kind enough to give me a sneak preview of a 99% completed Bubble Tanks 3. The game features all of the exploration and tank destroying goodness of the 2 previous games while incorporating in the sexy editors from Arenas to allow for insane customization.
As Jared keeps telling me, and I agree, the best feature of BT3 is that every time you load the game up… you’ll be getting a new experience. BT3 won’t be a distribute-and-done game, oh no. The HI team will continue to create new content via Parts Packs that will add new bubbles, weapons, parts, enemies, etc. However, because this level of post-production development is time consuming, these parts packs will not be free. Expect about 1 a month, loaded with new content, for only $4.99 each.
To help promote tomorrow’s launch of the game on ArmorGames, Jared has given me 5 free parts packs to give away. You’ll need to do 2 things to win: 1) post a comment to this story today and 2) register an account at BubbleTanks. Do both of these, and you could be the proud owner of Bubble Tanks 3 Parts Pack 1 for FREE!
edit: winners are: domizcool, kranix, tardis, chimto, saiba. Congrats!
So I submitted a speaking proposal to FGS for a panel. I wanted to have a topic that would focus on game development, and not on ways to maximize profit. Last year’s panels and speakers seemed to almost entirely focus on making money, not touching on what makes the products worth paying for. A good game is going to result in profit. I thought about what I know and would be able to tell other people about, and game polish seemed like the most appropriate topic. With that in mind, I set to work on putting a panel together and hashing out a basic framework of what would be talked about.
To me, the most important thing was to get a solid panel, full of well known, experienced, respected, and diversified people. Naturally I would be on it, as it’s my panel. I reached out to Greg to speak from a sponsor’s perspective, and he readily agreed. Together, we chatted about who else we wanted to ask to join us. Jared Riley from Hero Interactive was my first choice, and Greg quickly agreed. Jared makes high quality games that are almost always highly polished. He is also someone that I talk to on at least a semi-regular basis. He quickly agreed, seeming really pumped at the topic and people involved. The 4th member was a longer road. We weren’t sure who we wanted, but we decided we wanted a 2nd developer. It took a bit to narrow it down, and we had one or two people who weren’t going to be at FGS this year… but we eventually brought Daniel Stradwick (garin) in. After that, I felt we had a perfect group… myself from a gamer perspective, Greg as a sponsor, Jared from his dev role running HI, and Daniel as a dev who works 6+ months on massive RPGs.
I named our panel, “Game Polish – Make Your Games Shine,” which I thought was a really catchy title… always an important thing. I also wrote up a catchy session description. However, what I’m guessing resulted in our panel being passed over is the lack of fully describing the benefit of the panel. It was something I had a hard time doing, as it just seems so obvious to me how beneficial this topic is… if you don’t make a game that has all the little things done well, it’s going to wind up pissing off too many users to the point where they stop playing it. I tried to put this into more business-like terms, but I didn’t really have much substance there. There was also an option to add a secondary abstract that was much longer, but I did not include one of these. I have a hard time putting my thoughts down well into writing, and when it’s something formal I tend to be curt.
My other fear is that I am the cause of my panel’s rejection. I’m not a sponsor, I’m not a developer… I’m just a gamer. I could see some of these people look at who I am on paper and think I’m not qualified to be speaking, or am not a big enough name to be on a panel. I really hope this is not the case. Besides the fact that I have the support and ear of many of the top portal owners and developers, I did also run the most popular casual flash game ever created for 3+ years. I may not fit inside that little box of sponsor-developer… but I damn well know what I’m talking about, I provide a completely different perspective on things than most industry people, and that seems like something that other people would benefit from.
Now I am anxiously waiting to see what the speaking topics will be at FGS. Hopefully looking at them I’ll see that my panel was outclassed. I will be very disappointed if this year’s topics all deal with profit and don’t have anything to do with game design. And I am disappointed in having my panel rejected… I was looking forward to having the opportunity to share my insight with everyone. Oh well… there’s always 2011.
Last March, I was fortunate enough to meet the entire Hero Interactive studio… Jared, Eric, and Steph. Cards were played, fun was had by all. Since then, I’ve done what I can to assist them on their games; my usual stuff… feedback, testing, walkthroughs. They seem to value my input and listen to my suggestions, which is always nice.
Today I was given the opportunity to test their long awaited BTTD. I’m not going to spoil anything or give much away… you’ll get to play it yourselves soon enough. But, what I really noticed was that I had very little to critique. It’s obvious right from the start how much work went into the game. Granted, they were able to learn from all the feedback from Pirate Defense… but actually doing it and doing it well is a feat worth praising.
What I will say is that the game is VERY hard. Like… VERY hard. At least for me. The easy levels are exactly that… easy. The medium levels aren’t hard either. But the difficulty jump on the hard levels is BAM. I spent a few hours messing around on a bunch of different hard levels, and beat exactly 1… imo, the easiest one (only hard until you figure out that specific level’s trick, something none of the other levels have). I’m hoping Jared will take some pity on me tomorrow and explain what I’m doing wrong to fail so miserably.
One note in my defense (read: an excuse)… I don’t juggle. If you watch my videos, you’ll notice every single TD video I have is no-juggle. The only times I’ve ever juggled is for The 100 on DTD and the 4-entrance spawn speed thing for DTD Pro, both of which were badge reqs that were 100% impossible to do without juggling. I will try something 100 times to try and do it without juggling (DTD Pro Scenario 23) before attempting it with juggling. I can juggle; I just abhor the micromanagement aspect of it… not to mention that I feel like I’m cheating every time I juggle.
So I don’t know how many vids you’ll be seeing from me on BTTD. I’d love to do them; I know Jared will feature them in-game and they’ll get a ton of views… I just don’t want to cop out and make juggling vids. Maybe he’ll appreciate my failures and accept my vids on easier levels… then take vids that other people make of the hardest levels with juggling and add those as well. It just really does feel like failure on my part, and that is not something I accept easily.