Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Cleaning!

The front developers' room looks much better! This room is for the artists and musicians. (Concept art wall is behind me to the right and not pictured unfortunately)


Thursday, May 23, 2013

See you in FFXIV: ARR!

August 27th! I'll be on a legacy server though, since there's no way in hell I'm going to wipe my character with all those level 50's!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

RE: The 2013 console generation.

See: 'If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards' @ Gamasutra

Okay, we know the next generation's console lineup.

I understand the technical limitations from changing to a new architecture. However, for someone to say that 5% of gamers are going to play 'old' games is way off. By abandoning backwards support, you're inclined to believe that you can only survive with a few current-generation titles and abandoning all your library.

What defines an 'old' game? Halo 4 certainly isn't old.


I'm done. I'm getting an OUYA.

Monday, May 20, 2013

RE: Free-to-Play Games

For game developer friends:

Something to consider in this age where 'failed' MMOs [SWTOR/TERA/now Rift] are changing to cash shop F2P transactions, as well as Zynga Inc./other companies that put out Facebook games where you can pay to become better than your friends.

There are certain games [League of Legends] that have somewhat of a good business model that puts free players on the same level as those who pay, and it pulls off somewhat well.

However, who knows what or how to solve the historically bad stereotypical reputation of the type of players that plague F2P games.

http://www.pocketgamer.biz/r/PG.Biz/Vlambeer+news/news.asp?c=51007
 

Thank you for supporting Selatria!

Thank you all for supporting the Selatria Indiegogo campaign!

Unfortunately, our campaign has almost come to an end, and we have only raised $701 of our $5000 goal. However, that doesn’t mean we’re giving up hope for the future of Selatria.

Plans are being set into motion to revamp the message we’re trying to send, have better public relations to get our game out there a bit more, ask for a much smaller goal, and have a dedicated fan-base to launch our revamped pitch with.

We’re currently working on a new video to show the production of the game, launching with three trailers and an updated demo with new visuals.

For those who have ordered their perks for the Selatria project, you’re not forgotten! As this is flexible-funding, we will certainly use what we’ve raised to continue development on the game, although due to not reaching our goal, it is not feasible to finish the project by September as originally anticipated. Your perks will come as they’re finished/ready. The game/complete soundtrack/additional perks will be sent when the project comes to completion, so please do not be concerned and consider your contribution a pre-order for the final version of the game at a greatly discounted price.

For more information on development for Selatria, you can check the following links.
Game Company Webpage: http://whimindie.com/selatria
Selatria on IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/selatria
Selatria on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Selatria
Selatria on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/selatria
Selatria on Tumblr: http://selatria.tumblr.com/

We hope that those who have supported us for the Indiegogo campaign will support us when we prepare the game for its next endeavor!

Thank you,

Grover Wimberly IV
Selatria Producer/Director

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Selatria Outtakes: Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper (voiced by Neil Stucky) is locked in a cell and the player has the option to let him free in exchange for lifetime discounts!

We recorded his voices today, here's some outtakes
at Whim Independent Studios.

More to come!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #13

Hey guys, back with the 13th development log.

See also: IGDA Orange County 5/14 Meeting - Indie Games on Kickstarter/"Transgaming" Concept

See also: Making it in Indie Games: A Guide by Derek Yu (Reference Link)

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Selatria: 

We're currently writing up Chapter 4-6 and someone new is joining the writing team. Her name is Karen Wetherell and for those who have played the demo, she also portrays Commander Llona in the game itself. 

Matthew Estrada and Jonathan Dishaw have also been promoted to co-lead game designers for the project as Matt is focused on working on the puzzles for some of the areas, and Jon is working on scriptwriting as well as coming up with the animations and game balance.

 Here are some areas in development! By Matt, Jon, and Myself. Keep in mind there will be an environmental art overhaul coming soon. These pictures are subject to change before final release!







Selatria Campaign Re-Launch:

It's safe to say that the Selatria campaign didn't go nearly as well as I wanted it to go, and that's okay! It takes some failure to get a success, and there's a lot of things I wish I could have done for the campaign the first go around.

We stumbled out not ready to go with a demo of the game on the first day and the preparation movie was rushed and could have used more time to get material ready. I'm currently filming a "Making of Selatria" movie that has commentary from several people who have worked on the game and shows some filming/recording in practice. 

There were also comments that I've received were about the art and how it was a turnoff to them supporting the project. I'm looking into how that could be improved for a more overall consistent style for the project that still remains unique.

So the verdict: We learned our lesson - We know how to improve for next time. People who ordered through the Indiegogo Campaign need not worry as well, as the rewards and pre-order will carry over!

For current information on Selatria and how to pre-order and contribute, take a look at our official website!



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ANTics:

ANTics development is underway as well! If everything goes as planned, we should be able to launch sometime during the summer. However, progress has admittedly kind of slowed down while we focus on getting Selatria ready, and multi-tasking has never been a strength of mine.

We'll be meeting tomorrow with Gerren Willis, our lead programmer in order to program more of the game and get more of the bugs antics (ha, no pun intended) programmed into the game.


ANTics Kickstarter Announcement:

We're going to pitch ANTics to Kickstarter during the summer.

However, the game isn't quite ready for public viewing yet, as there are still too many placeholder assets to show an accurate prototype of the game just yet. However, do take a look at some of the bugs you will encounter!
Models by: Paul Diggs

 






For current information on ANTics, take a look at our official website!


Make sure to listen to the main theme on the page as well!


That's it for now. Until next time!



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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

IGDA Orange County 5/14 Meeting - Indie Games on Kickstarter/"Transgaming" Concept


Yesterday, Jonathan Dishaw, Matt Estrada, and I took a trip down to Gaikai down in Aliso Viejo in Orange County in order to hear about Yorba Linda-based Iocaine Studios talk about their game "Steam Bandits Outpost" and their hurdles going through their two Kickstarter campaigns. We also got to meet Selatria artist Jennifer Gilliland in person! It was a pretty awesome meet-up, and a big thanks to the IGDA Orange County and Gaikai for holding the presentation.

Given that our studio struggled out the gate with our first crowd-funding campaign, I wanted to get a list of points that would apply to not only our current project "Selatria", but for our upcoming project "ANTics".

Jason Fader, Iocaine's Lead Designer, talked about his project "Steam Bandits Outpost" and presented key-concepts of the game, and how his Kickstarter campaign went. The first attempt didn't reach its goal, so they cleaned up their presentation, lowered their goal, and put their game back up and reached their needed goal.

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Here are the notes I've taken from his presentation. (I apologize if they are un-organized, I was writing this down like a mad-man)

  • Take about a month to prepare a pitch. Useful things to have ready: A blog for your game, working prototype, video of the game in action, concept art, playable demo.
  • Be active. Get the game out there to the press. Post updates and answer questions frequently. 
  • Find a certain market, and understand your audience. Know who you're trying to appeal to for your game and cater to that audience. 
  • Don't ask for money to fund your team full-time. It's an unreasonable amount of money. Raise enough to cover your license fees and fees to develop the game. Especially for the re-launch of the Kickstarter campaign, only the bare-bones amount of  money they could ask for and still be "happy" with the game was asked for. Original vision of the game was hoped to be achieved through stretch goals if it reached its target.
  •  If it looks like your campaign is about to not reach its goal, on the last day, edit the page so it has a link to where you can follow the game incase you try again. After a campaign ends, the information is saved on the website and cannot be edited. 
  • Have a clear defined message. Don't leave the readers/backers of your game confused on your vision. On their relaunch, they went for a clearer approach [retooled message] on their game explanation (used analogies on other games that they can relate to. "Anti-Facebook" Game, etc...)
  • Their Budget: 10% Kickstarter/Amazon's Fee, 15% Physical Rewards, 20% Unity Licenses, 13% Computer Hardware, 20% Conventions/Conference, Other: Rainy Day Money
  •  Don't give up if you fail the first time. Learn from your failure and use that to improve for next time.
  •  Utilize website Kicktraq to track your projects and others' projects.
  •  Kickstarter gets far more exposure then Indiegogo. They considered Indiegogo for crowdfunding, but they determined "Kickstarter or bust". Kickstarter gets far more exposure and better ways to find other projects. Better interface to see how you're doing compared to Indiegogo as well. Once Kotaku got a hold of their project, they reached goal in days.
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A cool game design idea that was brought up in their presentation:

"Transgaming" - The ability to play one game in a series and be able to send content (such as items or other information) to another game.

While some games like Pokemon do this with trading monsters between games and generations, the presenters had a different idea to which different games of different genres can trade items to one another.

An example was given where the designer's girlfriend can play one game, he plays a different game, he asks her for an item, she gathers it and sends it to him online. "Relationship points/time went up" (to audience laughter)

I am fascinated by this concept, and I hope some games pick this up. There is concerns about it being unfair or at a disadvantage by not playing multiple games, but it was said in the case of "Iocaine Studios" games, the factor would be at around a 2% discrepancy.

See also: Dust 514

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Some notes to add for our own small office from observing the locale:

-We need a full-screen white board for our office. (Those things are awesome, I'll have to evaluate the cost. We only have a small one!)

-T-Shirts for the Studio and our games

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I'm looking forward to next month's meetup! I'm hoping we can re-launch Selatria with renewed vigor and when it's fully ready for demonstration!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

RE: Mid-Core Gaming

I consider myself a mid-core player nowadays due to other commitments taking up my time, and I still think that the rift between hardcore and casual players is too wide.

That's not to say games aren't starting to fix it. 


Pokemon is a good example of a good mid-core game, I casually EV/nature train, but don't go for IVs, nor am I so casual that I just take all of my Pokemon to level 100 with disregarding its natural stats and EV gains.

MMOs like the Guild Wars series I consider pro-mid-core as well due to its casual nature of being able to jump in and out of the game, get something done, and not have to commit via monthly fees


Source: Mid-core gaming. Defining, sizing and seizing the opportunity.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day


My mom helping me swing at a pinata at my birthday party (I believe I failed miserably), 1994.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

RE: America's Best High Schools

A fellow game developer posted this on her wall, and I had this comment ready and then it got deleted! :( So, here goes!

My first big regret was learning programming so late in high school as an elective. An elective that no one wanted to take and was eventually dropped because the school wanted to pump more money into bribing kids to do well on state exams with food and pizza. :|

If they put more emphasis on programming classes and introduced them around the time people learned Pre-Algebra and told them "Hey! You know those games you play and those apps on that phone you fiddle with when you're supposed to be learning stuff, you can make your own games and apps by learning this". People will excel and do better in math/science and they have fun doing it. Hell, I probably would have cared more and not had to retake Algebra in 9th grade!

/end rant

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/05/06/america-s-best-high-schools.html


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Codename: SWARM Announcement!

The official name of the project "Codename: SWARM" has been revealed!

Say hello to our second project - "ANTics"! Being developed in parallel with Selatria. For PC/Mac/Mobile phones - Take a listen to the main theme by Christopher Nuno as well!



Check out some of the models by Paul Diggs as well!


http://whimindie.com/antics/

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A May Gaming Rant!


It's the beginning of May, and I feel like talking about what I'm playing through or looking forward to in my spare time!


Final Fantasy XIV - Beta Phase 3


Since I'm a staff member on a FFXIV editorial site, I was allowed by Square-Enix to break the NDA to talk about my thoughts on the Beta Test version of "A Realm Reborn". You can see that editorial from all of the staff at "Secrets of Eorzea" here.

Phase 3 of the Final Fantasy XIV beta will be starting in early-June, which means I can use my level 50 character!

Though I have Paladin, Warrior, Black Mage, White Mage, Bard, Monk, and Dragoon at level 50, as for the launch, I'll probably only be gearing up PLD, WAR and BLM as main jobs and the rest will come on a greed or "gear up for xy content" basis. I'll be playing through the new low level content as Arcanist and that'll be quite the easy road to 50 because unlike players who are starting off who have all jobs to level on the quests they're handed, I can focus it all on one.

For more information on our linkshell, you can check out our newly created LS website that Elie's currently working on, or our linkshell's Facebook page. Elie will be posting LS strategies for upcoming content on the former, and I post a lot of up-to-date information on the latter, which you can find an interesting read if you're into Final Fantasy.

Linkshell Group at Castrum Novum
(L to R) Divo Divine, Rionnen Ragnarok, Nyda Morioka, Candlestar Arandur, Raime Einherei, Me, Kitana Masters, Zell Dragori, Elieris Zaelen, Clayers Ray, Lukeprime Titan


Pokemon SoulSilver

I stopped playing this a few years ago (early 2011?) when Pokemon Black Version came out. I transferred all of my Generation IV pokemon from SoulSilver and Pearl Version over so they arepretty much completed games with NO pokemon on them at all. (Well, except an event notched ear Pichu I couldn't do anything with.)

Though Pearl was my first version since taking a near 7-8 year hiatus from Pokemon. (It was a mix of peer pressure in middle school when Yu-Gi-Oh was the new thing and my great displeasure with how Ruby and Sapphire essentially rebooted the franchise), I felt like I played that version to death and caught what I needed to.

SoulSilver, however, I felt like I greatly rushed. I had level 100's from Pearl and LeafGreen (which I played after Pearl) and I traded them over when I got to the Kanto region making it a very swift adventure and in a sense killing the enjoyment.

Now that my Level 100's are on Generation V, and there are some holes that need to be filled on that dex, especially when my V pokemon get uprooted to Generation VI X and Y, I wanted to give SoulSilver what I feel is a fair playthrough.

So I deleted the file with no pokemon and started anew, nicknaming my whole team and generally having some fun in the process.

I just got to Azalea Town last night and I'm in the Slowpoke Well. My team is looking as follows ---

Totodile - "Chompy" - Level 14
Ledyba - "Bugbug" - Level 13
Ekans - "Charbuckle" - Level 13
Wooper - "Woopah" - Level 9
Slowpoke - "Pokeygirl" - Level 6


Other games I'd like to play:

I'm pretty limited on spare time, so I only allocate a few hours of gaming (if that) a night. I have a feeling it'll pick up again once "A Realm Reborn" launches and I have linkshell events every evening again. But most of my once gaming time is used for work and setting up a development studio nowadays. After SoulSilver is complete, I'd like to use that time to finish Xenoblade Chronicles, as I keep putting off for some reason. Dragon Age, too.




That's about it for now. Until next time!



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