Seasick Games Development Blog


Zynga laid off over 500 employees, some insight @ reddit

A former employee of Zynga answers questions on reddit.

Some of the questions

  • What percent of users actually pay real money in Zynga games?
  • What (if anything) do you think they did right as a company?
  • How much longer will Zynga be around for?
  • What are the benefits of working at Zynga?
  • I heard Zynga is expanding into the gambling sector. Surely there's huge money there. Do you know anything about that?
  • And much much more, its like a never ending thread

So if you want to know more about Zynga, I suggest you have a look into it :)

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European GDC 2012 – Day 3

Today it seemed to me, that most of the people weren't attending, or they have chosen to visit the first day of the GamesCom. At least, it isn't so crowded on the first day, because only press and the GDC attendees were allowed to visit. So I decided to do the same. I visited two talks in the morning, and started exploring the GamesCom in the afternoon. But first things first …

Postmortem: Sine Mora …

… the struggle to reboot a genre. Sine Mora is a shoot'em up game. The developers/producers wanted to revolutionize the genre of bullet hell shoot em ups. You know – those crazy hardcore games, were thousands of bullets fly around, and you die two seconds after you started to play.

A difficulty was that two studios collaborated on this game. “Digital Reality” (Hungary) and “Grasshopper” (Japan). Despite the cultural clash, they had to manage the distance and the different timezones. A key to manage this, was that the studios focused on their strength, and tried to distribute the work in a way, that they could work mostly independent of each other.

They wanted to mainstream their game, but they failed. The game itself got very good critics (afaik 82/100 metascore in 61 reviews) but till know only 20k units were sold (soon they will be released for other platforms – so they will get back their investment). For hardcore gamers, the game was to casual. For casual players, the game was too hardcore.

Two of the things they learned:

  • Never turn on family (Hardcore gamers)
  • Multi platform is necessary

Machinations: A new way to design game mechanics

Just. Fucking. Awesome. This was the most mind blowing talk I attended. It was about a tool (free :) ) with which you can prototype your game mechanics. “Normally” you would have the following tools to plan your game.

  • Paper
    • Easy, fast, cheap
    • Hard to test
  • Spreadsheet
    • Easy, fast, cheap
    • Little bit awkward for designers
    • Hard to test
  • Software prototyping
    • Not cheap, not fast, not easy
    • Easy to test :)

This talk was mostly a demonstration of their free software. I even bought access at the airport to download it, to try it out myself (the only day, when I had my laptop not with me ^^). But at the moment (sitting in a Asian restaurant) I'm writing this blog page … argl – can't wait :P

Anyway … It's kinda hard to explain, what this tool does. Taken from the websites:

Machinations is a theoretical framework and an interactive, dynamic, graphical representation that describes games as dynamic systems and focuses on closed feedback loops within them. The intention is to find a way to express and investigate (recurrent) game structures methodologically. Machinations offers a new lens on the intuitive and delicate practice of game design and balancing.

At the heart of the frame work is a graphical notation designed to capture the dynamics of games. This notation is used in an online application that allows you to create interactive, dynamic diagrams of games. Below you can find links pages explaining the concepts behind the notation and application.

Games fucking com!

So much people. I'm glad I had the chance to visit on day zero – can't imagine, what is going on tomorrow. I had to rush through the halls, but I managed to get my hands on the new World of Warcraft (after I setted up my talent tree, I had to leave, because you are only allowed to play 15 minutes … lol) and played Crysis 3, which will be coming in 2013. Kinda awesome, but the sound didn't work.

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The small post in between

Since I don't take the time to make progress, I decided to post

Reading RFC made easy ...

Reading a RFC has always been a pain in the ass. No pain no more - today I discovered PrettyRFC! This little tool reformats the boring plain text RFC documents into rich text documents featuring a index of contents and linking between different RFCs. Above of it all you won't hurt your eyes reading it.

Love2d 0.8 released

It's a little bit late to blog about it, but better late than never. A new release of love2d 0.8 (name Rubber Piggy) was released on April the 8th. The biggest change: They added shaders! The new release also features the latest version of Box2D, a physics engine for games - but this also breaks some stuff, because Box2D had vast API changes. You can read all about this and other changes in the release notes.

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GitHub fastlane

Work related I have to get my head a little bit deeper into Git and GitHub. So I've been reading a few articles, and I'm pretty sure I will read more of them :)

On of the things I stumbled upon is this awesome image, which describes a possible workflow when you want to contribute to an other project on GitHub. You will find most of the things you need to know on this image!

Also a very helpful is the help of GitHub itself, which is hosted as git project itself.

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(Me) Getting started

Making games was always a dream for me. A desire for which I was to lazy to make it real. First thought - Me making the next generation FPS - or even better - I'm making an MMORPG like World of Warcraft. After some thinking and reading, more thinking and more reading I realized that I have to establish knowledge and experience.

But how do I got started?
Location, loca ... erm ... Information, Information, Information. I kept googling many nights on different topics, made my way through different indie blogs, got distracted for hours at 9gag :) . I read about Game patterns, searched for inspiration on deviantart and googled for free art - and by free I mean like "Creative Common"-free (there's plenty of good stuff out there). But mostly I was searching for an engine with which I could try out some things. And there are also an ass full of game engines/frameworks out there. Some for money, some for free.

Of course - if I'm making a game it has to be three dimensional! So the first engine with which I played around was "Ogre3D". That meant I had to refresh my C++ skills. After playing around for a few days I had to admit that neither my coding skills, my ass kicking 3d modeling skills or the understanding of what I'm getting into was at an satisfying level. So I dropped the whole idea of making a 3D game, and stopped thinking about it.

Many months later I found myself again browsing some engines and I decided to give a two dimensional engine a shot. The engine which got my attention was "Löve2d". Taken from the website - "This is an *awesome* framework you can use to make 2D games in Lua. It's free, open-source, and works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux". I played around with it and with the language - a lot of fun :) I even ordered two books for Lua, which I was reading before going to bed ^^

Since I love zombies, I decided to do something in that direction.
I will post the game with my next post - don't expect too much :)

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