I have to ponder what’s been motivating me to release Gravity Flux, a game I’ve made, on the Steam platform. It is a simple game that I made at a game jam, that can be quickly added upon to be in a state that is releasable.
I sat down and wrote a few dot points as to why I thought I was:
- Experience that I may not be able to get otherwise
- Experience I can share with others (eg. Tas Game Makers)
- Personal achievement and satisfaction
- Quicker to release than my other game, Wizards with Rockets
- Curiosity – how well will it do?
- Beginning of a strategy of releasing games/software to earn passive income
- Bragging points
- Improving the reputation of game makers in Tasmania – another Tasmanian has released a game!
But it hit me after that. I think the reason I am releasing this game, is that well, this game isn’t a really big game, like Wizards with Rockets was aiming to be. I know some local developers, Myriad Games, who released Where the Snow Settles. That took them about 5 years to make. A relatively big project. For many of them, that’ll be their last game they release on their own (or as a part of a small indie team) for a fair while. I don’t want to do that. I want to get into the habit of making and releasing multiple games! Starting with Gravity Flux. I’ve got to start somewhere, and that somewhere should be simple and easy, as opposed to a larger game. So the reason I chose to finish this game off and release it was to build myself up as a “game making person” akin to Cheeseness and others I know who have a similar approach. Now, I may not spend as much time on game making as Cheeseness, but I will be just as persistent. Slow and steady wins the race.
So, with the hopefully inevitable release of Gravity Flux, it will mark the beginning of my “professional hobby” of making and releasing games. It’ll be quite an exciting launch party for me!
I’m going to try doing monthly updates on my game dev work, what I plan to do for the following month. In this month, I am aiming to fix some of the issues I’ve discovered, thanks to some feedback from others who have tested my game! Thanks to Michael H and Cheeseness (cheesetalks.net) who contacted me via Discord. I’ve already fixed a few of them, but there’s still some issues remaining, like where the player can get their head stuck on ceilings.. I think I have an idea how to fix it, so I will see what I can do. After I’ve fixed those smaller issues, I will move on to the less vital but still important features to be implemented for the release version of the game! Such as player stats, settings menus and Steam achievements. I didn’t feel those were necessary to implement before releasing a major test build. Which means, the next release to the public will likely be on Steam! We’ll see..
I will likely be planning on hosting a launch party! I’ve been to a launch party for Where the Snow Settles, by Myriad Games. It was an honour to be invited, and wonderful to see them launch the game. I will have a party too! With real beers. If you want to take part, please join my Discord server, in the links section of this website, and you will get notified when it’s on.. It will be invite only.
I have some other non-games projects I’m working on, such as a cross-platform music player, and an electronic virtual pet. I may spend some time on those this month, which might slow down my game development a little. But I am still aiming for a Steam release within 6 months from now. Likely much less than 6 months. Get excited!
I’m still very keen to work on Wizards with Rockets. I briefly had a look at Squirrel scripting the other day, for another project. I am going to be implementing scripting in the engine, so I can make scripted events, like dialog and animations in the single-player campaign. That’ll be big! But Gravity Flux comes first for now. Keen to release my first game on Steam!!!
I’m generally not a big fan of open world, long-playtime games. Sometimes they’re alright, eg. Skyrim, Oblivion, Just Cause, etc. But those games seem to have given the games industry the idea that open world games are worth making a lot more of. When many of them could be better games if they were shorter and more linear.
For a start, I mainly don’t have that much time for games these days. I only really have less than 10hrs per week for games at most. I’m lucky to spend more than 5hrs in one game per week. When I’m playing an open world game, that could take months to complete.
Secondly, some game designers seem to think that open world is far superior to closed corridors, linear games. They’ll have an IP that they want to make more games with, and they just can’t help themselves but make it open world. I thought Far Cry 1 was a really enjoyable game. It wasn’t purely open world, though it felt like it was. It was linear, but you still had multiple ways to tackle sections of the game. In my opinion, Far Cry 2 and onwards took the series progressively downhill as they just made the games bigger and gave you more tedious (not that fun) tasks to do.
If I’m playing a first-person shooter, I expect basically a “shooting range” where you shoot at enemies, though there is plenty of opportunity to entertain in other ways, like story, dialogue/cinematics and innovative gameplay features beyond just shooting things. But for the last one, hunting animals and finding malaria pills just don’t do it for me, compared to using a gravity gun in Half-Life 2 to kill enemies with random physics props. Although even in Serious Sam, you don’t get particularly innovative gameplay, but you do maximise the shooting time, which is generally consistently fun. Sam Stone ain’t got time for that crafting crap. Too busy saving the world.
And if I’m playing a third-person shooter/action game, I expect reasonable amounts of action to engage with. Sure, these games can involve some more RPG elements, abilities, levelling up and such, but the core of these games should be the action and maybe even puzzles if they’re not too frustrating. An unpopular opinion here, but I’m not a huge fan of the Zelda series. I have Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but the game just forces you to explore and solve puzzles that don’t have obvious solutions, and limits the action to small sections of the game world. Right at the start of the game, you have to go to a very cold area that hurts you because of how cold it is. I couldn’t figure out what to do, I just thought it was un-passable and there was more stuff to do elsewhere that might unlock it later. But no, the solution was to cook chilli soup that warms you up, of course. The game did not really direct me to do that in a hand-holding way for beginners unfamiliar with Zelda games. Instead I was left roaming the world to discover the solution by accident. I get that that’s how people solve some problems in real life, but I don’t play games to solve problems, I play games to have a good time, for the most part. For a mix of entertainment and challenging myself. BotW does not try to entertain you as much as I expect a game like it to do.
Skyrim and Oblivion are alright games in my opinion, though I still don’t really have time for them these days. As good as they are, the pacing is slow and makes me feel like they will take a very long time to complete. Meanwhile, I could be playing other shorter games that still entertain me, and getting through my large Steam library.
Which leads me to another point. Buying lots of games. There is an absolute explosion of games being made these days. Now, you don’t need to go out and support every game that remotely takes your fancy (though I do sometimes..). In my experience, the more you look for games, the less enjoyable games you tend to find. But I think it is still good to discover and support the smaller game developers who aren’t backed by big-name studios and publishers. Some of these games can be very innovative and able to be played in a short burst. Like Stanley Parable, Superliminal, Untitled Goose Game, the Serious Sam series, Negative Nancy, and many more good ones that are truly underrated gems. Just playing big open world games all the time means you can miss out on these games which I feel are important to experience, they show you new ideas and gets your brain thinking in different ways. They can make you a more open-minded person. I fear that time-consuming open-world games can suck the open-mindedness out of people, and not encourage smaller developers to come up with new ideas in games.
Usually, the only developers that can pull off open-world games properly, are the triple-A big budget studios. So for the little guy out there making their own games, they won’t likely be making open-world games. Triple-A studios are dictating the way their games are made. They often believe that open world is the way to go. I imagine it’s due to reasons like; offering more features, immersion and graphics quality, longer games can cause games to develop stronger investment in the series/developer. You can still make very good games without being completely open world. When you focus on story telling, rewarding gameplay, art style over graphics detail. Some recent examples that comes to mind are Psychonauts 2 and Control.
I’m going to keep trying to avoid these bigger games, even if they are very popular and well-received. I will get to experience more games, support more individual developers, and likely maximise the enjoyment I get out of the games I choose to play. Now if only we’d see more triple-A developers making shorter, narrower game experiences with the same effort and energy as open world-games. That explosion of games would start to seem more manageable and enjoyable.
As I may have mentioned, I plan to release Gravity Flux on Steam! But before that, I’m releasing some builds for people to test and help me find bugs/issues and suggestions.
You can download it for Windows, Linux and Mac here: https://motley-pixels.itch.io/gravity-flux
I’ve made some big changes since the last release. A new controller join menu, level select, and some UI tweaks to make the health bars more visible when there are many players.
So far I’ve had some great feedback from some Tas Game Makers members, including Michael H and Josh / Cheeseness (cheesetalks.net). Their feedback will be used to make the game better than I had planned!
Any additional feedback can be sent to me on my Discord server, there is a link within the game menu. So far I think I’ve found quite a lot of feedback that should keep me busy, but I am all ears to new feedback.
It’s hard to say a rough launch date, but I’m hoping in the next 6 months or so, it’ll be on Steam!
Some have asked about a Nintendo Switch port. I would like to see it on Switch but I don’t know how to get it there yet. I intend to investigate, but after the Steam release.
My main goal going forward is to release Gravity Flux on Steam!
I have completed most of the game to a satisfactory level. The graphics could be iterated some more, but I am keen to release a game for the sake of releasing a game, and I feel this is a perfect game for that. Something fairly simple, fun and unique.
The main things left to do:
- A few map fixes where you can get stuck
- The player/controller join menu
- Settings menu in the main menu and in-game
- Persistent player stats (per player colour)
- Steam achievements
The main guts of the game have been made, now to just do the rest of the game.
Once I’m ready to release it I will post an announcement!
I’m super keen to release this game, but I’m also super keen to get back to work on Wizards with Rockets! I have re-shuffled my long list of priorities for the game. The current milestone is to add gamepad support. It works for controlling the player, next step is to get it controlling menus. After that.. Shaders! Allegro supports shaders and I am keen to add visual effects like lighting and shadows. Which will make for prettier GIFs to share..
Hello, Leo here from Motley Pixels!
I am starting up a new site dedicated to my game dev stuff. I plan to show screenshots, GIFs, videos, technical posts, and more here.
As some may know, I’m currently working on at least two games.
I grew up with computers. I was fortunate that my Dad owned an Amiga 500 computer, which he let me use as a kid in the 90s. I quickly gravitated to Amiga BASIC where I had a lot of fun writing simple programs. In school and high school I did well in the Robocup competition. I later ultimately ended up doing a bachelor of computing at UTAS, specialising in the Games major. My final project was a 2D sidescroller which used a custom game engine. Since graduating, I have set the goal of continuing to work on and make games, and recently to release games on commercial platforms. I’ve released a few prototypes and game jam games on itch.io however these games are fairly simple and I do not plan to promote them.
Plans for 2022 and future:
I’m hoping that this year I will release Gravity Flux at least, but also aim to get Wizards with Rockets to a stage where I can do some internal testing, as opposed to releasing every build to the public. This is going to be a very interesting year for my game dev journey!
Wizards with Rockets