today I would like to add some more advanced words to my Tutorial on my YouTube-Channel. If you haven’t already please make sure to follow me on YouTube to receive updates about my upcoming Tutorial videos.
Why do we need a lobby server?
We could of course making just a peer to peer connection. The Problem? Most devices are behind routers and you won’t get the public ip from the device to connect them together.
For this reason we use a routing server aka lobby server which handles the connection to the devices. The lobby server also offers more control and we have the possibility to monitor things like concurrent users online. Opened games and other statistics.
Is MultiplayerEnet the only variant for this server?
No! Godot offers a wide range of Multipler implementations. It is maybe a better idea to use websockets if you would like to have a more dynamic server as a lobby server.
I used the Enet because it feels like it makes the most sense for my type of game, but maybe I will change this later.
If you have any questions regarding my blog or tutorials please feel free to comment below and share your feedback. I still have a of posts to do, but I hope I get the blog up to date as fast as possible.
New year means new motivation leads to new actions! I thought about reactivating my old dev blog and make it attendant to my YouTube Tutorial videos.
I have a lot of fun teaching you guys stuff in Godot I learned or I experienced and this is why I want to focus on that on this blog. For me learning works best when I try to teach other the stuff I learn.
One very cool thing is I was able to restore all old blog posts from 2016 and 2017 I have written. So you are able to browse through them and the page isn’t as empty as it would be without!
What can you expect in this blog in the future? I will keep you informed about topics I am currently working on and learning. Also I will try to give more insights and more detailed informations about my Tutorials on YouTube.
I hope you like it the next few days I will spent time to bring the page up and style it a little bit more. Also I have to restore the images of my old posts, but nevertheless I am already pretty proud about having wordpress on my server with https working 😀
as soon as I started my current project Tera Lo Mania I had three primary goals:
Build up a community
Create a playable tech demo
Start a Kickstarter campaign
Build up a community
I learned a lot from my first three games and what you need as an Indie game developer is feedback as soon as your project starts. To achieve this you need to build up a community, which is interested in your project. So far so good, but how to we do this? I thought it was pretty easy by sharing my development progress being consistent in creating content and I started a video log diary on YouTube to create a community …
Create a playable tech demo
I already knew at the beginning of my project, that I will need additional budget to finish the project. So, the idea was born to create a Kickstarter campaign to gather the missing budget as soon as possible. The clue – I wanted to have an early downloadable version of my game, which showcases that I can achieve the game and I could use some scenes in a trailer. I achieved that and thought everything is going fine …
Start a Kickstarter campaign
The time has come from September 2018 till mid of March 2019 I was able to finish a tech demo and build up a community for the game. At least I thought so. That said the Kickstarter Campaign has gone live! And it still is …
So I achieved my goals and the Kickstarter Campaign looks just horrible …. by today we have 11% funded and already 5 days gone. Even with the minimum funding reach by the end of it, it is not that what I expected and as you all know the first days should be the strongest to get the Campaign going. The goal is calculated with the very very very minimum and I will have to pay on top to get the game working and release it.
What is the problem? What did I miss?
I had the demo and my Video Logs, I thought I build up a community and created lots of marketing hype by sending out thousands of emails. Lets investigate:
The community I build up wasn’t that big I expected
As you can see in the numbers. Yeah, I was able to gain follower on every platform, but in total the community is still very small and not very meaningful. There was already the first indication that my game isn’t that attractive to people, otherwise the numbers should have raised higher.
Problem: I hadn’t any comparison and was too busy spending time on developing the tech demo (which nobody wanted).
By the way speaking of the tech demo, when I was releasing a first playable version I just had round about 15 Downloads and nearly no feedback at all. Slowly I got some bites of feedback and it told me, that those who downloaded the game didn’t even know what to do, because they didn’t played the original game. The tech demo was of course so early that there wasn’t polishing possible to explain how the game actually works.
Problem: I ignored the fact, that the playable version wasn’t intuitive enough and not well received by my small community.
I have had quite a lot of fun to create my video log diary and showcase my development status. Nevertheless I was always a bit shocked by looking at the video statistics after releasing a new video log. Nearly nobody watched it and the watch durations were really really short.
Problem: I didn’t see the signs of unattractive content at all.
What can I do now, after realising the problems with the crowdfunding?
If you get a little bit of distance to your game, which I got after 5 days of running Kickstarter and thinking about the situation, you start to realise, that I was too hyped for my own game and I didn’t noticed that there wasn’t a big interest from the community for my project at all. Now, I know that this campaign is as good as done and it won’t develop very well anymore. The daily views are sinking with every day, I wasn’t able to impress the press or YouTuber or Blogger to create a hype. So, I guess the campaign will slowly but surely end without gaining very much interest anymore and funding.
What are my options at this point? I already spend a lot of time and money into this project, but acknowledging that there is so little interest it won’t pay off to finish it with paying even more time and money. I still didn’t lost all hope and I will of course continue to try make the most out of the last 25 remaining days to keep this project alive, but I know I have to look forward and find a way for me and the company how to deal with this or giving up the dream of being an indie game developer after 4 projects without any real success …
I am not sure how to start this article and which topics I should point out at all. So, I try to not cry or blame anything too much 😀 First let me start with something I am really looking forward to: I will be Dad in just about three more months … man time is running so damn fast right now.
Self doubts about my actions
That said of course I slowly get some doubts about my lifestyle, since my indie business is not very worthy at all from a financial viewpoint. Also the time spend on working is so much. I am not really sure about the near future when I take look at this. I was really able to get some things going and I have the feeling that the business is doing better from year to year, but at what cost and effort?
At the beginning of the year, I got much motivation and I tried to get as hyped as possible for my current project. I also told a lot about this in my latest video logs:
Scary business numbers
Unfortunately, my reality is: The analysis of my business numbers shows that the growing process is more than laborious. With every video log I create on YouTube, I manage to get one or two more followers, what is awesome don’t get me wrong, but with this kind of growth I will have to create another 600 videos to get some kind of valuable reach. Of course I would do this and I love everyone who is willing to follow and support me. Thanks to you guys!
Nevertheless, also kind of regular posts on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook didn’t managed to build up a community the last two years. It feels like marching on a spot. Of course I have to admit that I am nowhere near a professional marketer or social media manager. So, the low follower count and engagement isn’t too surprising! I hoped the content would engage more, but there are so many talented indies out there that I sometimes think why should someone be interested in content I release?
But there is light at the end of the tunnel
With the start of this year a friend of mine helps me out in this specific topic and spread the word through our social media channels, maybe this changes the engagement. I hope I will be able to pay him one day for his efforts …
Seriously the indie business is a really hard business and you have to be very dedicated to it, I knew that before I started and I don’t want to miss the time I spend to develop my games and build up the numbers at all. The only thing I wish for myself in this year is to be more financial independent, since non of my indie efforts became very worthy yet.
The only parts, where I am able to actually earn some money is to work as a freelancer for companies in complete different branches or selling my programming skill elsewhere. This makes me very sad, because I invest so much time and money into my indie business. Sometimes when I am in a bad mood like today – I just ask myself if it is worth all the effort?
I guess I can only answer this to myself and as long as I enjoy what I am doing it can’t be wrong. At least for now I won’t quit anything and I hope I can make my dreams still happen 🙂
after working a whole while as freelancer, round about 7 months now, the time has come to go back to game development and start another project. Luckily, I wasn’t idling in the meantime and finished all the planning stuff already. Today I would love to share some first insights and upcoming changes compared to the last projects.
So let us start with some basic informations about the new project. As real time strategy fan, I will stick to strategy games and how could it be different – The new project will be another strategy title, which is more or less real time. It will be a remake of one of my first strategy games I have ever played and enjoyed a lot 🙂 I will not spoiler the title yet. The header image provides you a first hint. The second hint: The game will be “more or less” real time strategy. Would love to read your guesses in the comments. So please leave your comment! 🙂
As you can see in the header image, it will be my first 3D title with a low poly art style. The game will be focused on PC / Steam first, but it will be possible to distribute it later on every platform.
Lets get into a bit more details on the technical site. My last projects were written in libGDX with Java as main language. Nevertheless, for this new project I decided to achieve it with Godot, an open source game engine. The main language I will use for the code is the in-build GD Script, which is fairly similar to Python in general.
The decision is based on the following reasons:
I want to learn something new
I want to use a game engine instead of a framework
There is a big change team structure wise this time – I will work with a bigger team than ever before! Timbertales, FlatFatCat and Space Unicorns were developed and distributed by myself with a lot of help from my girl friend for all the art stuff needed. This time I hired an 3D artist for all the models, animations and vfx, who is fully dedicated to the project. This helps me to completely focus on the game code. We hopefully gain a much higher quality with this change in both art and code.
The game itself is planned to be done within 6 months. This includes development, alpha / beta and a first release candidate. The first prototype / demo should be out very soon after start, to have more early feedback and start a kickstarter campaign to gather more budget if needed. The official start for the project is scheduled for mid of September this year. So round about 6-7 weeks from now on!
Thanks for reading, I hope you looking forward to this game project. Of course there will follow a lot of artwork, dev blogs etc. by the time. If you want to be in first place and also be involved in the development / testing etc. don’t miss to become a Patreon and get any peace of information much earlier 🙂 I would also love to read your comments.
I would love to share my first steps and first learnings with Godot 3 with you guys 🙂
Export Blender Models as .dae files
As one of my first tasks I tried to export models from Blender to Godot. For my first approach I used .obj files and imported them into Godot without any problems so far. After a while I realised, that my artist also created some materials, which weren’t included in the import. I figured out that Godot advices to use .dae files, which includes the materials correctly. So we exported the files as .dae. Surprisingly every model was imported as a Scene in Godot, which first confused me, but it is the right workflow. I will explain it within the next chapter.
Use Scene instancing
Having each Model as a scene has one big advantage: We can instantiate them. In UE or Unity this is called a “Prefab” as far as I know. In Godot we can use a Scene as a prefab, this is why .dae files represent a scene. It is a good practice to have everything as a scene and then in your game scene instantiate all the other scenes just like that:
Game (Scene) Human (Instanciated Scene) Landscape (Instanciated Scene)
Use Unity Tutorials, if you can’t find any for Godot
Actually there are more tutorials available for Unity than for Godot, but nevertheless just watch the Unity ones. Most likely it is really easy to transfer the knowledge from Unity to Godot, since most options have the same names or working in kind of the same way.
GD Script is not Python
Even if they look quite similar GD Script is not Python, it is just inspired by Python. Why is it worth to know that? I was confused, because I encountered some ‘What the fuck’ moments when writing GD Script for the first time, since I have a strong Python background. So you should definitly check out the GD Script syntax first to get an overview.
I decided to start a Vlog (it will not replace the Blog) on YouTube within my project (Remastering MegaLoMania). I will record the first introduction video within the next days, so make sure to follow me on my social media channels to get informed. In the Vlog I would like to share all learnings and progress I made day by day.
today I just wanted to write a bit about the latest release of Timbertales. Yeah! We left “Early Access” and we are live by now! Thank you all for your support, questions and money on all different Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Patreon.
I want to give you a small overview about the latest update of Timbertales:
Steam Achievements I think I don’t have to tell you much here. I added 30 achievements with their own pictures and challenges. There are also some hidden achievements, so good luck achieving them all!
Improvements to the game I increased the game speed a bit, so everything should feel a bit more fast paced. The attack animations should close the distance to your opponent and making the combat feeling more enjoyable. I spend also a lot of time into bug fixing, which includes problems with fullscreen mode, crashes in missions or wrong counting map objectives.
Idle Animations All units should feel more alive by now. I added new idle animations for every unit to make the game more lively.
Sound improvements There were a lot of sound effects, which were annoying or not matching at all. I made a lot of changes to the sound effects and I hope you like them.
Of course there were also a lot of code changes and cleanup overall. I wish you a lot of fun while playing Timbertales and feel free to share your thoughts!
Future of Timbertales I want to be open and share some insights with you. Unfortunately Timbertales didn’t sale very well and I didn’t received so much feedback I would have hoped for! Nevertheless there are some fans and I am still willing to invest time into the game. My backlog is full of cool features and updates, but how to say the game needs to pay off a bit first. I don’t want to earn a million bugs that said, but I can’t invest full time into a game, when I have less than two sales / week. So summarised if there is good feedback and the game performs quite well in future. I will invest more time 🙂
Rainware Bundle on Steam There are also some other news. I added a “Rainware Bundle” on Steam which includes both Steam games FlatFatCat and Timbertales with a discount of 30%. So if you aren’t own the games yet, make sure to take this chance 🙂
Future projects and some numbers You may ask what is the plan for the future of Rainware. So since I am still working as freelancer, for at least three more months, there isn’t something special or big upcoming within the next weeks. I actually have two game concepts which should work out quite well and I would love to introduce them to you within the next blog posts. I also have one open project related to localisation, also here I would love to introduce it. As far as Timbertales is released now and FlatFatCat is running quite a while I will take a break into the development of both games. The reason for that is simple as I stated before: These projects actually haven’t paid off for me yet.
I made a screenshot for you of revenues total (I like the numbers):
I am fine with it and every sale is a huge compliment for myself! For being economically its far behind expectation. Just to leave it here unstated both projects costs me around: 10.000-15.000$ So I am not willing to speak of a success yet 🙂 Also 666$ for about two years of being independent couldn’t make my living, if I would have this amount per month it would go into the right direction.
Thank you all so far for your support and stay tuned for news. I won’t give up yet and fill my pocket with some paid work. There will be huge projects following after the freelance time is finished. I promise that!
finally I am back to indie development with at least one day per week. I am still working as freelancer for two more months, but only 4 days / week. So, I will dedicate a full day per week to the development of my games and indie business. First progress is already made in a long awaited patch for Timbertales, which will fix some major issues. I will go a bit more into detail what we can expect for the next updates of Timbertales and how long it will take.
Steam Patch this week
To start off with good news: I will release a patch for the steam version of Timbertales this week. This patch includes major fixes for resolution issues, adding a quit mission button, fixes a freeze which is caused by switching portraits and some more minor things. Yesterday, I was able to finish 80% and the missing 20% will follow by tomorrow. So you can expect the patch at last by end of week 🙂
Feedback and further development
I am still gathering feedback for Timbertales and creating a roadmap in direction of full release. Thanks to everyone who contacted me and shared his thoughts about the current game state. There are some really cool ideas and I got a lot of motivation to implement those. There was a long passive phase in Timbertales development and I lost a bit of motivation in between, but with all the feedback and some new very cool ideas I am back on track. I want to release a full version with a good game state and of course it should worth its price. Here is a little preview of my open tickets, if you miss something please don’t hesitate to contact me.
One Idea I want to highlight – Battlemap
There was one person with this brilliant idea. In short there will be a new game mode (Maybe as DLC not sure about that yet). In this game mode we will have to fight for the dominion of Timbertales. We will have a battlemap with different regions and they will provide different bonuses. Your goal will be to conquer all regions, but of course the enemy will get stronger the longer the conquest take. So your strategy in which order you will conquer which regions is very important. Unfortunately I can’t share much details about the bonuses yet, since there is a lot of work needed to build the concept, but I will get back to you as soon as there is a rough concept.
Conclusion – What can we excpect?
My current plan is to bugfix and improve Timbertales to a state, where I am happy to release it to the full version and leave Early Access. Of course this will take some effort marketing and development wise etc. It is still a good time to share your feedback, if there is any. I don’t have any deadline for the release, so I don’t have to stress myself. First priority is to make the game more fun and enjoyable. If the release works out very well, I can imagine to add DLCs and work on more content patches otherwise I will focus on another project.
today, I want to write a little bit about my impressions from the Games Conference 2018 in Hamburg, where I attended yesterday. There was a bunch of different talks and the topic of the Conference was “Play it – The future of games & films”. So I will go through the different talks and try to recap and summarize as best as possible 🙂 All talks are available on YouTube: GameCity
I was a bit late, so I missed half of the opening speak, but it was most likely about Hamburg. There are more games studios than ever before and more revenue was generated than the last year (somehow I do something wrong here, while I always hear of growing revenue in games and more studios I wasn’t able to get my slice of the cake yet). Also there were huge investments into faster internet speed on all schools in Hamburg and they plan to contract huge bunch of professors in technology universities to educate even more students.
Christian Fonnesbech (Nordisk Film Games) – “Less risk, more value: Create your IP for ALL media
This talk was really great. Christian seemed like a very cool person with a lot of experience in games and trans media. The talk was about creating your own IP and spread it everywhere, but he also said before creating any IP or think about a it of course a game should have a fun and cool core mechanic. This made him very personable for me, because it was more directed to create very cool games instead of focusing on an IP and make the most out of marketing. Nevertheless what he said was, that if you have a good game, which performs quite well try to make an IP out of it. Take the world or the character and make another game of it and spread those things into other media like tv series, books, toys and so on. Another thing was to rely on your creations and don’t start from scratch for your next project. Always try to reuse as much as possible and tighten your IP.
Michael Geidel (Produzent für Film und Games, MiriquidiFilm Leipzig) – Case Study: Vom Album zum Buch, Film und Game und vom Film zum VR-Game – Erfahrungen aus Transmedia-Projekten
I actually was a bit reserved in this talk. It was about a Jazz band, who created an music album for kids and MiriquidiFilm Leipzig did some short films according to the tracks and presented them to an audience of kids. It was very well accepted and they also asked, if the kids would like to see a game out of those series. Actually it was a great example that one IP could spread through different medias, but as far as I understood: MiriquidFilms was just contracted to do the films, so it was kinda less interesting for me, since I want to create my own IP and not working for some one else as a studio. That said they also tried to make an VR-Game out of it and had some success with it. My opinion to VR / AR and MR is something like: I like the idea in generell and it offers a lot of potential, but with all the different hardware and no standard its kinda too early to dig deeper into the topic right now. Also I often have the thought when I see some VR projects “Why not just making a normal game? Because I don’t see any advantage of the VR technology”
Case Study: Die Workflows von „Trüberbrook” – Was man aus der Filmproduktion für Games-Development lernen kann – Hans Böhme (btf GmbH)
That was actually a blast. Hans showed some scaled models and how they created a film out of it. Trüberbrook was a very successfull kickstarter and looks amazing. You can find the kickstarter campaign here: http://trueberbrook.com/de/startseite/ Now they are trying to make a game out of it. They have a very unique workflow for that, since they work with scaled models. They often take pictures with real lightening and use them later as pre-baked textures for their environment. For this they try to get the same camera perspective in game as they have used to take the picture. Only the main character and some dynamic objects were designed fully digital and got dynamic lightening, which actually generated some problems they had to take care of. It was amazing for me to see those very different techniques and how awesome they worked in the end. Actually one of my problem for the most talks was: I can’t compare myself to these studios, since all of them had already bigger teams and much more opportunities with their creations, which made me kinda sad sometimes. Because I have the feeling I could never achieve such cool models or environments as a single person in a reasonable time. Anyhow, I could take something away in any talk and of course I respect their work a lot.
Short break and networking
After these three talks we had a short break to get some food, drinks and could talk to each other. There was a colorful audience from developers over producers, publishers, schools, media etc. I met an ex coworker from Innogames, who is now working for Amazon. Amazon had a small booth to show up their “game on” services, which are quite cool and I would like to use in future. Amazon was also one of the sponsors of the conference. Three more talks followed.
Case Study:AR-Game zur Graphic Novel „Der nasse Fisch” vom Carlsen Verlag Bengt-Oliver Stellmann (Creative Director, Garlic Games Media GmbH)
AR-Game talk with a bit of a fresh concept. Oliver talked about a project, where they tried to create an AR-Game out of a comic. They pitched a first prototype to a publisher and the publisher answered something like: I am sure you are able to ship the game, but I don’t think you are able to create a comic and publish it. So they searched for another publisher and found the “Carlsen Verlag”, who had already published comics and some experience with AR-Games. They could take advantage of a comic, which was already in production and would be released within the next months and build up their game on that. The challenge was they wanted to create a new story for the game, which differ from the comic. So they had to talk and discuss with the author and designer of the comic. This is always a problem they mentioned, because you try to build up on their “baby” and this can lead to different opinions and emotions. In this case they had a very successful conversation and could get up with a story and a game for the comic. Their first prototype worked with a print. You had to scan it site by site with your camera and than you where able to play different levels as a standalone game. The game they are currently working on works with surface detection and no longer needs a print. You just download it from the App Store and scan your surroundings. So they rely on the rooms where you are actually in. This technology is quite nice, but also offers a lot of difficulties, especially if your room is much smaller or bigger than the level which should be presented virtually.
Case Study – Petra Monheim (Founder, Goodbye Kansas Germany)
Sorry, but for this “talk” I only got two words: Advertising show. The talk consisted of 5 or more high rendered trailers with very cool effects and of course awesome characters and models, but really there wasn’t any value in the talk. It was just a showcase of their awesome trailers and explaining their studio structure / construction. For me as single Indie Developer this was a bit frustrating, since I couldn’t really take anything and just thought yeah would love to have those visuals … It was actually really impressive, but for a budget I will never be able to spend. At least the trailer for Biomutant, was interesting for me as a gamer, because it looked very nice and I could like it.
Marktzahlen und Chancen bei transmedialen Produkten – Niklas Wilke (Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers)
The last talk was about the future of different markets from a business insider. It was a presentation with a lot of percentages and numbers and differed a lot to all those creative talks before. Nevertheless I found some trends quite interesting. The biggest growth for the next five years is expected to be in eSports, followed by video games. I am a huge eSports fan and really like this trend. There is also a discussion ongoing, that eSports should be treated as normal sports in Germany. This would allow to register legal eSport clubs etc. Another really good point for us as indie devs – Video games are predicted to grow even more within the next five years. Actually the biggest growth can be expected on casual mobile games, in between pc games and last but not least console games. Impressive fact: On consoles still 60% of games are bought in stores as boxed version and only 40% online as digital copy. Unlike pc games where a lot more games are bought as digital copies.
Buffet, networking and beer
After this we had some food again, beer and could talk to each other. I met a few people and talked to them. Unfortunately I had to leave early so I couldn’t attend very long. There were also some more talks in the evening I couldn’t attend.
As Indie developer there weren’t too much topics of interest or related to my daily business. Nevertheless most talks were quite exciting and educating. I won a free ticket, so the conference was actually free for me, which was quite nice. I think I wouldn’t pay the normal price for the conference due to the lack of interesting stuff for myself and I am very bad at networking.
last week I wrote about my switch from OSX to Windows 10 as development environment. Today, I can say I am still using Windows 10 and I am more familiar with it than ever before. I would like to talk about some issues and software I use for my daily business and why. So lets get started!
Hyper as Terminal
Recently I switched to the Hyper Terminal. I really like the design of it and with the Windows Manager you can arrange it really cool. Behind Hyper Terminal I still use Ubuntu as WSL and I am using zsh instead of bash. You can checkout my zsh configuration here: https://github.com/anthraxx/ant-zsh
A more delicate topic is vagrant on windows with WSL. First thing: It is possible and it works, but with some drawbacks. The most import thing is to execute following command on your WSL:
You need to install vagrant and Virtualbox on your windows machine. You also need to install vagrant on your WSL (careful the version must match the windows vagrant version). If this is done you can use vagrant as usual. My only drawback at the moment – I can’t use nfs. At the moment I have to work with rsync for synced folders, which isn’t very optimal but ok for now.
I am using vagrant a lot for web development, if you haven’t used vagrant yet you should give it a try.
Windows 10 introduced the multiple desktop feature, which is quite nice and I am used to use many desktops from OSX. I always having specific applications on specific desktops. I also usually work with two monitors. While the terminals stay always on my notebook monitor the applications cycle through the different desktops on my primary desktop. Unfortunately there are two flaws on the virtual desktop feature for Windows 10 I identified.
You can’t assign apps to starts on a specific desktop – To solve this I usually start all applications at once and then move them to the right desktop on TaskView or I go to the right desktop first and then start the app.
There isn’t a shortcut, I know of, to switch to a specific desktop. My solution for that problem is to have the applications in my taskbar in the right order with this little trick I can use WindowsKey + 1 for Chrome, which is on Desktop 1 or WindowsKey + 2 for Phpstorm, which is on Desktop 2.
Other Software I use
Android Studio / PyCharm / PhpStorm – They are nearly the same base, but for different programming languages. These products work as expected and there is no difference to the OSX versions except the shortcuts.
Blender for 3D Modeling works fine having no problems at all. Cool tip is to use your surface in presentation mode and plugin an external keyboard. Then you can use the surface pen and having all num pad related hotkeys at the same time.
Office Stuff – As written in the post from last week I am using the Office 365 package. Mostly I use Outlook 2016, OneNote, Word and Excel. Before I worked a lot with google docs, spreadsheets. OneNote is definitely a really cool tool and I use it for a lot of different tasks. Game Design concepts, brainstorming ideas, todo lists and of course notes.