Indie Game Development - "Having fun, making fun"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ultimate Dodgeball - Dash Promo

Microsoft is featuring Ultimate Dodgeball on the Indie Dashboard Promo!  Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dev Log - Developers helping each other

One of the cool things about being a developer is how programmers take the time to help each other and share their experience on online forums. 

This image is a test case showing a problem I'm having with particle effects not sorting properly with Avatars in Sunburn.  I'm posting it here so I can link to it on the Sunburn forums.  Hopefully another developer will have encountered this problem before and show me a way to resolve it.

I know I've been pretty silent here about my new game, but I've been steadily working on it and I'm about to do my first playtest.  A dev log update will be forthcoming.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Video Reviews - Part 2

While searching for new press Ultimate Dodgeball may have received, I discovered several new video reviews.  Some of these videos are from fans sharing the game with friends, and others are people exploring indie games for the first time.  Each has a different story to tell, and as a game designer I've loved getting this insight into my audience.  Thanks to everyone who played Ultimate Dodgeball and shared it with their Youtube audience.

IG FalloutBrute
"Really cool game, really fun.  Controls are easy to learn and use.  I would definitely recommend this game...I give it a 10."

"This game's actually pretty fun!"  He selected Ultimate Dodgeball to kick off a new series he was starting called "The Indie Trials."  He began with very low expectations of indie games, and was caught by surprise when he realized he was having fun :)

Josh Weaver
Played a 2 vs 2 Deathmatch without commentary.

Drew Reviews
"Pretty fun, but makes me rage."  Drew really liked the game, but also had a lot to say about things he didn't like - so of course I took notes.

A grade school student who recorded a 2 on 2 elimination game on his Iphone.

"Looks really good and entertaining...Pretty manic." [Explicit]

Played Deathmatch on Expert mode, and had to turn the difficulty down.  He had a good time and felt great when he triumphed in the end. [Explicit]

King Prank
"I don't know who plays these indie games, I'm just giving it a go."  He didn't think he would like it, but the game seemed to win him over.  [Explicit]

"An awesome indie game session."  Played a 1 on 1 online match for a feature called Indie Game Mondays.  [Explicit]

will hite
A couple grade school kids taking down the final team on coop tournament.  They had played the game on and off for a couple months and hadn't been able to beat them.  They stayed up late one night, recorded this on an Iphone and were victorious!  [Explicit]

CreeperJoeGaming XBL
"They're over 90, they should all be dead."  Said during an online elimination match, when one player thought he had hit his Old School opponent.  These two had a lot of fun.  [Explicit]

Another Great Review

Here's a few select quotes from Brad at Otakudante's Gaming Inferno.  Thanks for the review Brad!

Otakudante's Gaming Inferno
"K-Dog Games returns to the indie forefront with one heck of an interesting sports title...When I tell you that this game offers more bang for your buck I'm most definitely not lying...Any fan of "NFL Blitz," or "NBA Jam" should enjoy this game as it has similar arcade style features."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Reviews are In - Ultimate Dodgeball

Reviews have been coming and are overwhelmingly positive.  A big thank you to everyone who took the time to review Ultimate Dodgeball. 

IRB Gamer
"I'd highly recommend Ultimate Dodgeball to anyone with 80 Microsoft Points to spare.  Don't believe me, just try the trial run in the Marketplace."

Clearance Bin Review
" of the better multiplayer games on the Xbox Indie market."

Talk Nerdy To Me
"There's a great time to be had when you do a cartwheel to dodge a fast ball then smack another player square in the face with your flaming ball of awesomeness.  Okay, maybe I'm romanticizing this game a little.  In fact, it's a nice little game and for only 80 points, its one you all should definitely try."

Trials for Life
"It's dodgeball and it's fun.  Gather your friends for a laugh riot."

" awesome game...where players can defy gravity with throwing moves that include flaming cartwheels and spinning backhands."

The sole negative review comes from 1Up or Poison, who opened with:
"...has a lot in common with all those avatar sports games that seem to clutter the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace.  The biggest similarity: pure mediocrity."

Although positive, many reviews do cite a frustration that the player's AI teammates die too easily on the lower difficulty levels.  This is because when I turn down the AI on lower difficulty settings, I'm currently turning down the player's AI teammates as well as his opponents.  This prevents the player's AI teammates from dodging as effectively as they would on higher difficulty levels.

I may be able to address this in a future patch by simply allowing the player's AI teammates to dodge at a higher difficulty level than their opponents.  I'll have to be careful though, so I don't inadvertently make the game too easy or make the player feel like he is the weakest link on his own team.

All in all I'm very pleased with how well Ultimate Dodgeball has been received by reviewers and in the marketplace.  This has been a huge step forward from my first game Kick'n It!, and it is my hope the my next game will be another great step forward. 

Thanks again to all my reviewers!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Video Reviews - Ultimate Dodgeball

Several playthroughs and video reviews for Ultimate Dodgeball have been posted to Youtube.  Video reviews are cool because you get to see for yourself what the game is actually like.  As a developer it was great to see people outside of a focus test playing and enjoying the game.  I would like to say a big thank you to each person who posted a video of Ultimate Dodgeball.

One of the first reviews I saw was from RealLAGgamers.  On his very first time playing the game he decided to play deathmatch on insane difficulty.  I thought he was done for, but he hung in there and had a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed his relaxed commentary as he experienced the game.

Edgarsaur is a British college student who decided to play through the entire campaign. He initially got shut down by the Militia and I found myself rooting for him as he came back with a vengeance.  I also enjoyed listening to his British phrases.  He really had a good time.

T0mThompson and his friend NameProduct live in Germany.  They played through several online matches and you can tell they were having a good time even if you don't understand German.  I actually got to play a match with them several weeks ago when they volunteered to help me track down and fix a multiplayer bug.

DarkHogosha has a cool video feature called "A Week at the Indies" during which he briefly plays each XBLIG game that came out that week and gives you his initial impression.  Unfortunately the game failed to excite him during the brief time he played the tutorial.   If you want to watch this video, his comments about Ultimate Dodgeball begin at 5:16.

MinecraftSuperStreet posted a nice deathmatch playthrough that already has a lot of views.  Unfortunately a recording glitch prevented his commentary from being heard, although I could him laugh and groan while playing the game and he seemed like he was having a good time.
aaronthesplazer regularly posts video playthroughs of XBLIG games, and I still remember the play through he made last year of my first game. This is a nice deathmatch playthrough without commentary, and it currently has the most views.  I really enjoyed all the cool avatars that the game brought in from his friend's list. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Update for Ultimate Dodgeball goes Live!

The update for Ultimate Dodgeball cleared peer review yesterday and went live!  This update eliminates a crash bug found in online multiplayer and a fixes a couple smaller multiplayer bugs.  In addition, it adds a rematch feature for online games so friends can play multiple games together without having to back out to the main menu or send new game invites.

The update also fixes a bug that had disabled the game's demo mode.  This prevented the game from limiting content during the demo and asking for a purchase.  I'm extremely grateful that the game has been selling well despite these issues, and hope this update will help Ultimate Dodgeball climb even higher in the sales charts.

Ultimate Dodgeball breaks into the Top 20

Ultimate Dodgeball is now the 17th Best Selling Game on XBLIG!  My goal was to break into the top 50 and I had hopes of breaking into the top 25. But in the two weeks since it launched, Ultimate Dodgeball has just kept climbing up the charts. I'm beyond excited!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Multiplayer crash bug found - fix on the way

A crash bug has been found in online multiplayer.  I apologize to everyone that this has happened and am busy preparing an update to fix it.

I have very high quality standards and am somewhat of a perfectionist about my work.  I was dismayed therefore, when two different reviewers reported experiencing crashes during online multiplayer matches.   That simply should not be possible, and yet it was.  I am very grateful to Indie Gamer Chick and Tom Thompson, who brought the issue to my attention and agreed to hold off on their reviews until the fix is in place.  I am also thankful to NameProduct and Tom for talking with me online from Snowy Germany and playing some online matches with me so I could better understand what was going on.  You guys are great!

So what went wrong?  Because I'm obsessed with quality and its challenging to get other developers to test online games I purchased two developer accounts, gold accounts and xboxs.   I used them to test over Xbox Live from multiple locations so I could deal with real-world latency.   And I did find and fix problems this way that I would never have found if I had simply developed my game using system link and simulated latency.   So how in the world could I be getting a crash in online multiplayer now?

What appears to be happening is a section of networking code that never produced any problems before is now producing crashes almost 100% of the time.  Since I haven't changed my code, this should not be possible - but it is.  That doesn't mean that I haven't made mistakes or that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this.  Had I wrapped my networking code in a try catch block (an error handling proceedure) the crashes would never have occured. If during peer review I had pushed to get even one developer to test online play with me we would have caught the bug.  I may have even been able to find it locally over system link if I had used my two machines to test the revisions during peer review.  So, while I may not understand how this crash bug got into a shipping build, I believe with a little more diligence I can prevent this kind of problem from happening again. My apologies to all that were effected by this.  The fix is on the way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ultimate Dodgeball Clears Peer Review!

I'm excited to announce that Ultimate Dodgeball has passed the peer review process and will be released onto the marketplace this Friday, January 18th! 

I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to review it, especially the developers who gave the final Japanese votes I needed to clear review.