About 9 months ago, I was just finishing up Bombcats and was excited and terrified about the game coming out. Unfortunately, only one of those feelings was “correct”, and Bombcats was the biggest financial failure in Radiangames’ history. I feel lucky to still be doing independent development after that. (Literally I was lucky, in that Crush did decently well, Google Play featured 4 of my games on their store, and I found a good publisher to work with on a project that kept Radiangames going.)
Soon, another large project, on a scale similar to Bombcats, will be released. Unlike with Bombcats, I haven’t bet the company on this game, though I can’t get into the details of what that means yet. It combines a big license, a cool game genre, and a classic arcade game into a very fun game that I’m proud to have worked on for reasons beyond it just being a good game. More details will be coming next week, but that’s not what this post is really about.
Gotta Be Me
Last summer I spent a lot of time thinking. A lot of that thinking involved “What if?” questions and a lot of self-doubt about whether I was capable of making good games that could be successful. I read interviews with other successful developers like Jenova Chen, Edmund McMillen, and Jonathon Blow. What I finally realized is that I’d never be as good as those guys at doing what they do best. But more importantly, I realized I was probably better than all 3 of them at something: Making little puzzle/action games quickly.
A short while later I also finally realized: If I released my little puzzle/action games on iOS AND Google Play, they were actually successful. Sales from the platforms individually has been only OK, but OK sales (on iOS) plus OK sales (on Google Play) equals Good sales overall. And doing both only takes a couple extra days of work.
It’s time for me to return to what I did when Radiangames started, to return to what I do best: Making lots of cool little games quickly. I’ve always been really proud of what I accomplished on XBLIG (making 7 games in 11 months), and I think it’s time for another similar run of productivity. The last few years have been larger projects (Super Crossfire, Bombcats, and the soon-to-be-announced game) interspersed with bursts of ports and the occasional new puzzle game (Slydris/Crush).
Instead of XBLIG, this year I’ll be focusing on mobile games. All the upcoming games will coming to iPhone/iPad and Android, with other platforms a secondary concern. Here’s what I expect to be working on the rest of 2014:
A Couple Major Ports
A couple of my XNA-based games (JoyJoy and Fluid) need Unity-based versions, because I don’t want them to die when XBLIG does. It’s worth 2-3 weeks each to give them new life.
Some Minor Ports
Super Crossfire is likely coming to Ouya. And anything on Ouya might also come to Gamestick if I figure out how to do the ports quickly. I also really like Windows Phone as an OS, and I’ll be trying out a couple other games on the Windows Phone store. All my games could end up there if it goes well without too much work.
New (Puzzle) Games
This is what I’m most excited about in the short term. Many of the new games will be puzzle games similar in scope to Crush and Slydris, because they are just a genre that works really well on mobile and I have at least 4 concepts that I want to turn into real games this year. They are also just fun to work on.
Aside from the Crossfire series, I haven’t really done sequels or spinoffs, and that needs to change. With sequels and spinoffs, I’ll be able to spend a lot more time on design and content, and less on coming up with basic game systems and an art/sound style. Inferno+ (sequel or spinoff), Super Crossfire (sequel), and Ballistic (spinoff) are the most likely candidates. With these games, I’m a little less certain they’ll be mobile-focused. It depends on…
Soon I’ll be putting Super Crossfire and Inferno+ on Steam Greenlight. If they reach Steam, both will be the “ultimate editions” of each, meaning I’ll be adding in the iOS/Android extras (and more) to the Windows/Mac/Linux versions and using Steam for leaderboards/achievements. I’ll be doing this mostly to gauge interest in those two game series (for sequels) and just to see how Steam is compared to mobile game development. Long-term, I may switch to more Steam-focused projects after a run of smaller games on mobile, as there are multiple large projects I want to do eventually that will fit very well on a PC (or a console). But new Steam-focused projects are something for beyond 2014.
Fun and Fast in Fourteen
For the rest of 2014, I’m just going to try to get lots of games done fast and have fun doing it. I’ll probably be jumping around between the puzzle games, ports, and a sequel/spinoff or two. Regardless of the exact order I work on things, there will be lots of new games from Radiangames coming out this year.