Oct 03 2011


Having analytics is awesome! Here’s Vigilance’s play graph since it went out on Newgrounds:

It’s really nice to be able to keep track of something after it’s out in the wild.Β Play count is only half the story though! Here are a few other stats and things:

  • Average playtime is about 15 minutes
  • 15% of players quit during day 1
  • 18% of remaining players quit during night 1
  • 30% of players completed the game and reached the ending
  • The most difficult level was night 1, with slightly more deaths per play than every other night. Guess my difficulty curve was off!
  • The ice rink got over half of all arcade mode plays, probably because of the achievement πŸ˜€
  • And:Β 20% of people who started the game finished it!

I have no idea if this is good or not but I feel SUPER PROUD. It’s pretty great seeing literally tens of thousands of people enjoying something I’ve made. Vigilance is now the most widely played game I’ve ever made by a factor of ten or so and it’s just going to keep getting new players now ’cause it’s up on the internet forever. That’s the power of Flash!

Oh, there’s a little side project I’ve been gradually adding to over the past few months – a simple Starcraft 2 mod for friendly 1v1s, practice and coaching. I did a little work on it over the weekend and now it’s collecting stats on things like how much time you’ve spent supply blocked in the game and how good you are at spending resources. The stat tracking’s really simple but already I’ve noticed holes in my game from it, so it’s a useful tool. πŸ˜€ I think it’ll have to get its own page soon!

Sep 23 2011


I met my goal for this week. Vigilance is now out in the wild, this time as a sponsored viral Flash game. Best of luck to it!

And, well, that’s all I’ve got. I’ve had a cold for the past few days. It hasn’t been so bad, but late in the evening I’m finding it hard to focus on a computer monitor! So good night for now, enjoy your weekend and I’ll be back on Monday trying to figure out what the heck I do next.

Sep 22 2011


I’ve been working pretty slowly this week. Maybe I need to disable Internet access while I’m working? It’d probably help… but I’d fall behind on Twitter… o_O

I’m just hitting some minor snags with this Newgrounds build which I’ll hopefully get cleaned up shortly. I’m also coming down with a cold (a pretty minor one so far, at least!). Good thing I didn’t book Eurogamer Expo tickets, eh πŸ˜€ I think that means that finishing off Vigilance is about all I’ll achieve this week, work wise, but I reckon I can live with that.

Non-dev aside: I had a play of Sengoku’s demo last night. It’s possibly the least accessible game I’ve seen in years! What I think happened is that I waged war on a minor island clan, and the ensuing loss of honour meant most of my clan lost all respect for me and started voting in some jerk as my successor until I could recover enough honour and marry off my daughters to some of them as bribes.

I still have no idea if the game is incredibly simple or horrifically complex. Either way, it’s a good reminder of how far tutorials and general player education approaches have come and how much they bring to gaming.

Sep 20 2011


Civ 5 is weird! I’ve been playing it on and off for the past few days and it’s… nice? Balanced? But… a bit too balanced, possibly. I haven’t felt like there’s any actual possibility of making a bad decision. In fact, what with the advisors, the recommended worker improvements, opposing civs coming to you to make deals and so on, the game will play itself perfectly adequately if you just follow prompts at random.

And you have to sign “research agreements” now instead of trading research? What the hell is that about? πŸ˜€

Anyway, this week, I’m wrapping up the portals build of Vigilance (oh my goodness this has dragged on long enough). I’ll also be starting work on turning those Fight Back screens into glorious pixelly reality, which will be interesting. I’ll finally have to figure out what I want the level backgrounds to look like – that’s going to be tough.

Let’s see if I can get to Friday and be able to say that Vigilance is FINISHED FOREVER. I fixed up some title screen stuff and implemented scoreboards today, so it’s going alright. Onwards!

Sep 16 2011


Sam HaXe work’s all done! Well, apart from tidying up loose ends and submitting a patch to Sam HaXe-Open project, but that can wait. The result:

Yup! It now supports enough of the SWF format to import the Newgrounds API. I have the achievement system hooked up and everything.

It’s been weirdly nice doing something so technical. It feels like I’ve spent most of my work time this week tabbing between a hex editor, an SWF decompiler and the SWF specification PDF, manually decoding the bytestream in Notepad to sniff out I/O bugs… but it was fun, in a way. I’ll have to do a game project soon which is super complex to program and scratch that tech itch πŸ˜€

Getting that API to link properly was the hard part, so I’m already halfway through implementing it in Vigilance. Onward to next week, getting back to games development, and hopefully shipping this portals build!

Sep 14 2011


I got interviewed for one! Against All Expectations – Episode 9. Leo (@limbclock) asks me a bunch about my background, Beacon and Vigilance, what the plan is with Fight Back, Mac stuff, HaXe stuff, Finland stuff… taking in things like the unfortunate name conflict with Chevy Ray’s Beacon (spoiler: totally my fault!) and how Vigilance was partly inspired by an RPG Maker game.

Hell, I’m not going to go on about the Sam HaXe work I’m doing right now. There’s plenty about it in the podcast. πŸ˜€

Some interesting stuff kicked off over the weekend. Ars Technica put up this post about contract clauses from game development studios which specify that anything employees create, even in their own time, is the property of the company. (My personal opinion: it’s taking the piss!) I sent this on to Jas Purewal (@gamerlaw) who, beingΒ super awesome,Β wrote up a whole article addressing the legal situation, sharing what developers think on the topic, and giving sensible real-world advice on how to deal with these issues. If you do any kind of software work yourself then give it a read, though I guess it’s written for a UK audience so the legal stuff might not be universal.

Right… back to implementing the SWF spec!

Sep 13 2011


Oof. I was hoping to get some serious work done on the new build of Vigilance on Monday, but it turns out Sam HaXe – which I use to link my SWFs – doesn’t properly import a bunch of things from SWF files, like morph shapes or button objects. That means I plain can’t use my sponsor’s API just yet.

So I’ve downloaded the source and I’m fixing Sam HaXe. πŸ˜€ It’ll probably take a few days, as I’ve got to extend how much of the SWF format it understands, and I guess I’ll be writing another technical Flash-games-in-HaXe post after that. There are some pretty good arguments for not using HaXe. I’m really looking forward to Fight Back and getting to actually use HaXe’s strengths!

Sep 09 2011


Man! It’s often helpful keeping a three-posts-a-week schedule, but sometimes I just don’t have anything to post. Today is one of those days. However, the reason for it is a good one: Vigilance now has a sponsor!

I’ve spent the past two days working on the necessary changes for the sponsored version. It’ll be out shortly once those are done, hopefully next week. Then I’ll finally get to close the door on Vigilance and get on with overhauling Fight Back, which should let me post a ton of new pictures and music tracks and videos with new cool stuff for months. πŸ˜€ Sit tight!

Sep 05 2011


Right! I think I’ve got a plan. I am going to push on with Fight Back for now, but I’m not committing to making it a big thing just yet. Right now I’m going to focus on making it the best damn Flash game it can possibly be. I’ll keep my options open. In a few months from now, I can make the decision: either start work towards a big, shiny HD version for cash money, or ship it for Flash and move on. There’ll always be more projects to take up!

Not much else to report. At the moment I’m balancing some contract work with sorting out the portal versions of Vigilance. It’s a fair bit of work! I’m going all out with the various portals’ high score tables and so on. Who knows, right? I have to test the waters first to see if it’s worth doing next time…

I’ve also finally got Vigilance under 10MB, which is well overdue. Major lesson learned from all this: Flash games have to be small! It’s hard being a Flash developer and an audiophile πŸ™‚

Aug 31 2011


Fear Is Vigilance went up a week ago. It’s now been played over 6,000 times, which is more downloads than Beacon got in that time! It’s shown up on RPS, in a PC Gamer roundup, on Reddit (hi Reddit!)…

Well, the real traffic to Flash games comes from people hitting Flash portals. I’m putting together a portal-friendly version of the game to send out shortly. It’ll have prominent links back to my site here, no sitelock, and I’ll probably put together a 10MB version as well for those portals who object to a larger file.

However you look at it, Vigilance is a commercial failure. I’m going to make a few hundred dollars from MochiAds, but that’s terrible money for a few months’ work. Still, it was a lot of fun to do, it was a valuable experiment, and seeing people enjoy it really does make it feel worthwhile. Thanks for playing and commenting – it makes all the difference πŸ™‚