Author Archive

Oh, what a week!

I have no idea how to word this post. I’m almost out of words, to be honest. I must have typed two million of the things this week, between support emails, promotional emails, emails of thanks, emails of apology, interviews, comments, texts, tweets and posts.

But what a week it’s been! The reviews have been remarkably warm about the game (RPS and Destructoid being a couple of my highlights.)  I can’t find one that hated it, anyway!  And the kind emails and comments you’ve all sent me have honestly made me feel like I’m floating for most of the week.

Sales have gone surprisingly alright – it’s still not recouped its costs, but unlike Soul Brother I keep my IP (intellectual property as opposed to web address.) So if the game continues to sell, it still could!

The bad news was mainly down to one issue – the Black Screen Of Death which started appearing on random users’ Macs (PC’s were unaffected.) This caused an absolute support nightmare, and I’ve spent most of this week writing support emails to people who’ve suffered the issue. Once again I’d like to apologise to anyone this has affected. It’s a problem with Adobe AIR, and it seems like it’s out of my control to fix right now. The ‘Flash projector’ version, which I’ve been supplying customers with as an alternative, has been fine for all users except one so far – he fell victim of the ‘reset browser killing Flash saved games’ issue which caused me to use Adobe AIR in the first place (it provides a way of directly writing and reading files from the system like a ‘real’ application.)  Anyway, the upshot of this is that I’m still looking into it, and I’m going to do some thorough testing on a machine I know doesn’t work pretty soon (‘unfortunately’ it works on mine so it’s hard to test.)

Anyway, things have calmed down to the point I was able to assemble the 19-track OST, and make an album sleeve for it especially. And it gives me great pleasure to announce that it’s NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE on Bandcamp for $6.99! Yay!

Click this pic to go the shop:

Anyway, once again, thankyou so much for your support, kind emails, help and friendship along the way.  I honestly could never have imagined it would go so well, despite the technical problems.

I’m really happy to have made something that’s interesting to you guys, and I’ll keep trying to do the same thing in future!

LONE SURVIVOR

It’s with great pleasure, exhaustion, joy and relief that I announce the end to this four year chapter of my life.

LONE SURVIVOR is here.

It’s done. It’s finished. It’s complete. It’s available to buy.

It has every drop of my heart and soul in it.

It’s taken its toll on my health and family life…

But most importantly it’s here.

Thanks for supporting me along the way, and I hope you enjoy the game!

Or visit www.lonesurvivor.co.uk to purchase the game.

Welcome to www.lonesurvivor.co.uk

Just a very quick post to say all’s going well for launch.

The video’s done (but not live yet), www.lonesurvivor.co.uk is done and now live, as the title of this post suggests. You’ll be able to buy the game there next Tuesday.

The enormous mountain of press and promotion emails is getting smaller slowly.  I just re-submitted to Steam.

I’m going to start the demo later on, or tomorrow.  I hope I can get it done on time!

Sort of flying at the moment, I don’t know if it’s excitement or delirium.  I’m glad to mostly done with the promotional material though, it’s not the part of the job I enjoy the most!

LONE SURVIVOR: 27.3.2012

It gives me great pleasure to finally announce that LONE SURVIVOR will be debuting on PC & Mac on Tuesday, 27.3.2012 (that’s 3.27.2012 in American or 2012.3.27 in Japanese.)

The price of this piece of interactive entertainment will be ten American dollars ($10.)  This will be for the Standard Edition (which includes DRM-free updates for life, and access to both Mac & PC versions.)

There will also be available a ‘First Aid Edition’ which is partly intended to help support future freeware development.  If I could, I’d make all my games for free, but unfortunately my wife, my child and even I need feeding.  Any funds I make from this edition will go into paying myself a survival salary while making these games.  The First Aid Edition will be priced at a ludicrous $50, but will also include the Lone Survivor OST, as well as an exclusive short game to be finished afterwards (LS3D – a side adventure to Lone Survivor,) as well as a couple of mystery gifts, such as scans of designs and artwork from the game, to be decided.

On the subject of future updates, there are still two more secret endings I’d like to add to the game.  While the game is fine and complete without them, I think it would be fun to have a couple more to explore on a second playthrough, and one of them I actually have something quite silly planned for.

This does depend on whether the game makes enough money for me to continue my indie career, but if it does, rest assured you’ll get a free Special Endings Edition when the time comes!

In addition, as thanks for early support, the first 1200 buyers will receive a copy of the Soul Brother OST, normally priced at $5.

I’m actually assembling the final build of the game tomorrow, fixing the last 15 minor bugs or so, and removing cheat modes I put in for testing.  It feels like I’ve been making this game forever, and I’m still sort of in shock I can’t find much more to add or fix.  It really is finished.  And, I have to say, it’s one of the rare things I’ve made that I’m kind of proud of, in 15 years of making things for a living!

It will launch initially through my website only (a new site for the game itself, which is under construction at the moment.)  You’ll be able to download or play the demo in your browser, to see if you’d like to purchase it.  There will be a nice new launch trailer (I’ve already 99% finished it, but I’m saving it for just before launch.)

More than anything, I hope you all get something out of playing it. Heartfelt thanks to you all, for sharing the long journey with me, and supporting a game which tries humbly to do something a little different.

Jasper

Need sleep.

A few weeks from now, I’ll be able to get some, at last.

A couple of days after IGF, I’ll be announcing the launch date and the price, and more importantly the game will be 100% complete!  The reason I’ve barely written about this last period of development is simply that it’s been bit of a living hell I’d rather not share with you.  I’ve smoked altogether too much, ate bad food, not slept well, seen no-one and done nothing but work from dawn ’till dusk, mostly on the horrible tasks I’d stockpiled for the end of the game.  Things like the map were a very difficult and fiddly challenge to get right (took about two solid weeks to rework following some excellent feedback by Terry Cavanagh.)

Thankfully all that nastiness is out the way now!  My wife and daughter are back from their time in Japan, where they were visiting family. For the sake of getting Lone Survivor finished, and partly due to dwindling funds, I had to stay behind … which was pretty tough.  But they’re back now, and I’m really glad I’ll have their support over this final hurdle.

The tiredness is still mounting up with the last few tasks to do: last bits of content to finish, the website to launch, payment systems to figure out, press to contact, demo to make, video to record, soundtrack to prepare.  These are all fairly nice tasks in comparison to the map, though.

So it won’t be long at all now, and I hope you might be pleasantly surprised by the launch date I’m shooting for!

It’s in BETA.

It’s in BETA*.

* lots of exciting, actual information to come soon.  Watch this space.

It’s very nearly there…

It’s very nearly there.

The Home Stretch

Thanks for all the kind comments on the previous entry, despite its total lack of information!

I really would love to write more on the blog at the moment, but I figure everyone would probably be happiest if I focussed fully on getting the game finished, and spoiling as little details as possible.

The endings, the new intro section, the little tweaks to gameplay here and there, are progressing well.  If you’ve been following my twitter you’ll have some idea of what I’ve been actually doing, but I think for the most part I’m happy keeping any more details a mystery at this point.

I can say this – I really feel the game is taking overall shape now, in the editing phase. And each day brings improvements, rather than additional content, which is actually really satisfying to watch.  It’s the part of a big project I enjoy the most, when the end’s in sight, and the worst bits are over (which were slightly before the end), and you’re just going back over things with a fine tooth-comb and polishing them until they shine (hopefully!)

I’m now happy with the story itself, which has been the hardest part (or rather, what of the story I reveal to the player, in each path.)  It’s taken several years to come to this point, and a fair share of angst, but I feel comfortable to let it out there in the sense that it is close enough to what I wanted to achieve.  In some ways, seeing it as a complete interactive work for the first time has made me feel that I’ve managed to do a few things I didn’t even set out to do with the story, but sort of happen as a result of the mechanics.  I’m being vague here, I know… I have to try hard to contain the urge to share my interpretation of the narrative, as soon it will be in the world, and everyone else’s will be equally valid.

I’m getting really close to finishing now, it really might be done in the next couple of weeks, and onto a short period of beta testing.  As we we enter that stage, I’ll be announcing the actual launch date and pricing (it probably won’t be February at this point.)

I’ll be contacting various distributors soon, as well as the press, making a new trailer, setting up a new site for the game, and overhauling this sorry place, especially the frontpage (if I even keep it.)  I know Soul Brother is still listed as ‘unfinished’…  Sorry about that!

Anyway, I’ll try to write again next week, even if it’s brief.  I may even have some more detail about the launch date then.

Slight hiccup today as I managed to lose two months’ backup of my music and graphics, my HD suddenly failed and I realised I hadn’t backed up for much longer than usual (Lone Survivor itself is safe, don’t worry!)  But this means I will be lucky if I’m able to put the Lone Survivor OST together after the game, as I think quite a few critical files (including the uncompressed masters) have been lost.  I also lost another couple of game prototypes I’d been working on over New Year and some art for those, and other mockups.  I should be back up and running in a day or two, providing the new HD is not DOA (machines like to die when I’m near them.)  It’s a bad blow at this point, but I suppose I’m just glad LS is safe, even if the soundtrack album has to be sacrificed.  I’m going to look into some kind of incremental backup, because I currently just clone my drives, but it scares me that you have to wipe them before updating the backup…

Amyway, now begins the final crunch, so wish me luck, and that no other mechanical failures occur etc!

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

The Genesis of a Survival Horror

2004

On my hard drive as ‘mygame.app’, for Mac OS Classic.  The beginnings of a point’n’click adventure around the concept of dream-logic.  Learning to code after 10 years out.

2005-6

Began to develop the editor I use for Lone Survivor (at least, the point’n’click side of it.)  At this time I was re-doing the art in 3D, and the game had a name: Amnesia.  Which as you can guess was never released (although another one was!)

2008

Made Soundless Mountain II for a one-month competition, using my ‘platform engine’, a separate framework.  Getting much more interested in survival horror as a new direction for Amnesia.  Or maybe a hybrid approach…

Began building Amnesia engine 2.0 – a hybrid of platformer and point’n’click engines, all powered by the scripting language.  Initially in XNA, then I reverted to my original plan of using BlitzMax. Began to develop complex lighting treatments, a simpler implementation of which still exists in LS.

It initially looked like this…

Then this…

Then this…

2009

And finally this…

The bedroom has been part of the plan since the start.  I spent a lot of time getting it right, then ended up with something much plainer in the end.

But it was getting too ambitious.  Each treatment more elaborate than the first.  I abandoned Amnesia at that point, and to contain my disappointment, I decided to work on something that was small, silly, manageable*.

Thus was born LONE SURVIVOR.

It was to be one level, one weapon, one enemy, simple survival mechanics.  Everything Amnesia wasn’t.

First three mockups I recently found, probably done on the first day of development.

I’ll share the development images in the next post hopefully.

*SPOILER It didn’t turn out small, silly or manageable.  It turned into Amnesia, but at least I’ve finally made it now.