If you want to submit to Steam Greenlight, but feel you can’t because of the required $100 Child’s Play donation, I want to make it possible. Here’s my money where my mouth is:
I will loan $100 to one awesome aspiring indie developer. (Read on.)
I’m calling on other established indie developers to do the same.
(Update 1: If you’re an indie willing to do put up $100 as well, please drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Update 2: The outpouring is already fantastic. Indies and non-indies want to help folks make great games.)
(Update3: We’re all done. Results to come.)
It’s been my experience that indies help each other out. We spend countless hours sharing successes and mistakes in talks and e-mails, and over the phone. When I started, over a decade ago, there weren’t many of us, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to hoard everything I’ve learned in the intervening years.
This blog post isn’t about whether Greenlight is good or not. I’ll leave that to you to decide. (Ed: I love Steam and Valve. I think they’re pretty awesome for indies.)
The biggest piece of advice I have to those who are working on a new title is this: I’ve seen people who are dead serious about their games. There is nothing in the world that will stop them. We eat ramen for months. We sleep on couches when we need to. All to get our games done. You’re able to create a game? You are pretty goddamned smart! I know you can find a way to make it a success, if you stick with it.
But you ain’t alone, right? Look: I’ll loan one indie $100 to submit their game on Steam’s Greenlight platform. For consideration, you must do this:
Say: In the e-mail, a) tell me a bit about your game, b) tell me a bit about yourself, and c) promise me that you realize that nobody owes you anything, and that you’ll pay me back before the end of the year.
Disseminate: Spread the word so that other indies will offer similar loans.
By the end of this month, I’ll pick someone I feel is awesome, and loan ‘em the cash.
Again, I don’t care a hoot about whether Greenlight sucks, or is the best thing since pet monkeys. This blog post won’t solve world hunger. It may not even solve your problem. But it’s one way to help.
By this time next week, we’ll be setting up for PAX Prime. I (Ichiro) am heading out on the 29th of August, and will stick around until the 3rd of September. With us will be Rohit (aka Leo) and Jonathan. Sadly, Elliot (DRP’s tech lead) will not be able to make it, but I’m thinking we should set up a two-way live stream on a mobile robot.
Anyway, while we’re out, here’s our checklist:
1. Be part of the Indie MEGABOOTH
30 indies. 30+ games. Here’s the trailer:
2. Grab a Bite with Valve
You know a publisher loves indies when you say, “Hey, want to meet with a bunch of us for dinner?” and they say, “Sure — when’s good for you?”
3. Show off DRP
“A massive, angry robot fires banks of lasers at an orphanage, slicing it apart to the horror of thousands of onlookers. You emerge from the wreckage on your jetpack, and blast at its weak points, breaking it apart like you’re dismembering a boiled lobster.” So goes our press release. And we’re ready to show off some of the latest Titans we’ve been creating. [Website!]
4. Show off Monster Loves You!
“You’re a young monster, orphaned by humans who now wear your parents as luxurious pelts. You live in the village of Omen, and your favorite snack is human toes.” We’re still working to polish the PAX Prime build with Radial Games, but it’s working on PC and iOS! Haxe for the win! [Website!!!]
I received this e-mail from a gamer a few days ago:
I have recently purchased your title from the Steam store, and wanted
to email you directly to thank you for participating in the Steam
Summer Sale event. As a consumer, I have limited entertainment
dollars, which means (especially for games) I have to be selective
about what I buy. The SSS gives me an opportunity to consider games I
never would have in the past, and that includes your game.
There has been some debate on if such deep discounts devalue games. I
don’t know if it changes consumer expectations of game pricing. I do
know, however, that I made a purchase because of the SSS that I had
not made prior to it, and had no intent to make. Now I own your game,
and I’m also keeping an eye on your company to see what you make next.
So again, thank you for participating in the Steam Summer Sale. It has
given me the chance to enjoy your work.
From April 6-8 at PAX East, we will be part of the The Indie Megabooth, situated on expo floor prime realty and encompassing 16 of the most creative studios. Collectively the Megabooth includes 20 titles, and (we’re 90% sure) 3 of those are ours. That means Dejobaan’s Games make up 15% of the Megabooth. Not bad!
We think you should be able to name our almost certain triple threat. Say it with me: Drunken Robot Pornography (that one sounds even better if a whole crowd yells it, like at a game show), Ugly Baby, and F=ma. We’re frantically polishing up the first two to be playable and fun, and we’re really stoked about how so many people love the iOS version of Aaaaa!
We admit PAX East is huge, and we are thrilled to show off all our hard work. To help guide you to almost all of the awesome indie titles on the PAX East show floor and to give you a reason to goof off even more with us, we Megabooth devs created the Indie Mega Passport. So that no mobile indie child is left behind, we appended the six games from this year’s Boston Indie Showcase to the passport hunt, topping it off with some Joe Danger spice from our friends at Hello Games.
But rather than hunt down a couple dozen indie booths, do you instead want to maximize your time stalking Ichiro at PAX East? Check out this post for a detailed map where we all will be on the floor and what exciting indie talks he will participate in.
We hope to see you at PAX East, and maybe even get a restraining order on you.
Dejobaan’s preparing to meet its friends and to make a few thousand new ones at PAX East 2012. There, we hope to show off F=ma (now available for iOS), along with the Drunken Robot Pornography and Ugly Baby on Unity prototypes April 6 -8 at the Boston Convention Center, booth #661.
Dejobaan’s no noob when it comes to PAX East. We had two stations at the inaugural event in 2010, thanks to MIT GAMBIT and the Boston Indie Showcase. We’ve grown since then, and now have our very own booth. Understanding the strength in indie numbers, we joined more than a dozen other developers to create the Indie MegaBooth, making it easier than ever for indie game fans and press to find us all. (We’ll have lots to reveal about the MegaBooth in the coming weeks, too.)
Fourteen developers make up the proper Indie MegaBooth, which is spread among three large areas adjacent to the Boston Indie Showcase. PAX East has uploaded an official map of the expo floor. Take a moment to find Dejobaan’s booth, #661.
Make sure you stop by, as most of the extended Dejobaan family will be there: Alicia (mistress voiceover of ceremonies), Elliot, Ichiro, John, Leo, and potentially others!
When Ichiro isn’t at the PAX East booth talking to fans and press individually, he’ll be addressing two rooms full of gamers. He’ll be speaking in the “Indie Game Development: A Day in the Life – Part II” lecture in the Cat Theatre on Saturday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm with Ska Studios and Arcen Games. His second talk will be “The Indie Rant: Indie Developers Gone Wild” in the Naga Theatre on Sunday from 4:00pm to 5:00pm with a slew of indies, local and international!
While Ichiro’s appearances at those lectures are finalized, our game line-up and physical booth are still in development. We hope you’ll join in cheering on the team on Twitter and Facebook, as we enter these final two weeks. Our resident drunken robots can turn all that positive reinforcement into smutty developmental energy!
Starting this week, similarly crazy Boston-area developers Defective Studios will be helping us with Unity prototyping, including Ugly Baby. Pairing off with a team of skilled Unity developers has proven very successful so far with Owlchemy Labs, so we’ve enlisted in another team to help out on the Ugly Baby side.
Beginning in February, we’ll provide regular updates about what we’re up to along those lines. That (along with Elliot’s Project DRP stuff) is a whole lot of developing going on, as we push to get some great games ready for PAX East 2012 and beyond.
Ichiro’s goals with Defective are to investigate Unity and to decouple mechanics development from design. “I was doing everything myself, which sucked,” Ichiro reflects. He finds Defective to be young, full of energy, and bright — their cloud asset server is an impressive undertaking.
As it turns out, Defective is a group of 7 (5 full-time, 2 part-time) located in the Boston area, not far from Dejobaan HQ. Their number includes Jono Forbes, who worked as a 3D modeler and developer at the local 3DVIA; illustrator and graphic designer Jon Elliott; and tech artist “Danger,” who cut his eye teeth as a modeler.
I can’t wait to start sharing with everyone what Defective Studios starts creating with us!
Editor’s Note: I received a bunch of distressing e-mails recently. I am not entirely sure why. I believe that they had to do with Owlchemy Labs, our partner in crime on F=ma (which is the iOS version of Aaaaa!). Here’s a bit of what was said in the e-mails.
E-mails from Concerned Fans Begin Here!
Explanation #1 (12/30/11): Having recently purchased this fine piece of gaming history, I settled in for what I had imagined would be a night to remember for all time (and not one of those sappy “dinner on the pier with a glass of vintage chardonnay and the one woman on Earth who will put up with you” nights, no, I mean one of those, “Just finished building a rocket ship in my daylight basement and am preparing to launch myself to the moon where I will no longer have to think about that one woman on Earth who put up with me until she decided she liked my so-called best friend better than me” nights.)
Explanation #2 (12/30/11): I tried running the game in wine on Linux and spilt it all over myself, please help!
Editor’s Note: Look at how carressive the hand is over the wine.
Explanation #3 (12/30/11): weird bug where whenever I’d spray a tag on a building it would just say “Alex is Nude”. I like that touch and all, but did you really have to put that Renaissance-like picture of Alex in there? I mean, you can almost see his everything. I dunno if I feel comfortable falling anymore if I know I’m spraying a sexy naked guy for points.
Explanation #4 (12/30/11): I also had one question: How do buildings float in the air?
Editor’s note: Polystructures! They’re in the opening clip.
Explanation #5 (12/30/11): I launched steam on my laptop, as I normally do, and play AaAaAA Awesome for the first time after this update. I am playing the XMas levels when I suddenly hear a clicking noise. Strange, I thought it was in game, but NOPE! A flame popped out of the USB port on the left side as the laptop caught fire. I freaked out!… P.S. The game needs more Llamas.
Editor’s Note: This is not my llamas. It is an alpaca. Nature’s most beautiful creature.
Explanation #6 (12/30/11): It gets worse though. Whenever I try to start it up again, my computer starts to leak carbon monoxide, and my fish tank catches on fire. I’ve already lost three fish, and I’m expecting 2 new Betta fish, and 1 clown fish to be shipped to my house, as a form of reimbursement… I can still play other games in my Steam library, yet it seems like some things from Aa have “leaked” from it, to my other games. I’m 99.12455324% certain that Skyrim, Mass Effect 2, Serious Sam 3, Deus Ex, and Amnesia DON’T have scoring plates in them. I also don’t think that buildings are supposed to turn color when I drive by them in GTA 4 either.
Explanation #7 (12/30/11): I was playing Aaaaawesome until like half an hour ago and I was going for that 4096 jumps achievement. But as soon as I finished it hell broke lose. I don’t know exactly WHAT is happening since I’m too afraid to go near the window and lift the curtain, but all I can hear are explosions and peoples screams. I’m pretty confident some friggin’ war or something has started or the undead walk on earth or so and it is proven that all this is caused by this achievement! Is there any way to undo it, like using a time machine or something? And don’t tell me you don’t have one!
Editor’s Note: This is a child’s drawing of a betta fish.
Explanation #8 (12/30/11): So I loaded up aaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome and it brought up the steam overlay and starting googling for llama porn and taxidermy and taxidermist porn. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen taxidermists but they’re the last people you want to see in porn.
Explanation #9 (12/30/11): Hullo, I had a really absurd sort of bug come up in the AaaaAAaaa for the Awesome game. I was playing the game on one of the Christmas levels and then when I was about to land it made me fall through the bottom of the world and I happened to end up falling through pitch blackness in some endless loop so I figure OK, I’ll exit out. The next time I launched up the game there were floaty pixels of what looked like half-llama and half-viagra-bottle sorts of unholy chimeras floating all around the place and turning things all sorts of different shades of green and blue. The next thing I knew there were ducks. Lots and lots of ducks. I actually managed to FRAPs a youtube video of it in action before it bugged out completely.
Explanation #20 (12/30/11): Yeah, it seems like unlocking the 4096 achievement doesn’t trigger the third world war, but it started The Wonderful End Of The World and now it won’t stop until I play it through. That wouldn’t be a problem at all, since I already got all achievements and stuff, but something’s odd. First: The game is completely in japanese. Even the music, like in the main menu and the potato ARG levels, is all in japanese. Next strange thing: You play as a cat. Not that man that sucks everything up, but a cat. A green cat, which sucks things up, even if they are far bigger than me. Next: The highscorescreen of every level got completely wiped and filled with my name plus some seemingly random numbers, not in japanese.
Explanation #21 (12/31/11): Approximately 15 minutes after the first crash, I heard something not too different than what could be described as an “old-timey-voodoo-whistle.” Shortly after, I hear something that sounds like a parachute. I check outside and I see a man parachuting down from the sky with a package strapped to his back. I continue to watch him outside my apartment window until he gently landed. He brushed himself off and reassured his apparently worried conscious that “no bones were broken, 4 stars.” He began to walk up my apartment steps and, sure enough, rang my bell. I was a little apprehensive to answer, but I worked up enough courage and created a facade in my head that would allow me to act as if I hadn’t been stalking his departure from wherever he had arrived from.
“Hello?”, I called before opening the door. There was no response. I sighed, and opened the door. What happened next could only be described as unusual and unsavory. He unzipped his satchel from his back and quickly shoved two boxes in my hands and ran off, over the nearby hill. I stood there, astonished, wondering what the hell had just happened. I looked at the two boxes he had given me. I had been graciously given two boxes of “100% Natural Teas, Celestial Seasonings” both in the “Fruit Tea Sampler” and “Chamomile” flavors. I do enjoy tea and my modus vivendi typically starts with a mug of tea, so the gift was well received, albeit unusual. I called after him with the only word I could muster at the time, “WHAT?!”
I closed the door and sat back down at my desk. And then it happened again. Another voodoo whistle.
I am currently discovering for every unsuccessful attempt at launching the Christmas DLC, 12 minutes and 42 seconds later, to the second, another parachuter lands outside my apartment, handing me two boxes of the aforementioned tea. I had to type this to you in the breathing space provided to me. You need to fix this. Or don’t and I’ll just keep getting tea for the next day or so because I’m a persistent loser who doesn’t seem to understand when a game doesn’t work it simply just doesn’t work.
Editor’s Note: This is not an ad. It’s a screenshot of the above player’s post when fed into a beta version of Chrome.
Explanation #22 (12/31/11): You see, soon after I booted the game, my computer mysteriously started growing a spongy material on the CPU and GPU. I initially thought that this was just a build up of dust, but then after buying a new, top of the line PC, the same thing happened. I confirmed that it was because of your game by installing only a new copy of windows 7, and your game. It was only after your game had been run the that the growth appeared. I have now started selling the stuff, in pill form, as a psychedelic drug. Would you consider taking this feature out, but supplying me (and only me) a copy that continues this growth? I would be willing to give you a cut of the profits if you would be willing to do so.
P.S. I would also be willing to pay for the development of the code to increase the growing speed.
Explanation #23 (12/31/11): Been having a problem with the DLC levels making it so bad that I can’t even select or play the levels due to corrupted images preventing from choosing the level. Otherwise game works beatufilly on Unity engine, Owlchemy Labs worked so hard on this game and it shows. God I love those guys (Owlchemy Labs) more than you (Dejobaan Games.)
Editor’s Note: He obviously does. Fine!
Explanation #24 (12/31/11): I was greeted with a strange home screen of a naked man dancing to the tune of “Walk Like a Man” and beckoning me toward him. This made the rather aroused, and unable to control myself, I proceeded to launch a large quantity of vomit onto my keyboard. Normally, this would not upset me, but the keyboard shorted out and the USB port melted, causing extensive damage to my motherboard.
Explanation #25 (12/30-31/11): I started up Awesome on the highest graphical settings, and for around half an hour it was running wonderfully (great game by the way). After this, the most absurd thing started to happen. My computer’s CD tray started opening and closing in sync to the Awesome announcer’s voice, and then the voice started to warp, until it became demonic. Then, it began to speak again. “I WILL EAT YOUR CAT”, it screamed, in that same demonic voice, and proceeded to devour my cat whole.
Explanation $30 (12/31/11): I got bored and decided to jump through one of the pictures in the sky. I went through the one where a one of the devs admits to popping little kid’s balloons, though i don’t think it’s important which one. All of a sudden the game crashed and over 9000 penises came flying straight out of the screen! I quickly grabbed my trusty sword and escaped through the portal beneath my bed. It teleported me to the land of angry fire-midgets that stored 4 leaf clover in their buttholes for good luck. I decapitated the first five, yet even more showed up, but I managed to fight them off. I hid in a cave where I survived on nothing but keyboard filth and bits of my own feces, when suddenly a hungry giant appeared that pancakes electricity syrup. So I ran across the hallway and I was scared, so I opened the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur and I woke up with wet bed sheets!
Editor’s Note: The Fine Young Cannibals in 1976.
Explanation $31.50 (1/1/12): Firstly when trying to start the game up in Steam I got an error code 8008212 followed by the words I am afraid there are too many A’s in the title of the game you are trying to launch. Then, quite unexpectedly my computer began randomly uploading pictures of real life skydivers directly onto the Desktop from Google chrome’s web browser. I cannot get it to stop. I am having to write this email a word at a time in between trying to delete said pictures as they keep popping up. I do not know whether or not this is a known bug or simply someone having hacked into your game for nefarious purposes.
Explanation #43 (1/2/12): Hi, i tried opening For the awsome today and it refused to start untill i fed the game a doughnut. So I tried to do this multiple ways including trying to pass the sweet goods through the screen (which ended up as a mess), inserting it into the disk tray which also did not fit and finally directly into my hard drive, however these attempts seem to have ruined my computer. I believe this is your fault and you owe me for my broken computer which was worth £10,231.74 exactly, thanks!
From: F. R:
Finally, a note from Alex S (Owlchemy Labs):
Actually, that image is not anatomically correct. I’ll fix that for you:
Editor’s Note: It means that he has lasting appeal with the ladies.
ALSO: THANK YOU FOR TELLING US THESE THINGS. THESE WERE IMPORTANT MESSAGES WHICH, WITHOUT YOU, WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN TOLD US.
Ok, so it’s not like you get an extra discount by buying all of our Steam-enabled games together, BUT we waned to draw your attention to a handful of awesome indie games that we think are cool, especially at discounts upto 75% until January 2 (just click on photo to go to the game’s Steam page):
In addition to our friends’ games and Awesome being on sale, Dejobaan’s entire library is slashed heavily at 75% off on Steam. Not only is Aaaaa! for the Awesome for Mac or PC only $2.49, we have the hardest Aaaaa! levels ever in our Brutal Concussion DLC (which requires the original Aaaaa!) for Windows for only $0.49 or only one shiny JFK half-dollar coin. Missed out on our oldie but goodie The Wonderful End of the World for Windows? That too is only $2.49.
And for your friends new to the school of Dejobaan, there is this comprehensive 5-pack for only $4.99, containing Aaaaa!, Awesome, Brutal DLC, The Wonderful End of the World, and our game-in-progress Ugly Baby.
Dejobaan reached out and touched quite a few people, mostly appropriately, when leader Ichiro Lambe participated in the “Indies Will Shoot You in the Knees: Redux” hosted by MIT gaming lab GAMBIT. Did you know that GAMBIT is an acronym for “Gamers Aesthetics Mechanics Business Innovation Technology?” It was fitting, then, that Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs moderated with questions touching on elements GAMBIT literally stands for.
Eitan Glinert of Fire Hose Games and Boston Indies co-founder Scott Macmillan joined Ichiro in educating and entertaining the packed lecture hall. Ichiro reflected on the event: “We got to argue with respected Boston-area colleagues. Here, we hopefully provided different viewpoints on game development, social games, funding and more.”
How successful was the event? “Nobody threw anything at us,” Ichiro sighed. Speaking of throwing, one might have thought Eitan would have thrown elbows with Scott; a playful/serious tension arose as they heatedly debated. With Scott throwing in the indie towel for social gaming pastures at Viximo, it will take some heavy prize money to get these two titans in the ring again.
Dejobaan Games, LLC and Terry Cavanagh, GMBH have announced their final collaboration: VavavAVavaVAVavAVAVaVAVAV!!!
Terry Cavanagh (creator of VVVVVV) and Ichiro Lambe (creator of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!) shook off their mutual alcoholic impairment and found themselves face to face, fists raised, in the shadowy back stretch of a San Francisco bar. “You got your VVVVVV in my AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!,” screamed Lambe. Cavanagh replied, equally indistinctly, “You got your AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA in my VVVVVV!” The indie crowd just called for blood, and of that blood was borne this:
VavavAVavaVAVavAVAVaVAVAV!!! is coming.
In VVVVVV, you played Captain Jameson, flipped the direction of gravity, and found the crew of the Nemesis. In Aaaaa!, you guided BASE jumper Alex Bruce to earn fame and fortune by flipping people off. VavavAVavaVAVavAVAVaVAVAVaVAVaavavaVVAVAVvvaavVA!!! combines the best aspects of these two award-winning games, forcing you to fight in the skies around the floating megalopolis of Boston, Massachusetts, holding yourself aloft by warping the gravitational constant of the Universe itself.
It sounds easy. But be careful: with each application of your powers, however brief, hundreds of innocents tumble out of the atmosphere, wheezing and clutching at their throats, eyeballs freezing, and blood vessels bursting in a bloom of red-then-blue-then-white bruising and frost. This loses you points.
As you play on, you’ll collide with everything from buildings to young lovers locked in a desperate embrace as your uncaring omnipotence hurls them off the Earth to a certain death. These collisions cause you damage that’s retained throughout the game. Hitting young lovers blemishes your soul. But clipping a ledge with your skull will prevent you from knowing how to turn left for the rest of the game. Eventually, your damanged mind will forget things like the names of fruit, and between rounds, you will need to complete a minigame where you feed yourself strained peas to keep yourself from starving to death alone.
This is the future of indie gaming.
Availability and system requirements: VavavAVavaVAVavAVAVa!!VAVAVa!VAVAvAAvAAvvAVAVAvavavVAVVAVAAAVAaavavaVVAVAVvvaavVAVavavAVavaVAVavAVAVa!!VAVAVaVavavAvavAVAVavAVAVa!!VAVAVaVavavAVavaVAVavAVAVa!!VAVAVaVaVAavAVaVAVAVavAVAVa!!VAVAVa!!!!!!!! is planned for a Q3 2011 release on PC, Mac, and OS/2. A left-handed and right-handed mouse are required. You will not need a keyboard.
Oh, wait. It’s not April 1st anymore. Forget about it. Sorry, Terry.