Gaming Your Way

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2008 in words and pictures

It's time for our annual review of what we've managed to achieve over the previous 12 months, so bring that hangover and stale mince pie with you as we go back in time and space...


This saw our first birthday, and Olli experimenting with web servers and the Wii. Quiet month, I'm putting it down to hangovers.


The most loved up month of the year saw what has got to be one of the most camp games ever,


Loved Up, a rainbow islands inspired platformer. Turned around in a really short time scale ( It's development can be followed here ).
"Critically" ( Read: By boys who write teh shizzle lolz ) panned, it went on to do pretty huge traffic as soon as it made it to to the girl orientated sites.
Not a great game, but much better than it's feedback would indicate.


Olli kept us up to date with what could well be his longest development ever ( Still going ! ), and in terms of work, we had the following:


Golden Balls. Completed the year before in under 2 weeks, someone else had finished off the server side intergration ( I'd finished the Flash before the external company that does the clever secure stuff had even looked at the spec I think ) and added some more eye candy and a couple of graphical hic-cups.
A simple bread and butter project that pays the bills.


Professor Sauernoggin and the Landfill of Doom! My baby. So much love went into this game. Marmotte over delivered on the art by a huge amount, and for that I'll always love him.
A game to be proud of, just a real pity the client seemed not to understand the value of it ( As of right now, it's had a mere 41,979 hits. It's totally buried on the clients site, you can't even get to it from the front-page. I sent them two html pages to sit it on, and they used the holder page from the client area we'd set up, not even deleting the text, just setting it to black. Honestly, take two seconds to look at the source of that page. Quite a kick in the bollocks after putting so much love into this game ).
An enjoyable development, as much down to the people who worked on it as the game itself, just marred slightly by the lack of promotion and the drawn out sign off phase ( It was ready long before Loved-Up, which used the same engine, but came out a month later ).


Chimbo's Quest is an old one to finish this busy month off with. I'm not sure how much more needs writing about this here, I guess if you're interested and didn't catch them first time around, the player stats post is quite a good place to find out more info.


The 1st saw me go a little bit too far down the sick boy path, something I'll learn from for this year. Some general development posts about Orbs ( Still in development ! ) and Law of the West.
After March's mental release schedule we were due a break, so only two games this month,


MJ-1912 is a really old reskin of my first ever complete Flash game ( MJ-12 ). I recently sold the source of this to a mate, and made more than I have with the gameJacket ad revenue from it.
I like it as it's a slightly hammy feel to what is at heart a pretty solid Space Invaders clone, it's just that Space Invaders isn't that great a game in itself anymore.


Brain Voyage / Brain Benders. A port of the Edios DS game which I did whilst under contract at gimme5.
The good ? First as3 project, nice to do lots of mini-games again ( That really seems to be my thing ), the presentation is really good ( I love being able to do really really accurate ports, another one of my on buttons ) and the face book version was a nice touch ( And seeing Jon Hare had played it ).
The bad ? The games themselves were pretty piss poor. Also my biggest issue with it was the ad at the start. If you're doing an adver-game, don't be cheap enough to drop a fucking mochi-ad in there. I know Edios were having cash flow problems at the time, but honestly, that $5 isn't going to make much difference aside from making you look cheap. Very cheap.

And that was April.


Just the one release this month, but it was a big personal project,


The Law of the West, Olli's homage to the old classic "West Bank". In development for ages, Olli finally got it released only for us to suffer one set back after another with it ( It being hacked to high heaven was one low point ).
In terms of a game, it's pretty good, the presentation is great and it's done ok-ish traffic without ever really taking off and becoming a huge hit.


Aside from making it to 36 without anything too bad happening to me, June also saw a couple more releases.


Phantom Mansion. Looking back over the blog it seems that the last one ( "Black" ) was finished this month. I think I must have done 4 last year then, and reached the point of not even blogging about their releases.
If truth be known, a really fucking horrible project, one I was only too glad to see the back of. Huge fan base though, which is weird. PMII is out now, some cheeky sod copied the format and posted on FGL. Matt at gimme5 saw it, knew I'd rather wake up next to my mum than ever do another PM game, so got this guy on board to do the next 6/8 games. There's a moral there somewhere, not sure what though.


Big Bod Says
. Tiny little game, which somehow stretched to taking 9 days in total. There was no GDD for this, and I had a 15 min chat with Ricky the designer of it before getting to work. Couple of days in and it turns out I'd got the wrong end of the stick, so I basically re-wrote it one morning, only to discover that was wrong, and finally nailed it in the afternoon. So in effect 3 different games in 3 days, and then 6 days to finish off the love.
Kinda fun, and the speech is just a different class.


Law of the West pinball. This was done much earlier in the year as I wanted to learn how Box2D worked and pinball seemed the obvious choice. Unfortunatly at the time Box2D didn't support bullets in as3, so the ball would quite happily fly through objects at high speed.
When v2 came out I was finally able to finish this bad boy off, and to whore it around for sponsorship. It was offered the vast sum of $300, which would include the source code, although wouldn't be exclusive ( Too kind ), so we just dropped it into gameJacket.
In terms of the game itself, I really really like this one. It's one of the few games I've done I can actually just switch off and enjoy playing. For a lot of other people it really missed the mark, and has failed to do the traffic we would have liked.
The maim positive to come from this is that it's been included in 8Bit rockets new Retro Hall of Fame, which is really cool, although I have had to send Jeff and Steve lots of photos of me in the bath for it to be included.

In June I also posted how I do a preloader in as3 / Flex, which seems to be our most hit page here.


We did things, and we wrote about them, but we didn't release anything new to play, so let's skip this month and move on to...


...much the same as July.


Just more words. Come on, we were productive for the first couple of months of the year.


And back on form. Where did this month take us ? No, not roughly from behind, but on a mixed voyage...


Son Of Sico. An Air front-end for our simple little action script mangler.
We've had fuck all feedback about this, nothing. Also 1 reply when I sent the GYW Encryption package out to friends, so as far as we're concerned either people don't give a shit about their stuff being hacked, or they just don't want us to help them from preventing it.
Either way both projects are internal only now, life's too short to try and give things to the community when they don't want them ( Check me out being all bitter on New Years day ).


Operation Cortex: My entry into this years 48 hour FlashKit comp. It didn't win. I've linked to the post rather than the game, as the source code is also available there.
I liked this game, and it was pleasing to be able to do a 100% complete game in something like 12 hours, it makes me feel like the sponsorship kids who always say things like "Well I earned $16 an hour from my game which is more than I earn working after school, and it only took me 5 hours to make".
I think this game may re-surface somewhere else, with a lot more love and a bit more depth.


651 Announce. Released on 20th October, which numbers fans, is exactly 651 days from when GYW came into being, way back on the 9th Jan 2007.
I'm so proud and pleased with this. It is just pointless eye-candy, but all the best eye-candy is pointless. If you've not seen it, it's a collection of demo effects all done in real time.
The blog posts in Oct. cover how a lot of these effects were created if you're at all interested.


This saw more words ( Including my "Help me" words when it came to giving up smoking, plus a death of sorts in the family ( The 360 went to console heaven ) ) but no more toys, so let's move along to what is apparently the most wonderful time of the year,


To finish off the year, a release each.


Gameball Maize Maze. Our first project with Brandissimo, a creepy iso game with a really rich art style.
It's development was covered in an almost diary like form back in September with the last update being this one.
Again I'm happy with this one, it's development took longer than I'd hoped, but the extra time spent on it was an investment as to cut it too short would have been to really rip the guts out of the game. On the downside, you have to register to play it, hence the link there going to the blog post rather than directly to the game.


Handigo ( You'll find it sitting in the games column ). This was like the previous years Fuel Factory-Y / Model City, except this time it was Olli jumping in to fix other peoples half done code for the simple lure of cheap dirty money.
The main menu is 100% low fat gyw code, along with various bug fixes ( Esp. game 1, proof that in actual fact you can polish the odd turd now and again ).
Pays the bills, and the credits were nice, plus working for Ubi-Soft has a certain kudos to it, and by all accounts they were quite lovely.

Other blog highlight this month was the ( Still going ) development of X++ in the form of new build being uploaded straight to the server, and the fantastic Zombieland post mortem by Pany ( If you missed it before Christmas, take a read of it now, it's one of the most honest accounts of a Flash game development and aftermath you'll read anywhere ).

And that was the year that was. I'm going to avoid making any predicitions here, as to be honest, I really can't see the point. When people do them they're a mixture of the stupid ( "Nintendo to release a Wii Remote Contact lense so you can just look at objects to interact with them" ) and the obvious ( "More games players to buy more games", "Women to buy casual games more than men" ), and who checks them ? Who actually goes back to the year before and reports that the stupid ones didn't happen, but hey, you were right about the obvious ones, spot on man, wow. That's like a gift you've got.

Also another reason not to do any predicitions, is 'cause I actually checked back at what I said this time last year,
"Coming up we've got the platform game ( Which I'm really proud of. It's on par with GOL in terms of love and quality ), the continuing Phantom Mansion games, Orbs and Olli's got a great old school game that we've been commisioned to do."

The first two were done, the second ? Still in development limbo. I don't want to jinx anything by making some big stupid sweeping statement about it here.

What I would like to do to finish off though is to thank all of you for taking the time to come here and read our crappy outpourings when we make them, and to wish you all a Happy New Year and we hope you'll stick around during '09, 'cause if it all goes to plan we'll still be releasing games and still talking about them.


Comments (4) -

  • Chuck

    1/2/2009 7:54:03 AM |

    Hello, just started to regularly visit your site recently. Wow, what a year 2008 was for you! Thank you for this yearend review, it's really inspiring to see how productive one can be. Wishing you the best this new year! :D

  • Squize

    1/2/2009 2:39:25 PM |

    Hey Chuck, always great to get messages from first time posters here, happy new year mate.

    Hopefully the post does show what can be done. It's weird the delay between projects and them actually going live though. Things like Golden Balls were written in 2007 only to come out last year. It's like "deadline, deadline, deadline. Well done, after that huge crunch you hit the deadline" and then the clients just sit on the game for a couple of months.
    We've actually got 2/3 games gold and signed off, just waiting for them to be posted, so although it may look like we've had a couple of months down time near the end of the year we were still as busy as hell.

    Also when compiling the list, like last years, I was very concious that my output has fallen since I worked at preloaded. There's this moment of self doubt that I'm not working on as many or as large projects as I was.
    Then I remember one of the reasons I left was the constant conveyor belt of work with each project feeling like it needed to be done in tighter and tighter timescales. I'm having more fun, feeling a lot more creative and it's not all about numbers.

  • Jeff

    1/3/2009 7:04:12 AM |

    Nice stuff, Squize and Ollie. You guys certainly do get a whole hell of a lot done in a year! Let's hope 2009 is even better. Hey Chuck, thanks for hanging around 8bitrocket too!

    P.S. I picked up the 360 today and am going to get it all set up tomorrow afternoon. I'll be tagged as jeff8bitrocket and will be looking for Squize and Weird Dreams (Rich Davey). What is nGfx's tag (or am I being redundant, is it nGfx?)

  • nGFX

    1/3/2009 10:03:30 AM |

    Thanks, happy new year and what ever I may have missed  ....

    my gamertag is "nGFX Reloaded" (because I managed to kill nGFX, but that's a differnt story).


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