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Moonpod Homepage Starscape Information Mr. Robot Information Free Game Downloads Starscape Highscore Table
January-07: Finished!
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject: January-07: Finished! Reply with quote

It's Done!

Well, the game is now finished!. It's been so long in development, that it hasn't really sunk in yet. It's a great feeling - the only way I could describe it is like when you pass your driving test and get to drive around on your own for the first time with a big beaming grin on your face. Very Happy

This is probably the last diary we'll make for a while, although we might consider starting them up again once our next project is under way.

Launch Plan
The first thing we've done is email all our existing customers. From start to finish, this process took nearly a week of constant work by the email server. Before anyone thinks we have millions of Starscape customers, we worked out that this was because of our outgoing email scanner on the server which is taking a while to individually scan each message.

We've tried to make a newsletter with some fun things in it by adding a few silly facts and a newspaper style comic. If you missed it, you can read it online here:

http://www.moonpod.com/newsletter/

Around 15% of the emails we sent out bounce. I'd expected it to be much higher since some of the email addresses spanned back almost as far as 4 years, but it seems many of them have been kept up to date. Interestingly, the most common places the newsletter has bounced from are universities (makes sense as people move on) and mainstream game development companies. The latter shows that we get a surprising number of sales from people working at games companies (I can't really think why that might be), and that people at games companies move around a hell of a lot!

No idea yet how many people who liked and bought Starscape will also buy Mr. Robot. They are both two very different games, so might appeal to different crowds. Maybe we'll just end up with more different customers on our site.

Ongoing Work

Editor Documentation
Right now, the editor documentation is pretty sparse, and there's a lot that needs to be added. My ongoing task is to keep updating this with a full reference, tutorials and examples. We intend to support adventure authors as much as we can well into the future and so there's a lot to do just to help get everybody up to speed with the minimal effort on their part.

Huey The NanomekSave Huey!
Partly as an example for adventure authors and partly as an extra for everyone who's bought Mr. Robot, I'm working on a micro adventure that will be available on the Mr. Robot content sharing system.

On accidentally falling into a sub-level of Cryogenics, you discover a trapped nanomek named Huey. I always thought the nanomek rooms were fun in the same way ChuChu Rocket and Lemmings are, so this adventure concentrates on them. They'll probably be a bit harder than the existing rooms though, so the despite the fact there's only 5 rooms at the moment they should prove to be a challenging diversion.

Since you get all the source files, they should illustrate some of the basics of lua scripting adventures - launching conversation, opening and closing doors and detecting a robot's position.


Save Huey The Nanomek: WIP
One of the WIP rooms in the 'Save Huey' adventure - coming soon to the Mr. Robot content network Smile

Prototyping
Other than that, I'm making a few inroads into our protyping work. I have a couple of games that can be investigated with mockup videos, and I've got some collision artwork to make for the other 'working' prototypes.


Last edited by Fost on Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:48 pm; edited 8 times in total
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: January-07: Finished! Reply with quote

Can anything else go wrong?

We had a fun December, here's a list of everything that went wrong:

  • My PC exploded. One minute everything was working fine, there was a pop and then the PC wouldn't switch on. Almost everything in it was toasted - graphics card, motherboard, power supply - even the CD-ROM was dead. The hard drive was the only thing that worked, which was lucky, because it was the only thing I really cared about.
  • An error in the lua script that builds the installer took out the entire installer build directory, which then took 3 days to recreate.
  • Nick fell down the stairs to his loft, landing on his head. Luckily, he was carrying his removable hard drive at the time (the one which contains all his work) which broke his fall Sad It then promptly stopped working. Thankfully, it was just the case circuitry that seemed to be dead, as we lifted the hard drive out and plugged it into an internal IDE slot and it worked.
  • A short power cut in Sheffield caused a power surge that burnt out our router. We were uploading an updated purchase page at the time and only half of it got uploaded, stopping Starscape sales for a day and a half.
  • I then contracted the Flu. Not the kind of flu you have when you want to take a day off work, but the kind where it's difficult to stay out of bed for more than 2 hours a day.
  • Nick then contracted some form Deli Belly (the 'both ends' kind Shocked ), which got to the point where he was considering working off a laptop whilst sat on the loo.
  • Happy shopper ran out of value cola due to the Christmas demand.
  • The cocktail sticks that were holding our eyes open finally snapped.

So, what next?

We've yet to make a decision on our next game, but there's plenty of time to make our minds up. Right now, I'm working on the Mr. Robot point release which should address any outstanding bugs. After that, we have the Starscape 1.6 update in the works, and then our Mr. Robot expansion will get under way. In the meantime, we are prototyping a couple of ideas and I'm sure one of them will end up getting more attention than the others, and become the game we really want to make next.

It's too early to talk about any of them, but here's a couple of teaser pictures of the prototypes we have in progress:

Moonpod Prototype Moonpod Prototype
Moonpod Prototype Moonpod Prototype
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happymonster



Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 38
Location: Nottingham, UK



PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on still being alive!

I like the bottom left prototype (the top down one with the nice lighting). Even though we don't know how any of them are supposed to play. Smile
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Flumpaphone



Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 86



PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Re: January-07: Finished! Reply with quote

I am back after being so busy Smile Congratulations on the release of Mr. Robot. The game turned out better than I expected even you two gents could pull off. Seriously special game. I just got my CD too, and laughed at the system requirements! Jokes like that would never get passed for a commercial game release I suspect.

Cannot wait for the Mr. Robot expansion, and all these prototypes you have are making my over-active imagination drool at the prospect of another game on the way.

This:

piqued my interest for some reason. I am wondering what the (little coloured men?) are doing in a (cave?) with a (bigfoot style space truck?)
Smile
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icarus
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Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Location: Olympia Washington



PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am assuming that the landscape and globe are form battlescape.

That game still exists right?
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Fost
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

icarus wrote:
I am assuming that the landscape and globe are form battlescape.

That game still exists right?


None of those shots are from Battlescape. Battlescape does exist but is in limbo still. I'm pretty sure it won't be our next project, but there is some investigation that we are going to do regarding the feasibility of it.

Here's a reminder of the Battlescape state of play regarding the landscape:


Although I wouldn't call that a prototype but rather a work in progress.
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Tryagain Infinity



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 168
Location: You see that tank behind you...



PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.moonpod.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=1227&start=0

Fost wrote:
Rup wrote:
*Three*? Do tell Smile

Two have already been mentioned on the forums: Mr. Robot and Battlescape. There's another which has already been started, but we won't be making any announcements until Mr. Robot is complete.


Question Is it one of those above?

Why does that fourth picture look like a cross between War Angels and Mr. Robot?

Speaking of which any news as far as War Angels goes?
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Inane



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 173



PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mr Robot aspect of the fourth screeny is probably because they're using the Mr Robot graphics as placeholders.
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Agrajag



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 342



PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to miss Developer Diaries Sad Maybe you could write a couple on what updates you're making for Mr. Robot and Starscape until you start your next game?
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Konedima
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Joined: 25 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That first picture gives me an idea. I might have to steal it (although I probably won't steal it because I have no idea what it is)... after I finish the C++ version of War Pong (yes, it's still in development hell, as am I).
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Hamish
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



STOP STEALING MY IDEAS


I would like to write dev diaries now that I'm doing regular work. I've experimented with putting videos on YouTube and I've made a video of my fancy new editor I'd like to post. I think I'd prefer to do something smaller and maybe more frequent than the monthly dev diaries for Mr Robot. Publicising my games has always been a major weakness for me but I'm going to keep trying until I find something that works.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hamish wrote:
STOP STEALING MY IDEAS

Hahaha! Don't worry, whilst that game idea does share some similarities with WA it's focus is on something different (note the field of sight border checking). Plus, it's not high on the probability scale at the moment (the fact you are working on WA being another point against it)

Hamish wrote:
I would like to write dev diaries now that I'm doing regular work. I've experimented with putting videos on YouTube and I've made a video of my fancy new editor I'd like to post. I think I'd prefer to do something smaller and maybe more frequent than the monthly dev diaries for Mr Robot. Publicising my games has always been a major weakness for me but I'm going to keep trying until I find something that works.

To be honest, from a purely business/promotion pov, I don't think dev diaries do as much as many people think. Really they attract other developers in the main. We certainly don't do them for any business reason - mainly it's good therapy to underline what you've done that month, and because people on the forum enjoy reading about what we are up to. That said, we do see a bump in traffic (but not sales) round the beginning of each month as people come looking for them. Keeping to a regular release schedule helps in this regard, and also allows you to syndicate the diaries about the place which would be impossible if you released it in dribs and drabs. But I really don't think it's worth doing for any marketing reason, so you should be ok to do it however you like. Funny thing is, that's all I ever get asked by other indie game developers - "Did running dev diaries work?" and then when I ask what the mean by 'work?' they think it's some kind of marketing exercise Smile (Which it never has been).
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Fost
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agrajag wrote:
Maybe you could write a couple on what updates you're making for Mr. Robot and Starscape until you start your next game?

Yeah, we haven't ruled out anything Smile
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Rup



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 363
Location: London, UK



PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you about to start a big advertising push? Can we see the adverts? Smile

You're already on the front page of fileplanet:
Quote:
Indie Spotlight: Mr. Robot
Solve puzzles. Overcome obstacles. Hack hostile networks. Evade crazed robots. Save the mission in this unique title - Mr. Robot.
and currently number four in the 'what's new' download list (which also pops up in their download client).

I got my CD too, thanks. I'll have to go look at the system requirements, I laughed at Asimov's laws though Smile
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Agrajag



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 342



PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think developer diaries work better than you think. I certainly would have bought Mr. Robot on the first day if not for the dev diaries (I probably wouldn't even be on the forums at all except I was excited by the things you posted in the diaries, and so made an account in the hopes of getting into the beta Smile)

They won't help much on a monthly basis, but when the whole game is finally completed I think they help initial sales.
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