How To Sell An Ouya Exclusive Kickstarter

The Ouya $1Million Free The Games FundSo there has been a lot of disappointment over the Ouya Free The Games Fund. I am a little disappointed in how Ouya has responded to the controversies that plague the program as well. I won’t hide that.¬†However, I think some of the complaints are not warranted.

Specifically, I think the complaint that it is impossible to sell an Ouya exclusive Kickstarter is kind of baseless. While the complaint that it is difficult to raise $50k in any Kickstarter is sound, it is not impossible. So it is with the Ouya exclusive nature of the Kickstarter, if it is sold correctly. Read more

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Taking A Week Break From Demon’s Hex

Ouya Console and Controller

 

I am taking a break from Demon’s Hex development to get something else going. Ouya is currently running a Free The Games Fund¬†in which they are pledging $1million in matching funds to successful Kickstarters that raise $50,000 or more in exchange for 6 months Ouya exclusivity. Frankly, this deal is tough to say no too.

So I am going to be prototyping some potential games for play on the Ouya. I will be putting together one prototype this week. And will be doing some others over the course of the next few months.

I have a few goals with this program. First is to learn to make an Ouya game. I want to be able to develop something that plays on the Ouya with the Ouya controller.

The second is to make a 1-4-player game. The main draw of the Ouya is to be able to play local multiplayer. This can be co-op and competitive. Some of the best Ouya games so far have a strong focus on local multiplayer. So that is what I want to do.

The next goal is to release a full game on the Ouya. I do not want to shoot straight for the matching funds. That makes little sense for an unknown development house such as us. So I want to find a game that works, is simple, is fun and is multiplayer. Then I will release it and use that experience to work on something larger for the funds.

These matching funds will be available till August of 2014 or until the funds run out, whichever comes first. Hopefully the funds last till the beginning of next year, which is when I see myself being able to launch my Kickstarter.

So far, my first prototype is coming along nicely. I have basic keyboard controls for a single player running and will be implementing the other gameplay mechanics over the next couple of days. Then toward the end of the week, I will be making the port to the Ouya and test out the controls.

Of course, this first prototype might take me a couple of weeks to get operational on the Ouya, but other prototypes will most likely not take as long as the hard work of learning the platform will be done.

So, wish me luck.

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Demon’s Hex Video Update: Walls, Spinners and Win Screens

Hello everyone. I have uploaded a new video showing off the latest updates to the game. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the game this past week, but there is still some progress being made.

This video shows off a few of the new features since the last video. In it, you get to see a bit about the creation of the spinner that determines which player goes first. This spinner design will also be implemented in battles between tokens that have the same power. It doesn’t work yet, but the spinner does show the winner in one to one matches. The beginning of the video shows off the Dice Test that I used to create the spinners.

The next feature is the walls. These are put between spaces on the board that prevent two tokens from attacking each other. These can be used strategically by you and your opponent to gain the upper hand.

Finally, there are some win/lose/draw/perfect screens now that give you the opportunity to play again. These screens will be expanding in the future to include more features and information.

That’s it for today. I think the next video will be an inside look at token creation. So look for that soon.

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New Demon’s Hex Upload

Demon's Hex

I uploaded the latest version of Demon’s Hex to the website. You can play it over on the Demon’s Hex page.

This version incorporates the walls feature and the starting player dice/dial thingy. There is also the beginnings of a dial system showing the battles that take place when taking part in battles between equal powers.

That last feature, while functional, is not complete. I want to get to where it shows off each challenge in order rather than all at once. Not sure how to tackle that at the moment. So for now, it just points to the winner of the battle.

Finally, there is a very basic win/lose/draw state that lets you relish in your victory or wallow in your loss depending on how the tokens fall. From these screens you can start a new match or go back to the main menu.

There is also what is listed in the main menu as a “dice test”. This is just a series of buttons and a token that spins when clicked. I used it to test out the dial animation that I use in the game. Just something interesting I thought I would leave in for now.

I still have a ways to go, but at this point, I think working on the enemy AI is probably the best bet. The enemy is still pretty lousy. Sometimes it gets lucky and actually wins, but most often, it just plays stupidly.

I hope that you enjoy the latest update.

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Demon’s Hex Now Has Walls

Walls in Demon's Hex Battles Prevent One Space from Attacking an Adjoining Space.I am surprised at how easy it was to implement these things, but I have added an additional feature to Demon’s Hex. I had wanted to add some type of wall or block between spaces in order to add an additional bit of challenge to the game. So I did it.

What these walls, the grey bars between spaces, do is prevent an attack from one space to an adjoining space. If you look at the screen shot, the Dark Knight in the top middle space was unable to attack the Heads in the second row second space because of the wall between those two spaces blocked her attack. This will allow for an additional challenge to players to work with when playing the game.

While early in the match, it may not matter, the later in the match you go, the more troublesome the walls will be. Especially if you have few tokens that can attack from the openings. These walls will result in prefect games being even more rare.

It turned out these walls were a lot easier to implement than I had originally thought. But as I started fleshing out the concept, it all became a simple on/off check. I had all the other checks already in place.

I am still experimenting with a good balance of walls that are fun, unique and not too limiting. so far it seems that around 5 or six walls dispersed on the board is more than enough. Any number more than that becomes too challenging.

I had originally considered just randomly dropping some on the board but realized that I would probably go crazy trying to make sure that certain spaces are not walled off completely. So I will be creating a certain number of predefined wall layouts to use in the game. Which one you get and how challenging it is is up to chance though.

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Predictability Can Be A Bad Thing In Games

As I was working on Demon’s Hex, I came to realize something that might have been a bad thing for the longevity for the game. It was way to predictable. Every move you made as the player had a very predictable and obvious outcome. That was not good.

Why is that bad, you might ask? Well, let me tell you about it. The game has some very basic rules. You place a token on the board. Whichever sides has an arrow, the token will attempt to attack that side. If your attack power was higher than the defender’s power, you won and captured the token. If it wasn’t you didn’t capture it.

That is when I saw the flaw. When the attacker’s attack power was the same as the defender’s power, the defender won by default. While not a huge deal, this rule reduced the fun of the game. There are a whole heck of a lot of times when the player will have only tokens with the same attack power as the enemy.

So I decided to change the game up a bit. I decided to roll the dice, so to speak, on those scenarios. However, instead of a simple flip of the coin, I decided to make a dial with various weights depending on the actions taken. Let’s take a look: Read more

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First Video Introduction To Demon’s Hex

 

Demon’s Hex has made significant progress since the last time I showed it off. Now I have put together a video walk through of the game as it is now. The video discusses everything that the game has going for it. Just go over to the product page and play it yourself.

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Guess What. I just Won At Demon’s Hex

Demon's Hex WinExciting news everyone! I not only just played Demon’s Hex, but I also won a few battles! This is big. This is the first time this game has been playable in any way, shape or form. Not only can you play it over on the product page, but you can also win!

There is still a lot of luck to the game though. You start off with a random selection of tokens, which may or may not be good. The enemy does as well and they may or may not be better than yours.

The enemy AI is still weak. It still just takes a random token from its hand and puts it in a random empty space, but it can be tricky though. Sometimes it can place a random good token in a random good spot and take your lead toward the end.

I am really getting excited about developing Demon’s Hex. This is the most progress I have made in a while and I really look forward to expanding it and making it far better.

I hope you guys enjoy it. If you want to help out in development of the game, I am taking donations over on the right. Just click the Paypal “Donate” button. Any little bit helps. While you won’t get any real perks right off, you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping a budding indie dev grow.

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Demon’s Hex Game Dev Meetup Updates

Hey everyone. On Thursday, we went to the Monthly Oklahoma Game Developers Meetup. There was a great presentation by Dan Moyer on Visual Perception and how it influences game design. We then showed off Demon’s Hex as it was on Thursday (above). Then David Hartnett of Red Clay Games showed off his online multiplayer space shooter Gravity.

The game has made steady progress since our last update and made even more since the meetup. By Thursday, I had the beginnings of a turn order working. After you placed your token, the enemy would place on of theirs. Each would be highlighted with blue for the player’s tokens and red for the enemy’s.

Demon's Hex BattleHowever at the time there were still a couple of bugs in that. For one, the enemy was not respecting used spaces and would from time to time place a token on an existing one. The other bug is that the token backs representing the enemy’s hand do not disappear in relation with its number of moves.

I have fixed the first bug. It was not the enemy’s fault. Turns out the player was being a bit stealthy with his moves. If the player’s hand had more than one of the exact same token, it would still place those tokens, but the grid array would retain a null value, thus confusing the enemy. You can read more of the bug in detail at this HaxeFlixel forum post.

I am still working on the enemy hand bug but it is a low priority. At this point, I am focusing my attention on getting token interaction going. I need to get this playable soon. I am hoping to have the first playable prototype by mid-August or so. So keep in the loop.

We also have more plans having to do with the Ouya, but I will come out with more details later. I talk a bit about it at the end of the video above, but I would like to have some more in depth information here.

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Design Thoughts While Playing Final Fantasy 9′s Tetra Master

Tetra Master GameplayIt is no secret that a large part of our inspiration for Demon’s Hex comes from the Final Fantasy 9 mini-game known as Tetra Master. Square Enix’s design team created a marvelous and exciting game within a game. It is simple to play yet complex to master.

As I have played it over the last couple of weeks, I have seen a few things I like that I neglected to consider in my initial design for Demon’s Hex.

For instance, not all cards within the same card type have the same action arrows. There are several unique action arrow combinations for each card type. This is something that I didn’t realize before picking the game up again. I like that. While Demon’s Hex won’t see that right out of the gate, I will be working to implement that functionality. Read more

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