Lets talk Invaders from Dimension X and Battle for Korsun

This week has been a pretty intensive week working on two games at the same time.

First up is Invaders from Dimension X. I had more graphics arrive and I spent time plugging them into the game. So now I have almost all the in-game graphics. Next up will be the Menu, splash screen, and some chrome items.  Followed by work on the scenarios the game comes with.

I probably have about 70% of the gameplay working – its a case now of getting everything working together nicely.

Starting positions for scenario 1: Run the Gauntlet
Fire!
Mind the Dice!
Mind the Dice!

Battle for Korsun

I sent off and received back translations for Battle for Korsun. I used contacts that I have built up on fiverr.com. Now comes the laborious task of making sure all the strings fit in the spaces I have allocated. With 6 languages it’s going to be a lot of work…

Below is the start of working on the German menu – notice the rather long word for Manual!

I also had the manual translated – so 6 sets of them to tidy up and publish.

For some reason this week I suddenly had a lot of hits on the Steam page I have set up for the game. I can only assume the game appeared in a list somewhere. Good news for me as now have more people who added the game to their wishlist.

Also, I am very heartened by the fact that in the top 5 languages of users who visited the page are Chinese, Russian and German. I am hoping this is a sign that the game will do well with these users.

 

Invaders from Dimension X!

 

An image for every situation!

This Thanksgiving weekend I took a break from Battle for Korsun and plugged in most of the new graphics I received last week for Invaders From Dimension X.

I now have most of the Alien actions (they are card driven) working and its starting to look really nice. Below are the Marine units. If you are interested in looking at the original boardgame then go here.

This weekend there was another steam sale and I had roughly the same number of sales as the Halloween sale for my Kursk game. I am interested to see how the game continues to sell next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Birthday today!

Today is my birthday – Yay!

And I got this as a present – Double Yah!

You looking at me?

In other news, I have got some more graphics in for Invaders from Dimension X. I will try and get all the new graphics into the game this week to see how everything is looking.

Below is a little taster of one of the Marine Counters.

Most of this week has been spent on bug fixing the two player version of Battle for Korsun and I have also almost finished writing the game instructions.

Once I am sure I have all the language strings I will send everything off for translation and get them put into the game. I am sure there are going to be a few issues with string lengths but once they are sorted out I will then send this version out for some testing.

I have decided I will launch the game in the new year once I have got the AI in and everything is looking good.

 

 

A mixed Bucket

This week turned out to be a mixed bucket of good and bad things with regards to game development.

Translating Kursk – Battle at Prochorovka

This weekend I had planned to import all the translations I received a couple of weeks ago into Kursk – Battle at Prochorovka. However, it transpired it was not quite as easy as I initially thought.

I had expected there to be problems with some of the string lengths being longer than the English version and thus I would need to do some work to get all languages fitting correctly in the areas assigned. What I had not expected was that the font sets I was using did not have all the characters I needed.

This is a real pain in the ass. If I switch to another font its likely that all the English text will also need reworking.

I have paused this effort while I get up the courage to tackle this in depth. The good thing is I can take this knowledge and make sure I am better prepared for the next game.

Battle for Korsun

Every evening this past week I have been whittling down the list of unfinished items needed to get the two player game working. This is the worst part of game development – getting the game to the finishing stage.

I still have the AI to work on but I need to get something finished so I can send it out for testing.

It’s  also getting to the stage in development where I am nervous whether people will like the game. Luckily I am not dependant on the success of this game for a living but it would be nice for it to be liked by the market I am aiming at.

Invaders from Dimension X

I have been waiting for my graphics guy to come back with some more graphics for this game. They finally started to arrive this weekend.

As a little taster here is the front and back of one of the alien activation cards.

Activation Card
Activation Card

Finally

I have been trying out scrib.com. It looks like this could be an excellent way to do research my games or indeed anything else that takes your fancy. They do a 30 day trial and if you decide to subscribe its $8.99 per month.

I wanted to do some research for the Pacific war game I am thinking about for next year (one of many games I am thinking about!).

Day dreaming and wasting time on future projects!

 

Zero Painting

My wife has just started taking painting classes. So naturally, I commissioned her to do one for me!

Little does she know but she is now part of the wargame community….

Distractions

This weekend I allowed myself to get distracted. It started when I was sketching up some ideas in photoshop for Invaders from Dimension X for my graphics artist. Earlier in the week, I was wondering how to use google maps to accurately map a battlefield to a game.

After a little investigation, I found a couple of plugins for photoshop that could take an image from Google Maps and convert it into something pretty reasonably without the need for an expert artist.

So knowledge in hand I went at it…

I really want to write a Pacific War game so this might be the start.

I also purchased a couple of Samsung 500GB SSD’s this weekend. One I put into my wife’s Laptop and the other into my PC. I was a little disappointed with the resultant speed increase. While there is definitely some increased speed with disk related activities it was nothing like I expected. Maybe I am just being too greedy.

I did do some work on Battle for Korsun! Fixed some small bugs and worked on saving and loading games. Early in the week I wrote up a large part of the game manual. I have yet to start work on the AI.

Finally

The Steam Halloween sale is now over. I had a small but nice increase in sales. I might actually end the year just a few dollars down compared to game development expenditure. Good job I am not relying on this to feed the family!

General Update

Things have been very slow on the wargame front for the last few weeks due to personal circumstances, making it hard to focus on yobowargames.

Anyway, time for an update on how things are progressing.

Steam Sale

The Steam Halloween sale has now started. This is my first experience of a Steam sale so I was a little unsure what effect it would have on sales. I was notified a couple of weeks ago by Steam that the sale was happening and decided I would offer a 25% discount. Kursk has only been out for a few months and I don’t feel that a larger discount was needed at this stage.

I have definitely seen a spike in sales so what I had read about Steam sales being a good time for games sales seems to be true.

Battle for Korsun

I finally have all the graphics I need and have been working on improving the menu and getting it into shape for localization.

Below is pretty much the final version. It’s a little cluttered but I think it does the job.

Battle for Korsun - Menu
Battle for Korsun – Menu

Next up is playtesting and making sure there are no obvious bugs in the two players hotseat game, writing the manual and getting translations for everything. Then I will move onto the AI for the game.

I am still very undecided about beta testing as I found it to be a two-edged sword when running one with Kursk. It was great to get feedback on the game but I felt added pressure to finish the game quickly.

I was hoping to have the game finished by the end of November but I am beginning to think that early 2018 is more likely.

Invaders from Dimension X

I have been waiting for my graphics artist to finish the artwork for the Alien actions. I now have them all and they look really great. Next up is the UI for the game. I need to sit down and think about some ideas for how this should look and then discuss with my graphics artist.

Google Wifi

Google wifi
Google wifi

Since moving to our new place back in August we have suffered from poor wifi. We have a Comcast router and while it was just about adequate in our old place it struggles to provide a strong enough signal everywhere in the new one.

So I invested in Google Wifi, buying their 3 pack solution (a bit of an overkill but I was not sure if one unit would be enough). I have to say I am very impressed. Wifi speed went from 10 – 20mb to 150mb everywhere in the house. Everyone is very happy!

 

Steam Store page is live!

I had not realized until very recently, after reading a blog on gamasutra.com, that you could publish your Steam store page live before actually having the game ready to go live. A rookie mistake by me, but means my constant reading of other developers blogs pays off sometimes!

So here is it – Battle for Korsun store page live on Steam.

It still needs some work, like the store descriptions being translated into the languages I am going to support, but I hope it will help generate interest in the game prior to launch.

 

Localization

This weekend I focused on putting the framework in place to localize Kursk – Battle at Prochorovka into French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.

When I first wrote the game I just focused on getting it finished and published with no thought to localizing it. With Battle for Korsun, I have planned to localize right from the start. The work I have put into Korsun can now be backported into Kursk.

There are still some problems to be resolved. All the buttons are images including any wording on them. I need to redo those graphics and add in the code to localize the text on them.  I may have to resize some of them as well if the text is longer than below.

In addition, I have expanded the help guide for Kursk and decided to remove the in-game help. This was again totally graphics and would have required a fair amount of work to localize.

Why am I bothering to localize Kursk now after it has been published and out for a few months? Well, my thinking is that with the Steam Winter sale coming up there will be renewed interest in the game and more chance of sales if I have supported several languages. In addition, some of the localized text can be used in Korsun.

Time will tell if the investment is worthwhile.

Localization, Marketing and Manual writing

This week I have started to look towards the launch of my game and what I need to do to get the game out to a bigger audience than Kursk.

Localization

For Battle for Korsun, I am going to localize the game for Chinese, Spanish, German, Russian and French. I decided on these languages based on the numbers I got from Google Analytics. I set up Google Analytics on my Steam store page and one of the bits of information I get is the country location of the user who browsed to the page.

This weekend I worked on the Menu screen and put in place the ability to localize the text that appears. When I believe I have all the final text I will use fiverr.com to find people to do the translations (including the game manual).

Chinese was a bit of a problem to localize due to a large number of possible characters. I believe I have a solution but need to wait until I get all the translated strings to see if it works. I also found out that Android Studio is by default not set up correctly to recognize character sets like Chinese and I needed to change the file encoding setting to fix it.

My next problem will be if any of the translated text comes back a lot longer than the English equivalent and thus does not fit into the allotted space.

Marketing

I know that marketing is going to be important to help make Korsun a bigger success than Kursk. To this end, I have slowly been building up a list of people to send the game out to review for once’s it is ready.

In addition, I have started a twitter campaign. My wife recently started a class on painting watercolors and it gave me an idea (my first idea was for her to paint a watercolor of a Tiger tank. You can imagine how that went down!). I used Photoshop to give the effect of a watercolor painting to a picture. Once a week from now to launch I will send a different picture out.

Manual Writing

I have been struggling to find the right tool to use to write the instructions for Battle for Korsun. I tried Microsoft Word and also Adobe Acrobat Pro but neither were really doing it for me.

After a quick bit of research, I found that Adobe InDesign is the industry standard tool for writing manuals and books. It would seem my decision to invest in the Adobe Cloud suite is really paying off as InDesign comes as part of that.

I am not expecting to master InDesign, it looks like a great tool, but I can already do more with the layout compared to the others I tried.

Below is an early draft of the cover and first page.

And Finally

Another piece of eye candy from my Graphics Artist as he works on Invaders from Dimension X