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Abby's Song Steam Greenlight Campaign Failed

posted Jan 7, 2017, 2:55 PM by oneclipleft

Well, I'm calling it in for the Abby's Song Greenlight Campaign. With a grand total of 138 yes votes after 160 days, I finally decided to delete the Abby's Song Greenlight page. It was a great learning experience, and hopefully I can use these lessons to help future projects succeed. You can still download and play Abby's Song for free at itch.io. I'm not sure what type of project I will work on next, but I'll start updating here again when I figure it out.

Thanks to everyone who voted for Abby's Song, but this one just wasn't meant to get through. Maybe once I figure out marketing stuff I'll have a better chance! Peace!

Abby's Song Steam Greenlight Campaign Update: Day 31

posted Aug 31, 2016, 11:02 AM by oneclipleft

Well, I'm sorry to say that it appears that Abby's Song will not make it through Steam Greenlight after all. I still appreciate everyone who voted for it and took the time to say something positive about the game. The 31 day stats are below, and everything is about the same as it was on the 16th day. I suspect that the campaign will remain frozen like this for quite some time, as I have few ways to drive new voters to the page. I'm looking forward to the next project (as they say, fail faster!), and I think it will have much better odds of success considering all I've learned from the Abby's Song experience.

A few people have downloaded Abby's Song from itch.io, which is pretty cool. I hope they enjoy it!

Abby's Song Steam Greenlight Campaign Update: Day 16

posted Aug 16, 2016, 2:16 PM by oneclipleft   [ updated Aug 16, 2016, 2:18 PM ]

Here's the breakdown of the Abby's Song Steam Greenlight campaign on day 16. In the past 2 weeks, we've had 150 new visitors to the greenlight page (thanks!) resulting in 21 new yes votes (double thanks!). The yes vote percentage seems locked in at 22%, which I'm still pretty happy about considering that this is the first game I've ever made. The number of followers has almost doubled (triple thanks!), so that's a good sign, too. Comments continue to be positive, and we continue to tackle updating the character animations in anticipation of a new trailer.

It seems that Abby's Song's journey through Steam Greenlight will be a long, slow one, but that is definitely not a problem for me. The game is finished overall, minus the tweaks we plan on making, and I'm happy to keep working to spread the word about the game. I'm also excited to begin my next game. I'm just in the idea stage for that right now, though. Anyway, thanks as always to anyone who believes in this project. Go vote please if you haven't already! Leave a comment! Anything helps. If you want to play the game for free right now, you totally can. It's on itch.io for free and has a Humble Page ($0.99 or Pay What You Want). Peace!

Abby's Song Greenlight Campaign Update: Day 2

posted Aug 2, 2016, 6:35 PM by oneclipleft   [ updated Aug 2, 2016, 6:39 PM ]

Here are the new numbers on the Abby's Song Steam Greenlight campaign after two days. Abby's Song is no longer being featured on the "recent submissions" page, so views and votes have slowed to a crawl already, and things are not looking super great. The 22% yes vote ratio isn't much better than it was the first few hours despite a very quick revamp of the official trailer, but the game has managed to secure nearly 100 yes votes overall so far. The silver lining here is that comments have been supportive and encouraging, with a few downright positive ones, and very little negativity. So, while voters are not currently willing to push Abby's Song through Steam quite yet, they are not driven to speak poorly about it either. To me, this might mean that Abby's Song is not really causing a strong reaction in people, positive or negative, but it's just negative enough for the average person to click "no" instead of "yes."

The past two days have been illuminating for me, and I am pushing forward despite the lukewarm launch. I plan to address voters' concerns regarding character animations and porting Abby's Song to Linux and Mac as soon as I can. I have also recently launched Abby's Song on itch.io for a very reasonable price to see how things go there as well. If nothing else, this has been a valuable experience that I have learned a lot from, which will better prepare me for next time. Peace!

The First 5 Hours: Abby's Song Greenlight Update

posted Jul 31, 2016, 7:10 PM by oneclipleft

Check it out! I figure complete transparency is a pretty good policy, so here's the first Greenlight update. First, though, GO VOTE! Ok, now that you're back, let's take a look at these mystical numbers. We may even call them "metrics," but I don't know why we would.

I have to say that the campaign is off to a slow start. There have been some criticisms of the character animation, and at least one person found the trailer confusing so far. So, I will do my best to address those two issues as quickly as possible. Have a 21% yes vote ratio is a little disheartening as well. It seems that Abby's Song either A) has an ineffective trailer or B) does not look appealing or C) has a hard time communicating what makes the game interesting.

It'll be interesting to see if improving the animations and shooting a more communicative trailer helps the vote ratio. I hope it does!

Abby's Song Steam Greenlight Campaign launched today!

posted Jul 31, 2016, 1:03 PM by oneclipleft

Before you read this post, GO VOTE PLEASE!

Exciting news! Abby's Song Steam Greenlight Campaign launched today! You might have already read that in the title there, but dammit I'm excited! Abby's Song represents about 9 months of work for me, so at this point the game was less developed and more incubated. It is literally my child is what I'm saying. Also, I think it's a pretty good little game!

Whoo! More articles to come over the coming weeks and months, but for now GO VOTE PLEASE!

Abby's Song Nearing Steam Greenlight!

posted Jul 29, 2016, 8:23 PM by oneclipleft

What?! I know! I'm as amazed as you may or may not be. The past 9 months have been a whirlwind of learning, applying, testing, and seeking that sweet release date. So, here we are approaching that very thing. Abby's Song is complete for better or worse. I like to think it's better, but I'm heavily biased here. Abby's Song is one of very few games created entirely in Python, but more on that another time. Abby's Song is an experiment, a narrative, a story, an attempt to lift your ass out of that seat and shake some fucking synapses. Now, on to the real questions, like what hard-hitting reporters might ask:

Is it scary? Yes! Well I damn well hope so. I can't tell from here 'cause I'm too close to it, but my testers say it's pretty creepy. I think it has an excellent atmosphere and a few moments that will grab players by their whatevers and flail 'em a bit, yes. But this isn't your typical jump-scare-fest 2016, oh no. I'm banking that the narrative will fill the dread slot quite nicely. Audio, too, is important here, and I worked hard on that shit, lemme tell ya.

Is it fun? Now, there's the real question, and I believe Abby's Song will give you the value you pay for. End of story. But fun? That's a limiting term which rarely applies to horror, honestly. So we have to go with a more general definition of value. I think the bang for the buck is all over the place with Abby's Song. I strongly think you'll like it (again I'm biased, so take that for what it's worth).

Will it change your life? Maybe. Depends on the stories you've already consumed and what you're used to. It's a thematic twist on an old favorite, I'll say that much. Think about circles (which you should be doing, anyway, in your quest to become a better human, haha!). But seriously though, consider circles. Think about saving the one you love most. Think about sacrifice. Think about the possibility of regaining what was lost. Think about death, rock music, kids, medicine, demons, surgery, and you'll get the idea. It's a short game, so I mostly hope it'll just sucker punch ya wherever you fear the punch most.

So, again, here we are. A pretty big juncture for me. I'm supremely proud to add Abby's Song to my repertoire. I hope you like what I've created :)

Developing a Game for Under $200

posted Jul 25, 2016, 9:41 PM by oneclipleft

It can be done! And I have done it. Here's how:

First, I bought nothing. Sounds dumb, but it helped a lot at first. I scoured the internet for resources and stumbled across Python and, more importantly for me, Pygame. Both are free and easily installed given a quick Google search, and Python/Pygame is healthily easy to learn. I started from extreme scratch here in terms of programming. In short, I knew nothing at all aside from a CS1010 class I'd taken years ago which focused mainly on a Java based pseudo script which frankly didn't help me at all. I'm an English major, after all, and these computer things are largely dark magic from that standpoint. Ok.

So, after poking around with Pygame for 7 months I finally felt familiar enough to start a serious small-scale project. Thus, Abby's Song was born. It's a short 2D horror adventure game designed to deliver a linear narrative (can you feel the limitations? Well, get used to it if you can't spend that sweet, sweet dough, man). I began development by investing in a $60 scanner/printer combo from Walmart. It's suitable enough and oddly I didn't use it as much as I imagined I would. Anyway, that was my portal between my comp and my terrible drawings. I already had Paint.net, an old (and I mean OLD) version of Cool Edit Pro for my audio tasks, so I was set to go!

Abby's Song development was 100% a learning experience. Everything I wanted to do I learned while on task. I learned the limits of Pygame and worked within those constraints (don't try to layer too much, it'll bog down in a hurry). I relearned the basics of programming logic (if/then/else, while, for, and all that jazz). But before long, I had a playable prototype all to the tune of $60. It wasn't pretty, but that came later without any extra cost. I just had to learn my free tools better. And that's the main thing. Learn your tools. Make the absolute best use of them as you can without adding extra cost. In a world of expensive 3rd party software and whatnot, I couldn't imagine risking my day-job earnings on Abby's Song too much. It's my first game after all, and I had no idea how it would turn out or how long the whole thing would take.

I still haven't spend that last $100 on Steam Greenlight, but I'm about to in less than a week. Cross your fingers, folks, 'cause here comes the last crafty ways I cut down on dev costs. I did actually speak with an art contractor for the art. It was far too expensive (think over $5,000 and you get an idea of it), so I decided to reach out into the gamedev community instead. Luckily for me, two people came to my rescue. One, a certain David Szymanski (who developed Finger Bones, The Moon Sliver, The Music Machine, and A Wolf in Autumn) gave me sage advice and helped with the art direction. Another contact of mine, Dulvlu Spa, offered to create the character animations. This was the hopeful help I was looking for, since art is my weakest skill. So, lesson here: find competent help in any field where your skill is not enough. Try to find this help as free as you can. Good people are out there, and they just might believe in your project as those two fine individuals believed in Abby's Song.

Now, the home stretch! Writing is HARD, MAN. But do it anyway. Write your heart out, kill your darlings, cut all unnecessary words from your game. Even if it's a text adventure or MUD. Cut 'em. Strip it down to its bare essentials. This is standard writing advice and it doesn't stop being useful in gamedev. Next? Get your sound in order, man. Do NOT settle for less. Sound is one of those things that gamers don't think about...because they shouldn't have to. If anything sounds out of place, then your world is literally falling apart. Especially in a low-action game like Abby's Song. So, get it right once, preferably before launch day, eh?

This may sound like a lot of pomp and circumstance from a dude who has shipped zero, count 'em , ZERO games, right? I grant you that, 'cause I have to. Can't argue with a fact. I'll grant you that one all day long. But! These are simply the lessons I have learned developing a no-name, near-no-budget, linear, narrative horror game like Abby's Song. Use my experience how you like, man. Peace!

Abby's Song Update #10

posted Jul 24, 2016, 12:04 PM by oneclipleft

Screenshots! Abby's Song is basically complete, so now I'm hard at work scrapping together some promotional materials, including a trailer. For now, here's some new screenshots of the finished game to whet your appetite. Whoo!

Abby's Song Video Update #9

posted Apr 16, 2016, 9:02 PM by oneclipleft

Big update! I can't believe how far this little project has come in less than 6 months. I've been getting a lot of help and feedback lately. My cousin, Donald, has contributed to the soundtrack. My long-time youtube buddy Dulvluspa is contributing to character animations (forthcoming), and another game developer, David Szymanski (Fingerbones, The Music Machine, A Wolf in Autumn), has been offering really great general advice along the way. So, 2/3 of Abby's Song is in beta, and 1/3 is in Alpha still. Check out the vblog below for a more detailed breakdown:

Change Log 4/16/2016
Major graphics/style overhaul.
Gameplay 2/3 complete.
Items now support multiple textbox descriptions.
Replaced more textbox descriptions with visuals.
Added triggered event.
Added more varied lightmaps.
Added item pickup confirmation dialog boxes.
Added item drop confirmation dialog boxes.
Added more item sound effects.
Added new music to the soundtrack.
General bugfixes.

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