Ninja Chimp Studios

properly social games

february 2017 report

Through the spooky doorway we go.

I thought January was busy. Damn, but I had no idea; February has been intense.

Life events über alles: I changed jobs. I’ve done this 3 times in the last 2 years after having done it once in the previous ten. I’ve become a lot less tolerant of certain things as I get older, and I’m pleased to say there are none of the alarm bells at my new place that I tended to downplay in the past – and in fact there is one guy at work who takes 1d/week off to do Unity gamedev with some friends, so that bodes well for future conversations.

It’s been three weeks of intense onboarding though, with little time for weekday gamedev as the stats will no doubt show.  New jobs are spooky, but there was a legit greener field on the other side.

I also ended up the defacto lead mentor at my local CoderDojo, due to the previous leads retiring and my failing to step backwards fast enough. Jokes aside I do love my Dojo and I’ll champion it until I can find someone else to take it over… but it’s 24 Saturdays a year, so a not inconsiderable time investment. The ninjas are very into gamedev though and produce some awesome stuff, and they’re hungry for more advanced learning which may lead to a commercial opportunity for NCS down the track; but more on that as (if) it happens.

And finally, I’ve almost finished the server rebuilds I started in January. By consolidating 3 servers down to 1 (plus a small AWS instance), I’m simplifying my maintenance and reducing my power bill; and by getting on top of my backups (with as much automation as possible) I’m tightening up my resilience to viruses and pre-teen derps.

studio

Freezo Run‘s UI has made some really important strides despite the low number of hours I’ve been able to put into it. I built a polymorphic spell system that allows common behaviours to be centrally managed (cooldowns, unlocks etc) but delegates the specifics of a spell effect to its own class.

The upshot of this is that I can now support any number of Spells, with unique configurations and effects, that slot right into the SpellBar and have all their admin taken care of by the SpellManager and EventManager. It’s pretty tight.  I’m being careful and refactoring as I go so as not to introduce any horrible mobile-unfriendly overhead in the graphics or Update() loop; and it’s benching a solid 60-70 FPS on my Galaxy S6.

The studio toolchain is now in place after the server rebuild. It consists of:

I’ve used Atlassian products since very early days and I love them. Jira in particular really helps me keep dev on track if I miss a few days – I can come straight back to the Kanban board, remind myself what’s needed and dive straight back into dev.

I’ve done some playtesting of Hill Climb Racing 2, mainly to understand how they do their f2p monetisation. It’s an interesting model and it gets the balance mostly right – I never felt railroaded into watching an ad, but there are certainly many opportunities to watch them to gain mystery boxes and such. There’s also a timed unlock feature which I suspect keeps some people coming back day after day (much like Gran Turismo 5 on Playstation did with daily bonuses).

Shaders! Check out Makin’ Stuff Look Good on YT – this finally helped me to overcome my abject terror of shader programming.

It’s really not that bad, though I suspect that as I learn more I’ll learn to fear them again, DK Effect being what it is.

february 2017 report

I don’t even remember playing Diablo III, it must have been at the start of the month when I was winding down at the old job.  Again, all the Overwatch time is the neighbours using my PC 🙂

While on average I achieved the 1hr/day over the month, that’s clustered into a big week 6-12 Feb (the week before I started the new job) and sundays.  I really need to get that hour in on as many days as possible to stay fresh.  Barely any gamedev during the week is the story of my new job. Hopefully I’ll get control of that in March.

  • 63 website visitors, 68% new
  • Days with 1+ hours of gamedev: 11
  • Total software development hours: 28.2
  • Gamedev Earnings: $0
  • Mailing list subscribers: 5 (unchanged)
  • Twitter followers: 12 (up 5), likes: 11
  • Facebook stats: are weird and I don’t have the time to trawl them…

Why do I care about the social stuff? Well I don’t per se; but it’s an indicator of how many people are aware of my games and a baseline for any effort I end up putting into marketing.

other stuff

I watched some Breaking Bad. It didn’t grab me the way Parks & Rec did. The way the main character kept making dumb, over-emotional decisions reminded me a lot of why I hated Homeland after the first season.

I started listening to The Debug Log podcast. It’s run by RL professional gamedevs, and covers a lot of interesting topics. Great stuff for commuting and yardwork.

Dragon Friends podcast season 3 has started, and it’s as bonkers as ever.

TALK TO ME, FELLOW DEV NERDS

I’d love to hear your feedback on Freezo Run, on these blogs or on anything else gamedev-related. Comment here or on social media (Twitter @ninchistudios), or hit me up on Discord – I’m @ninjachimp on the GameDev.tv Official, Home of Nerds and Game Dev League channels.

 

 

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