Real Politics, and other stuff.
- The State of things
So, we are still doing our thing, making some magic happen here and there! It’s been a tough few months, the Last Vikings did not make back its investment which kind of sucks. Hopefully over its lifetime it will finally get there, as we continue to get payments each month from it. The studio cost around 300K to run last year, and while we released some other games on 3DS during that period, their profits were pretty low, so I just throw all our dev costs at TLV to keep things easy to envision in my mind!
Equally this year, we have spent 1-2 months updating the Last Vikings, and those costs will be put against our newer games. It’s a super simplistic way of doing accounting, and isn’t in the least bit accurate, If we had some production muscle than I would actually start tracking people against projects and working our costs correctly, instead doing it this way is super basic, but helps give us some idea where we are going while not detracting from important development time.
This year we released Hiragana Pixel Party on Steam, while I expected to sell 18 copies (really that was my internal estimate) I hoped I would learn something from the experience. In general our experience with Steam was pretty good, it’s simple to do everything, and things are mostly under your control, which puts the experience from a publishing side somewhere between Android and Apple, but closer to publishing on the Google. How many did we sell? Well I think we are up to around 300 units, which made me pretty happy. Obviously this is barely profitable, if at all, but I see it as a fun experience, and a preparation for releasing The Last Vikings on the platform.
So all of that sounds doom and gloom, but it isn’t so bad, at least things are still bringing in money, and we still have our doors open. So what’s next!?
- Fishing Game:
Well remember our fishing game? Well that’s kind of ongoing, whenever there is nothing to do, the art team just start drawing things for it. I am not actively writing code for it, but I know one day I will jump in there and finish it up! Its super cool already, it just need that free to play model that will make it work.
- Civilization Clicker:
That isn’t its real name, but in January we started building an idle game to destroy all others! Its got a vast volume of art, and we are really happy with it. We got really far with it, and now it sits around 70% complete. We wont release it for a few more months…due to the next title:
- Campaign Clicker:
So I was walking home from teaching, and trying to think of a good name for “Civilization Clicker” and was just thinking of random words starting with C, and “Campaign Clicker” popped into my mind. I thought that’s cool, but it sounds more like an election game, wow…we should make an election game. So I suggested it to the team, and we said “yeah let’s make it in a week” which seemed all feasible and stuff. That was 5 weeks ago! But, on the plus side its very nearly done now. It’s super innovative, the design just came from the name really, and how epic the whole thing is over in the USA right now. So it’s a modified version of Civilization clicker, in Civilization clicker you take on jobs, so Campaign Clicker is essentially a whole game made from just one of those jobs.
What makes it interesting though is that it features live tweets from the candidates, and players can get their tweets into the game too, making it full of dynamic and current content. I don’t think anyone has done anything quite like that before so I am kind of excited about it. Also if you do well in the game your progress goes on to the online scoreboards, so people playing as Democrats can try to beat all the people playing as Republicans, which adds extra fun to the proceedings.
I like the fact that we are taking tweets and current events and showing them to people in the context of a game, I think some of the things people say come across as really hilarious when seen in isolation. So my hope is people will become more informed about the state of the political situation in the USA from playing this game. Also I hope we reach some players who might just be following the opinions of their peers, and not taking the time to understand for themselves the main points of each of the candidates.
Obviously I am English, USA politics is not something I can comment on. In fact, I don’t feel right commenting on politics anywhere, I don’t feel like I have enough information to have a valid opinion on any current affairs, sure ask me about tax for games companies and I can say something, but even in that instance I feel I don’t understand the tax of the industrial sector as a whole, so I can only say “Yeah it’s hard to make money, don’t tax me” which is very self-centred and myopic.
What I do love about politics is the show, it’s all about who can get everyone’s emotions running the highest, and reach into the heart of the voter rather than the mind. Why else would we have campaign songs, or focal memes, the fact that Bernie sanders can seem more appealing because a bird landed on his podium is just so far from the point of what it’s actually all about. But I can’t help but be affected, the picture of an friendly old guy who is loved by the animals, and seems like as estranged grandfather I never had is just lovely, but what has it got to do with his message? Very little! So, my hope is that the game helps distance people ever so slightly from the show, and brings their focus to the messages and intentions of the candidates and parties they intend to support.
So when is Campaign clicker out? Hopefully very soon on iOS and Android
Expect an update soon on some other projects we have going on!