Sorry, I took a little break and stopped reading and replying to comments for a few weeks. I prefer to read them in bulk instead.
It might have looked a bit disheartening of me when I reposted Jim’s post from pastebin, but it wasn’t really. He more or less expressed my thoughts and explained my apprehensiveness pretty well.
It's true though, as many of you have gauged, I’m not jumping up and down in excitement at the prospect of spending many months of hard work to produce something with very little reward.
Now, this might sound a bit yucky, but if I knew there was a large cheque at the end and some sort of recognition, I’d be dancing a jig at the prospect of working on Wasted Youth.
Honestly, between the 30 or 40 of you who regularly check the site for news, if you could each send me a big bag of money I’d do whatever you want me to, gladly. Undeserved wealth is the key happiness right?
That’s not to say I have no artistic integrity, but in the position I’m in I can’t afford to fart away another year on another endless project.
Speaking of which! ... As you might have noticed there's still no new site, which to put it lightly is frustrating. Why do you think I’m writing a blog post right now? It’s just followed a very intense staring competition I’ve had with my screen for about 30 minutes. Followed then by a feeling of defeat and mild despair.
Unfortunately that’s usually how I start all my blog posts, perhaps that’s what gives my writing style its melancholic flair.
I’ll take this opportunity now to respond to some of the comments from the last blog post.
In response to Lloyd Majere’s well written response, no doubt inspired by Jim’s piece, which by the way featured a lovely bit of 9/11 wordplay that didn’t offend me at all (unlike some of you). Although I’d argue it wasn't Wasted Youth that took down the Two Towers as it were. I'd equate Wasted Youth more with the plane that crashed into the ground in Pensylvania as it didn’t quite reach its final destination… well, you could argue none of them did... in the non-fatalistic sense I mean…
Moving on… Lloyd Majere had this to say:
I was wondering if you followed any other flash game developers who might be in a similar situation. Even if you don't, I'd like to compare your situation to another's, which may give you some relief. His name before was PseudoLoneWolf, and much like you he gained success and popularity from a flash RPG that promised multiple installments: MARDEK RPG. People flocked to his site and made a minor community around him, but eventually his love for his MARDEK line faded, and he began neglecting that project entirely. Ultimately, he pushed away his MARDEK-driven community, and his public game development halted entirely.
However, he still kept trying to develop games, and recently announced a reboot of the series (almost a year ago). I won't go into specifics, but after putting up a working beta about four months ago, PseudoLoneWolf opened a Patreon account for his 'new MARDEK' project. Almost immediately, a few dozen people pledged to donate monthly, and he currently makes over 500 a month. That may seems small, but it comes from nothing: PseudoLoneWolf hasn't created a public game since Febrary 2011. What's more interesting is that he has since failed to produce any working progress on his Patreon project, or even maintain his sites or Patreon promises, and yet it seems the income is still coming in.
Now, I don't bring that up to talk poorly of him, but to give some positive hope to you. There are some differences that must realistically be mentioned: PseudoLoneWolf's website, Fighunter, was designed to be community-building, with user profiles, forums, and an interactive chat. GPStudios is... well, not that. So naturally, your fans may be smaller in number. Also, the MARDEK series had three of eight games completed, each more grandiose and impressive than the last. Wasted Youth only has one chapter to stand on. However, despite these things I would encourage you to not underestimate the generousity of fans. A single game or single series that is valuable can go a long way. A dead game has allowed a debatably untrustworthy developer to make $500 a month years after it's time to shine. How much more could that be for a developer who actually adheres to their goals and maintains websites, etc.? You already have the framework for this (that is, a highly-rated game and good developer history), so I guess what I'm saying is try not to be discouraged.
I am aware of the Mardek games, but not the developer PseudoLoneWolf. To know they're experiencing a similar struggle to mine is quite comforting, perverse though it may be.
I used to frequent a site called FlashGameLicense.com where I’d occasionally interact with other developers, apart from that I’m more or less on my own, in my own little bubble. It’s probably the worst habit of mine in general, that I don’t make more of an effort with this kind of thing, and then I tell myself it makes me unique and individual as a way to justify it.
As far as what to do with Wasted Youth... I agree with Jim, and I'd take it a step farther: It is likely impossible to recreate the emotions of the first Wasted Youth in a sequel. Hype would be detrimental, having players believe Part 2 to be something it isn't, and even if you got the same team and the same assets, many things about your style will have changed over the years. Part 2 likely wouldn't survive the criticism. At this point, much to the many fans' dismay, I would advise against a direct sequel.
However, you can use Wasted Youth as your standing grounds, and take feedback of what people liked about it to heart. You can use that in future games that ARE to your liking. People these days are looking for content, and not necessarily *specific* content. Wasted Youth promised more content, so people used that as their 'specifics,' but in the end I'm certain many of your fans were just as thrilled to see you working on 40 Chambers, and providing development notes on it! For me personally, I would have loved a puzzle game like that, and was excited when I saw your video here. An interesting, semi-original puzzle game from a respected developer? Count me in!
I think you should focus on games you'd like to make, while keeping in mind what people like in the first place. I'm going to assume you are looking to make games for a profit, and I'm going to assume you're willing to put in the effort to do so; if I were you, my plan would look like this:
1) Update the site for better functionality and resourcefulness.
2) Find a way to save the assets of two or three of your best games, and compile them together as a sort of developer portfolio along with the site.
3) Decide on a project you'd very much enjoy working on, that you think others would like to play.
4) Turn to crowdfunding and other resources, like Patreon and Steam as examples, and see what kind of support you can get for this project. [You don't necessarily have to directly ask for support, but at least test the waters a bit.]
5) Complete the project, hope your fans like it, and continue to do what you enjoy.
I can assure you many game developers have turned to this, with varying success... but if I may be so bold, it's likely better than what you see around you here.
Bottom line is, you have some fans, you have hope, you have a good history, and you have accessible resources to work with. I wish you the best of luck, both in getting support and getting enjoyment out of your work, and of course I'll be following any future developments :)
Thanks Lloyd! As I’ve said before, the plan is not to pump out a sequel, but - to use the increasingly unfashionable term - reboot the original, and finishing the bit once known as ‘Part 2’.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. While my brother wrote most of the dialogue and story for Part 1, I was in the director’s seat and everything went through my filter. A lot of the stuff in the original I enjoyed I now consider a little embarrassing and ill-judged. So given the chance to remake it, I’ll no doubt cut and add a great deal to make it more to my current sensibilities. Obviously I’ll try to keep the ‘magic’ with the aim of making it more enjoyable, but if I do develop the remake it’ll be a very separate entity to Part 1, that much I know.
With regards to 40 Chambers, it’s still alive for those of you who are interested. Unfortunately there’s been some excellent games of recent that completely outdo what I’d managed (I’m thinking of Monaco and Hotline Miami), so even if I was motivated to continue it right now it would require a load of work to make it presentable. Evenso, it isn’t dead. It might be closer to finished than I even realise.
It’s nice to hear you think I have a good history. It would be nice if I had a little more to show for it. That said I’m still quite proud with Bunny Invasion, Mutant Uprising and Wasted Youth.
Thanks for your
essay comment :)
Now, onto Aly:
I don't think you should make part 2 if you have no motivation to do it. All I know is I have been checking back every couple months on this website for news of it happening and every time part 2 is mentioned it is written as it's something you really don't want to do. You should be doing what you like and also what can financially support you.
My best bet to make a name for myself as well as a bit of pocket money is to finish the thing that engaged the most people. Bunny Invasion was a lot more successful but there’s barely a single person asking for a sequel. I also feel like there’s more potential with Wasted Youth on a platform like Steam. It’s wishful thinking, but I can imagine more easily having a successful hit with Wasted Youth more than any of my other projects.
And as long as I have the support of fans and hopefully the interest of newcomers behind me (and some money *cough*) then I believe that I can finally get my arse in gear and produce something great.
If you won't make the game, why not write/type the game? (Doesn't have to be like a novel)
I have to stop now, this might be the longest news post I’ve ever written, even if it largely consists of that f**king windbag Lloyd Majere.
In all seriousness though, keep posting comments and I'll keep reading and responding, albeit slowly.
But before I go, I might as well mention that I made the first tentative steps on the weekend to do some work towards Wasted Youth.
Basically I just researched into what the best platform, tools, etc would be best suited for the project.
I considered Unity for a while, seeing as so many developers are using that nowadays, but for 2D it’s not considered very user friendly or particularly good performance-wise.
What I’m more likely to use is the OpenFl framework, which basically allows me to easily import all the old stuff with very little need for conversion.
Finally, and I'm sorry to end on a downer, but a couple weeks ago I read about the passing of X Gen Studios founder, Skye Boyes.
I remember a friend of mine introduced me to Defend Your Castle at school which I wasted many hours on. This was one of the first Flash games I played. Not long after I was making animations and learning to code in Flash myself, inspired by the efforts of people like Skye.
Defend Your Castle, Fishy, Stick RPG and Motherload were among the most enjoyable flash games of their time, and their influence no doubt rubbed off on me with regards to Bunny Invasion and Wasted Youth.
If you haven't played these games, see for yourself and click the links above. They're still fantastic fun to play.