It has been a long time, but I'm pleased to announce that Dragon's Wake has been given a new major update!
In this update I have added a new side story level that will unlock once you have completed most of the main story. In this level you will be able to play as a certain dragon who is not blue, and get a chance to see some events from a slightly different angle.
The update also includes a new epilogue level that will be available after the credits. It helps to round off the ending and make the conclusion a bit more satisfying.
There are also a few 'quality of life' changes, as well as some extra details and secrets for players to investigate.
I hope everyone enjoys this. Please let me know what you think in the Steam forums, or reviews!
After two years of development, Dragon's Wake is finally released. This is naturally very exciting and scary for me. I finally get to see if all the enthusiasm and encouragement I received when showing a demo of the game at PAX events over the last two years will translate into sales.
Have I mentioned that being an indie game developer is really scary? Well, being an indie game developer is really scary. You generally spend years of your life working on something with no real idea if there is going be any payoff at the end. You scrape and beg and borrow in order to scrape by until you can release your creation to the world hoping that this will earn you enough that you can afford to do it again.
You believe in your game. Every indie developer believes that their game has something that people will love. But you also know that many indie games failed anyway, and if you are honest with yourself, you have to know that it is a possibility for you too.
So here I am. I just gambled two years of my life. If things go badly, what will I have to show for it?
Well... at the very least I will be able to say that I have a game on Steam. How many people can say that?
Dragon's Wake Enters Beta!
Hello everyone. It's been a hectic week with PAX Aus, and I thank everyone that has agreed to help with testing the game.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, during PAX Aus I gave away a number of steam keys to a number of attendees. I hope everyone will bear with me as we work through polishing up the game for release.
NOTES FOR TESTERS:
Testers that have found a bug or want to give feedback are advised to do so through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bug reports should give a clear description of the problem and what happened to cause it.
Additionally, there is a debugging feature that records the most recent save state for the game. Please find the file DebugSaveFile.txt and attach it to your bug reports, so I can hopefully recreate the issue.
Thank you everyone for your help. I hope you all love the game as much as I do.
Big News for Dragon's Wake
There have been a bunch of big updates that might be of interest to all of you. The first and most significant is that I am now announcing the official release date for Dragon's Wake will be the 11th of December 2015. That's less than two months away, and just a little bit over a month after PAX Aus. As part of the announcement I have put up a new store page for Dragon's Wake on Steam. There's a new trailer and screenshots, so be sure to take a look.
Secondly, Dragon's Wake has been accepted as a finalist to the Unite Melbourne 2015 MadeWithUnity Showcase! This will be on the 26th of October at the Melbourne Convention Centre, so if you are attending the Unity conference I would love to see you there!
Thirdly, as I mentioned in a previous news post, I will be showcasing Dragon's Wake at PAX Aus this year. What I did not mention is that While I am there I will be giving away a limited number of Steam keys to the beta of Dragon's Wake. If you are at PAX and are interested in getting a chance to play the full game before release, be sure to come by and ask for one.
Dragon's Wake at PAX Aus
Sometimes it's easy to forget what things the public does or does not know. I have been building up to it since last year, but I never officially announced that I will be showing Dragon's Wake at PAX Aus this year. It's just such 'common' knowledge to me that I almost forgot that I actually need to tell people!
So here's an official announcement: Dragon's Wake will be shown at PAX Aus this year! We will be in the Indie Pavillion at stand 29. If you happen to going to PAX Aus be sure to come by!
Dragon's Wake Has been Greenlit on Steam!
I recently recieved confirmation from Steam that Dragon's Wake has been Greenlit. This means that once Dragon's Wake is complete and released, I will be able to distribute through Steam.
This is a big deal for an independent developer. Steam distribution is the holy grail of indies. The last I heard Steam has about 125 million users. That's a lot of potential customers.
Of course, there's still a lot to do before we reach that stage, but this means that I can be confident that once I release, I will be able to reach my audience.
Now I just need to finish making something people are interested in.
My Thoughts on GamerGate
I've been thinking long and hard about whether to post this for a while now.
I first became aware of GamerGate about the time the 'Gamers are Dead' articles came out. The articles struck me as odd, since they felt like they were the counter argument to something but never stated what they were arguing against. I was vaguely aware that there was some backlash against them, but the exact issues were unclear to me. Looking back, I realise my ignorance was probably due to the fact that I was relying on the games media to explain what was going on.
In any case, I figured it was basically an internet flame war writ large that would die out in a month or so, and went back to focusing on developing Dragon's Wake.
About a week ago I overheard someone talking about GamerGate again. My reaction was 'Wait, is that still going?' Most big upsets on the internet die out after a few weeks, so I began to wonder if there was more to it than I had initially thought.
What I found was... well a lot of things that have already been described by others. A People's History of GamerGate was particularly informative. I could see what the media was saying about GamerGate, and what GamerGate was saying about the media, and I could see that the media account was biased, manipulative and deceptive.
I suppose that's the point that you could say I became pro-GamerGate, but it feels odd to put it that way. I wasn't really in favor of anything, just disgusted by the behaviour from the media.
I continued looking into what people were saying and began to consider adding my voice to the cacophony. I took a look to see what other games developers were saying... and found many were hiding their identities to protect themselves. There was talk of blacklists and developers that had openly supported GamerGate were being slandered and attacked.
I became afraid to speak out. I still am. I'm just one small studio making a game that will be one amongst thousands. If the media want to punish me for siding against them, they don't need to move against me. They can just ignore me. Indie developers already have a hard time getting the press to notice them. Giving them a reason to avoid mentioning my work seems dangerous.
But... the very fact I am afraid makes it clearer why I need to speak out. Maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe I'm misjudging them and they won't be vindictive. I hope so. But the fact that I am afraid to have an opinion in public means something is terribly wrong.
Dragon's Wake will be showing at PAX Australia
I have recently been able to confirm that I will have booth space to show Dragon's Wake at PAX Australia on Friday Oct 31st, and the morning of Sunday Nov 1st. I'll be sharing space with a bunch of other games being promoted by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, but hopefully I won't be too hard to find.
I have interesting plans for things that I intend to change from what I showed at PAX Prime, so if you saw it there it should still be worth your time to check it out again.
That's all for now. I hope to see many of you there!
PAX Prime has ended... for now.
It's been an amazing time, but now it's back to more-or-less normal. I'm back in Australia and recovered from my jet lag, so I will be catching up on all the things I have let slide during the build up to PAX Prime.
The last two days of PAX were similar to the first two - amazing but exhausting. Lots of people playing Dragon's Wake and really getting into it. Whenever there wasn't anybody playing I would actively invite people to play, which meant that there wasn't much time where people weren't playing the game. However, even when I left my booth (to grab food or to check out other exhibits) I would often come back to find people playing. And once people started playing they were generally kind of reluctant to stop. I'm pretty sure most people only stopped when they remembered that there was a whole exhibition to explore.
I did go back and play Darkest Dungeon, and I had an epic final battle with the demo boss where my last adventurer was killed by the last surviving minion that had barely any health.
I also went and played Below, which is another awesome game I have been following. I didn't get to play as much as I would have liked, but doing that would have probably taken up the whole day.
Halfway through PAX Prime
I've been manning my PAX Booth for the last two days and my legs are killing me. Despite that, it has been totally worth it. Today I met with two people that both want to talk about Dragon's Wake in their own videos about PAX Prime. I also met a lot of people that really loved the game, including one couple that said that “This is the game I always wanted to play.” It's incredibly flattering to hear people say this sort of thing about something I've put so much effort into.
I also got to be on the other end of the conversation when I met Chris from Red Hook Studios, who have been developing The Darkest Dungeon. The Darkest Dungeon is a game I have been following online for some time and is incredibly exciting to me. Getting the chance to meet one of the minds behind that game was a real thrill for me. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to try out the demo they had been showing because I had waited until PAX exhibition hours were over before I abandoned my own booth. I might see if I can find some time tomorrow morning to slip back down there again...
Also, getting to flash my exhibitor's badge and be let through to areas that were off limits to regular PAX goers, as if I was some sort of VIP, was kind of cool. :D
Crazy Days for Dragon's Wake
I've been run off my feet lately, to the point that I forgot to even mention in my last news post that Dragon's Wake is now on Steam Greenlight!
Anyone who likes the look of the game and wants to show their support should go there and give it a vote. Getting onto Steam is a big deal for small developers like me, so I appreciate every vote.
In other news, I have just spent the last two days at PAX Dev. For those of you who don't know, PAX Dev is a conference for (primarily) Inge game developers to get to gether and give each other talks and and advice about business practices and the art of creating games.
It's been a great few days with (mostly) good speakers with insightful things to say. I particularly enjoyed the 10 Rules for Writing Rules, which was massively entertaining, although not the most relevant to me at the moment.
Dragon's Wake will be at PAX Prime - August 29th to September 1st!
In two weeks time I will be at PAX Prime. Whoohoo!
I'll be showing a demo of the game at booth 6002. If you happen to be going to PAX Prime come check it out and have a chat. I don't bite. :)
(The dragon on the other hand...)
Dragons Passage has been renamed to Dragon's Wake
A number of people were telling me that the name Dragon's Passage wasn't compelling to them. This was a bit of a problem since I was rather fond of the name. However one person whom I really respect was insistent that I find a new name and that I do it quickly. So I did.
I spent some time seriously thinking about it and came to the name Dragon's Wake. I found I actually like the name Dragon's Wake even better than Dragon's Passage.
Dragon's Passage is a name with several meanings that are relevant to the game but they only resonate weakly. A Dragon's Passage most obviously refers to the passages and caves that the dragon character(s) live in.
It can also refer to the act of a dragon passing by. It also can be stretched to mean the action of a dragon passing on (i.e. dying). All of these are relevant to the story and/or gameplay, but the most relevant ones (passing by and death) are kind of oblique.
Dragon's Wake also has a couple of meanings and most of them are rather similar to Dragon's Passage. A wake is the immediate trail created by something as it moves (think of the waves a boat makes as it moves through the water). In most fantasy fiction the wake of a dragon tends to refer burned towns and dead bodies.
However, a wake can also refer to the funeral ceremony. A Dragon's Wake would mean mourning for the death of a dragon. The meanings are similar to Dragon's Passage, but I think they strike the imagination much more sharply.
Dev Log 9/7/2014
I'm in one of my rare moods where I would rather talk about working than actually work, so I thought I would give you guys a peek behind the curtain at what I'm doing.
Those of you that have been paying attention will know that Dragon's Passage is a game where you control a young dragon that flies around caves. The flying mechanic is actually the first thing I developed for the game and although it has had adjustments it hasn't changed significantly.
However I haven't had a tutorial to teach new players how to fly for very long (since I was basically the only one playing the game). And although the controls feel great once you get the hang of them, there nuances that are proving difficult to explain.
In particular, the player needs to time the flapping of their wings correctly in order to gain the most height. I could just outright tell the player, but I want this to be a text free game (the reasons why deserve their own post at some point).
So I have to use more subtle means. What I'm currently doing is placing pictures of a dragon flapping it's wings on the walls, at the points where a player should flap their wings in order to get the timing right.
This isn't perfect, since players can get through without realizing why flapping their wings at those particular points succeeded, so I'm reinforcing the point by making the player go through similar situations several times.
That's where I'm at at the moment. I will be getting groups of people to play the current build in the coming weeks and I will find out if players get the hang of flying then.
Gamma Con: After Action Report 12/6/2014
One of the things that is difficult about solo development is that reporting on exciting developments in a timely manner is hard because exciting developments tend to require a lot of time focussed on them. Other things tend to get dropped by the wayside while I focus on what is most urgent.
So I apologise for failing to report beforehand that I was going to be showing Dragon's Passage at Gamma Con in Canberra two weeks ago. I also apologise for failing to make any news reports about it immediately after. That was just me being forgetful.
Gamma Con itself was interesting. I was set up right next to the Oculus Rift Demo station, which had a queue stretching back 20 meters or so. On the one hand I got a lot of people who were just hanging around and might not have paid Dragon's Passage much attention otherwise, on the other hand, people tended to focus on the Oculus Rift and overlook the little platformer being shown next to it.
The people that did play were generally positive, although I'm pretty sure some were just being polite. Only a few really seemed to 'get' the controls - everyone else really struggled. Many kept on persevering anyway, which was a good sign, but I think that the platforming needs to be generally easier.
I was surprised by how young children seemed to really like the game, but in retrospect I shouldn't have been. I guess I'm just too used to thinking of it as the game I want to play.
In related news, I have been releasing videos of a playthrough of the Gamma Con demo on Youtube. You can find a link to my Youtube channel at the bottom of the page. Check it out if you haven't already.
Car Troubles 1/5/2014
Sorry about the delay guys. Moving was a lot of work, and in the middle of it my car needed to get repaired. It still does in fact. Getting around has become a pain and I'm having to spend extra time working to fix the car myself.
Anyway, the new screenshots I promised are up. Go check them out.
Moving House 21/4/2014
I'm moving to a new house this week, and it's been pretty busy. Don't worry though. Dragon's Passage is still getting worked on and is progressing nicely. I'll have some lovely new screenshots up after Easter.
Dragons Passage is in development
I am working on a new game, tentatively titled Dragon's Passage. It is a side-scrolling platformer in a metroidvania style.
You can find out more about Dragon' Passage here.
Website Launch 3/13/2014
I have a new Website! You are looking at it.