When we released our very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, we did something unusual and as far as I know unique. We released a cracked version of the game ourselves, minutes after opening our Store.
I uploaded the torrent to the number one torrent sharing site, gave it a description imitating the scene and asked a few friends to help seed it.
Fascinating story about what a game dev learned through intentional piracy of their product, notable at least for this chart:
Over 93.6% of players stole the game. We know this because our game contains some code to send anonymous-usage data to our server.
Rather unfortunately, piracy appears to be a problem with indies just as much as with big-name publishers. And these guys even did the right thing and released the game without DRM. If you wonder why game publishers refuse to abandon DRM as a concept, look no further.
This is also why games are moving towards always-connected and pay-to-play; it avoids this problem altogether. If you don’t like that trend (and you shouldn’t), buy the games you play. Support developers.
In going through my Instapaper reading for the day/week/month/quarter (the backlog is really that long at this point) I ran across a quick blurb about a short Flash game called Fractured over at Kill Screen Daily:
It’s a simple platformer, with a clever caveat – the 2D screen is arranged in a jumble – the whole is divided into mismatched slices and strewn across the screen. Each level presents a new maze to power through, allowing the player to naturally connect the screen shards in his/her mind until it’s obvious how to muddle through.
I decided to give it a shot and see if it was as good as it sounded while I was sitting and supervising the kids’ game time this morning. Just a bit later, I had cleared both the normal set of levels and the challenge set of levels. It’s an interesting concept for a 2D platformer; instead of messing with time or other such mechanics, it plays with your sense of location by jumbling around the display of the level and making you figure out how things are connected.
The story feels like it needs some explanation or insight—it appears to basically exist for purposes if giving you a goal, but it feels like it has some intent behind it—but it was a pleasant diversion for the morning and a neat concept.
It would be interesting to see a larger game that, à la Braid, takes this first concept and then twists it in different spatial ways to create other experiences.
Fractured is game 2 out of 52 completed for the year (more on what I’m working on playing later), and if you’re looking for a quick and satisfying diversion, I would urge you to give it a shot.
Pay what you want. Frozen Synapse normally costs $25, but we’re letting you set the price! The Frozen Synapse soundtrack is also included with your purchase (normally $6). Plus, if you pay more than the average price, we’ll throw in the entire Humble Frozenbyte Bundle — a $45 value!
All of the games work great on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Go buy this now. Frozen Synapse is a fantastic game that I’ve written about before.
I don’t play too many games at my desk anymore; I generally prefer to keep to the console stuff and leave my computer for work and such. But when two places I tend to trust (Penny Arcade and my fellows over at Quarter to Three) recommended the same game at almost the same time, I took notice and decided to bite on a copy.
So here’s my short review of Frozen Synapse:
Take the planning part of the original Rainbow Six—you know, the part that was the best thing about it until they removed it from the game series—and make a game out of that. It’s that awesome.
In the default gametype, you are given four soldiers, of varying types, and your opponent is given the same. You start on opposite ends of a map with rooms, short walls to shoot over and cover behind, and doorways, and you give pathway commands to your dudes. You can have them aim in a certain direction, ignore or focus on enemies, go to different areas, and change tactics all by planning their routes and how you want them to go about their way.
Each player submits their commands and then the game proceeds for five seconds as you watch your respective orders fire at the same time. A game lasts as long as eight turns, so all the action happens in 40 seconds or less. When a match is concluded, the whole thing looks like this:
Of course, it takes a bit longer to compose your orders, as you get to change them between each turn, and you can run simulations based on what you think your opponent will do to help you figure out the best plan of attack. The game can even be played asynchronously, where you each submit your respective turns and then the game emails you to let you know you need to come back.
For $20, you get a copy for yourself and a copy for a friend. It’s a pretty good deal, and you support indie game development by buying it. Find out more here.