An informal survey suggests the most common questions were “how did you do this?”, “what did YOU do specifically?,” “how much money did you make”, and “what degree would I need to do this.” Fortunately, all of those questions and more are answered on this blog! Just go back to some of our old posts. Also we might not have actually covered the college angle here…
This blog post is mainly to let said students know how they can follow Game Revenant for more news about Where Shadows Slumber, as well as testing information for future games. Due to school rules, no one was allowed to take down the students’ info for use in an email list or anything. So I told them to follow us and look out for this blog…
I enjoyed talking to you all about Where Shadows Slumber, my indie experience, and how to become a game developer. Please feel free to ask me anything, anytime – I’m honest to a fault and I’d love to take your questions. (That goes for anyone else who’s reading this) Leave a comment below or reach out using the platforms above! It never hurts to ask [^_^ ]
Hello everyone! The days are getting busier and busier and it’s getting harder to get these blogs out in time. I ought to start working on them days in advance, honestly. We’re also working on a bunch of stuff with different groups that have us under NDA, so sometimes we just can’t share what’s going on! Sorry about that.
This is just a quick post to let you know we are alive, and that we’ll be at PAX East 2019 later this month! You can come to PREGAMER (PAX East Edition), visit us on the show floor, attend our panel, or do all three if you’re a true fan. Info below…
PREGAMER PAX East Edition
When: Wednesday, 3/27 from 6pm – 11pm
Where: Laugh Boston, 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
This event is free, but you need to register here!
Kick off PAX East in style with the 3rd annual PREGAMER party!
Game developers will be showing off their latest games one-on-one to a crowd of 1,000 people. For developers, this is a great opportunity to show off their games (finished or unfinished) and get direct feedback from players. For everyone else, it’s a unique opportunity to try out the biggest collection of games outside the show floor itself. Each game gets its own section as players meet the developers and try out their games. Throw finger food into the mix and let’s start “pregaming” for PAX East!
All ages welcome. ID required.
When: All Weekend
Where: Booth Number #19135
The kind folks over at Playcrafting have generously invited us to showcase NYC’s most awesome games! We’ll be representing Where Shadows Slumber and helping our fellow New Yorkers demo their stuff. Come play the full game (until we kick you off) or interview us! You can schedule an interview by emailing me here: contact@GameRevenant.com
When: Saturday, 3/30 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Where: The Arachnid Theatre, but I have no idea where that is
We’re doing a panel on “How Much Do Premium Games Really Make” which is combination of our personal stories of game development + research into others who have made their financials public. We could use your support in the crowd! Don’t throw things at us, please. To aid in our quest to rid the world of devastation, we invited some awesome NYC friends to join us. Come to our panel to see me (Frank DiCola), Jack Kelly, Dan Butchko of Playcrafting, Kati Nawrocki of ComputerLunch, and Adriano Valle of OrcPunk talk all about the state of premium mobile games!
Even though Where Shadows Slumber launched on iOS nearly six months ago, we’re still making slight improvements and catching small bugs. Did you notice that your game got updated over the past week? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the important changes we made. Jack did all the work here, so this is mostly me just copying things over from GitHub commits…
Level 1-3, “Lock” – Removed Rotatable Casing
This Level caused a lot of players to stop in their tracks, because they didn’t realize the two draggables at the bottom-left of the screen were actually draggable. Those are super weird because they rotate like big airplane propellers – plus, they were encased in rock because I was too lazy to make them come in and out of the lava with a cool effect.
Now you can see them more clearly! I’m still not in love with the look, mostly because of the weird way the shadows interact with the lava. I have some ideas of how to change this Level, but we’ll see if this works for now.
Level 1-4, “Ascent” – Visible Shadowy Doors
Players have always struggled to figure out what’s going on in this Level. I think we even got some bad reviews of the game because of this one! In particular, what’s confusing people here is that we’re using a mechanic for this puzzle that isn’t reintroduced for 21 more Levels! It was too cool to pass up, though. And it’s not exactly the same mechanic.
Anyway, as you can see in the before and after above, the doors in this Level will now glow in shadow to show off that they’ve changed. This fix really improves the Level while still maintaining what we love about it.
Level 2-1, “Docks” – Raft Draggable Size
Players were having trouble recognizing the raft at the bottom of the screen as a draggable, so Jack added a second drag-square to it.
Under The Hood
Here’s some non-visual changes you wouldn’t notice unless you have a keen eye for bugs:
Click Detection – Fixed a bug where if you click on a space, but your movement is interrupted, clicking on that same space will not cause Obe to start walking there.
Disappearing Draggables – If a draggable disappears (due to a shadow) while you are dragging it, it never “stops dragging”. This means that the player’s input would be disabled, if you dragged another draggable, the first one would continue to move, etc.
Walker Pause Time – Walkers will pause for a bit longer on buttons to make puzzle solving easier in select Levels. (2-1, 2-2, 2-5, and 3-2)
As always, let us know if you encounter issues with the game! We’ve got cool news about new platforms coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned…
The headline says it all, but you heard it here last: Where Shadows Slumber has been nominated for the coveted People’s Choice Award at the upcoming 15th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards!
We might also be nominated for other awards? It’s not clear, exactly. I want to say we’re eligible for stuff like “Best Design” or “Best Art” or “Best Audio,” but I don’t know that for sure. Also, with games like Fortnite on the list, we know our shot of winning is pretty steep. Our chances of taking home the big prize are about as good as your chances of being in a cutscene with Obe and not getting murdered.
Anyway, roll that press release!
Where Shadows Slumber Nominated in the 15th INTERNATIONAL MOBILE GAMING AWARDS (IMGA Global)
[Hoboken, NJ] — [2/26] – Game Revenant announced today that it has been nominated in the 15th International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA Global). The IMGA is the longest standing and highest regarded mobile games award program started in 2004.
Where Shadows Slumber is an indie mobile puzzle adventure game based on light and shadow. You guide Obe, an old man lost in the forest, on one last adventure at the end of his life. Use your wits, your lantern, and the shadows it casts to manipulate the world around you and find your way home.
“Nominees like Game Revenant highlight the new standard of creativity and the emerging quality of the productions found in mobile gaming”, said Maarten Noyons, founder of The IMGA.
“We’re honored to be nominated alongside this year’s best and brightest on the mobile platform. Thank you for believing in our little game, IMGA!”, said Frank DiCola, founder of Game Revenant.
As a nominee, Game Revenant is also eligible to win the People’s Choice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until March 14th, 2019 Where Shadows Slumber fans and gamers can cast their votes at https://www.imgawards.com/winners-nominees/15th-imga/
will be announced on March 19th, 2019 during the highly
anticipated IMGA ceremony, which will take place in the Minna Gallery in
About Game Revenant:
Game Revenant was founded in Hoboken, NJ by Frank DiCola. Where Shadows Slumber was designed and developed by Jack Kelly, with art and animation by Frank DiCola. PHÖZ, the duo of Alba S. Torremocha and Noah Kellman, created the game’s beautiful audio. The official game website was created by Caroline Amaba.
About the International Mobile
IMGA is the longest standing mobile games award program started in 2004. With
its long history and unique judging process, it has brought some of the world’s
most popular titles into the limelight the likes of Candy Crush Saga and Clash
of Clans. It is the only competition that unites the industry by celebrating
excellence and innovation in games.
Exciting news, everyone: your dreams of becoming a walking human billboard for your favorite indie mobile game are coming to fruition soon. This week, the Game Revenant merchandise store on Spreadshirt is launching! As a devoted blog reader, you have the privilege of receiving this news ages before those rubes in the general public. (What rubes!)
It looks like we’ll get some money from items if we mark them up a little bit. I don’t think I want to do that right now, because having people wear our stuff is more important than making another $1.50 at this point in the game’s history. That could happen at some point though, so if you’re on the fence about buying something, best to do it before the end of the month!
Currently, there isn’t much there. Which leads me to my next question…
What Would You Actually Buy?
I’m still getting things set up over there, so give me a day or two to get the online store looking nice and pretty. Right now I want to hear from you: what kind of Where Shadows Slumber stuff would you like? Spreadshirt has a whole line of clothing, but also fun stuff like mugs and junk. And it even has a dog bandana! (see above) My dog would rip those off instantly whenever we put them on her, but maybe yours is better trained.
Look, I can just make literally everything available, because there’s no cost. But I’d rather focus on the things fans actually want. For example, Jack furiously demanded zipper hoodies and… voila! There they are.
So what sort of designs would you like to see? It’s easy to just slap our game’s logo on everything, but there’s also a lot of cool art in our game we could use. I’m taking requests, so leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @GameRevenant with what you’d like to see!
Even better, vote in this open Poal: poal.me/nassfn
That’s all for now, everyone. Until I get more stuff up there… buy a Where Shadows Slumber Logo hoodie!
I come bearing good news, and apologize for posting this blog so late in the day. Jack and I are doing a panel at PAX East 2019 all about Where Shadows Slumber. If you read our recent tell-all about the company financials, you already got a taste of what we’ll discuss. This blog post is actually somewhat of a plea for help, though. Read on…
First: See You at PAX East?
Jack and I are definitely attending PAX East this year, though we haven’t figured out the exact details yet. It’s one of the biggest shows in the U.S.A. and it’s within driving distance, so we can’t miss it. Recently we applied to be part of Playcrafting’s booth at the show. It’s not a sure thing (since we could get passed over) but we’re optimistic. Playcrafting has been so good to us over the years, so it would be an honor to represent them and the NYC game scene at PAX East. Remember, kids: #HobokenCountsAsNYC
Even if that doesn’t work out, we’ll probably pay for a booth way out in hell. Some booth spaces at PAX East are just plain terrible, but it’s better than sitting at home doing nothing that weekend. Besides, we’ve got a panel to run! Speaking of which…
We submitted the following talk to PAX East, and it was formally accepted yesterday:
What Do Premium Games Really Make?
Saturday, March 30th, 1:30 pm in the Arachnid Theater
Description: Everyone knows Monument Valley made a zillion dollars, but how well do other premium indie games perform on the market? How much money do your favorite games make? We’re baring it all as we discuss the financials of our game Where Shadows Slumber (a PAX East Indie Showcase 2017 Alumnus) and speak openly and honestly about the state of the market.
It’s an uncomfortable topic to talk about, for obvious reasons. We’re pretty nervous that it might make us look like failures (since we just recently hit the breakeven point, but haven’t made profits) or frauds (since we really only know our own story + haven’t done much research yet, so we lack data). That’s why we need your help!
If you or someone you know is a developer, contact us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com. We’re looking for indie game devs who don’t mind showing off their financials and letting us show the crowd. It would be good to have more than just our numbers on screen.
We also could use more panelists, so hop on if you’re coming to PAX East! Dan Butchko of Playcrafting is a tentative maybe right now, along with Jack and myself. Obviously, if you’re an indie dev or a community organizer, this panel is a free way to tell a room filled with people about your project. What do you have to lose?
Just be ready to bare all – I don’t like keeping this stuff a secret. My mission statement for this talk is something like “customers ought to know how games do, so they realize that the games they support with cash will reproduce and the games they don’t will fade away.” Still working on that. And no, you don’t have to agree with me to be on the panel. (Jack probably doesn’t even agree with me!) I think if we debate on stage it might actually be fun for the audience. We can sort everything out during the Q&A at the end, too.
So, to wrap up:
Email me if you are 100% coming to PAX East, you have knowledge on this topic, don’t mind revealing embarrassing things about yourself, and want to be on this panel. Do it ASAP!
Leave a comment if you know of other devs who have already made their financials public besides Monument Valley!
We’ll Always Have Boston
Are you going to PAX East? Comment below so we can meet up at the show! (We’ll look like those guys above, only more jaded and edgy) Please attend our panel as well, to show your support for premium games and indie developers.
We just had a crazy weekend, courtesy of Playcrafting and Dan Butchko. If you’re a game developer in NYC, or part of the industry, hopefully you were there too and this blog post is redundant. But if you missed either of these awesome events, shame on you! Read on to find out what you missed…
Note: Remember that any critiques in this post are my own thoughts and don’t reflect the views of anyone else on the team. Except for the thing about Jack and Overwatch – he really hates that game.
Day 1: The ’19 Bit Awards
Before the awards ceremony began at Johnson Hall (an auditorium that’s part of the New School) all the nominees were invited to showcase our games in a separate room. Here’s a little bit of the room being set up:
I didn’t have a ton of space at this showcase and I can’t say I accomplished all that much. But it felt nice to be recognized! We chatted with a few people we recognized and got something like ~10 people to play the game. Pretty soon, we were whisked away to get in line for our wristbands so we could head into the auditorium.
Nitpick: Next time I would hand developers their wristbands so they can stay by their games! I left Jack stationed at the table while I spent half an hour on a line for my band. It’s fine – there wasn’t enough room for both of us behind the table anyway. Just something for future reference…
After the showcase, the award show began! Dan got Carolina Ravassa (the voice of Sombra from Overwatch) to host the show, much to Jack’s chagrin. As the lights dimmed, and Jack ranted about how much Overwatch sucks, we went through the nominees. Between awards, upcoming games from the Playcrafting community showed off their trailers. There were also a few game-related performances for entertainment. All of this was set to live music from Zac Zinger and the Bits, who returned from last year. The band was incredible!
I generally don’t like quirky things interrupting award shows, because I’m a boring person. But there were two moments I really loved: the first was when ESC Games’ presentation crashed and burned, which meant they had to improvise and vamp for a bit before the next segment began. Those two guys are hilarious all on their own – no games needed.
The other moment I really enjoyed went exactly as planned: Dalton Grey, of the Adventure Society, performed a live “adventure” with four audience members. (Carolina Ravassa subbed in for an absent audience member, actually) You had to be there to enjoy it, I really can’t explain it well. Dalton obviously had a script and a set of sound cues he was running the “players” through, and it was a lot of silly fun. This was way better than his intro last year, because we got the chance to laugh at (and with) the performers onstage. Last year I believe Dalton was alone on stage, asking for audience participation, which felt a bit cheesy. Keep up the good work, dude!
Deep cut for long-time fans – remember when Earl (all the way on the right in the image above) interviewed Jack and myself 100 years ago?
There were three kind of odd choices during the night – one was a strange dance sequence following the Best Style award. The game Hamsterdam looks awesome, but the dancing seemed kind of out of place. I guess this kind of thing happens a lot at award shows? Then there was a long (long) clip of random Just Cause 4 footage that played over live music from the band. This game footage had no narrative to it at all, it just seemed to show off cool things you could do in the game. But I’ve seen better Just Cause sandbox gameplay from Reddit memes, so this clip left a bit to be desired.
The final odd choice was after Jen MacLean accepted her Game Changer award… their tribute to her was just someone playing (playtesting!) Civilization II. I didn’t mind it at first, but it seemed pretty silly. A women with her storied career probably worked on a bunch of games – why not include more? The video lingered on Civilization II for an awkward amount of time. Again, there wasn’t really a narrative to what we were shown. If they need a video editor for next year, I’m signing up!
Nitpicks aside, we were really there to see if we could win the Player’s Choice Award. I spent the week prior running a shoestring get-out-the-vote campaign. Alas, even though we did not win the coveted Player’s Choice Award, I still want to thank everyone who voted for Where Shadows Slumber! The honor went to Swimsanity!, and I’m happy for them. I got the chance to be next to them during the Winter Play Expo the next day, and they’re really cool guys.
Speaking of which…
Day 2: The Winter Play Expo
This year’s Bit Awards was just part one of two days of gaming. On Saturday, we filled the 6th floor of the Microsoft Center again to show off our indie games. Dan allowed all nominees from the previous night to exhibit for free, waiving the usual $50.00 fee. Thanks, Dan!
Some of the attendees have known about Where Shadows Slumber for years, so it was a good chance to tell people that our game was now available. I also met a lot of new faces. I can’t say it was the best show Playcrafting has ever done – I was in one of the back rooms, so it didn’t get much traffic. For all I know there may have been a ton of people at the show, but they just didn’t know this back room was open. No matter, there was always someone tapping away at the iPad in front of me + free pizza. Can’t complain!
For future conventions, I think having it right on top of the Bit Awards (and one week after the Global Game Jam) was a bit too much to handle at once. I’m not sure if the Winter Play Expo was even announced the night before, which feels like a wasted opportunity. (If it was, and I forgot, take that as a sign that it needed a bit more publicity) My suggestion for next year is to space everything out across February a bit more.
This is all due to the efforts of Dan Butchko, who has been an enormous help to Where Shadows Slumber throughout the years. Playcrafting is a really incredible resource for indie developers in the NYC area. (I plug their company so often, people must think I work for them.) If you make games and you haven’t come to one of these events yet, I urge you to add it to your schedule! We’ll definitely be there.
Next week: Thinking of blogging about our next steps regarding different platforms… comment below with questions about porting Where Shadows Slumber.