Tag Archive for saxon

Zombie Outbreak Simulator on iOS

Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to and what you can expect to see from us soon.

As the post title states, we are about 6 weeks into development of ZOS for the iPhone and iPad. Saxon has been getting his head around that crazy Objective C code (it looks even more foreign to me than “normal” code) and has managed to get zombies animated on top of Google Maps, with directional movement, panning and pinch to zoom. Have a look at a quick youtube video I uploaded:

We also had a bit of a set back where a bug or incompatibility was introduced with a new version of Google Maps. Saxon had to spend some time fixing this so that users could publish maps again.

The reason we are now focusing on ZOS for iOS is to fund development of our games and Binary Space in general. We are still only part time, and in order to fast track development we need money to allow us to work more days per week (hopefully all of them!). The app store is a great opportunity for us and we are going to be promoting it heavily and giving it most of our attention in the short term.

Keep your eyes open for future updates and videos on the forums and Facebook.


Class 3 Outbreak, Released! Buh-rrRaaAaAiiiinNZ!

All Saxon and I can say is, “finally!”. After many delays with things like sponsorship, flash game portal versions, and ZOS itself, we are super happy happy, joy joy to announce that Class 3 Outbreak is sitting on our server now, ready for you to engage the zombies on their terms (you’re going to lose, its just a matter of how badly!). So after around 14 months, the first version of our baby (think the zombie baby from Dawn of the Dead, ok?) is out! It’s amazing it’s taken us this long for a game which appears quite simple on the surface, but being part time indie-ers, thems the breaks! Feel free to crush our spirits or pat us on the back for a job well done, as long as its constructive then we are happy. We also welcome the inevitable comments like “FAIL” and “this is such win-ness”.

For the first week or so the game will be site locked to class3outbreak.com, but then we will remove that and let it spread to the games portals that support 800×600 games.

From here on, now that much of the ground work has been laid, we look forward to putting in some of the really fun stuff. Feel free to head over to our forums and chat with us, we are always watching!

We look forward to following the response over the coming weeks. Thanks for supporting and following our game!
Jay and Saxon

Zombie Outbreak Sim Wrap Up

Well its been around 10 weeks now since we released Zombie Outbreak Simulator (ZOS). I’d like to share some of the experiences we had, and since I have learned so much from other similar articles, I’d like to give something back.

Our plan with ZOS was always to make it just a bit of a tech preview or teaser for Class 3 Outbreak (the RTS), something that’s just a bit of fun to watch and whet your appetite for the ‘real thing’. Having developed the game for so long, and testing/balancing Class 3 Outbreak for a while, I thought that ZOS would get some “oh, that’s kinda interesting” remarks and we’d get a little bit of traffic from some zombie or google maps sites. Funnily enough, I started to see some traffic coming from Digg via google analytics. I went to their website and found that we had been Dugg 30-40 times, which I thought was pretty good. A moment later I was about to head off to sleep for the night and I thought I’d check the site again, and lo’, we had just reached the front page! To our great astonishment and excitement, we eventually shot up to the third most dugg site of the day, getting over 1700 diggs. Our server went down perhaps a dozen times or more but luckily it never stayed down, it would just restart and keep on trucking. rorr.im also mirrored us which helped a little. We ended up having to put up static html files for all of our pages on class3outbreak.com, and that plus some help from our host finally got traffic moving smoothly. Saxon and I definitely enjoyed watching ZOS climb though, it was quite unreal.

I loved reading all of the comments people were leaving at Digg as well, and I made some comments/replies myself. Its great to interact with fans! We were amazed to see that not only would people post what settings they were using for the outbreak, they would even make up entire stories about the little 20 pixel people running around – extensive stories! It seemed to really capture peoples imagination, and I think running the game on google maps played a part in that, because we are using actual imagery. It’d be nice if the people looked a little more realistic but I’m not sure if I can improve them much with only 20 or so pixels.

We weren’t entirely prepared for the traffic when it hit, so we didn’t have mochi ads running, and our adsense banners weren’t really optimized either. It’s funny that after getting played 250,000 times and dugg 1700 times (I’d call that a huge success) we made around $300 in 2-3 days. As traffic levels out it looks like we might make 5-10k by the end of the year at this rate. That’s a pretty good sign to me that making money from advertising in flash games is incredibly hard. Sure, if we had mochi running from the start, we probably would have made a bit over double in the first 2 days, but that’s still peanuts for something that was so popular. I’d imagine getting the game to spread successfully over portals and get 10’s of millions of plays could start bringing in some half decent money too, but we are in the middle of seeing what we can do in this department.

When you consider the super great article: “You should be making a premium flash game” and games like Fantastic Contraption, we are very keen to try selling our game at some point, ie when there’s enough game there to charge for. If we punched in the Fantastic Contraption sales numbers with our current traffic levels we would be making over $90k a year, not too shabby. And yes, the games are both extremely different, and its impossible to know whether we would reach the same level of success as Colin did, but it is interesting to guesstimate these things…

Since ZOS has gone online we’ve also put up a facebook page that has reached over 1700 fans, and a forum which is already producing a lot of conversation. Feel free to join either!

You might be wondering how C3O is coming along… we hit a slight snag which requires another 2-4 weeks work, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Ah games and their so called release dates… :)

Thanks for reading!

Zombie Outbreak Simulator now on Kongregate

Saxon just finished making a version of the game to be accessible on Kongregate. Should be interesting to see how its received there. Check it out: http://www.kongregate.com/games/BinarySpace/zombie-outbreak-simulator

This version has no mochi ads, and we receive 35% of ad income from Kongregate’s ads. Will soon find out what the difference is! If you yearn to play the game ad free then go forth and play there :)

Pre Release Hype for Flash Games

Aside from popular sequels, I don’t think I’ve ever received or read any form of pre release marketing for a flash game. It may have something to do with the size of the games, or the general idea that flash games are quick, disposable and not really worth doing much marketing of any kind. Or perhaps people are afraid that they will tip off ‘the competition’ to the kind of revolutionary game they are developing? That’s quite certainly the case for us!!

So for the last couple of months I’ve been mulling over exactly what to release about our supercalifragilistic game, which will both interest gamers but dissuade developers from making a clone before we do. As it stands, even though our programmer, Saxon is coding his first ever game in flex to what I think is a very high standard, I’m still concerned that someone with more time or a bigger team could see what we are making and do it before us. Whether this is a valid concern or not, I’m not sure, but to be safe we are going to start hyping the game around 1 month before release so that there is almost no way we can be cloned.

In an attempt to build hype for our game, and reach as many people as possible, I am planning on releasing a range of teasers, newsletters, videos, development journals and press releases in around 1-2 months time. In the beginning I expect we may only attract the attention of other game developers via the development journals, and then once we’ve announced the genre and general premise of the game, hopefully we can start to build a sizeable subscriber base to our newsletters, twitter followers and rss feeds. I’d imagine we will announce the game’s big ‘hook’ or selling point only 1-2 weeks before release.

I’m planning on trying some “War of the Worlds” kind of press releases, which are written as if the game’s events are actually occurring, except of course they are so absurd that the reader hopefully has their interest piqued and goes on to watch a posted youtube clip, screen shots or something similar. With any luck these might be successful enough to gain preview write ups in online mags or get dugg, and further build our subscriber base.

I’d also like to think that this game is kind of a “casual game for hardcore gamers”. I know many hardcore gamers play casual games (I’m one of them), but I’m still going to try pitching our game in this manner to try and bring more attention to the fact that flash games can be enjoyed by more hardcore gamers, and that they can have some level of depth.

Well that’s about enough rambling for now… I’ll have to try and get some links coming in now for this development journal, perhaps Emanuele Feronato will link to this or my other articles? If you are coming from his site, then huzzah!

Thanks for following, and sign up for our newsletter on the right, or follow me on twitter to receive more updates in the future.

If you have anything to contribute I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried your own form of pre release marketing for flash games before? Do I not know what I’m on about? Set me straight or give me your opinion!

The BS Team

I’d like to share a brief history on Binary Space’s dynamic duo. Ok so we are yet to prove our dynamicness but our first game hopefully will! BS is coded and creativized by Saxon Druce and Jay Weston, both of us PC game developers from way back. We worked together at Ratbag Games on games such as PowerSlide and Dirt Track Racing from the late 90’s until the early naughties, myself doing art and game design for 5 years, Saxon coding until the coke ran out (a few years).

Saxon left Ratbag and continued coding away as a contractor for the intervening years at various places including the defense department and big name mining companies. I started a texture library company, Hyperfocal Design with another Ratbag employee. It took a few years to get going (because I was incredibly slack and poor at motivating myself) but is now a decent earner. Through Saxon’s contracting and my own business experience we luckily have some business sense and legal experience, which will always come in very handy.

During the last few years I certainly started feeling the creative itch coming back after being pretty burnt out and disenchanted you might say with AAA class games development. Plus while I’m quite happy with Hyperfocal, there is little in the way of creativity – its almost purely a business exercise. I actually made one possibly foolish attempt at starting a PC title, which I’m quite glad didn’t work out now, because I’m not sure I’ll ever be keen to lead a large company with many people’s jobs in my hands! That attempt got as far as getting funding for the concept phase but not much further.

At this time I increasingly found ideas for game concepts popping into my head, so I’d share them with friends between breaks in front of the 360, and thought how cool it’d be if someone made it. Yeah, the same old story with many gamers I guess. I’m not sure what actually changed to make me decide to give it a go for real, perhaps because the latest idea I had I felt would be so much fun… I’d also recently been forwarded or somehow came across a few flash games that really surprised me with their game play, graphics and cool factor. Two of those games were definitely “The Last Stand” and “Dino Run”. One of the best things about making small scale games like this is that you can make lots of them in a short time, and you aren’t constrained by publishers, deadlines, execs or existing IP/licenses. While I was a game designer at Ratbag, I realized that I wasn’t ever going to have the sort of creative control I wanted. Its just the nature of the beast. Now if my game design’s fail I have no one else to blame, however!

I had a pretty good look at various articles on the biz side of flash games (man’s gotta make a living somehow) and it seemed to be becoming reasonably profitable. So I thought to myself “I can’t code to save myself, making games is no fun on your own, and that Saxon dude could really code!”, so I emailed Saxon and asked if he ever considered making games again. The short version is he did, so we are. It’s good for me, because I’ll read the comments in his code (and even the actual code, which makes my brain bleed) and realize that few other flash developers would be so lucky to have someone with so much experience and coding skillz. And lucky for Saxon too I spose, cos programmer art is ugly!

So I think we have a pretty dang good team, and I can’t wait to show you our first game…