Tag Archive for space

iZOS Final Update Video

Here it is, the final development video update! This means we are 100% feature complete and now in beta testing. If you haven’t already, sign up to become a tester here: http://tinyurl.com/8a6art8

Check out the complete video here for the final additions:

Crowd Funding Class 3 Outbreak

So far we’ve been developing Class 3 Outbreak in our spare time, with over 2000 hours spent during the last 2 years. Our goal is to turn Binary Space into a business. We love making games, and want to be able to work on games like Class 3 Outbreak full-time. To that end we are looking to raise funding in several ways, one is through government grant funding, another is through crowd funding.

We’ve recently been awarded a couple of grants by South Australian government funding groups, which we are of course pretty stoked about!:

– $50k from the South Australian Film Corporation
– $10k from the South Australian Creative Industries Program

We’re in the final contracting phases on these, and expect to be able to switch into full-time development of Class 3 Outbreak from around June.

This will keep us going for a couple of months, but what then?

We’re using the IndieGoGo crowd funding website to raise money to keep us working full-time for as long as possible. So we are asking for your help to support us in our indie endeavors! If we reach our target of $50k, that will allow us to keep working for several more months, and put us on the path to being profitable and self-sustaining. But any amount would still be a big help – we’ll work for as long as we can afford, or work part-time.

IndieGoGo allows us to give away pre-orders for our game, along with perks if you spend a certain amount. All of the perks include free access to all of the paid features, as they are developed. So when we start charging our other players for those, pre-order customers get them for free. When we introduce virtual currency, we’ll also give you some for free. And of course, whatever amount you give us, you’ll receive our undying gratitude, for helping us make Class 3 Outbreak a reality!

Our primary plan to become profitable is to make Class 3 Outbreak “freemium”. It will always be free to play, but players will have the opportunity to purchase additional features if they wish. We’ll have a virtual currency via which you will be able to buy extra items such as weapons, and we will offer exclusive paid features as well.

To kick off our crowd funding efforts, we’ve just released a Royal Wedding map for the game. Saxon quickly coded in Prince William and Kate Middleton and some onlooking crowd members, and I drew up the Westminster Abbey map. Of course, zombies descend and make a mess of their wedding. We think it’s pretty funny, and so hopefully a lot of other people think so too. If it picks up steam and spreads then we will be very happy!

We have outlined a feature set for Class 3 Outbreak on the IndieGoGo website, head on over, check it out and please support our game. Thanks!

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!

Class 3 Outbreak V1, what to expect!

Hello eager brainz hungry zombie fans. The first release of Binary Space’s zombie RTS, Class 3 Outbreak is not far off now. We have been following fan feedback all over the internet and are keeping a close eye on feature requests on the forums.

We realised that people have little idea of what to expect from the first release, so we thought we’d share with you a bit of a feature breakdown, so that your hopes and dreams of some infinitely complex zombie RPGTSMMORPG aren’t horribly crushed!

The first free game to be released in (very) approximately 3-4 weeks will be a fairly simple flash game, much like a playable Zombie Outbreak Simulator, called “Class 3 Outbreak” (C3O). We will be distributing it across flash games portals, which we hope to make ourselves some decent money from sponsorships and advertising to fund the sequel.

C3O will be an RTS with 1-2 maps, 1 unit type (police) and your basic terrifying zombies. We hope to give you a fun game in which players are tasked mainly with crushing outbreaks as they occur across the map. The challenge lies with quickly reaching outbreak sites and efficiently taking out all zombies before they can spread out of control. There will also be an escort part of the game which was featured in the trailer. We wont give away everything that happens though! If you’d like to get yourself tactically acquainted with the next outbreak locale, we have chosen Leicester, England in a classic suburban area that we feel that many people will be able to relate to. The Washington DC map will probably return as well.

View Larger Map

To create some competition (against yourself and other players) we will be tracking the players score, which is affected by the amount of outbreaks you control, how many zombies you take out, how many people you escort to safety and so on.

What lies ahead after this first iteration of Class 3 Outbreak? That all depends on how the first one goes! It will almost certainly be a premium, pay version of C3O, probably with a free demo version. The only things we can guarantee at this point are lots of fun unit types, new maps and zombies :) There is a certain feature that has been requested many times that we are very excited about, but in game development you never know what will happen, we make no promises! When will it come out? For now its probably safest to say “sometime in 2010”!

Saxon and I look forward to bringing you the first version of C3O soon-ish!

Thanks to all the fans for following us, and I’ll see you on the forums, and facebook, etc!


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 :)

Zombie Game Announcement

We have decided to release the first meaningful teaser for Binary Space’s upcoming game! While we are still giving away very little at this point, we can divulge that the game will be about those rather popular brain hungry zombies. I can hear you groan all the way from Australia, “another zombie game?”. How dare you! …I mean, yes another zombie game! However being a huge zombie movie and game fan I can tell you it will be completely unlike any zombie game before it.

I must have wanted to do a zombie game ever since I first saw Dawn of the Dead who knows how many years ago. Then when the new version of that movie came out, shortly followed by 28 days later and others, I developed a bit of an interest in all things zombie and survivalist. I’ve wasted many an hour and much of my own precious brainz playing Left 4 Dead, The Last Stand 1 and 2, and also tried out Pop Caps latest game Plants Vs Zombies, however I can’t understand all the hype surrounding it. I’ve also devoured World War Z (did you know the movie is coming out end of this year?), The Zombie Survival Guide and numerous other zombie novels. The only thing remaining is to go on one of those zombie walks…hmmm.

When compared to existing zombie games, ours will be in an untried and untested genre, with different game play, and quite different graphics. The game has just reached its first playable state, which is quite exciting, and the scariest thing about it is that the game play will present a lot of new challenges that haven’t really been tackled before. Well I can’t say much more but I’m confident we will soon be bringing you zombie madness in a way that should get you pretty excited.

Concept art from Binary Space's upcoming Flash Zombie Game

Concept art from Binary Space's upcoming Flash Zombie Game

The concept art you are looking at here was illustrated by myself (Jay) and it’s one of my first few attempts at any sort of “real art”, drawn using Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom. This particular image was copied from a photograph of a foggy street in the US, where I could envisage people leaning from windows and firing out. So I copied the street and then added in the people and zombies afterwards, keeping their forms extremely simple to hide my lack of skills in that department! I feel it works well for the subject matter though, luckily for me! It could probably use another zombie up closer so you really know what they are, but I’m on a bit of a schedule and my skills possibly aren’t developed enough to tackle a highly detailed rotting corpse close up!

Finally try not to read into the image too much, its much like the box art from old Amiga games – it certainly doesn’t represent the game play, genre or POV at all! Well, it does a little…

If you’d like to be notified when major updates are announced or when the game itself comes out, make sure you sign up to the newsletter on the right hand side of the page.

Until next time!

Advertising in Flash Games Compared to TV

I was pondering marketing and advertising (mochiads) in flash games, and got thinking about traditional advertising, like on TV for example. I think its a reasonable comparison, you might spend 30 minutes watching an episode of something on TV, and according to wikipedia, in America: “a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local.” So that’s nearly a third of your time watching adverts for a free TV show.

When you consider flash games, you will see an advert at the start of the game for perhaps 5-10 seconds, and you could potentially spend up to an hour playing some games without seeing another advert. Sure, you have google adwords ads around the game that are always visible, but I think that’s quite different to having your entertainment experience completely shutdown while you must watch adverts.

It’s a very good deal when you think about it this way, for the players I mean. Flash developers in general are still not earning enough on average in my opinion, and sure if the developer only spent a few days or a week on a game or if its no good then you’ll close the game if an ad break appears. However for a quality, compelling game I think there’s nothing wrong with inserting ads into the game at strategic, unintrusive points. Most adverts are only appearing for another 5-10 seconds, so I think it would be reasonable to have ads appear up to 5 or more times in a long game, say an hour. In fact when I’m honest with myself I think it could approach tv levels of advertising time, why not? What will happen, is that if you have a poor game, everyone will leave on the ad break and that game will earn less. Fair deal in my opinion. If you think your game is of lower quality you could place less adverts to keep players around longer. If you have a great game, players will hang around in exactly the same way they do on tv breaks (or go make some food and come back). Advertising online in flash games also has potential that tv doesn’t, such as being interactive (even include other games), and being able to open other windows, research the advertisers product, and so on.

People seem to have big gripes with lots of adverts, but I think if your audience refuses to sit through a 5-10 second break every 15 minutes there’s something wrong with your free game. I’ve even read a lot of people claiming that people won’t play your game if it takes too long to load. Consider just how long the intro sequence/credits take for a soap, I feel people still have this thought that “if its on the net it should be free and fast no matter what”.

I could rant longer but you get the idea! What are we planning in our game for adverts? An initial loading advertisement as per industry standard, then 2-3 more in adbreaks which coincides with other events that halt gameplay. I think it’s reasonable, we are providing roughly an hour long, free game in return for players sitting through a total of maybe 20-30 seconds of mochiads. That’s a bargain!

Tell me what you think, and sign up for our newsletter on the right if you’d like to be notified when our first game is released.

Deuteros on Amiga Forever

The other day I shelled out a bargain $30 for Amiga Forever which comes with a bunch of old games and a really easy to use interface. I used to play around with WinUAE (and I believe Forever may use it) but this is so much easier. The first game I wanted to check out was Deuteros, one of my favorite games from ‘back in the day’. I got sidetracked with Kick Off and then Ports of Call, and eventually sought out the glorious space game…

I’m about to attempt a kind of review of this game, but its going to be difficult, since I’m not sure if my fond memories cloud my judgment! So I load up the game and am greeted by the quirky animated logo…



This is so cool, and I can’t believe no other games (?) ever did it. It’s one of the many small details that makes the game take on its own unique feel and atmosphere.

In fact the detail throughout the entire game, from the interface to the sound all come together with such skill that you almost forget that you are playing through gameplay sequences that would be considered as boring as making paint dry, if it were attempted today. Ok, maybe not that bad, since I did play it for a good 3 hour stretch (and found it hard to stop). I’m not sure exactly what made me want to, but here is what the gameplay consists of for most of the game:

– Train dudes, press “advance time”
– Research part, advance time
– Build part, advance time
– Launch ship, advance time, deploy part 1 of 8 (no advance time needed!!)
– Shuffle personnel around in a very drawn out, annoying process.
– Build new base on new planet and repeat above.

Yep, the advance time button is hideously annoying! There are some frustrating and boring tasks, and there’s very little action. But this game, for something made in caveman times, has some serious immersion and atmosphere. It really feels like you’re part of a post-apocalyptic space faring people. The visuals ooze style and flair, the ship designs are awesome and the interface screens (particularly earth’s flaming surface) are works of art. The midi sounds are brilliant, each screen has its own sound – beeps for research, oppressive industrial sounds for mining, and super cool mechanical ship loading sounds. The boring task of launching a ship into orbit is almost made fun with the noise and gloomy Giger-esque ship interior (complete with rear view screen for some reason).



I think another factor that really adds to the immersion is the interface. You’ll rarely ever see any text interface which is just a functional “button” floating in space attached to a “game interface”. In Deuteros the main interface is a mess of wires and screens, eyeballs and globes. You don’t just press “launch ship”, you’re inside the ships cockpit, and the launch button is on the actual console. So you get the feeling that you are moving around in the game environment, rather than commanding things from a distance, unattached to anything.

So far I’ve progressed to meeting the Methanoids, and have built up a stockpile of resources to wage war on them, however during their first few attacks I’ve been beaten back pretty badly (man this is a hard game!). I swear they knew I was stockpiling, damn cheat computer! I think I’ll need to adjust my strategy next time…

Well I hope you enjoyed my hastily written, unplanned and so called review of one of my favorite Amiga games, Deuteros. It’s a great trip down memory lane, and if you somehow missed it I highly recommend checking it out!

Now… can I implement these design features in our game… humm…

MochiAds Free Hosting

I got a reply back from Mochi saying there are indeed “no strings attached” to their free hosting service for flash games. I was impressed by their reply speed too, it gives me confidence that if there’s any problems in the future I’ll be able to get in contact with someone. So we will continue to host our site, but the game is hosted on their servers, and they handle the huge flood of gamers foaming at the mouth to play our awesome games!

I was initially concerned with the price of hosting a large-ish flash game, since if you get a successful game on your hands, your bandwidth fees go through the roof. It also seems quite hard to find a host that is “digg proof”. I’ve read articles where people have gone with one of the big name hosts, even ones which advertise being digg proof, and they still go down. Part of the problem may be poorly optimized websites, but it seemed like a big price tag attached to something that isn’t guaranteed to stay online.

Anyway I think we will be trying out Mochis free hosting option and see how it holds up. Hopefully we get some big social media/digg/stumbleupon traffic and can report back on how it goes. I think we will still have to invest in a modest/high end hosting solution like a VPS or basic dedicated option, but at least I won’t have to fear big ‘bandwidth exceeded’ fees.

I’m pretty confident we can make a reasonable profit with advertising on our homepage now as well, whereas before it looked like either a tiny profit, or at worst, a small loss.

If anyone else has used MochiAds free hosting I’d like to hear what your experience has been.

Thanks for reading!