Before I go into it.... somehow I got almost 400 page views yesterday, but only 8 unique visitors.
Either I got 1 person visiting nearly 400 times, 8 people visiting roughly 50 times, a bot landed on my blog and spazzed out, or something else happened.
I thought it was because the critic I mentioned previously had done that LP. Nope. In fact, I swung by her Twitch to see. Turns out she lied through her teeth about being a game critic and wussed out of LPing my game. She has a grand total of.... <drum roll here> two whole videos, neither of which are games I've even played, let alone worked on. So it couldn't have been related to her.
Not a clue in hell what to make of the page view to unique visitor ratio on the 29th. Just found it interesting.
Anyway, enough suspense. Here it is.
The newer one (above) is a little too slow for the beat. Instead it has a certain unintended bravado that is best accompanied by the Title Screen/Stage 09 music from Cho Aniki Legend of the Holy Protein.
Yes, "Holy Protein" is a euphemism... The game is a softcore homoerotic, side-scrolling shooter. And when I say "homoerotic", I mean what the scouter says about its homoerotic level is that it's well over 9000. It's about two scantily dressed, heavily muscular men who gyrate their hips until they fire "holy protein" out of holes in their skulls at other muscular men with little clothing.
Japan is weird.
I'm sorry this one took so long. As I've mentioned multiple times on this blog: I hate animating. I'm just not able to work on the same thing over and over. So I'd do maybe a frame, or half a frame, and then do something else, and maybe come back later and do a negligible amount of work. In essence, I did about half a frame a day, except for the last two. Those I did in full on the same day.
Another large part of why it took so long was his tail... which I'm only just noticing is actually really cute the way he flip-flops it as he walks. At first, I just had it kind of bounce up and down while he walked. It didn't look good. Then I tried having it straighten and curl a little as he walked, and that looked even worse. Finally, I took a page from an old Guilmon sprite sheet I had. When Guilmon ran in Digimon Battle Spirit, his tail would swing from side to side following his contacting leg. (Basically, his tail would swing back and forth to avoid kicking his own tail as he walked.)
I really liked how it looked, and at first I emulated it as closely as my character's tail would allow me to. (His name is Bastendorf, which is why I don't refer to him by name. I may go into why this character and I have the same name at the bottom of this post, but for now....)
The animation just didn't look right, though. Guilmon's Digimon Battle Spirit sprite is old to say the least. The swing of his tail is stiff and didn't look good on my character. I had to fiddle with the sway of the tail until it looked more natural and graceful. I did this by adding easing to his tail sway motion. And it took so god damn long to manage a perfect loop with easing in only 8 frames. Pretty sure it took at least two hours. Long enough to get through 4 videos, each 30 minutes long. (I listen to podcasts while I work, sometimes)
For those who aren't familiar with the jargon of animation, essentially what I did was make it so that there's a brief frame on either end where the bulkier area of his tail changes direction, and the less heavy, less dense, last few inches of his tail gets momentarily left behind in the motion. It'd be like allowing your wrist to hang limp while waving your arm. Your arm will move normally, but your hand will struggle to keep up, as it's still subject to momentum, even though the direction has changed. In a nutshell: An object in motion stays in motion. He would swing his tail the other way, and the latter portion of his tail would briefly remain in motion.
Pixel art, an animation lesson, and physics lesson all in the same post. I'm actually kind of proud I managed that.
Doing the walking animation a piece at a time it actually how I did the older one. It seems to work really well for me. Because it allows me to animate without sitting there working for hours, doing much the same thing over and over.
I've decided I'm going to split this post in to two parts. Maybe even 3 if I remember to explain why I have a character with my same name. I've done this because this part is a little unrelated to the above. You can quit here if you only care about the sprite. The rest will be about the prospect of Kickstarting the game.
Onto the meat.
I've been thinking quite a bit about what I'd offer if I did a Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Patreon. Is it only Kickstarter that has the donation reward tier system? Now I have to check.
Ok, I knew Patreon is a constant donation thing already. So rather than a pool, it's more like a port you pump funds into. You're a patron, rather than a donor. GoFundMe doesn't seem to allow a reward system, so fuck that. I may end up using Kickstarter or Patreon, because I might be able to do a donation tier reward thing with Patreon. I'm sure as hell not going to use one where I ask for money without giving out thank you gifts.
Anyway, I've been thinking about that. This is what I've come up with so far, in terms of rewards. (Red text is my commentary.)
$1 – Take pride in knowing you contributed, however small, to something.
It's a dollar. What do you expect? Not sure if Kickstarter even allows 1 dollar donations, but in case it does, I do want to at least acknowledge the 1 dollar donations in some way.
$5 – Officially consider yourself pretty rad, plus get a generalized, impersonal credit in the game's credits.
Ok, I realize these first two aren't exactly rewards. But why should people expect something special for donating the bare minimum? A five spot is what you give to those bell-ringing Santas around Christmas time so you can feel like you at least made a difference. It's hardly worth more than a thanks.
$20 – One random desktop wallpaper related to the game, plus your name in the credits.
Honestly, I don't know if people really care about desktop wallpapers, but $20 is starting to approach a point where it's no longer fair to not give out actual rewards. I've seen Let's Play channels where they have a wallpaper of their favorite game. I figured that if people are willing to put Minecraft on their desktop, then maybe potential fans of my game will want to do the same.
$50 – All desktop wallpapers related to the game, and instead of a lame entry in the credits screen, a 32x32 pixel-art portrait of you will appear somewhere in the game.
When you're poor like me, $50 is a lot of money. Donators of this tier deserve more recognition than previous. 50 is one of those amounts of money you put on something big like a bet between friends, or a lottery ticket. It's not enough money to help much on its own, but it's worth more than a text-credit and the equivalent of a gift card. (Let's face it. A gift card is something you give someone when you feel obligated to get them a gift, but don't give enough of a shit about them to give them something meaningful. And that's kind of what the desktop wallpaper represents. I mean, at least I'm not pretending like it's a big deal, right?)
$100 – An exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $100+ donors, with your name on it. Plus all previous rewards.
A hundred is something you put on a more serious bet, or a dare. It's also a universally recognized number milestone. So it deserves something a little more special. Since I don't run any special VIP Accessible forums or anything, all I can really offer is a more special desktop background at this tier. But don't worry, from here on out, the lame prizes die off pretty quick. It's not simply images you put on your desktop all the way down the list.
$250 – Be part of the beta testing phase, get an official poster related to the game, and an optional 250+ donor t-shirt, plus previous tier rewards, and the game is completely free to you, including all potential future expansion packs, etc.
I'm not perfectly sure if I can do official posters and t-shirts, I'm just an indie dev, but I thought it would be cool to try out. I'd definitely look into it before launching the Kickstarter, but if not, the rest of this donor tier should make up for it.
Some people like to beta test games. I don't know why, but that seems to be a fairly popular reward. But more than that, I think if you donate this much money, you've earned the game. Why make people who donate this much also buy the game? It hardly seems fair to me.
I don't like DLC, but I do like expansion packs. They usually add to the game and make it better. Those, if I do make them for this game, would also be free for this level of contribution.
$500 – All previous rewards, but instead of a 2D portrait of yourself, a large, 100px, stone statue of yourself will appear in the game, you'll receive an exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $500+ donors, and physical copy of Bastendorf's (the character) jacket, hand sewn by me, along with a physical sketch of one of the characters of your choosing, drawn by me.
Unless you're middle class and above, this kind of money isn't a joke. You don't just casually say "Oh yeah, I lost $500. No big deal. You catch last night's game?" People who donate this much money deserve cool prizes. This is like the upper tier prizes on those school fundraisers when you were a kid.
I know I'm not someone important or special. I absolutely get that. I don't want you to think the "drawn by me" part is ego related. It's more that I think it would be more meaningful if I did it myself, rather than getting someone else to do it. I'm multi-talented, so I think at this level, I could put some of my other skills to use as a reward. So I'm offering a drawing as well as making use of my fiber arts skill.
$1000 – An exclusive, completely unique wallpaper that no one, not even other similar-tier donors can have, plus all previous rewards, except instead of a statue of stone, you get one of gold that will appear in the game. You can also receive in the mail a 6 inch main character figurine hand made by me, along with a flash drive full of assets that don't quite make it to the game that would otherwise go completely unseen, and exclusive video time-lapses of me working on in-game assets, and instead of just 1 sketch, you'll receive 3 greyscale drawings related to the game.
A thousand dollars is something I've only had a total of three times in my life. This is why the reward scales so much between this tier and the last. Each 1000+ donor gets their wallpaper, completely unique from not only lower tier backgrounds, but also from each other. No image will be alike, at this level.
One of my many talents is sculpting. I happen to have special model-maker's clay, and some experience die casting and mold making. For this tier, most of the rewards are optional, but at this point you deserve a fairly big show of my gratitude. That's why I would make an effort to hand craft a figure of the game's main character for you to have.
I also think at a thousand dollars, you deserve something most people never get to see regarding games: failed, removed, discarded, and beta assets. Some games come with commentary on the development, as well. Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance had that kind of thing in there. But rather than just blither pointlessly about the game, and the process behind it, my goal would be to show you some of the design phase in full.
$2000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of gold, you get one of diamond that will appear in the game, that will be larger than the others. In addition to the 6 inch figure, you also get a life-sized Bastendorf decorative figure, also hand made by me, and the jacket will have your name (or other words) embroidered onto it. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a video time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your totally unique diamond statue credit. All 3 greyscale drawings will be your choice of image (within limitations), and will be inked.
Yeah, 2000 isn't exactly a milestone level above the previous tier, but I'm a nobody so I didn't exactly aim for the kind of reward targets Mighty Number 9 had up. However, I still think that if you're insane enough to donate this much money to help me, a total nobody, out with this project, you deserve something truly cool. Something that would really show my gratitude. But I'm not special enough to do a "dinner with Keiji Inafune" type reward. "Oh boy, you get to spend $2000 dollars to have lunch with a total loser/nobody! #Excite!"
Yeah, I can't get away with doing that. But what I can do is do something no other indie dev would do. Bear in mind that the character of the game is only 7 years old, so life-sized would only be couple feet tall. Maybe 3 and a half feet to 4 feet. I've honestly never bothered to calculate his height.
$5000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of diamond, you get an entire section of the game dedicated to you, your own Chris Houlihan room. Your 6 inch figure could be unique from the previous versions, and in addition to the life-sized figure and the embroidered jacket, you can also receive a life-sized, cosplay replica of whichever one of Bastendorf's main swords you wish to have, also handcrafted by me. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your in-game credit reward and step-by-step progressive photos of your sword as it's being made. You will also get a large, hand-drawn, colored image in addition to the 3 greyscale ones.
I can already hear my readers: "You actually think anyone will contribute this much to someone who has never really published a game before now?" No, I don't. I fully expect the top 4 reward tiers will go entirely untouched. Realistically, I think all but the first 3 will go totally unclaimed.
This isn't done expecting people will contribute five thousand dollars. This is done because I want to have the opportunity to do something genuinely cool for anyone with the testicular fortitude to spend this much money to help out. Is it likely to happen? Hell no. Could it still happen? Absolutely. And on the off chance that it does, I want to be able to show my love and appreciation to that person in a way no one else would for their supporters.
Years ago, Atari held a contest related to their games called SwordQuest. The prize was real life treasure. It was never confirmed if it was genuine stuff, but among the treasures were a sword and a crown made of real gems and real gold. This was the contest all other contests hoped to live up to. Sadly, it fell apart and the treasure is rumored to have been kept by someone from Atari.
That's the kind of developer I am. Er, not the kind that promises fantastic rewards only to renege on them later. "Hey, thanks for the million dollars! Here's a half finished game! Fuck you, I'm off to live like a god!" Rather, I'm the kind of dev who would absolutely love doing grandiose things for his fans and supporters.
Like for example, let's say I were the developer behind Twisted Metal. I would start a massive tournament and commission an auto company to build maybe Sweet Tooth's van or something like that, and offer that as the grand prize.
Or Halo. I'd rent out a large building and host a Halo-themed laser tag tournament. Or even a just-for-fun laser tag arena.
The larger reward tiers aren't blind arrogance, but more like the 200,000 ticket prizes at an arcade. There's every reasonable expectation no one will ever get them, but they're there.
I want to do cool things for people, but I'm not going to do it for peanuts. Especially considering how much time and effort that it would take to make something like a life-sized statue of my character. So I wouldn't be willing to push the reward down to a lower tier. If you want the show of gratitude, you'd have to earn that gratitude. Plus, knowing there's a chance, however slim, that I might get to do something cool like that for someone is exhilarating.
Anyway, the reason I chose to share the rewards I thought up when I'm not even sure if I can finish this game enough to go to a Kickstarter or not, is to leave it open for suggestions. I'm fully aware some of the lower tier rewards are kind of shit, and that's why I'm open to suggestion.
Still here? Damn you are dedicated if you read up til now.
Well, as promised, here it is: Why the character and I share the same. It gets a little more NSFW beyond this point, and kind of TMI. I'm going to explain it fully.
It's not something I make obvious, but also not something I make much of an effort to hide: I'm a furry degenerate. I've been a furry degenerate between 11 to 14 years.
Good fucking god I've been at this a long time...
Anyway, I was a horny, teenage furfag trying to define himself and his fursona. I heard there was porn on SecondLife, so I decided I'd sign up. While I was still a frequent player, I learned to build, and built my own avatar. SecondLife allows for players to build virtual skins to wear over the top of the default avatar. Naturally, furries figured out how to make themselves into anthropomorphic animals by making skins and accessories for their avatars. I picked up that skill.
Ever since I was a small boy, I've felt a love for dragons that went beyond that of any other animal. If there was one creature I adored most of all, it was dragons by orders of magnitude. Naturally, when I grew up, that adoration only grew stronger and stronger. When I became a furry, naturally the animal I loved more than any other animal, real or mythical, became the foundation for my fursona. For the normies, "fursona" is a portmanteau of "furry" and "persona".
After years of work, I finally defined my fursona. I was a blue dragon. The more I started to build the details of this creature that I played, the more invested in it I became. Eventually my fursona started getting a story. I was developing an interest in weapons at the time, and I played with giving my avatar weapons as a kind of accessory. Eventually I settled on a sword. I think that was the first trait about my fursona that was totally separate from the real life me.
There were now 3 Bastendorfs. The irl Bastendorf, the fursona played by the irl Bastendorf, and a character who was starting to develop. I started to try to explain and rationalize why my fursona was a swordsman even though I myself love blunt weapons more. Slowly, a story began to form. I would toy with this story in my head when I was slacking off in class. Eventually, as I worked out the story, Bastendorf the character started to develop a different personality to my own.
The more his personality developed, the more invested in him and his story I became, and the more I developed him. Over time, there became a very big difference in the furry who is Bastendorf and the character who is Bastendorf, though he still has my name, and I still use his appearance as my fursona. Or rather, he still has my name and takes the physical appearance of my fursona. It's a little complicated, and tough to explain.
You can kind of think of it like Tim Allen and Tim Taylor. Tim Allen clearly plays Tim Taylor, but Tim the actor is different from Tim the character. One runs a tool show, the other is a comedian. And that's how it is with me. Same name, but one's an evil-slaying swordsman, the other is a computer nerd. This is why I tend not to refer to him by name despite the fact that he has a name. It's to keep down the confusion. As can be easily seen, the blog is also named after me. New visitors would get really mixed up.
It would be like if Zelda Williams became the voice actor for Princess Zelda and someone walked in on a conversation about both the character of Zelda, and her hypothetical VA, Zelda Williams.
There's a reason the character is two decades younger than me, though. I wanted to begin at the beginning of his adventures, and his adventures begin when he's 7. There is significance to that age, but this post is long enough, and it will be revealed in the game, so I might as well not go into it here.
I think that about wraps up a post that's going to take way too long to proofread. If you want to see the evolution of my fursona's appearance and the story behind it, that's all here: The Evolution of a Fursona And Character.