Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rites of Passage


Hi.

Sorry to disappear like that for more than a year. It wasn't the most pleasant period in my life, and I was in absolutely no shape to maintain development, not to mention I didn't have any internet connection (among other things), so dropping by and informing everyone on how's it going was pretty much impossible.

I'll divide this post into three sections, addressing the main topics you might be wondering about, and I'll try to make it as brief as possible.



The Past

Photo courtesy of  Martin Vlach


Sorry to bring the big guns straight up, but the clock isn't currently on my side, so I don't have the time to compose this post any better. I hope you're into drama.

A while after I released Pendulum (about a year ago), I basically went apeshit after walking in on my fiancee doing my housemate (a pretty close childhood friend of mine), after having an already surreal stretch of one disaster after another in short timespan. I think I'll spare you more details. In consequence, all of it led to me finally having a complete mental breakdown. I stopped all development and quit my day job shortly after.

Needless to say--with nobody to turn to, my savings rapidly drying out, and having my mind clouded with nothing but dark thoughts--I finally went homeless. Worst thing is--at that point, I didn't even care anymore.

Collecting bottles and stealing wasn't going too well, even though it kept me going whenever I was hungry and whatnot (I learned pretty quick that I completely suck at begging), so with the last shred of hope I started looking for any kind of work. Then, during summer, I finally managed to land a job working in a warehouse. Turns out that even small shitty companies take dress-code violations and sleeping near the workplace pretty seriously, so that didn't last for long, though.

On the bright side, I met a guy there, one which I soon became friends with. It turned out he likes sketching--it's a fact that brought back memories of the time when I myself was actually happy doing something creative and being relatively successful at it. At that point I decided to try and leave the past behind me, pull my shit together, and give game development another go.

The guy's name is Greg, he's an awesome person, a good friend, and an all-around cuddly guy. Go ahead and check out a bunch of his stuff here.



The Present

Meet Henry


And so four months have passed since then. My housing situation hasn't changed much, apparently nobody wants to give a job to an unreliable hobo, and it's getting unbearably cold outside. One good thing that came out of that period is the fact that Greg and his mom allow me to come by once in a while to send out resumes and work a bit on a project we've been kicking around.

Here's the fun part--with Greg's finances being pretty shabby and his terminally ill mother awaiting costly treatment, they won't be able to help me anymore beyond january. I'm getting more and more certain this will be the year engraved on my gravestone. With that in mind, and my inability to get any consistent income, I have to do something with the only thing I have--this project, in its current state.

"Henry's Rules and Regulations" is an upcoming post-apocalypse comedy action game. Your goals are awesome zombie killing sprees you'll brag about to your grand children, superhuman survival feats fighting against zombie bears and whatnot, and hats (hats are always the one true goal). On top of that, you get a stage-specific leaderboards system--besting the unworthy of saving the princess in world 1-1 with a top time was never this intense!

All marketing aside, though, it's still in alpha. The core mechanics, art style, enemies, achievements, leaderboards, unlockables, a few concept levels, a handful of weapons, like twenty playable characters, and at least some replay value are already there and fully functional, but it's still far from the scale we'd like to achieve.

Just for now (so that the alpha already resembles some kind of game) I shaped the stages as a series of last stands, where you have to defeat a certain amount of enemies under the given time limit, and get rewarded based on how fast you do it. This will of course change in the future, where the stages will turn into full-blown campaigns, much to the vein of eg. left 4 dead.

Grab the demo here:

Disregard the pseudo menu, placeholder music, and the lack of like all the sounds--remember, this is just an alpha. The character/weapon select message boxes also act as the shops for the respective goods--once you unlock something, you can then buy it in the shop for free use. Make sure to let me know of any glitches you might encounter.

Also, note that this doesn't--and will not--contain any hentai content. It's intended for a much broader audience, and we'll try to do our best and give the steam platform a shot. I'm posting this here because currently I have no other place to do so and I want to grab as much attention as I possibly can.



The Future

This should be a question mark


The future is uncertain, that's for sure--even more so, given my current situation. Everything I've typed in this post is basically my final effort to change my seemingly inevitable fate, so in that spirit, I'll do three things.

First of all, I'll cut the price for Pendulum down to 28,57142857142857% of its original price! Err, I mean it's now down to just a buck. If you like the challenge and you haven't tried the game out yet, now is the time.

Secondly, for the time being, I'll allow donations. I've set up a button for it at the top of the right-hand column of this blog, you should be able to spot it right away if you scroll all the way up. I'm already deep down shit creek, and I ate the paddle, so every amount helps.

In exchange you'll get early access to the games I create this and next year, a free copy of each of those games once they're ready to be distributed, and you'll get credited in each one in their respective credits roll as a contributor. The games in question are: Henry, an unannounced hentai game I should be able to finish before april, that still unnamed hentai game I announced and showed concept art for last year, and anything I haven't planned yet but might end up creating.

If time allows, I could throw in a few hours of programming, spriting, or sound design. Note that I will only be able to provide said goods if I, with your support, actually manage to pull this off and, well, won't die.

Lastly, if you don't mind helping a fellow out--spreading the word around would help a ton. I'm in desperate need of money, a hug, and maybe appropriate advice. The more people know about my situation, the higher the chance for me to actually overcome the hardships of getting eaten by wolves, and make some awesome games during the process.

37 comments:

  1. Hey, you don't know me, I am mayaktheunholy (mayaktheunholy.blogspot.com), but you are not alone in having the worst year ever in 2014.
    My situation was different, but I too lost my job. My issues were medical, started back in late 2013. My back was hurting so bad I knew something was wrong. The worst of it was the insurance companies fighting over whether it was work related or not, it turned it into a long ordeal and my FMLA ran out. There was an *obvious* problem on the MRI with a disc in my lower back and the doctors recommended surgery to remove the disc. Then the insurance tried to refuse to pay for the surgery, and forced me to go to physical therapy, which did not help at all. Then they wouldn't even pay for the therapy, finally got them to after berating them on the phone. Then finally in May 2014 (after even more fighting) I had the surgery. Was recovering from that for several months, it was pretty rough.
    Most of that time I was without income. You can't get disability unless you are disabled for over a year, and unemployment doesn't last long these days. Between normal expenses and medical bills and paying for insurance out of pocket I wiped out my savings. At least I didn't end up homeless like you, that must be awful. I am living with family though, no home of my own.
    Between the back surgery and previous medical issues I can't really work a full time job anymore. Qualifying for disability would be a huge struggle, so I have to try to find an alternate means of income too. I had been thinking about making H-games or at least animations before all this, so off and on I've been working on a couple of games myself. Problems abound of course, not having enough time alone, depression demotivating me, etc..

    All I can really offer is encouragement at this point, but I thought I'd at least let you know you aren't alone, I had a horrible year myself. I can say I didn't end up homeless, but you can say you didn't need surgery at least. I would suggest you post a thread on some of the message boards you frequented before also.

    Good luck man, I will donate if my situation improves.

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    1. Hey, that sounds awful. I hope you hang in there.

      The whole homeless thing is only bad during winter, and only gets worse when its raining. Summer was ok, I guess, but maybe that's because I actually had that job then and didn't have to scheme around for food.

      And thanks for the advice. I intended to do so anyway, but I'm not sure how to approach the people there.

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    2. Generally speaking, it doesn't really matter how you approach them, people will come out of the woodwork to help a game dev. You may have a few nay-sayers, but for the most part people can be surprisingly supportive and helpful, especially if you are working on something. It may not be huge numbers, but even a few would help in your situation.
      And yeah, I'm not going to give up just yet. Life may knock me down but I always get back up.

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    3. Problem is the places I used to frequent have nothing to do with game development. It's mostly speedrunning, I used to do that a few years ago (you might even recognize me for that three-minute Diablo run), so I dunno if just materializing out of thin air and asking for financial support in exchange for something that has nothing to do with their thing will do me any good.

      Then again I don't have the time to dwelve on the topic for too long, so I might just take your advice and give it a shot anyway.

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  2. My situation is not so dire, but i can sympathise, I'm lucky enough to have a mother who still puts up with me though i havent paid any rent since before xmas, but i need to make £1800 to pay off my overdraft before august and the interest shoots up

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    1. I hope you make it! August is far away from now, and if I manage to bounce myself back to the surface, I'll surely help.

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  3. Sorry to hear things have been so awful :(
    I hope your project goes well! I'll be cheering for ya and spreading the word.
    Hopefully things turn around for you soon. *Hug*

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  4. I see you've only got 44 sales on DLSite. I have no idea how DLSite works, but are you able to adjust the price down to a dollar (or 118 yen or whatever)? I seem to recall the game Orc Break being knocked down to a dollar at one point, and it got thousands of sales. Orc Break is total shit, so I'm sure Pendulum would do just as well. Maybe add a couple more screenshots before doing anything though. I'd recommend emphasizing the gallery.

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I'll take some better screenshots and talk with the dlsite guy.

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  5. That's... a pretty rough year. The only encouragement I can give is to never give up and keep trying your best, since few situations get better without doing so. So long as you keep putting in your best effort, you'll eventually find the luck or break you need to make it out of this situation. I hope that comes soon, since it sounds like you really need it. Good luck.

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    1. Much appreciated. I still have a bit over a week left, so all hope isn't lost yet.

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  6. It's good to hear from you again. I've made a short post on my blog to help getting your work noticed. Sorry to hear about your difficult situation man, I hope you can get through your current predicament soon.

    I gave Henry's Rules and Regulations (HRnR) a go and I really like the effects programmed (I can't imagine the huge amount of effort). By effects, I really meant:
    1. Henry's bloodied footsteps after killing a zombie.
    2. The wheat-field rustling upon collision with moving objects.
    3. Screen flashing to indicate lightning.
    4. The unending train (nice loop).
    5. The UI popping up in a particular sequence after death.

    When the UI first popped up, I didn't quite get what I was looking at. It took me awhile to understand the display, so I thought I should mention that. What is your weapon of choice? Is it GameMaker?

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    1. Thanks for trying the game out! If I pull this off, expect it to get a lot more polished. Also, stuff like the results box and the yet pretty much unstructured stage goal were quickly put together without much though put into it, because of the limited time I get to sit in front of a PC nowadays. The prototype is coded in gm, but I'll be converting the syntax to either java or cpp long before the final release.

      And of course, thank you very much for the mention on your blog. I'll try to contact other devs too--it's worth a shot.

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  7. Ay, get back to me when you can, Hentaiwriter here, dunno if my emails slipped into your spambox or not :)

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    Replies
    1. I just now got my hands on some internet connection, so I'll check my email in a sec.

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    2. If you're in the Omaha area, I'll gladly share some of my good fortune, however modest it is...

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    3. In case anyone is wondering--we sorted it out through email. Furthermore, since I received a handful of emails asking about this, I'm based in Poland, Europe.

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  8. Damn, I had a breakdown too, took me a year to get myself together. Luckily my family helped me (some of them, at least). I am sending you some cash, should be enough to get some decent clothes (noting fancy), which might help you to get some paid job - you never know :)
    Well, best of luck, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope things work out for you

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, and I'm glad you straightened everything in the end. Pretty sure I'll be laughing at my situation sooner than I expected, thanks to people like you :).

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  9. Just bought your game through DLSite for $3-ish. I hope it helps, sorry I can't do more.

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    1. Every bit helps in my situation; thanks :)!

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  10. Hey, why don't you create a patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/) ? I would be one to help you there monthly, post your link and your story on hongfire and I know some more will come to aid, the most part of our guys want you good, if I lived in Europe I would go and help you myself, I can feel what are you passing through and if you create a patreon page don't forget to mention it on hongfire, your blog here, ULMF, LoversLab and every other place you go, there are people out there that could and want to help you, just give them ways to do it, cheers buddy and I hope you get better. Xpyke

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    1. You should check out the project that cheshirecat is working on with me and triangulatepixels on Patreon :)

      http://www.patreon.com/FutureFragments

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    2. I'm a lot better now, thanks to all the support I received, and I hope it stays that way for good :).

      I've swapped the donation button for one leading to our project's Patreon campaign, since I'm no longer in such dire need for direct financial support.

      Also, will update everyone on current matters through a blog post by the end of the week. Right now, I kinda need to crunch for a few days to make up for time lost working overtime construction for the past week.

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    3. Glad to know this, please let us know if you're better on your blog too, there are many that are hoping for you full recovery, and for you to bless us again with your art, cheers! Xpyke

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  12. Hi,
    I don't have anything special to say, but read your story. Formerly I checked your art/blog every now and then. Just wanted to let you know, that I feel sorry for you and hope you will find a way to be creative and one day will earn enough income. I like your art and personally I was wondering, if you never tried to have some commissions done. Once I was looking for an artist, who could make a erotic-based graphic of my gf for birthday. But I never found anyone in real-life or the internet, who would do so. If you ever plan to do something like that, just let me/us know.

    I wish you the best and hope the wolves won't eat you. Cheer up!

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    1. Never really thought of accepting commissions since I'm not as fluid with graphics as with programming or sound production. Then again my email contact is public, so anyone's free to see if I'd be up for stuff like that, I guess.

      Anyway thanks for the sympathy :). My situation improved a great lot already--just have to find some time to update the blog...

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    1. We sorted it out, in case someone's wondering. Had a little health problem so I was away for a few days; I'm back up and running already.

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  14. If you haven't already, I would really suggest accepting foodstamps from your local DHS if you have not already. I have a home and no income and qualify. 200$ worth of food a month can and will make you if you know how to use it right. Also, church places tend to have free food frequently from time to time so check those places out too. Peace out, and good luck.

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  15. Hey... I came here from Vosmug's site a little while ago. I read your post and I was depressed for a week. I came back because I thought you just weren't gonna make another post or update as for what you're working on. But dude...

    You're working on the Future Fragments project. Why haven't you shared that? That's awesome. That's the most ambitious h game to date. I only heard it through HentaiWriter. You should brag or something dude. I'm gonna get that. It'll be great!

    Things seem to be looking up for you, I mean... I dunno. I saw the video and I thought omg, Cheshire cat is coming back and better than ever, and he's never going down at the hands of the likes of you cuz he's so much better, and every part of him's saying go get her.

    I'm sorry, I'm just excited. It's taking a lot out of me not to post in caps like a little 13 year old fangirl, but I just wanted to say congrats. You're great. :)
    I hope the project is gonna be as good as it seems. You'll do good, man.

    Go kick ass.

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  16. Hey... I came here from Vosmug's site a little while ago. I read your post and I was depressed for a week. I came back because I thought you just weren't gonna make another post or update as for what you're working on. But dude...

    You're working on the Future Fragments project. Why haven't you shared that? That's awesome. That's the most ambitious h game to date. I only heard it through HentaiWriter. You should brag or something dude. I'm gonna get that. It'll be great!

    Things seem to be looking up for you, I mean... I dunno. I saw the video and I thought omg, Cheshire cat is coming back and better than ever, and he's never going down at the hands of the likes of you cuz he's so much better, and every part of him's saying go get her.

    I'm sorry, I'm just excited. It's taking a lot out of me not to post in caps like a little 13 year old fangirl, but I just wanted to say congrats. You're great. :)
    I hope the project is gonna be as good as it seems. You'll do good, man.

    Go kick ass.

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  17. So... Status update ?

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  18. Hello, I want to make the game, which were inspired "RE Progeny", it was named "RE Propagation". This is the link to blog about this game http://repropagation.blogspot.ru/
    Please, look this and help me to make this game!)))

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  19. So...Is Cheshire still around? I've been meaning to throw around some ideas I have, and I should mention I came up with these while I was drunk (as usual.) My best ideas seem to always come to me while I'm drunk for some reason. My buddy Carter always tells me I should get an IV line of sake grafted into my arm. I think he's right. Anyways, if you're still around, Cheshire, let me know if you wanna hear my ideas. If not, well, shikatta nai. (for those of you who DON'T know Japanese or don't live over here like I do. that roughly translates to "It can't be helped.". #TheMoreYouKnow) :P Was just bumming around the web like normal, and stumbled on this. (Wondering why I speak and type such fluent English? I was born in America.)

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