I’ve been careful not to say that I would never make another game for Xbox Live Indie Games after my last title Hypership Still Out of Control did so poorly, but I have gone on record as saying Fun Infused Games won’t be doing any more of its big titles specifically for the platform. The games I see having the most success (and note there are exceptions to this) seem to be interesting / funny concepts that can be done quickly. And Minecraft clones. And those two ideas are both in play with our latest game 2D Voxel Madness.
Way back in March, as I worked on the level editor for the PC version of Volchaos, I got in a discussion with someone (sorry, I would credit you if I remembered exactly who you were) about whether or not Minecraft was essentially a playable level editor (I said yes). After Volchaos was turned down for release on Steam and with April 1st rapidly approaching and a level editor already far along, I thought it would be a funny idea to take a 3D object (voxel), spin a 2D version of it, and meld it with my existing Volchaos engine. And hence 2D Voxel Madness was born!
The plan was to release the game on April 1 exactly. This gave me about a month and a half of time to get the game ready. I planned out the initial scope and everything felt do-able. But as always happens, for every one item I checked off my todo list, it seemed I added another three. As April Fool’s Day neared, it became clear I would not have this game ready. I should have known this was going to happen as I’ve never once released a game anywhere close to when I initially planned to, but I seem to never learn. I think there is a word for someone that does this... Idiot.
I know some developers that are huge level editor / tool guys. They spend as much or more effort on making tools to make their games. I on the other hand fancy the creative / gameplay / balancing part of game development and find tool development to be a chore more than anything. As the development of 2D Voxel Madness dragged on and on, my motivations to find time for finishing the game lessened. Ultimately as summer arrived and more opportunities to spend my nights out arose, development came to a full halt (Fun Infused Games is primarily a one man show, a man who also happens to hold down a day job so nearly all development is done at the wee hours of night). For the first time in three years, I was not doing actively doing any sort of game development.
The game at this point was pretty far along and while I was anxious to work on new projects, it seemed silly to have months of effort wasted, especially with a game in a genre that has had great sales success on XBLIG (the almighty dollar is sometimes impossible to argue with). So come September, I once again started work on 2D Voxel Madness, though not quite at the fevered pace I was previously working at. I probably would have burnt myself out again had I done that and possibly never finished this game.
It’s been a long road to get 2D Voxel Madness completed, far longer than I ever anticipated it would be. Along the way it really killed my motivations for game development. I cut a lot of ideas I had originally planned for the game in order to cut down the time I had to work on it. This is far from a usual practice on my other games but one that I felt necessary if for nothing other than preserving my sanity. I am excited to say though that the game, minus a few glitches and balancing issues, is essentially ready for release and did end up turning out pretty well. And should gamers really like the game, I will take the time to re-implement many of those items left on the cutting room floor. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got new games to make.