We are working on and off with our first major game title. It will take a while since we are learning many things along the way – among other things how to draw basic pixel art. It’s fun but at the same time a massive project. We try to apply simplicity while looking for the right feel so at the moment a lot of experimentation is going on. For now focus is on environments with basic 9-tile setups, but also backgrounds and various sprite objects. Trees is another thing we look at.
On another level we have sketched prototype maps and brainstormed about possible content and events for the storyline. We have a pretty decent box for it and the past summers sudden re-interest in D&D-role and basic tabletop games has certainly pushed this effort forward. Hopefully we can soon share more tangible information about this project!
We have some thoughts about ads and being an indie developer that we would like to share. In the past we have frowned upon ads for being a waste of space and aesthetic expression. It is not a unique position, but lately we have challenged ourselves to rethink this position. What if ads could be the way to build a sustainable business model for small passionate indie studios like ourselves? We have in the past months quickly realized that there are literally thousands of small indie developers that ponder the same question. A recent article even talked about the death of paid apps so the only way forward for the broad mass is in-app purchases or ad support. Well, for once we are gonna take a very constructivist stance towards ads and see where that leads us.
Imagine if a lot of people would realize that ads may be a subtle and playful way to enable young creators to do the stuff they dream about. From now on we will focus on social media and help support fellow developers by having a look at their apps, think positively whenever ads are shown, knowing that everytime we take part of their offer a small developing team gets to build their own dream future.
There are plenty of great resources for the indie developer to get something up and running without having to be a Rembrandt or Mozart. Graphics and sound are necessary ingredients of a game, and to quickly get started on prototyping a gaming experience there are a bunch of nifty shortcuts. Many indie developers choose to use pixel art simply because almost anyone can draw at least something. Paint.NET is a superb windows-tool for making pixel art.
When it comes to icons there are a number of free sets available. A personal favorite is game-icons.net which now have 1238 different SVG/PNG icons available.
Next up is font awesome, which also have a nifty (369) and growing set of icons. As usual open source and free as in beer.
When it comes to sound the most basic 8-bit web based generator for making awesome bling beeps and chings is the superflashbros as3sfxr. There are plenty of similar tools like bfxr that also has standalones for offline use.
Finally for more advanced sounds there is the freesound.org site which have thousands of free sounds that can be used for developing games and applications. There are so many tools out there and we would be happy to hear about your own favorite free and open source tools.