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Author archives: Melissa

Puzzle Design Tips for Exploit: Zero Day

Puzzle Design Tips for Exploit: Zero Day

I've just finished creating puzzles for the latest piece of free content in Exploit: Zero Day, and it was my first time doing a considered design of puzzles. I wanted a few levels of difficulty, but for puzzles to not just become obnoxious as the difficulty increased.

The puzzles I've designed will be going live later this week, and hopefully folks will like them. I iterated quite a bit on some of them as I tried out different tactics, especially the puzzle pictured with this post.

When it was all said and done—which took a while, since I was new to it—I was able to distill the tactics I used into this handy-dandy list.

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Integrating the Indie Press Services

Integrating the Indie Press Services

As indie devs, we leverage a variety of services to keep track of keys we've given out, press we contact or want to contact, vendors we've talked to, customers we've interacted with, and fellow developers/artists/etc. we follow.

Here's our list:

  • Highrise: a free-for-small-setups Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) in which we store customer, press, and vendor contacts and email discussions. Highrise was originally developed by the makers of Basecamp and Campfire, and still has that clean UX.
  • Promoter: a free-for-tiny-setups system to track press mentions of your games.
  • presskit(): a free, self-hosted PHP tool to create a presskit for your company and its games — descriptions, screenshots, videos, press quotes, awards, etc.
  • distribute(): a free, centrally-hosted tool that houses game keys and provides an interface through which press can request them. Requests are vetted to ensure they aren't from randos, and shows the reach/audience size of the folks requesting keys.

All four of these services can talk to each other, but it's not always the clearest to figure out how.

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The Technology of Exploit: Zero Day

The Technology of Exploit: Zero Day

The original Exploit is a game written in ActionScript 3 (Flash) that lives entirely within its Flash container on a web page, whether that be on our site or a Flash portal.

With Exploit: Zero Day, we want to build something browser-based, but more than just puzzles. The puzzles themselves are still in a box on a web page, but that's not the entirety of the game — nor is there any Flash involved.

It's time for Exploit to spread beyond its box and become more complex and social, and that means changing the technology.

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GDC Next - Cool First Conference

Both of us attended GDC Next 2014 November 3-4. It was a cozy conference, focusing primarily on non-development topics: marketing, social media, business development. Both of us feel pretty lacking in these areas, and so eagerly hopped on too-early flights to attend.

Rather than give a boring session-by-session description of what I attended and learned, here's discussion on some of the highlights:

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An Email Exchange

From: KernelPop
Subject: join the fight

sk3tch,

you know about samsara, right? security company i worked for for a few months? they dont deserve to exist, they call themselves security experts but just help more people die.

im out of there. they screwed me over. i'm out tons of money, ...

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Gaming with an Immobilized Shoulder

I've spent the last six weeks with my left arm in an immobilizer sling. Six weeks of southern United States summer, of being a day-and-night software developer, of being a gamer, all rocking a sling that straps my left arm to a pillow that is in turn strapped to my torso and neck.

After the first 11 days, I've had some use of my left hand for things like typing, but I have limited wrist mobility and can't reach for things or hold/lift more than about two pounds. I'm in this sling 24/7 until some time after August 4.

Plenty of computer and gaming things become difficult in this situation, and I've been exploring some new configurations to get my gaming in. What's come out of this are some good practices I can take away for basic accessibility in developing games.

What's Normal?

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