For as long as the games industry has been in existence we have had the classic developer/publisher pairing, with the publisher often fronting the cash so the developer can create something cool, and in return for the risk, the publisher collects the lions share. In the last two decades however, we saw this role reversed for indies, with both risk and reward sitting squarely on the shoulders of the developer, with the agent receiving a smaller slice for services rendered.
With the recent news that Apple is now under pressure from Epic, Google and Facebook to amend the classic 70/30 split, it seems we may be entering a new phase where developers receive a larger slice of pie for their hard work and more significantly, bring to an end the myth that 30% is a fair commission on product sales.
It would be fair to say Apple have recouped all the costs in setting up their store and extracted a healthy profit from its success. It would be refreshing to see one of the largest corporations on the planet aligning their commission to the true cost of running the store and, more importantly, reward a long-suffering developer community who for the time being must continue to practise their art under the jackboot of platform holders.
We’ve reached the final stretch of GameGuru MAX development with most of the features implemented, though we’ve a lot of testing still ahead of us!
In September we are also entering our Beta stage which means Pre-order users will be able to obtain a build of a ‘function complete’ version and start bringing in their own levels over to see how they perform.
Thanks to the new graphics engine and methods to import assets, you’ll notice some differences between MAX and Classic, but the transition is worth it! The new visuals based on the Wicked Engine are looking very cool, and the controls you have to modify the specifics of how your games will look should keep you busy for hours.
We do plan to continue development through to Christmas as an extended phase of polishing and tweaking to make sure the features advertised are as solid as you need them to be in order to create great games.
The release date is 30th September but expect a few Beta versions to wing their way to you before then and, of course, keep an eye out for videos and broadcasts on our GameGuru YouTube Channel!
Our Autumn Fixes update for GameGuru Classic has been released which has dragged the bug count kicking and screaming back down to zero.
For those who are still using Classic to finish their game projects, we hope you enjoy this update and continue to report anything you find.
As the Classic and MAX source code repositories are partially connected, a bug fix in either product will benefit both. We expect another small update towards Christmas, but let's see how the issues board on GitHub matures, as we hopefully transition from bug fixes to small functional additions.
In the meantime, you can look forward to some more DLC promotions running in September including:
Finally, if you're looking for something NEW for your games take a look at our new Trees, Plants & Rocks Pack
We’re planning an update for AppGameKit Studio in November – please log any issues on the AppGameKit Studio issues GitHub page so we can do a clean sweep :-)
In the meantime, there are two great deals running this month so don't miss out:
Particle Editor - discounted until the 14th September
Mega Media Pack - on offer from the 14th September
If you’ve worked on a project and would like to show it off to our great community (and further afield) please do load up your app or game to our Showcase page!
AppGameKit Classic is currently discounted - it's a great time to add this coding tool to your library at this amazing price.
Later in the month the Giant Asset Pack 2 will be discounted 14th September!
Then there’s always the AppGameKit Unlimited Pack - this comprehensive, COMPLETE THE SET BUNDLE includes all the key AppGameKit products. Everything you would need to get started with your coding projects!
VR Quest – enhancing education through technology
VR Quest launched earlier this year, aimed very much at the American education and home-learning market. It’s aligned to the American school curriculum from 4th grade through to 12th grade (ages 9-18) and enables students to create virtual worlds that correspond to the topics they are studying in the classroom. VR Quest is a non-violent, home-based learning platform, where kids can recreate historic places and events and step into them in Virtual Reality. Currently the curriculum related topics on offer are American social studies, Maths and English.
VR Quest and GameGuru MAX began life with the same commonality but as they have each evolved, they’ve diverged into two very different and separate products – each with a very specific target market.
VR Quest is a joint venture with Warren Black of Computer Technology Consultants, who has been producing VR products in USA for 20+ years and HamiltonBuhl, a leading US educational manufacturer and distributor. Warren has set up a Kickstarter campaign to help him support the product with more curriculum levels and the ability to run on all makes and models of VR headsets.
It would be great if you could share the Kickstarter campaign with anyone you know who might be interested in supporting it - and very much appreciated :-)
This month we meet Bob Saunders, indie developer and owner of Ibology
Bob has been developing a game called Approaching Infinity (A.I.), a sprawling space adventure with infinite procedurally-generated levels and loot, rendered in a grid-based, turn-based universe. It’s an open-world strategy game of exploration, combat, trading, and diplomacy. It has a lot of systems interacting to create a unique rogue-like experience.
Bob started the game back in 2013, and when people discovered how fun the prototype was, it went straight to Kickstarter. The game succeeded with moderate funding and went on to be "finished" the next year. But back then, the only way to get on Steam was through "Greenlight" and that wasn’t working for A.I.
Undeterred, Bob managed to get a deal with a publisher who liked the game and they took control of it for 5 years. With that license deal now expired Bob is now self-publishing on Steam and the game is reaching a much wider audience, and it’s growing again!
With help from his artist friend David Gervais (a long time contributor to TheGameCreators Forums), the game has a beautiful new interface and shiny new tiles for 2020. The roll out on Steam this time was via the Early Access publishing option. It’s proved to be a good decision; in just the first week multiple updates with bug fixes and quality of life improvements were pushed out and all thanks to lots of new players and their feedback. Posted recently is a 6-month plan to go to full Steam release at version 2.0, which will probably happen in 2021.
This version of A.I. is entirely focused on Windows. There are Linux and Mac users who are interested, but in all fairness, Bob can just manage to keep pace with the issues and upgrades on one operating system for now. Knowing AppGameKit can support them, Bob might decide to publish to them once the Windows version is fully completed.
Bob has been using TheGameCreators products to make games for a very long time. He’s experimented with the other big-name game makers out there, but they just don’t gel with him. He loves AppGameKit because it makes sense to him. Sequential lines of code written in an easy-to-understand scripting language, created in a feature-rich development environment. He knows that’s not all it does, but it’s what it does for him, and he loves it!
Bob has had past experience of publishing on Steam. He first published a game called XenoBloom on Steam in 2015. A weird pseudo-game about growing plants in a strange alien environment. Back then, publishing to Steam was a bit overwhelming. He had no idea what he was doing and none of the information he found seemed to relate to what he was seeing. He wasn’t sure if he could do it. But in the end, he did and he’s glad he persevered. Today it’s basically a breeze. Steam has many awesome features for updates, beta branches, rolling back builds, connecting with users via comments, and putting out guides and collecting screenshots. Bob chose to go exclusively with Steam for this phase because it’s like a one-stop-shop for games, especially the Early Access process.
In making A.I. there were some issues to overcome. The first hurdle was converting from the original AppGameKit into AppGameKit2 (now "AppGameKit Classic"). That took a fair amount of work because the wording of certain commands had changed. It also helped him find some mind-blowing errors that he didn’t even know were in there, because the newer version does much more checking of things like variables being declared and ending your "for" loops with the right variable. Bob wanted his game to be able to communicate with Steam, and for that he used a plugin by forum user Adam Biser. Bob also took some things he’d learned from David Hobbs about communicating with a database. This let him incorporate a small amount of voluntary data collection (players can submit planet names to possibly be included in future versions).
When the game was actually released, Bob came across several visual bugs that he didn’t even know were possible. One user reported that the system mouse cursor disappeared! (the fix was to add custom cursors.) Several other users sent in screenshots of text only displaying intermittently. That’s now sorted as well. There are always, always problems. But with critical thinking, a lot of Googling and some very helpful forum folks, he got through it!
Bob says he’s having an incredible time with Approaching Infinity right now. He feels like this is his moment, and he’s embracing it!
Check out ‘Approaching Infinity' - an AppGameKit developed game on Steam!