2017.12.27 Boss 101, Big Giant Head Podcast ep #10

The Big Giant Head Game Dev Podcast – Latest Podcast 2017.12.27

Big Head Podcast Link here

Talking game dev with Matt “ToborPrime” Fitzgerald. Well, game dev, Boss 101, Savage: Shard of Gosen and a lot of other random things. Hey we filled over two hours and could have gone longer! Really fun and check it out if you want to hear a lot of ramblings on both our games!

Check out Matt’s game – Savage: Shard of Gosen here
Savage Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/408060/SAVAGE_The_Shard_of_Gosen/

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Boss 101 Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!

Hope you enjoy and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

2017.12.17 Boss 101 End of the Year Wrap Up!

Hello and welcome to the Boss 101 Holiday Update!

Hope you are having a great day and that your end of 2017 is looking to be awesome.

We have a few things to talk about and then we are off for our own holidays with friends and family.

Gamasutra Post Mortem 

We had our Boss 101 postmortem published at Gamasutra. In it we took a look at the whole development process, how we got from a Flash game to Steam and generally talk about everything we could think about! We wanted to drop in some snippets from that document so you can see for yourself!

Here’s a direct link to the bloghttps://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TimDonley/20171210/311377/Postmortem_Making_Boss_101_and_living_our_dreams.php

Some excerpts

For the TL;DR crowd
Those looking for quick summaries of the right and wrong way to make a game, you can just keep on browsing. There are few sound bites here. I liken making a game to raising a kid. You might have a plan going in but the kid has their own personality and way about them. You can fight it or you can encourage it. Boss 101 was our kid and though the game came out differently than our plans I’m incredibly proud of the team and our result. We did indeed live our dreams.

For those wondering about making games themselves
If you are looking at making games and wonder if you should, I ask you this… is it your passion? Do you feel a drive to do this even if you aren’t getting paid? Do you work on games in your spare time? If you do or even feel the urge to create games for the love of games then do it. JUST DO IT! Don’t listen to the naysayers. Find supporters. Work hard and be dedicated. You can do it. You will do it. No one can tell you different.

For those wondering about “should I use this or that engine” or “this or that application for graphics, programming or sound”
Listen very carefully, there are no magic bullets in game development. Read that again please.
Everything worth two craps on this planet is the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and sweat. Games are no different. There are plenty of apps and engines out there. You need to do your own research. Do the legwork yourself and make decisions based on your talent and ambitions. What works for one might not work for you. We can talk about why things worked for us but you might be different. Remember that.

Picking a team that’s right for you
If you got this far then heed my advice. I’m an an old vet who has managed and worked with many, many teams. The advice is….

Work with people you like.

This will make your journey a LOT easier and much more fun.

When looking for people to help with Boss 101 my only thought was “Who would I get in a foxhole with if the bullets were flying?” I put out ads on a bunch of art and programming sites. I ended up being fortunate to find two people who were not only talented but incredibly fun to work with. We shared many of the same gaming passions and complimented each other in our skill sets.

I have a theory about people on teams and it boils down to this chart:

I know what you might be thinking “Hey, we need TALENTED people even if they aren’t 100% onboard, they will still make a difference!”. Yeah they will. They will sink your ship faster than a torpedo. You do not want talented people who aren’t onboard with your project or company. Those people are leaders and if they don’t like your project they will poison the studio in more ways than I can list here. You are far better hiring passionate people and training them up. They will go farther and do more. The other two quadrants speak for themselves I think.

I was fortunate with Boss 101 when I found two talented people who also believed in the project. From there it was a matter of making the game.

The Development Process of Boss 101

A common question we asked was “Is this fun?” about everything. We added fun where needed and subtracted or adjusted un-fun items. I’ll list tenets of the game and explain each as we go along.
Entertain always – Every screen, round and aspect of the game was there to entertain in every way we could make happen. All game screens have at least some animations to prevent static or still moments. All screens contain items which relate to the world. Every time you play a minigame or sit on kite hill things are meant to fold back into the main Boss 101 narrative in interesting ways. As much as possible there were two or more bits of info, story or data in any player interaction with the game.

Tell a story – Boss 101 has a story and characters that exist in their world. We created a large narrative for the world and while parts might be unseen, it was all there when we made the game. This is what informed design decisions and ideas. It sounds absurd to say there is a reason for Make-A-Boss in any universe but we did come up with a reason and used it in the game. Things like this helped us make sense of the wacky nature of our game universe and lead to a lot of new ideas that fit well with everything else.

An example would be our BERL tutorials. These were done at the end of development. When coming up with how tutorials should look and function we referred to all the prior things in the game (story and visuals). We ended up creating a new jetpack character (BERL) who was a lonely janitor type. It made sense and gave the game a new person to play things off in the main game.

Give the player stories too! – We wanted to create a situation where players have stories to tell their friends and family. This could be from having an amazing game round, discovering a secret or maybe learning a fun bit of story from the main campaign.

Do things which make sense – this is an obvious thing but it might be one of the reasons the game took so long to complete. We regularly added time to development to do things that made sense. Adding in features like nice options sliders, difficulty modes, tutorials and a good amount of weapons and abilities for the player. Boss 101 started small and grew in organic ways. We didn’t let the game get hampered by a deadline. We played, assessed and adjusted all the way through. A lot of times the discussion started with “Hey, this isn’t Boss 101 enough!” haha

Make it right versus hitting a date – one huge thing we committed to early was making the game we wanted versus hitting a date. It seemed some of our favorite game companies favored this model too (Valve and Nintendo for example). It meant the game ran longer than estimated but it made Boss 101 something very unique and in our opinion – high quality. It’s not a luxury everyone has but we felt we had to differentiate ourselves in some way and this was it. We took our time. To put this in perspective we had three people full time for much of our three and a half years.

Feature creep versus connective tissue – very much related to the above is the idea of feature creep versus connective tissue. Connective tissue for us were features that we did not plan for but upon testing a new system we would realize we needed something to bridge it into the main game. Maybe an interface, a sound, etc. It could be anything but we worked to make sure all the connective tissue was there.

Ok – there’s more in the postmortem so check it out!

What’s next?

We have a couple announcements we except to land first thing in the new year as well as a peel at the next project we are working on!

Thank you so much for your support!

Thank you again and again for all your support over the holidays and THANK YOU so much for being there with us during Boss 101’s development.

You helped us live our dreams and we want you to remember to always….. LIVE YOUR DREAMS TOO!

Talk with you soon and take care! Have a great end of 2017 and we’re looking forward to hearing about your adventures too!

Best,

-Tim

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Out now on Steam!
Boss 101 Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!

2017.12.14 Boss 101, The Big Giant Head Podcast Continues!

The Big Giant Head Game Dev Podcast – Latest Podcast 2017.12.14

Big Head Podcast Link here

Talking game dev with Matt “ToborPrime” Fitzgerald. Well, game dev, Boss 101, Savage: Shard of Gosen and a lot of other random things. Hey we filled over two hours and could have gone longer! Really fun and check it out if you want to hear a lot of ramblings on both our games!

Check out Matt’s game – Savage: Shard of Gosen here
Savage Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/408060/SAVAGE_The_Shard_of_Gosen/

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Boss 101 Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!

Hope you enjoy and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

2017.12.11 Boss 101 Postmortem up at Gamasutra

Boss 101 Postmortem at Gamasutra

Check out the ups, the downs and read about us living our dreams while we made Boss 101.

Link here: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TimDonley/20171210/311377/Postmortem_Making_Boss_101_and_living_our_dreams.php

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Out now on Steam!
Boss 101 Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!

2017.12.09 Boss 101 Updates and News!

Welcome BACK to the weekly Boss 101 update!

Wherever you are we hope you are gearing up for a great end of the year and happy holiday season.

Let’s get rolling with a new Boss 101 review from RetroNuke

Now this is the kind of person who ‘gets’ what we were going for and seems to have enjoyed our game for what it is. Check this blurb out…

“Boss 101 is a delightfully modern twist on a classic arcade genre. Modern elements of customization, boss creations, level exploration, and many hidden Easter eggs provide a gaming experience that is likely to leave a lasting impression. The use of randomizing boss battles is just the icing on the glorious pixel-art cake. At $10 on the Steam store, this little gem has so much to offer, it is absolutely worthy of a spot on that game list of yours.”

The full review here:
http://retronuke.com/boss-101-review-like-a-boss/

News and Updates

We spent a lot of this week prepping for the next steps in the Boss 101 process. Some of these will remain unannounced for the moment but we are chomping at the bit to tell you what’s been going on behind the scenes. Let’s just say there are contracts and signings happening and it’s all HUSH HUSH until we can spill the beans.

What we can tell you is Boss 101 is our passion and we want to keep bringing you our best. Any thing you can do to spread the word would be a big help for us. We are in the process of writing up a post-mortem on Boss 101 but one thing we can tell you is this. We did our best and brought you the best we could.

As we roll into the end of the year one of our holiday wishes is more people get to enjoy Boss 101. At the moment we have to report Steam sales are low. There can be a lot of reasons for this but the simple truth is we could use YOUR word of mouth or kind review now more than ever. If you played Boss 101 and liked it. Heck if you even know a friend who might appreciate Boss 101 then we would love your recommendation or support.

We’re hanging in there. As we mentioned, we have things cooking in the back room. Still – any and all support from you and the community at large would mean a lot. We’ll try and cover all the ups and downs in the post mortem but for now – help us, help you. You want more games in the spirit of Boss 101 – well now is the time to vote with your support and your wallet if you would be so kind.

Updating the engine

One thing we have been doing is versioning up our game engine. It’s been a slow process and that is mostly because we want to be careful with the updates until things are tested. We had a few hiccups earlier in the week but we sorted them out and did another minor patch.

Thank you again for joining us and wherever you may be remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Out now on Steam!
Boss 101 Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!

2017.12.03 Boss 101 and Savage Gamestream

Boss 101 12 Days of Indie LiveStream

With savage: Shard of Gosen!

Watch Fifth Annual @12DaysOfIndie #charity drive hosted by @IAStreamers, @TDrastikMeasure, and !sponsors from INDIE on www.twitch.tv

Really fun times playing with Matt during the 12 days of Indie event. We play Savage then Boss 101. Check it out and listen to Tim’s Boss 101 AND Savage vocal stylings.

Boss 101 Info Roundup
Out now on Steam!
Boss 101 Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920
Please check out the Steam Store if you would be so kind!