Nameless Project

A new game is being worked on, it’s a top down shooter where you play as a felon that is captured by the police, but instead of being thrown into jail you’re given a second change to redeem yourself by doing their bidding. You can use lethal and non-lethal weaponry to clear out enemies in each level, and depending on which one you choose people will have varying opinions about you.

I have uploaded a video showing the progress the game has made (primarily for myself to help gauge progress). 300 hours in and the game is coming along very nicely and a lot of the designs seem to be melding together well.

Watch the video here:

In terms of a demo or play-test I prefer to keep it private currently as I still am trying to work at my full-time job and chip away at this game when I realistically can.

There are a lot of features that I do not go over but the video should still give a bit of an inside look into the project’s current status.

-Brandon

Summer Update

Hello reader, let’s get down to business.

Frog Hop (new Itch.io Page!)

To start things off, a couple months ago in February, Frog Hop was released. After a request from a friend, I have now made an official Frog Hop Itch.io Page!

Other than that…it has been doing okay, not really exploding in fame. The summer sale occurred on steam so I went ahead and set that up for the game. But in terms of any upcoming things regarding Frog Hop, there’s not much to say, very minor updates have been done but nothing really planned for it.

Press-kit received a very minor update with descriptions and links.

Tiny Warrior Games ‘Warrior Guy’ 

The Tiny Warrior guy in the logo will be getting an update slowly as time goes.

The main reason for this change was because it was hard to read the silhouette and someone had pointed out that it kind of looked like an elephant, so the change was made and it looks much more balanced and much more to the point.

Drone Strike

My game Drone Strike was finished for the One Game A Month Jam. (April 2017)

It was quite a challenging endeavor since I had never made a SHMUP in my life, and I was still recovering from the release of Frog Hop. I was able to add multiple difficulties which has gotten me thinking more about how I should go about approaching games. I studied games such as Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Jamestown, Ikaruga, Gigawing, Twin Cobra and several other obscure games in that genre. Making multiple difficulties, while nice for players, really takes a toll on level count and because you’re redesigning the same level over and over.

Back when I started learning to make games with Game Maker, I had struggled a lot with coding. I remember when I wanted to attempt to try and make a SHMUP back when I learned GM. It went very poorly, but funny thing is I still do have the original Game files. Here’s a sample for taste:

old GM project from years back.

Drone Strike

Actually…this whole game concept existed for a very long time, I often questioned why SHMUP games even bother having a fire button when you’re never going to let go. A lot of old concepts got thrown out the window, so a lot of ideas were tossed aside, which I would say is what helped make it possible to complete this game jam project.

Wait what? different player ships? yep it got scrapped, I simply didn’t see a good enough reason to have them since the mechanics already spoke for themselves in the game. Plus I wouldn’t have been able to finish it for the game Jam.

All in all, I’m pleased with what I was able to pull off for this jam. The gameplay mechanics, sprites, music, difficulty balance and secrets worked out really well.

I’m pretty sure I was dead afterwards…but somehow revived again. zzz.

check out DRONE STRIKE HERE

Kangaroo Escape

Kangaroo Escape, an experiment for myself mainly to see how I could go about making an old arcade styled game like bubble bobble with some progression. It’s done. Don’t let it deceive you……hehehe……

check it out here

Fidget Spinner Simulator

First time collaboration with Clayton Belcher, a super talented guy who does web coding, game making, tinkering, woodworking, voice acting…LOTS OF COOL STUFF.

Check out his games and stuff at his game company Jolly Crouton Media.

We came up with the brilliant idea of making an “idle” game with the latest (old) fad of using a fidget spinner.

His voice work was absolutely incredible and I would HIGHLY recommend bringing him on board if you are in search of a voice actor. seriously just play the game and experience how gosh darn good it is. Also pretty piano music.

TAKE A GANDER AT FIDGET SPINNER SIMULATOR HERE YOU

The Future

The primary reason I have developed these smaller games since Frog Hop is to help continue improving my Development approach, finding what works best and what I’m most comfortable with when it comes to creating projects.

The main reason I have focused on these smaller games is the “high point” during development, where you are having more fun and enjoying yourself.

Because of this, making smaller games lets me do just that. Be able to enjoy myself as much as I can during that “fiery passion” phase and still finish games. Despite this approach, it hasn’t been easy, and there’s still a lot of work that has to go into them. A LOT of it is stuff that no one cares about, grindy, glitchy and boring stuff such as fixing bugs(things not behaving as intended), constantly replaying and retesting the same thing for hours until if cooperates. This aspect is pretty inevitable when it comes to developing video games. The reason I mention this is because doing this for years can become extremely detrimental to motivation and morale. So smaller projects means a significantly higher chance of completion. In fact this has really helped me exercise control of project scope and avoid adding too much to a game. Which had happened to Frog Hop, project creep is your worst nightmare. So I’ve really been focused on being able to keep a healthy scope on a project with these smaller games and just throw out those ideas that you’re oh so in love with because they probably suck.

Is something big coming? Will I ever work on a big game that you’ll play for 200+ hours, open world, 80+ side-quests, epic recorded orchestral soundtrack by hans zimmer, 400+ person team, super realistic 4k graphics, Hollywood voice actors and motion capture?

Yeah, you nailed it, that’s definitely what I’m working on. You got me, good job.

Games I’ve been playing

I have borrowed Ocarina of Time 3D from a friend, I went and tried to speedrun through it so I could unlock master quest since I’ve never done it. Now that I’ve finally trudged through normal mode, I’m really enjoying master quest and it’s unique puzzles.

I’ve also been playing breath of the wild (FINALLY) and it’s…I mean good grief it’s freaking huge…That’s really all I have to say about it.

Games I’m looking forward to

I’m excited to play Iconoclasts, a game that developer Joakim Sandberg has been working on for 7+ years. That guy outclasses me super hard with game design, and the fact that there’s so much mystery with his game’s story, and that he is a developer that really goes out of his way to fine tune mechanics. It really has ramped up my interest to play his game.

Check out Iconoclasts when it comes out

As random as this is, I recently reached out to Final Form Games. They made the game Jamestown and Jamestown Plus. It’s a cooperative shoot em up. In fact it was one of the handful of games that I studied while I was developing Drone Strike. It’s uncertain what they are making but I am VERY certain that they are working on a game. So I can’t wait to see what it is.

Cuphead, oh boy that games looks good. But does it play well? Boss rush games are super intriguing from a design standpoint but from a game-play perspective, they are super difficult to get right. (the only game that I have really felt that a bosh rush works well is Shadow of the Colossus). Despite this, I still will play this game and I am pretty darn good at run and gun games. So I’ll still give it all I’ve got to play-through that game. Plus I’m super curious to see the really creepy stuff that they’re gonna put in it. Cuphead is coming in the fall so yeah, hype!

Cuphead game

…and that’s all I have to say in this post. I know it’s a lot but I hope it entertained, intrigued, interested you. I’m thinking maybe I could do a development rundown on my games or just do a youtube behind the scenes vid but who knows. IT’S ALL A MYSTERY.

-Brandon

Update – Frog Hop some Reflective thoughts

Hello everyone who is reading, in case you have no idea who this is or who I am, my name is Brandon Song and I solo created (at this point in time) all of the games you see in my games page.

On February 23, 2017 I released a video game called Frog Hop that I worked on for a little over 4 years (Started in October 23, 2012). That game too was also created solo. I produced and developed everything you see, hear and play in the game. I programmed (my weakest skill), created all art and animation assets, 250 sound effects, 50+ music tracks and designed all aspects of the game.

On the day that I released my video game through STEAM, I did the best I could to try and email several people and put updates on Twitter and Facebook. The game was celebrated among my friends and I was very happy with the simple fact that I still managed to finish something that I thought was impossible.

Development of the game was extremely rough, I had a lot going on in my life and there were countless moments where I wanted to give up and just never make video games ever again. Perhaps that thought of giving up bled into other parts of my life. There was a lot of emotional struggle bringing myself to work on this game when different areas in my life would pull me away from what I wanted to do, and even when I got to do what I loved, there was always something else that would tear me apart.

The fact is that the game took longer than it needed to, I had depression and a lot of burnout happened when developing the game. I was unmotivated and often demoralized when I would compare myself to other successful independent developers. It seemed like I was wasting my life working on something that wasn’t impressive or incredible, like every game you make has to be this amazing experience that people become extremely subjective on.

I would be lying if I said I was happy with how it has been doing on STEAM. The sales are pretty meager and reception has been near non-existent. I jokingly say I’m cursed and that I probably would have to sell my soul to even do well in this industry. Although I have a lot of mixed thoughts regarding its near non-existent reception, I still am happy that I finished it, and I have learned so, so, SO much from creating it, that I swear to myself I don’t want to repeat the same daunting mistakes that I did with my next game (if I even do work on it).

I have learned so much from making this game, and I will do the best I can to take the wisdom I obtained from creating Frog Hop into the next thing that I do. Perhaps I could do another post on the things I learned.

Perhaps the low level of reception of Frog Hop has been both a blessing and a curse, I still do wish that the game would sell more and have a wider audience and find its niche group of platforming gamers. Yet that hasn’t really been the case. On the flip side, I am someone who just likes to make things, if the game had exploded, I would probably be stuck porting, fixing, debugging, marketing and merchandising the game for who knows how long. Because of the meager success it has had, it has allowed me to easily change direction and work on something different. So as someone who just likes to make and finish a lot of different games, I think it in the long run it has made sense with how it has done and that it, in a way, has opened another door for me to continue creating video games. Perhaps it’s not the most perfect thing that could have happened, and a lot of things didn’t go as ideally as they could have. But I’m still thankful that I’m still capable of creating games (what I mean is my wrists (so far) are still okay, and I’m not suffering any major disease). I’m a bit nervous about the future, as there are still a lot of other things going on in my life unrelated to game development that are still tugging at me. But I still want to make games, and I really want to try and tell stories more in the coming future. The possibilities are endless, which sometimes concerns me, but I am happy to say that I like the fact that I have so many options.

Thank you for reading, and if you enjoy classic platforming video games like Mario Bros. (or know someone who does), please do check out Frog Hop on STEAM: http://store.steampowered.com/app/568490/

One last thing before I go, one of my favorite game developers, Toby Fox (creator of Undertale). Was extremely kind enough to play through Frog Hop to completion. I am so happy, bewildered, surprised, confused, awe struck, dazzled, frazzled, jazzled (wat) that he took the time to play through my game to completion. At the end of the day, it feels like I did strike gold even if the game didn’t sell much.

NOW I LAUGH MY WAY TO THE BANK HAHAHAHAHhahaahahhahaa..hah..ha………*sigh*

Wish me luck on the next project, I hope whatever I create next will maybe MAKE YOU CRY WAHHHHHHHH

-Brandon