Shared posts

24 Oct 02:00

3D Realms returns with 32-game Anthology release

by Danny Cowan
Markku.lempinen

I'm seriously considering! :D

Once-defunct publisher 3D Realms has re-opened its doors, releasing a 32-game compilation and promising a slate of upcoming releases from a newly-assembled staff. The 3D Realms Anthology, available for $19.99 from the publisher's website, collects...
22 Oct 16:01

Snappy coroner's answers to stupid cross-examiner's questions

by Cory Doctorow


"How can you be sure [the patient wasn't alive] Doctor?" "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar." Read the rest

21 Oct 12:00

Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah Bat-VAN!

by Cory Doctorow
Markku.lempinen

Astonishing

20 Oct 20:09

Realistic cactus cupcakes

by Xeni Jardin

tumblr_ndl49kB3qb1qlq9poo1_1280

From Alana Jones-Mann, a baker, culinary artist and DIY enthusiast in Brooklyn, cupcakes that look like miniature cacti. They're so cute, they're even planted in crushed graham cracker soil.

Read the rest

18 Oct 19:20

If you don't agree to the new Wii U EULA, Nintendo will kill-switch it

by Cory Doctorow
Markku.lempinen

I have no words to describe this.

When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement." Read the rest

19 Oct 23:56

The Guardian has arrived

by Josh

Swestar has released a new mech into the wild. It answers to the name “Guardian” and it’s pretty dang cool. But I especially love the atmosphere he has going on in the base/hanger in which he introduces the Mech. The presentation is just about perfect.

Guardian arrives

16 Oct 22:16

FBI chief demands an end to cellphone security

by Cory Doctorow
Markku.lempinen

Because law-abiding citizens have nothing to hide and so on, hm?

If your phone is designed to be secure against thieves, voyeurs, and hackers, it'll also stop spies and cops. So the FBI has demanded that device makers redesign their products so that they -- and anyone who can impersonate them -- can break into them at will. Read the rest

16 Oct 12:08

How Microsoft hacked trademark law to let it secretly seize whole businesses

by Cory Doctorow

The company expanded the "ex parte temporary restraining order" so it could stage one-sided, sealed proceedings to take away rival businesses' domains, sometimes knocking thousands of legit servers offline. Read the rest

16 Oct 12:39

Virality, conversion rates, LTV and why I care

by cliffski

So here are some harsh figures that will make you cancel your ad spending for your indie game.

In the last 8 days my figures show me this…

For every 100 visits to my index page for D3, 48 people will proceed to the register page. Of those, 11 will hit the buy button, of those roughly 1 will buy the game. That earns me about $22.

so the maximum cost per click that makes sense is $0.22, or £0.13, which is practically unachievable.

So how can ads make sense?

The beauty of ads is that the person who comes and buys the click is just one factor in the equation. There are many other factors, and the problem is they are hard to quantify.  Here are the ones I think matter and the rough guesses.

  • The life time value (LTV) of the customer has to include every other game they buy, including DLC. Assume D3’s DLC adds 10% to total income, and assume a 20% chance of buying another positech game eventually  so LTV factor is 0.3.
  • The virality of the customer has to include friends that he persuades to buy the game. This is hard to tell, but lets say it’s pitched at roughly 20%. So one in five people will eventually lead to another sale, either directly or indirectly through a forum post or tweet about the game, so this includes people they have never met. So this is 0.2
  • The untracked sale. This includes people who visit the buy page at work/school, then buy at home, or view it on mobile but buy on desktop. I suspect that is around 10% so another 0.1.
  • The delayed / wishlist/ bargain hunter. I crunched the numbers once for Democracy 2 and found roughly 33% of revenue was from sales, so thats 33% of income not being tracked here, or earned here, but stored for later, so lets say 0.33.
  •  The impression that wasn’t a sale. This is a big thing. Some people used to say you needed to see an ad 5 times before it worked. Other research claims even 1 impression has an impact, and >5 can still help. Because click-through rates are pretty low, we are totally disregarding the impact on brand awareness. Essentially you visually prime a customer with your logo to ensure subconscious recollection when viewing a review, portal listing or whatever else. Personally I think this is a big factor, lets say at least 25% to be cautious.

So if we add that up, we get 0.3 + 0.2 + 0.1 + 0.33 + 0.25 = 1.18, so an extra 118% of income generated by that sale. In other words our 0.22 is really 0.48. That *is achievable, although still not easy. What should be immediately obvious is that we have a LOT of fuzzy numbers and guesses in here that really cannot be tracked. Putting hard numbers to some of them would help a lot.

Looking at it the other way, we have to take into account the fact that a big chunk of site visitors are not ad related but coming from reviews, portal links, tweets etc. Ideally I need to deduct that traffic to get a better picture (which would make my figures much worse).

So for now, lets assumed that we break even at $0.48 per click, what are the possibilities for making an ad-based strategy work?

  • Target traffic more cleverly so the people who arrive are more suited to purchasing. That would push up that 48% who go to the register page.
  • Increase the lifetime value of the customer. More games. Cross-promotion. Maybe more DLC, or sequels, there are various strategies here, but I’m already doing most of them
  • Reduce leakage points. Find out why people don’t hit the buy button, or then hit the actual order form buy button. A/B testing to improve both stages.
  • An ad that more clearly prevents non-buyers from clicking, and thus targets better. I don’t want people who expect a free game, or a mobile game. Luckily adwords lets you analyze each ads performance. I should do this…

Fun fun fun…

 

 

 

13 Oct 12:26

We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind

by but does it float
The Bus by Paul Kirchner Title: J.G. Ballard Atley
12 Oct 00:00

10.12.2014

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic.
11 Oct 16:14

Forum Post: RE: 1:48 Sally B B17G

by Richard Spreckley
Markku.lempinen

The evergreened interior is going to be insane, when it's all done (as it's pretty insane already) :o

More detail today, I wanted to show the little known or portrayed life raft stowage compartment, so I have cut out the access door and scratch built the interior, I will add the liferaft at some point.

09 Oct 17:50

Jakub Rozalski's dystopian sci-fi countryside paintings

by David Pescovitz
15301624139_d018e61b49_z

The future bullies its way into the traditional European countryside in German artist Jakub Rozalski's dystopian paintings. (more…)

10 Oct 02:42

The fiery world of Mustafar sculpted from 60,000 Lego bricks

by Nannan

Michał Kaźmierczak has built several large dioramas, and they all keep getting bigger and better. His epic rendition of the volcanic world of Mustafar from Star Wars captures the fiery landscape and the realistic texture of the lava. The diorama rests on a footprint of 35 large gray baseplates. Here is a photo with the builder for perspective.

mustafar08

The microscale imperial shuttle in this photo really shows off the scale of this massive display.

mustafar02

09 Oct 09:42

Finland Wants to Kill Crowdsourced Copyright Law

by Andy

In 2012, Finland introduced a modification to its national constitution which allowed the public to provide input into the kind of laws being put in place.

The changes, which allow citizens to put forward legislative proposals for Parliament to vote on, came at a time when restrictive copyright was already under the spotlight.

As a result the citizen-drafted ‘Common Sense for Copyright’ initiative quickly gathered momentum. It was hoped that the proposals would influence updates to copyright law being prepared by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture.

The draft, the brainchild of the Open Ministry nonprofit, calls for reduced penalties for copyright infringement and current penalties to be applied only in cases of a commercial scale. Fair Use provisions would also be expanded, alongside exemptions for those wishing to backup purchased media and time-shift commercial content.

In July 2013 the initiative made history after reaching the required 50,000 signatures. It was submitted to Parliament in November 2013 but now the future of the proposal is in serious doubt.

Much to the disappointment of its backers, the Finnish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee is recommending that Common Sense For Copyright should be rejected.

European Digital Rights (EDRi), a group which defends civil rights in the information society, reports that the Committee concluded its handling of the initiative yesterday as expected.

“In its report, the Committee notes that the initiative suggests several ambitious amendments, but that it considers it impossible to propose, based on the initiative, even partial changes to the existing copyright law,” EDRi notes.

“The report states that the initiative includes internal contradictions and that many of the amendments it suggests are too significantly incompatible with the current legislation.”

As late as last week, Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi), the Finnish Pirate Party and the Open Ministry submitted complaints to the Chancellor of Justice over the way the Education and Culture Committee has been handling changes to copyright law.

The complaints allege that drafting has been carried out in secret, contrary to the Committee’s obligations under the Finnish Freedom of Information Act. Furthermore, the criteria to be applied in web-blocking cases had not been made available.

Parliament is expected to vote on the citizens’ initiative next week but after the Education and Culture Committee’s recommendations the odds are stacked against it.

Any rejection of the key points will come as a big disappointment to the 50,000+ citizens who supported the initiative. Many had signed following widespread outrage provoked by a police raid on the home of a then 9-year-old girl whose Winnie the Pooh laptop was confiscated after an allegation of file-sharing. The case was later settled for 300 euros.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

08 Oct 20:31

Forum Post: RE: Star Wars AT-AT Imperial Walker 1/48 Scratchbuilt

by Movie Kits
Markku.lempinen

Wonderful work!

Here you have an advance of the first paint layers on the head (using the salt technique) and the work with the 7 led circuits covered with a see-through posterboard. More detailed info in our site :) moviekits.net/star-wars-at-at-148-scratchbuilt-2

03 Oct 09:00

Working on a shared code base

by sharhalakis

by Etan

03 Oct 21:22

I'm sure this is what parenting will be like. I'm sure of it.

05 Oct 23:30

CRT-themed Super Win the Game recalls the good old days

by Thomas Schulenberg
Markku.lempinen

SWtG is awesome 8)

Modern, retro-tinted platformers have got the whole "classic graphical style" thing down at this point, but emulating the warm glow of CRT TVs is a rarer feat. Minor Key Games has coated Super Win the Game in the softer presentation, pairing with...
02 Oct 21:54

Holy ravioli!

by Iain

Tumbler schmumbler, if you’re an old fart like me then there can be only one true batmobile, and that’s the one from the super-camp 60’s TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward! As many of you know, this year marks the 75th anniversary of Batman, and than means we’ve seen a lot of new LEGO sets and fan builds celebrating the Batman franchise. Including one rather disappointing attempting by the LEGO company to create an exclusive “chibi” batmobile for ComicCon. So many thanks to Orion Pax for rectifying the situation with this super-accurate version!

And you can check out the full gallery of images over on Mr P’s website here.

02 Oct 09:22

Show Me The Games updated, needs games!

by cliffski

So, my little side project (not so little any more…) showmethegames has been converted to wordpress. You probably can’t tell, it looks exactly the same, but what this means is…

  • submitting a new game (still done by me) is much easier
  • Submitting an article (done by dan) is TONS easier
  • It has comments!
  • It has endless-scrolling!

All of these are GOOD THINGS. For those new to this blog, SMTG is my indie-promoting site that acts as a database of cool, high quality indie games you can buy direct from the developer. You can get almost all of them from Steam or GoG too, but we like competition, so we support multiple payment options for gamers.

What I need is… MORE GAMES. The requirements are pretty simple:

  • Game must be high quality. Something that actually sells. If it’s not going to sell 100 copies, it’s probably just your first game, and thats *fine*, but not what the site is aimed at.
  • Game must be available from you, thew developer, through any payment system (Humble widget, BMTMicro, PayPal, fast-spring) in some format, not a portal-exclusive.
  • It must be finished and on sale, not a kickstarter, early access game. And currently not a F2P game, sorry :D
  • PC only.

If your game fits all those criteria and it isn’t already on there, email cliff AT positech dot co dot uk with this…

  • Game Title
  • Game Description (about 100 words)
  • Game Genre
  • 445pixel width screenshot of the game in jpg format, the best one you have to summarize how the game plays
  • A single ‘feature image’ of dimensions 740px by 356 in jpg format
  • A website URL
  • A demo URL, if available.
  • A purchase URL
  • A contact email (not published)

And I’ll add it. What’s in it for me? NOTHING. I just like supporting indie games. What does it cost you? NOTHING. How much traffic will it generate? err…some, but it will be veyr targeted and high quality.

If you are looking for something else to read now, go read dans summary of adventure games on the site.

01 Oct 17:30

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors

by David Kravets
Markku.lempinen

"Think of the children" and "NINE ELEVEN NEVER FORGET!" are my two favourite excuses for all the stupidities on Terra. Or not.

US Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official, said it is "worrisome" that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children at risk, he said.

"It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said during a Tuesday speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online conference. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so."

Holder's remarks, while he did not mention any particular company by name, come two weeks after Apple announced its new iPhone 6 models would be equipped with data encryption that prevents authorities from accessing the contents of the phone. At the same time, Google said its upcoming Android operating system will also have default encryption.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

22 Sep 15:37

Announcing Big Pharma – The pharmaceutical strategy game

by cliffski

Regular blog readers might know that I published a game by a third party indie developer called The Tiniest Shark which produced Redshirt, the sci-fi comedy social-networking life sim game, which you can buy HERE. I enjoyed taking on the role of indie publisher, for all kinds of reasons I’ve talked about before. And lo, so it came to be that I was pitched another indie game that I’d love to see made, and it’s called Big Pharma

logo_300width

Big Pharma is being developed by another UK studio called Twice Circled, and designed and coded by Tim Wicksteed, whose blog you will find here. We also have a bare-bones facebook page for now for the game here and an actual website for it (with some very early images) here. In terms of genre, it’s a strategy game based on running a large pharmaceutical company, that is part biz-sim, part isometric factory/lab building sim, and it looks like this…

bp1

bp2

I LOVE the design and idea behind big pharma. I want to play it right now. It scratches that itch you get from games like Anno 2070 about laying out production lines, without having to use uplay or wait 40 minutes for the game to load. It’s also a proper biz/management game, which is obviously right up my street. It *is* quite early to be announcing this game, by positech standards. We normally wait much later, but the reason to announce now is that YOU CAN PLAY IT if you come down to the Eurogamer expo in London this coming weekend. Big Pharma will be there, alongside Gratuitous Space Battles 2.

So journalists…come…be our friends. We will shake your hands and talk enthusiastically about both games. You can have a go, and ask us questions. Big Pharma is NEW, nobody has played it yet, or heard about. Come and be the first to tweet/blog/write novels about your impressions of it. We dare you! And obviously come play Gratuitous Space Battles 2 as well. It is a sequel, but it has spaceships exploding, so swings and roundabouts…Plus we will have badges. Actual proper badges.

Me and Tim will be at the show all four days, so no need to book a time or anything. We will be in the indie area near prison architect. Oh, and if you like the look of Big Pharma, pls like it on facebook so we don’t feel lonely there…

18 Sep 13:51

Introducing The Heat Signature Team

by Pentadact

Last month I made a new video of my ugly prototype for Heat Signature and put out an open call for artists and composers who might wanna work on it. When I did the same thing for my first game Gunpoint, around 30 artists and 40 composers applied. For Heat Signature, 81 artists and 232 composers applied. This was extraordinary and flattering, then daunting, then impossible, then exciting once I finally had my decision, then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked. You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no to 310 of them.

My deep, deep thanks to the amazingly talented people who applied, it meant a huge amount to me that people of your calibre were interested in my thing.

Here’s who I picked:

Alex Burnett, composer

I said if composers wanted to make a sample piece for Heat Signature, they could have a go at both the peaceful music that will play as you fly around space, and the tense music that will play once you’re inside an enemy ship. Alex did a fantastic job of both, but his peaceful track in particular is just divine. Testing it in-game, as some of the first art started to make space look beautiful, it just perfectly matched the feeling of awe and serenity I wanted that experience to have.

Ivan Semidolin, composer

Ivan didn’t try to match the sample tracks I posted, which I mentioned was an option. His full-length track captures a mood I didn’t know I wanted. It uses industrial sounds that evoke the workings of this large machine you’re aboard, and has this unusual rolling, clicking beat I can’t get enough of. In-game, lots of great ‘tension’ samples made me feel like I was in a dangerous place – Ivan’s made me feel like a dangerous person.

John Roberts, artist

Exterior

Several artists’ samples made me say “Wow” out loud, but I think John’s was the first that made me say “Holy shit!” Did we make the game already? I appear to be looking at several screenshots of a rich, meticulously detailed, satisfyingly chunky, gorgeous and completely finished Heat Signature. How does this already exist?

Interior

Apart from the crispness and vividness of the thing, what I especially love is the sense of solidity in the interior shot: I feel like I know how heavy these walls are, what the worn floor would feel like to touch. And it’s full of clever game-savvy touches: all the interactive things are picked out in white, and boundaries between solid and empty space are stressed by hazard lines painted on the floor.

Silhouette

Sharp observers might recognise John’s name: he was also responsible for the best art sample I got for Gunpoint, and therefore became Gunpoint’s main artist. Heat Signature’s style is radically different, but apparently he’s just incredible at everything. Several other people I’ve worked with before also applied for these positions, and I didn’t give them any particular advantage for that. But I also didn’t exclude them: the point of the open submission process isn’t to avoid previous collaborators, it’s just to make sure that if I do work with them, it’s because they’re the absolute best fit for this particular game.

It was tough getting there, but I think that’s what we’ve got, and it’s really exciting to see it take shape. Obviously it’s early days, but if you come and play it at Fantastic Arcade in Austin this week (free), or EGX in London next week, you’ll be able to see how some of this stuff is already working in-game.

When’s it out? Dunno! But if you’re on the mailing list I’ll tell you once it is.

Can I test? At some point! Again, I’ll tell the mailing list when there’s a way to do that. I only use it for major stuff like that.

28 Sep 18:02

Let’s carve some meat!

by Iain
Markku.lempinen

Doom is awesome 8)

Well as long as we’re having a slow news day, I’ll use the opportunity to share the latest bit of rubbish that I threw together… Before Halo, before Unreal, before Quake, before them all, there was DOOM – the first person shooter that started it all. DOOM is now more than 20 years old, and still going strong! This is my homage to game:


 

Click here for tons of close-up shots. Or if you’re in the Seattle area next weekend, come see it on display – alongside a million other incredible fan-built LEGO creations – at BrickCon. But if you can’t make BrickCon, don’t worry, I created a little “fly-through” video for you:

15 Sep 18:51

Lego ‘SA-19 Grison’ Tunguska 9K22/2S6

by Nannan

Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka) is a master of military models, and this realistic 9K22 Tunguska Tracked Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft system is just proof of that. This new model is a redesign of an earlier version, and it’s interesting to note the differences between the two.

'SA-19 Grison' Tunguska 9K22/2S6

14 Sep 02:34

Kodos and Kang

by Simon

Jack McKeen (madLEGOman) has built possibly my two favorite Simpsons character (after Ralph), and with Halloween just weeks away, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of Kodos and Kang:

KodosAndKang02

12 Sep 06:12

Buni

by Ryan Pagelow
Markku.lempinen

Buahaha!

10 Sep 13:00

Bloomberg: Mojang's Notch 'unlikely' to stay on after MS buyout

by Sinan Kubba
Markku.lempinen

In my opinion, no sane and moral person would work for MSFT. But I may be somewhat biased.

If Microsoft's reported attempt to buy Mojang is successful, a Bloomberg source says founder and owner Markus "Notch" Persson is "unlikely" to stay on at the Swedish studio afterwards. According to the source, which Bloomberg notes as a person...
10 Sep 17:08

Guilty Sales Guy

by CommitStrip