Friday, November 12, 2010

Dilemna for my Avatar game

One of the rules i set myself a while ago for use of such trappings as Avatars, is that they should fit into the game. Seems simple enough for sure. However my latest venture has met with a big Dilemna.

Simply put i have made 4 games (ok, one is a quiz). So 3 games that i believe play very well. My conversion number also seem to attest to not being too shabby. Now all this sounds great apart from the single fact that.. I get no downloads. Or virtually none. Or not enough (whatever that is).

So with my next title I really wanted to address the lack of downloads issue and hope that i could keep the same conversion rates of about 20%+. There are a couple of factors i was using to get these download numbers.
1. Avatar games appear to download the most. Even if they are crap, they get greater than 10K downloads. A Number i would love to have.
2. Zombie games also download a lot (ie, best selling game on Xblig). However some failed Zombie games do not download much at al (3K). So Zombies are not such a safe bet, but to be honest are generally more fun than an Avatar game.
3. Fact 3, yeah i said only two, haha! Wel Massagers get downloaded too, What a stinking pile of crap can do is amazing. I WILL NOT GO THERE!!

So the trick was to write a good Avatar game with a Zombie or two in it. Heck after discussing it with my kids they would love me to have Ninjas, Pirates, Robots and Vampires as well. Great, np then. All enemeies accounted for :)

So i have been working when i have time on making splatter for when ya hit/shoot enemies. I went and spent way too long egtting Avatars into my game. I have the main controlled character running around now shooting at the enemy (a shooter ships currently). Who also shoot back. This basic gameplay test worked really well. I have been designing a lot more enemies and levels to play on. Even powerups and character enhancements to buy. Only......

Since @Stegergames mentioned the gore and Avatars cannot be together, and then my following research. It seems Microsoft have made it impossible or very very dificult for me to have zombies and gore and Avatars exist together. Avatars you see cannot be mained or dismembered, that was ok with me. I was not gonna hurt the Avatars in any way at all. I thought this would allow me to still write the game i wanted to, in the style i wanted to write it. But Avatars must not also witness this violence or cause it. This last sentence is a real downer.

I wanted zombies, i wanted to splat them all over the place and have arms and heads falling off. this would sem to fit the demographic of a lot of Xblig buyers. My game would be solid whatever, but visceral feedback would be awesome. But now i cannot use my Avatar to main and kill them (are they alive?).

So i am at a crossroads....
Do i keep Avatars in my game and dumb down the action (make it comical for example).
Do I keep the gore and Visceral mayhem and remove the Avatars from the game.

Of course i could have cheated and just put one on the title page like some Avatar games, only.. I cannot do that, as i explained right at the start of this article.

I am at a loss of what is the right choice.... BAH!



  1. Try to think of something more original...

  2. Well as comments go, this one is fairly usefless. Lets see... No useful commentary or reasons to support why this is not original etc.

    You think then that you play original games at present.. hmm, i would disagree with that.

    Finally i would say that gameplay does not have to be totaly original, as that is very difficult to achieve at all, but one thing i see on most indie game areas is a lack of success, of these 'original' game developments.

    So i will choose to make games that play well, whether they have Avatars or zombies in them.

    Thanks for posting.

    Da Voodoochief

  3. Usually I expect higher quality anonymous comments... /shrug

    Can you find a way to zombify the Avatars without breaking the rules? Maybe the avatar is having a nightmare. Or twist it slightly towards a Corpse Bride approach (guess that's your comical idea).

  4. I'd maybe ditch Avatars for this game (if you want to include gore), you're not going to see them onscreen zoomed/scaled out anyway. And will the word Avatar in the title really bring you a significant increase in sales if they make you restrict what you want to do and you end up compromising your gane / vision. Unless you think you can make the same game (play) but have no gore/blood, which you obviously can. But it just might feel less frenetic and satisfying if you aint splattering zombie and ninja pirate guts all over the place {:~) Actually I'd go for fluffy bunnies as well.

  5. Welcome Ian, It has been too long since i have seen you and spoke to you and your lovely family. I hope everything is good up north of me :)

    lol, on your anonymous comment, it made me smile :)

    I cannot alter the Avatars, MS restrictions are very obvious now i have read them a bunch of times. So it is either Gore without Avatars or Avatars without Gore. Right now i do beleiev i will go Comical, and this will also make it family friendly, and quite abit different to anything else out there atm :)

    Thanks for the ideas though, cos i can maybe work that in.

    Da Voodoochief

  6. Hey Telby,
    Yup, you nailed it alrighty. The word Avatar in the title is what i wanted, but i have to have a real reason to put one into the game, not some made up thing that he cheers you on from the title or results page. The game won't get compromised though really, as gameplay will be the same for either version. Only a softer looking version would also likely be easier to play. Just cos i would expect some younger audience members to be playing it.

    Now to go work on splattering the screen, haha!

    At least game dev can be fun!!

    Da Voodoochief