Indie Dev Diaries – A brew with Teaboy Games

dev diary

Note from the editor:

Dear reader,

This is a brand new and exciting bi weekly segment we’re now running on the site called “Indie Dev Diaries” (as announced a while back in this article)

Well the time has now come for us to launch the series which will hopefully bring a new and exciting perspective to the Indie Game scene! We’ll be featuring indie devs from all over the world including some of your very own indie idols.

The following entry is an unedited excerpt from the day in the life of start up Indie’s Teaboy games.


Its Monday morning and I’ve spent all weekend with my head buried in the sand.

The calm before the storm you might say.

I get to the office at 9am and pop the kettle on (of course) and set about writing a list. You see this week is important, we’ve set ourselves the deadline of submitting Fallen for an iOS App Store review by the end of the week.

After toying with the idea of working with publishers, we’ve decided to self-release and learn from all the inevitable mistakes we’ll make along the way.

On with work, but not without a brew…

When Scott and Aidan arrive the first thing we do (after they get a brew too, of course) is crack open Taiga.io. This an open source (and importantly free) web platform that helps you project manage. There are others available, notably Trello, but we just preferred the look and feel of Taiga.

Taiga.io project manager

Taiga.io project manager

Scott has setup a ‘Sprint’ for the week, think of this as a big to-do list with a deadline of Friday.

This sprint is made up of tasks, essentially the stuff that needs to get done which is then subsequently assigned to the relevant person. So we get to brainstorming and workout everybody’s jobs for the week, which is somewhat daunting. Part of the challenge with any creative project is knowing when to stop.

However:

If anything in the world of Free-To-Play games, which Fallen will be, the second and third updates are almost as important as the first, so we decide upon what features/improvements we want to hold off on until then.

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Optimisation & Performance

Last week Scott began heavily optimising the game, partly because we were seeing some performance issues on older handsets but mostly because when we started Fallen we’d never used Construct 2 before.

In the months since, Scott and Aidan have immersed themselves in the world of Construct and inevitably learnt far more efficient ways of programming. Its a very laborious task to rebuild a game from (nearly) the ground up, but the benefits are huge.

For example:

Since our backgrounds are simply vertical gradients, rather than making an image the full screen size, Scott simply cut the image to full height but only one pixel wide, and then stretched that across the screen.

fallen together

Optimisations like this help give us a smaller download size, meaning the time taken from seeing the game on the App Store to actually playing gets smaller.

If you lose internet connection in the middle of a big download, then before you’ve even played the game you’re having a bad experience, and we need to do everything we can to avoid that.

Making a multi compatible game

Another benefit of optimising is the reduced CPU usage, this weeks focus for Scott.

We want Fallen to run on as many devices as possible, so this means making sure it runs favourably on older devices and even older operating systems.

Every tick the game is checking a hoard of events, a huge list of ‘if’ statements. Something we’re doing now is putting some of these behind functions, so the game only checks them when the appropriate function is called, thus reducing the CPU usage.

Although, this is easier said than done as there are knock on effects for changing the base code of the game.

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PR Jobs for the week

My job this week is to work on the press pack for Fallen, a job in itself thats made up of a various tasks;

  • Short (and long) Game Descriptions
  • Company History (our origin story if you will)
  • Game Trailer
  • Screenshots/Logos

Once I’ve got all these parts they’ll all end up on a press page on our website, made with the amazing DoPressKit.

The beauty of DoPresskit is that it puts all the press info in one place, and the easier I make it for a journalist the more likely they’re to take interest in Fallen.

Having recently worked on the App Store information for Fallen a lot of my work has already been done. I’ll embellish the short description to become the long description, and also take the screenshots.

Next I’ll set about taking the portrait app store preview video and making a widescreen version for our youtube channel (which reviewers can subsequently put on their sites).

Getting our game out there!

Now having all this information is amazing…

But:

I need to get it in the inboxes of the right people.

With Teaboy Games having formed in an incubator (no, not one of those lightbulb things), we’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people during our development.

As relative novices in the games industry, having this safety net of peers has really helped our development. Their advice has helped us shape Fallen into the game it is today.

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However as Spider Man once said, with great contacts comes great responsibility (or at least I think it was something like that). Burn your bridges too soon with inundated tweets and they’ll be less likely to care the next time your name pops up in their feed or inbox.

My next big task is making a list of all the people whose inbox I want this press pack to land in, and of course personalising the approach to each person.

Would you like more IndieDevDiaries? Let us know!

Editor here again: We hope you enjoyed reading this new segment. We are aiming to make this a bi weekly thing, but only with your support!

If you’d like to see more of this then send us a tweet or write something in the comments section down below, heck why not even contact the dev themselves?

If you are an indie dev and interested in writing your very own  entry then send us an email: [email protected]



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