Indie Game: The Movie

February 6th, 2013

I just finished watching “Indie Game: The Movie” on Netflix streaming. [Warning: there is a lot of swearing. It's not a "family friendly" film.] The documentary chronicles the lives of several indy gamers: the authors of Super Meat Boy, Braid, and Fez. These games went on to enjoy critical success and sold millions of copies, and the film is a fascinating view into the lives of their developers.

It’s hard to describe the emotions I felt while watching this film. I can SO relate to so many things the developers went through… the hours of late night coding, the emotional rollercoaster of wondering whether the game would be well-received once it was (finally) released, the many, many hours coding late into the night, frustrations with software publishers who can spell doom or success for your game with one simple decision, etc. etc.

There are also things I don’t relate to as much. I’m a Christian, and as such I don’t believe in living a life that’s dedicated for several years solely to creating a video game. As such, I never let developing games “consume” me the way these developers did. In all honesty, I’m sure their games were much better for it. But at the same time, my *life* is much better for the way I chose to live it. There is much more to live for than finishing a game. And yet, I totally understand what these authors went through: barely scraping by financially, doing something that, if it fails once it’s released, you’re “done.” No more second try. All or nothing. Throwing all of their passion into a single project. A project that others might hate once it’s released.

I also am not as much a “nerd” as these developers. I’ve always valued living a balanced life: one with meaningful social interaction with friends from my church and family. One with exercise and fun outside of work. Yet again, I’m sure these developer’s games were better as a result. When you can put all your passion, time, and energy into one thing, that one thing has a better shot of being really good… of creating those “wow moments” when a player discovers some of those special touches you threw in.

If you aren’t an indy game developer, and you would like a look into the life of an indy developer and the rollercoaster ride it can be, and a lot of swearing doesn’t bother you, I recommend “Indie Game: The Movie.” It describes much of my life when I was a full-time indy game developer far better than I ever could.

Problems with the original Midnight Mansion?

February 7th, 2012

I’ve gotten a few emails from users over the past week complaining that the original Midnight Mansion, and Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills, have suddenly started freezing when opening a custom mansion or saved game, or jumping on a save pedestal within the game. Also, the Level Builder would not start up.

These problems were all due to a software update for OS X 10.6.8 that Apple released about a week ago. Fortunately, they have even more recently released a Security Update that fixes the problem the introduced earlier.

So, if you have any of these issues, go to Software Update in your Apple menu, and get the latest  updates, and all will be well again!

Midnight Mansion HD was not effected by these issues.

Midnight Mansion HD in Avault’s Top Casual PC Games of 2011

January 23rd, 2012

Avault’s Top Casual PC Games of 2011 article was just released, and Midnight Mansion HD made the list! I quote:

“Retro remakes are rarely noteworthy enough to merit inclusion in an awards article, but this adventure-platform release is a real exception.”

Click here to read the rest of the roundup!

Mac App Store 1.0.2 version workaround

January 22nd, 2012

If you own the Mac App Store version of Midnight Mansion, you have likely noticed that with the recent 1.0.2 update to the game that was posted to the Mac App Store that you can no longer play Episode 2 mansions from within Episode 1, nor can you play Episode 1 mansions from within Episode 2.

This is because such “linking” is against Mac App Store policies, and somehow they didn’t catch this when the game was first submitted to the Mac App Store. I was required to remove this linking to be able to post any updates to the store.

If you are frustrated by this behavior, you can, for now, get around this limitation by using the ActionSoft version of the game. If you download the game from www.actionsoft.com, it should detect that you’ve launched purchased copies of Episodes 1 and 2 on your computer, and it should run fully registered. And this version contains both episodes in a single program.

Note that this workaround may not always be possible. Apple will be introducing a new feature called “sandboxing” to a future version of MacOS X, which may prevent applications from sharing data with each other. But for now, this method works to let you play both Episodes 1 and 2 from within a single program.

If you do not own the Mac App Store version of Midnight Mansion HD, none of this applies to you.

Midnight Mansion HD for Windows updated to 1.0.1

January 10th, 2012

Midnight Mansion HD for Windows was just updated to version 1.0.1, which makes the following fixes:

- The game now works properly on Windows systems where English is not the default language. There were issues with entering registration codes, saving games, and more on non-English systems formerly.

- The game now works on systems with older graphics cards. Formerly at start-up a message would appear saying something to the effect of “Sorry, the graphics card in your computer is too old to run Midnight Mansion HD.” The game now runs on these systems too!

- Fixed an issue where the game would sometimes behave as if it was not registered.

- Other misc fixes.

If you own the Mac version, this version does not apply to you.

Midnight Mansion HD released for Windows!

December 22nd, 2011

Windows gamers, rejoice! Midnight Mansion HD is now available for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. And, what’s more, the same registration code you purchase for one version will work on the other, too! Purchase for Windows, and also play on your Mac, or vice-versa.

If you had envious neighbors who watched you play on your Mac, and wished they could purchase their own copy of the game but never could, because they didn’t own a Mac, they too can now join the fun. And, what’s more, the same HD mansions work on both Mac and Windows. So Windows users can download and play the same mansions Mac users have been creating and playing since 2005.

What are you waiting for? Download the Windows version today.

Update Code feature working in-game again

December 1st, 2011

Some of you may have experienced trouble when entering an expired code into the game. When it offered to update it for your automatically, this would always fail, ever since I released Midnight Mansion HD. Well, today I discovered the problem. I had modified the Code Update form on the ActionSoft web site so it displayed a nicely-formatted name and code. I did this a few months ago. What I didn’t realize, however, was that this new formatting goofed up the in-game code update.

I fixed that today, and in-game code updates now work smoothly again. :-) You can thank the Windows development for this discovery. I found this problem while working on some finishing touches of the Windows port of Midnight Mansion.

Speaking of which, the Windows port is coming along really, really quickly. I expected it would take several months — turns out I ought to be finished next week! That is, ready for public beta testing, at least. I can’t believe it has gone this quickly!

Windows Port Progressing Quickly

November 15th, 2011

Three weeks ago, I began the process of porting Midnight Mansion HD to Windows. So far, I have been astonished how quickly the process has gone. I had about 90% of the game compiling and running on Windows in two weeks! Today probably 95% of the game is up and running. There are still a number of things left to do, some of which may take a while (particularly testing), so the game’s release is likely still 2-3 or more months away, but so far it has been really fun seeing how quickly and easily the port has gone!

How to enter registration codes in Midnight Mansion HD

October 21st, 2011

Some of you who have purchased codes (or gotten free Episode 2 codes) for Midnight Mansion HD have emailed me wondering how to enter the codes into the game. Whoops! I guess I didn’t explain this very well. It’s under the “Buy Now” button on the title screen. When you start up the game, there is a Buy Now tab in the lower-left corner of the screen. Click this, then you will see an “Enter Code…” button. This is where you can enter a code for Episode 1 or Episode 2.

For the version distributed on www.actionsoft.com, both Episode 1 and Episode 2 are in a single download, although each is unlocked by different codes. Hopefully this helps clear up any confusion for all of you entering codes into the game! Thanks, and happy gaming!

Midnight Mansion HD now available directly from ActionSoft

October 18th, 2011

Midnight Mansion HD can now be downloaded and purchased directly from ActionSoft, without the need to purchase via the Mac App Store:

Midnight Mansion HD

If you are an owner of the original Midnight Mansion, you can get a free registration code for Episode 2 by using this form:

Free Episode 2 Code Upgrade Form

The ActionSoft version of the game contains both Episodes 1 and 2 in one download, so both can be unlocked, depending on what registration code you purchase. The version is also compatible with the version you can purchase from the Mac App Store, so if you purchase one Episode there, and another on ActionSoft, both will link just as you’d expect.

Please note: the version on ActionSoft is a 1.0.1 update to the game that fixes a lot of bugs. Once you run this version, the original 1.0.0 version will not launch. (Meaning, if you currently have a Mac App Store version on your computer, that version won’t launch after you run the ActionSoft website version, until Apple posts my 1.0.1 update.) This isn’t really a problem, because the ActionSoft version will allow you to play anything you purchased via the Mac App Store. But just be aware that after launching the 1.0.1 version, you won’t be able to run the old 1.0.0 version.