Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

How to enter registration codes in Midnight Mansion HD

Friday, 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, 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!

Good news!

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Today I have some exciting news: beta testing for Midnight Mansion HD is about to start very soon! (No promises, but possibly as early as next week.) I expect beta testing to go fairly quickly, since the mansions have already been tested a great deal by players since 2005. So it will mainly be a matter of testing the new game engine to see what bugs, if any, need fixing prior to release. Then I’ll submit to the Mac App Store, and as soon as Apple approves it, Midnight Mansion HD will be let loose on the world. :-)

iMac with touch screen?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I don’t really keep up with the latest Mac rumors, so I’m guessing I’m not the first to speculate on this, but I can’t help but wonder if Apple is going to announce, sometime this year, an iMac with a touch display.

It would only make sense..So far, MacOS X 10.7 Lion doesn’t sound all that exciting, merging the “best” of the iOS experience in with MacOS X. But… if it were to support touch displays, so that you can either use your mouse *or* touch the screen to manipulate things, then I can imagine that being quite exciting indeed.

And, as someone who is planning some top-secret game ideas that will involve touch as the primary way to control the game, this would mean those games would work great not only on iOS devices, but also on future Macs. Who knows what Apple has planned, but a touch iMac and Apple Cinema Display wouldn’t be at all surprising.

Another possibility is that Apple would link the iPad’s touch controls with the Mac, so that you can hold an iPad in your lap and use it like a tablet or large touchpad to control your Mac. Perhaps it would even mirror the image you see on the Mac’s display, to make it easier to see what you’re going to manipulate before you touch it. This sounds somewhat smarter to me than an iMac with a touch display, as I don’t want to reach all the way to my display to touch it, given that I generally keep it just farther than arm’s length away. But an iPad in my lap…

Cool video game movie

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Many years ago, long before YouTube was even an idea, I ran across a cool video game movie. While it may be somewhat dated now, I still think it’s cool, and maybe some of you will enjoy it, too. This is for anyone who remembers the Atari-2600 era, and the cool games from that period.  Click the link below to watch it:

Video Game Movie

You can read about the making of the vido here:

Mac App Store

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Apple has recently announced the Mac App Store, where developers can distribute Mac applications, just like the App store for iPhone and iPod Touch. Friends are already asking me  if I’m going to distribute Midnight Mansion via the Mac App Store. Absolutely! However, I’m going to wait until the port is complete, so I can put the Universal Binary version on the store.

One thing of course is that I get only 70% of the proceeds from sales on the store, versus 97% or so from the sales on my own website. But with the increased market exposure the store will generate, I’m sure it’ll be worth it. Apple’s 70/30 cut is actually quite a bit better than many online portals, like BigFishGames, Steam, or RealArcade, at least from what I hear.

Midnight Mansion 2 – Free or Pay?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

I’ve been asked this question a number of times, so I thought I’d address it from the blog. Some owners of the original Midnight Mansion would like to know if they must pay the $25 price for Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills.

Midnight Mansion 2 is an entirely new game with new enemies, new environments, new music, new puzzles, and new mansions. It took about a year and a half to develop. Most of the people purchasing it will be fans of the original game. So if I were to release it as a free or discounted upgrade for owners of the first game, I’d not be making enough to continue being able to support myself doing game development. I’d have to get a full-time job, which means there would be no future Midnight Mansion sequels.

So the short answer to the question is, yes, the $25 price is required for anyone who wants to purchase Midnight Mansion 2, since it’s an entirely new game. I think though that most who try the free demo of Midnight Mansion 2 will agree it’s worth every penny. :-)

However, minor bug-fixing updates to the original game will continue to be released, and as always, are free.

True Nerdness

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Right now I’m working on very early experiments with porting Midnight Mansion to SDL, a cross-platform library which in the long run will let Midnight Mansion run on iPhone, Windows, and also natively on Intel Macs. I’m only just starting to do early tests in SDL, but it’s so much FUN! Reminds me of what I have been missing these two plus years doing work in the ever-so-frustrating GarageGames Torque engine.

And this is how I realized today that I’m doing what I ought to be doing… I passed the “lunch test.” It’s now after 2:16 PM, and I’m pretty hungry — and yet, I keep wanting to try “just one more thing” first before breaking for lunch, because I’m having so much FUN! The geek in me is liking what I’m doing. And when you want to keep working and delay taking a break, despite being very hungry — THAT is when you know what you’re doing what you should be doing. :-)

Indie Games Christmas

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Another developer has a pretty cool idea for Christmas: open a panel each day to see a new game! Indy developers were able to submit their games to get free press, and well, if you check, you might find a game you recognize:

Come back each day to find a new game each day that you’ve probably never heard of! (Although do note that many are Windows-only.)

Customer “Support”

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Here is an example of why I hate customer support at large companies. I recently visited GameHouse’s website to inquire as to whether they’d be interested in selling Insectoid on their site. After finding a Contact page, I was taken to a Business Development form, which I filled out. Upon hitting the Submit button, it stated in bold red letters “Please fill the form correctly.” No explanation of what was wrong. No matter what I tried to do differently, the form would not resubmit, and on top of that, would erase itself each time. I tried several times, on both the GameHouse site and on RealArcade’s site, with no success. Even tried a different browser.

I contacted GameHouse email support. They told me I could write to their physical mailing address or call them on the phone. I tried the phone option. The support representative on the phone gave me a support email address I could write to. Today I wrote to that email explaining everything that had happened, and the representative referred me to the “Contact” page I had started with in the first place! (Apparently ignoring everything in my email about how their Business Development form was not working, or else being so ignorant of the site that he didn’t realize the Contact page lead one to the Business Development form I had mentioned.)

This is why I hate dealing with “customer support” at large companies. And one good reason why I vow to never treat my customers in the same manner. Every support email written to ActionSoft gets a personal reply directly from me, often the same day, dealing with exactly the issue raised. Rather than getting a reply from someone who is unknowledgeable about what you are asking about, and only prepared to give scripted responses.

Drooling over Unity

Friday, November 6th, 2009

For the last hour or so, I’ve been reading up on Unity3D, a game engine that targets Mac, Windows, and the iPhone, among others. After having used Torque Game Builder for the last 2 and 1/2 years while developing Insectoid, certain phrases have really made me drool over Unity. They are phrases that shouldn’t mean much, but do:

“Like the rest of Unity’s asset pipeline, it just works.”

I’ve grown quite tired of Torque quite simply *not* working so much of the time. I’ve had to work around so many bugs, missing features, and limitations. So when I read a statement such as:

“Unity has undergone extensive compatibility testing, which means you don’t need to put an ounce of effort into making sure your customers can run your games”

… it makes me *seriously* wish I had been using Unity.

Not only that, but I spent quite a bit of time rewriting TorqueScript into native C, so my game would run fast enough — even on 2.0 GHz processors. Unity3D, on the other hand, compiles scripts into native code, so it runs 20-40x faster, automatically. Geez, they know how to get a programmer’s heart to melt.

Obviously, you can’t believe everything you hear, so I’m going to try this out before I make too many assumptions, but if the claims on their webpage are true… it’s quite unlikely I will be returning to GarageGames for future game development. I’ve reported many to bugs to them over the past 2 years that have never been fixed, and I’m quite frustrated. They have a new 2D engine coming out soon, but it will require OS X 10.6 on the Mac side, as well as only run on Intel Macs. Sorry, that’s too steep system requirements for my taste. Unity apparently has quite low requirements, and the developers work hard to make sure it performs well on older systems. Again, I don’t know if these claims are true, but if they are… Unity3D may just have a new fan.

Add to that iPhone deployment that “just works” right out of the box… and it all sounds too good to be true.