The computer game I've been working on for the past 2 years has just been released. It's called Castle Vox and I encourage you to check it out.
The gameplay is a simultaneous-turn-based strategy model. So you don't have to wait for all the other players to take their turns, you're always taking your turn (except in-between rounds when the battle resolutions happen).
Here's a screenshot of the Napoleonic Wars map:
The full version has 35 maps and counting. The game includes a map editor so you can make your own, or edit the existing ones.
My company currently makes games for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
The first 2 have a good business case. Lots of people run Mac OS X and Windows, and buy games to play. (Thank you to all the customers who keep us small developers alive.)
Linux doesn't have as good a business case for us. Not very many people buy the Linux versions of our games. But, I foresee Linux continuing to grow in leaps and bounds on the desktop. And our codebase is in Java, so it isn't that much extra work to make Linux versions.
Going Mobile The mobile OS wars are warming up fast. In the past we've gotten some scattered requests for PocketPC or Palm versions, but it hasn't seemed worthwhile. Apparently there was good money to be made selling Palm apps in the past, but greedy distributors (hearsay says Handango) and a decaying platform have destroyed it.
J2ME and BREW cellphone apps are making money, but only for a few big companies (at least in North America). The carriers have been very greedy distributors, and locked down their platform tightly.
Apple's iPhone is fresh mobile platform coming on strong. They've publicized their app distribution rate as taking a 30% cut. That's a lot better then most desktop games distributors (Yahoo Games typically takes 70%). Apple has been tremendously successful at iterating the iPod from version1 to perfection. They're following the same process with the iPhone, building a mobile platform from the ground up. I think the iPhone will be one of the long term mobile platform winners.
Google Android is the other mobile platform I'm keeping an eye on. Open-source and available for carriers to build on. Apps are written in the Java language, but using G's own VM and libraries. (A nice end-run around SUN, straight to Java developers.) It hasn't launched on any real phones yet, but I think it has huge potential. The first Android phones are supposed to be available "soon."
You already have a computer in your pocket (your cellphone). The big question for software developers is: what platform is your next one going to run?
Sillysoft Games is looking for talented Java programmers to join our team creating desktop strategy games. We are located in Vancouver, BC.
JOB 1 - Java game engine and AI programmer
Requires: - CS degree or equivalent experience - Knowledge of AI techniques
JOB 2 - Java graphics and GUI programmer
Requires: - Experience with Java2D, Swing/AWT or java-openGL - Strong 2D geometry and math skills
Bonus qualities for both jobs: - Mastery of the Java libraries - Experience with SVN, CVS, ant, XML, networking - Experience playing Axis & Allies, Diplomacy or Risk board games - PHP, SQL or web development experience
As part of a small team you would be able to have creative input during development. Flexible hours, a competitive salary and the possibility of profit sharing. We have a hit game in Lux Delux, happy customers, and a direct digital distribution channel. Our next game is loosely based on the Axis & Allies board game. This a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a profitable and growing game studio.
Apple's Mac OS X Downloads pages got a re-design sometime in the last few days. They've added an AJAX table to the bottom of the page. It defaults to Top 20, and includes Just Added and Staff Picks tabs. They also have links to RSS feeds for each in the table header.
Staff Picks (RSS) is entirely new to the site. They used to have 'Hot Apps' but they were only displayed in the sidebar. Now an application will display Staff Pick after its name in lists, if it's a chosen one.
Their RSS feeds also now contain the icon or a small screenshot of the application (in NetNewsWire at least, FireFox seems to only display 1 line of text). I put in a request a long time ago for full screenshots to be included in the Games RSS feed. A small screenshot is better then nothing, but that games section could really use the full screenshot, moreso then the other app sections.
Apple's download site has always been an excellent resource for developers and users alike. I'm glad to see they are continuing to improve on it. There do seem to still be a few bugs in the new site. The 'All Downloads" link in the top left of section pages is broken (or else it's a new page being worked on). And the RSS feeds they link to are hosted at images.apple.com (the one I was previously subscribed to is at www.apple.com).
Vancouver based indies took spot number 9 with FizzBall (a fun take on Arkanoid), and spot number 2 for Eets (a combo of Lemmings and the Incredible Machine). That's 20% for lotus land.
I bought the number 3 game Titan Attacks when it came out this year, and beat it. It's an awesome retro Space Invaders game, and runs on Mac OS X. The only other mac game on there is FizzBall. That's a matching 20% support for Mac, with a few more maybe getting ported later.
Ancient Empires Lux is now publicly available, and the news is drifting out over the internets. I'm happy with it, and other people seem to be as well =).
It's been about 8 months since the previous American History Lux was released. Not all of that time was spent on Ancient Empires, and I think that's a pretty good timeline. Making software always ends up taking a lot longer then expected, as any dev can tell you.
During development there was a bit of 'discussion' about using a Yin-Yang symbol, and what it represented. In response I started a Yin-Yang thread in the Sillysoft forums, and I am enjoying the responses.
Tonight's Luxtoberfest contest was Memory Lux. This is a game variant where every player has the same color. You have to click around at the beginning to find out what you own, and you can only kill somebody if you know where all their countries are. It makes for a pretty hilarious game.
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