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4 weeks ago

The Future of Fig Hunter

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I've owned this site for many years now, but quite frankly it's embarrassing to me... I've mentioned 'my website' to people in that strange and mysterious Real World before, but I always make a point of avoiding saying its url, because the thought of people who know me in person seeing this place makes me cringe. It's almost entirely because of the way that I handle things through these blog posts; my emotional conflicts with the community aren't exactly going to win me admiration from anyone, either for my personality or for my lack of professionalism.

AFC is almost done now, though. It would have been done already, but that recent mess delayed progress significantly, especially since it meant that the game has been hidden from the testers since then (thanks so much for that, those involved). Still, I must plough through it, I suppose.
Once it is released, there'll finally be fresh new traffic coming to my sites. I'll be opening up the other site, and I'll have to decide what to do with this one. I don't particularly want the sorts of people who hate and/or strongly disagree with me and feel the need to tell me how and why on a regular basis to flood over there (who would, really?), but I also realise that there's not a damn thing I can do about it, so my only real choice is to become like so many other admin/developer figures: distant, aloof, not really involved with the community at all (not that I really have been with this one for a while anyway).

I'll continue writing about things, hopefully more often than I have been doing here, but I'll probably make them much more impersonal. For example, I could write quest-making tips or content updates for AFC, or about the development process. I've been wanting to do that for a while. But I'm no longer interested in community politics, or nasty individuals' personal issues. It's not exactly what I signed up for when I became a games developer.

I may try to somehow increase the focus on the existing games here, especially the unfinished ones (moving them from the bottom of the Games page), so the site could act as a sort of museum for my older work. I'm not planning to take down the community features in any way, and would very much appreciate it if people would continue posting here, rather than all flooding over to the new site, if they fit better with the Fig Hunter mentality than whatever I want to create over there.

Some information about how AFC is likely to work, by the way:

I've written a story that will be told in six distinct parts, though each is shortish and I intended to include them all in the game when it's released. I decided that's unreasonable, though, as well as a missed opportunity, so what I'm going to do instead is probably release the game in six installments. At least six, anyway. The first one will probably include two or three quests of my own (this main one, which is relatively 'deep' and serious, another, unrelated one which is just silly fun, and probably some kind of tutorial/introduction thing), and it won't include all of the features that I originally wanted to include (it will only have three of the five humanoid races, for example). It does, however, have plenty of stuff for you to make your own quests! So it's not like it's half-finished or anything.

After that first one is released, I'll listen to community feedback, and add and fix things, as well as working on the second part of my own story. I'd then release a Version 2, which would include this new chapter, perhaps another short, silly quest, and a bunch of new assets and features and such. I'd continue going until I had all six chapters released, but after that it'd be updated regularly with new features and such whenever I bothered to add them.

(These won't be 'chapters' in the MARDEK sense, by the way, where I basically rewrite the whole game for each one! I've got to the point now where my skills have plateaued, so they'll just be updates to the existing game/tool instead of separate games in themselves. They'd just overwrite the older version uploaded to the site, rather than being listed as separate things.)

I'll probably add some kind of Requests feature, where people can suggest things, and other people can vote on existing suggestions; the most popular would be most likely to be implemented sooner.

And of course people would be able to make their own quests, and upload them to the site! I'm hoping that there'll be lots of quests, so there'd always be something to play. Making, playing, and talking about them will hopefully be a reason to build up a nice and friendly community that isn't just based on 'Intellectual Debates' and criticism (or sensitivity and gentleness, for that matter).

So yes. I'm at the point now where I can probably start contacting sponsors within a week or two, which is sort of exciting (and terrifying). Then FINALLY maybe I can move to a different stage of my life as a developer and as a person! Hopefully!
1 month ago

Why Betas are Private

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I'd hoped to take a break from this place to stop the chronic headache and fatigue, but I've been dragged into it once again by the amoral actions of a single monster. Or maybe more than one. I don't know.

Rather than emotionally venting about how broken my heart is by the behaviour of such people - something that never achieves any good, especially when such people are apparently unable to feel bad about their actions - I'll instead just explain the way the beta testing and sponsorship of my games works.

I make games without being paid to do so; I receive no paycheque at the end of the week, and there's basically no 'job security' in this kind of thing. I'm doing it largely out of the goodness in my heart, and everyone will get to play the game for free when it's done anyway, so all I ask in return is patience and respect for the process.

However, during the development, I need to make sure the game is all working okay, and that requires beta testing. I'd actually really like to do public betas, where I develop the games completely transparently and people can see every step of the process and play every new version as it's developed. It'd probably be more motivating, and it'd make other people happier too, perhaps.

Sadly, it doesn't work that way. The only money I can hope to get from these Flash games is a sponsorship deal when a game is done, which involves a site like Kongregate or CrazyMonkeyGames or whatever paying to have their logo shoved into the game. They do this not out of the goodness in their hearts, but so then their brand name can be seen, so then they can get more hits, and can earn more money from having a larger audience and so on and so forth.

In order to maximise their exposure, they require that the games they sponsor haven't been seen online without their branding. If some game is released for the first time, and it can be ensured that ALL copies online, seen by the public, will have that sponsor's branding in, then they'd love that! If, however, hundreds of thousands of people had already played the game without their branding, then they'd have much less interest in paying a high price, or any at all.

I think some Flash games do go down the public beta route, but they must get paid much less in the end than an 'exclusive' game. My games earn only peanuts as it is - far less than I feel they should, considering the time and effort involved - so I try to do what I can to maximise the profits... which means private betas, playable only by a few select people.

Finding and playing an unfinished, unreleased game might be a bit of a thrill, a quick bit of fun, but to do so is to be completely blind to the long-term process. Getting your hands on the beta doesn't mean 'playing the game early'. It means playing a buggy, unfinished version and potentially ruining the entire development process. If I couldn't be expected to earn much from a game, why would I bother to finish it?

If you ever see any released versions of my unfinished games anywhere, then I'd be very grateful if you could report them so then I might try to get them taken down, in order to save my livelihood. Otherwise, I don't think this game-making thing will be feasible anymore; why spend months and months making something that will earn nothing? I can't survive that way.
1 month ago

Blog Post

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: The Site
Well, sigh. Here I am at a time when I would much rather be in bed, writing another stupid blog post on my stupid website because a bunch of stupid people have been deliberately annoying. How fun and not at all crippling-and-chronic-headache-inducing this all is.

I've learned from this nonsense recently that Fig Hunter really is toxic and abominable and ugh. I have this headache thing, you see, which plagued me constantly for months and months back when I used to frequent this place, but it had been gone for months recently, since I cut this place out of my life, which was nice. It's come back now, though, and it's made it very hard to concentrate or do anything over the last week or so. Which isn't fun. Eyelid spasms! I have those too. They're not fun either.

I don't even know what people are getting their knickers in a twist about now, anyway, parading around hackery as if this is going to make any kind of positive difference to anyone (hint: it isn't), because I neither know nor care about the details of the current situation. I get the impression that people are assuming I'm more knowledgeable about the people involved than I actually am? As far as I was aware, Ratio was 'some horrible person who was banned' and Frances was someone who came after that who I assumed was some kind of secondary account used to play around with people further, much as SaviorSephiroth created another account to do that to people. I thought people might like to know. Beyond that, I know nothing because I don't live in this place anymore. I've got more important things to do with my time than learn the ins and outs of your combative relationships with eachother.

I was actually hoping that I might be able to get back into Fig Hunter, that I could post more and stuff, particularly about my games, which this place is supposed to be about. But it's just not worth the hassle, really. I suppose I'll have to cut this tumour from my life once again in order to stay at least somewhat mentally healthy.

So congratulations for that, Fig Hunter. I'm so very glad I made this place.

Also, I have implemented temporary bans and applied week-long ones to several people who had changed their colour schemes to invalid values. At least they made themselves easy to find and apply those bans to, I suppose. Hopefully by the end of the week they'll have cooled down, but no, of course that's not going to happen, and they're just going to try and find ways to hurt me now with smirks on their oh-so-totally-capital-A-Accommodating faces. Sigh, you hold up a shield and they just kick you in the shins. Or you lock them out of your house and they just break in through the windows. Such lovely people that exist in the world...

Permanently banned members are marked with a !!, while temporarily banned ones are marked with !. You can see how long until the ban expires by hovering over the exclamation mark.

By the way, I've actually been trying hard (fighting against the headache) to work on AFC recently, and I've enjoyed making progress on it. I'd very much like to continue doing that, rather than maintaining this place. When I decided to become a Games Developer, I didn't exactly sign up for all this babysitting and padlocking. I only wish I were at least getting paid for it.
And by that I mean '*please* don't try and do something stupid to hurt me out of petty vengeance, because you're only delaying things for everyone if you do'. I just hope that nobody will be that selfish.