Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World T-Shirt Sales

So, the end of the world is nigh. Tomorrow, December 21, 2012 is the end of the Mayan Long Count.

If you're like me, you're probably skeptical about this whole situation and take it for granted that we'll be around to see 2013. If so, then you ought to buy a t-shirt commemorating your survival of the end of days. 

These t-shirts are on sale with a reduced price until 11:59 PM on Saturday, December 22nd Pacific Standard Time, so if you're willing to take a leap of faith, you can get one with the reduced price! Prices will go up by $5.00 USD after the deadline, so make your order now!

You can order your "I Survived The End Of The World" t-shirts at The Imperium Shop.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy: Women and Game Development

So, I was browsing Twitter earlier this evening (well, yesterday evening now), and I came across a hashtag called "". At first, I thought that this was just another post by Tweeters with "swag" that will only live once, you know, #YOLO. I was wrong; the tag is about the lack of female representation in gaming and game design.

I got into a bit of a debate about the target audiences of most games, which would be young White males. Of course, logically, if companies want to make money, they should target this general audience since they make more money off of it than targeting ethnic minorities or women. There is also the argument that targeting these groups may alienate the majority, or worse, offend minorities and women if the game came off as exploitation. The latter portion of the second argument leads back to the initial cause of the tag: lack of representation in development.

If there were more women or minorities in game development, then perhaps characters that fall into these groups would not come off as one-dimensional or stereotypical, and these groups would not feel offended or exploited by how they are represented in games. I am not a woman, so I will never know the feeling of a woman that feels underrepresented in the field, but I can somewhat relate since I am not a White man.

I am, however, a man. By nature, I am a masculist and opposed to hard feminism. I am a young, heterosexual man with standards, and yes, I like sex. In society, I see a march towards denying men the right to want attractive women, while women have the right to want attractive men. I stand against this. I am not of the school of thought, however, that a woman has no place in the workplace, and in said workplace, that they should be victims of sexual harassment (the same goes for men too though). I also believe that if a woman can be effective at a job, then she has every right to compete for or hold that job in my book.

I am not exactly a bleeding heart liberal though. I do not believe that it is my purpose in life to fight other people's battles at the expense of fighting me own. I am not a conservative either. I tried that back in my college days to fit in and didn't get a $100 prize or hot Japanese wife, so I think that I'll stop playing that game too. You won't hear me telling you to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" to blow off the fact that people can indeed be victimized. I believe that victims do exist, but it is the victims' duty to stop being victimized, and in some cases it might be up to said victims to take the boots and the straps to those that victimize them.

I say that to say this: society will not change overnight, but with a good skill set and the tools that are available (often for free), you can put something together yourselves. Not a programmer? No problem. As I stated in my previous post, there is more to game development than programming. Sound designers, voice actors (and actresses, of course), story designers, and even choreographers have found jobs related to the development of games. If you have an idea or a dream to get into the field, pursue it. Try to find like minds and network. It may be a long shot, but it is possible to put something together, and maybe even start your own company!

If you need more inspiration, then check out the hashtag . Women are getting their act together and networking; if only Black men would do the same.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Game Design Dream

Game development can be a very lucrative occupation with room for people of various talents. There is room in the field for programmers, artists, sound designers, and even though it is frowned upon, there is even a little bit of room for "idea guys" (and gals too, of course). Many of us (including myself) grew up playing games and thought to ourselves how cool it would be to make them!

Of course, back in those days (I'm talking ten to twenty years ago), most of the games that we played probably came from big companies. This still holds true, but indie games are becoming more prevalent, sometimes rivaling the quality and fun of games by big-name producers. Nowadays, it's easy for someone to pick up some free developing tools and put together games from the comfort of their own bedrooms, making the dream more tangible than ever. This also means that there are millions of games that can be found on line, some of them gems, but many of them heaping piles of poorly made mess.

I have been playing Flash games since 2002, and making them since 2006. I have seen the medium evolve over time, and it is arguable that I have seen its apex and the beginning of its decline. Some of the games that made front page on Newgrounds back in 2005 would probably only earn a 2.5 average score these days, and be forgotten amongst the masses of other games as players have begun expecting amazing graphics, pop-up instructions, and a bit of casual or hipster humor. The advent of mobile devices, some of which are not compatible with Flash at all, as well as HTML 5 and Unity have also lead to a slight decline in Flash gaming's popularity.

Not all indie games are Web games either. As stated in the previous paragraph, games for smartphones, such as the Android and iPhone, have become quite popular. There are also a litany of indie games developed for computers themselves, some of them good enough to appear on Steam. I've never paid for one, though this is not out of discrimination; some of the indie games look downright fun and remind me of the DOS games that I cherished as a kid. I don't pay because many of the indie games that I like are free, such as Naev, an Escape Velocity clone, and Wing Commander: Standoff, a standalone mod for Wing Commander Prophecy: Secret Ops.

With the bar raised so high for indie games these days, it will be hard for average "hobbyist" designers to break into the market. It is still possible to make a bit of money from it though, and I speak from experience. I've never created a viral game, and probably never will; I have, however, made a bit of money on the side creating advertisement games and games for small educational websites.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Advice: Back That Thang Up!

If you are a developer (or anyone that stores important data on computers, really) it is important to backup your files. Crashes do happen, and it would be a shame to lose days, weeks, months, or years (yikes!) of progress without having anything to fall back on. Of course, I had to learn this lesson the hard way myself, nearly failing a university class because my hard drive crashed!

There are a variety of alternatives that one can use when backing up their files. Dropbox is one of my personal favorites. You can use the Dropbox site to upload your files, or download the application to store and synchronize you files across multiple computers. Initially, you will be allotted a small amount of space to store your files, but you can pay to upgrade your account. You can also link to Twitter or Facebook, answers some questions, or refer friends to gain more space. If you want to sign up for Dropbox, you can do so using this link; we're friends, right ;)?

Google Drive is another service that is useful for storing and sharing files. I haven't used it much, but it's free and you get 5 GB of storage space just for having a Google account.

Yet another alternative is a bit old fashioned, but it still works. You can buy a USB thumb drive and use it to store important files. If you have a huge number of files to backup, you may want to invest in an external hard drive and copy your files over. I like to use this method along with Dropbox to regularly backup my files.

One final method of backing up files that we discuss is one that should be familiar with developers: a source code management system (SCM). Not only will your files be backed up, but you will also be able to rollback to previous revisions if something goes horribly wrong.The program or plugin that you use depends on the platform that you are developing for and the tools that you are using to develop. Git is an example of a free, open source SCM.

Hopefully this advice will help you, and you won't lose any of your precious projects in the future. Happy deving!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Hey everybody out there in Internet Land! I decided to separate my blogs. This blog will be dedicated to talking about games, mostly older games, Flash games, and maybe a bit about game design. On my other blog, Grand Admiral Gainz, I will continue to discuss fitness-related topics.

Stay here if you are interested in reading my ramblings about games, and check out my other blog if you're interested in my gainz (or if you'd like to make some yourself)!