Playstation Experience 2014

Here's me and Dan at the Axiom Verge booth.  Juston Massongill is the one taking the photo, which came out awesome, but which I couldn't figure out how to download from Instagram :)

Here's me and Dan at the Axiom Verge booth.  Juston Massongill is the one taking the photo, which came out awesome, but which I couldn't figure out how to download from Instagram :)

So, Playstation Experience was overall awesome for Axiom Verge.  We got a lot of press.  Destructoid even named AV one of the Top 5 Indie Games at the event.  And there is still more to come as the journalists get done editing footage and submitting stories.

As you know, I live in Las Vegas, so this was the first time I could go to a convention and sleep in my own bed at night!  Though my own bed is probably a bit less swanky than the ones at the Venetian.  Most of the pics below were taken by my wife, Chloe, at least if I was in them, which is why you don't see her, but she was with me 90% of the time.

Here's the banners sitting outside my home office.  We got them from promodirect.com.

Here's the banners sitting outside my home office.  We got them from promodirect.com.

Maya and very sleepy Rami Ismail at Cheesecake factory.  Rami had just taken a 30 hour flight from Taipai and was in need of nourishment.

Maya and very sleepy Rami Ismail at Cheesecake factory.  Rami had just taken a 30 hour flight from Taipai and was in need of nourishment.

Photo by Maya of the atypically heavy fog covering everything.

Photo by Maya of the atypically heavy fog covering everything.

It happens that the delightful Maya Kramer had already booked her room when she discovered that she couldn't get a flight for that day, so she stayed at our house for a couple of nights before the show.    It was a lot of fun and also nice to show her the real Las Vegas as most of its residents experience it.

 

Dan and I did a Twitch LiveCast on stage with Justin interviewing us.  The game was huge on the screen behind us.

Dan and I did a Twitch LiveCast on stage with Justin interviewing us.  The game was huge on the screen behind us.

One of many interviews I did, eyes closed.

One of many interviews I did, eyes closed.

To put things in perspective, Earlier in the day Justin interviewed indie legend Jonathan Blow while playing the Witness.

To put things in perspective, Earlier in the day Justin interviewed indie legend Jonathan Blow while playing the Witness.

Here's me recommending Farscape for EPN's Reviews on the Run.

Here's me recommending Farscape for EPN's Reviews on the Run.

Craig Skistimas of ScrewAttack playing Axiom Verge.

Craig Skistimas of ScrewAttack playing Axiom Verge.

Me and Dan talking to EP Daily about Axiom Verge.

Me and Dan talking to EP Daily about Axiom Verge.

Dan and I did a few interviews, at least one of which should appear on old-timey broadcast television for anyone who gets EP Daily.

But the coolest part of conventions is always meeting other devs and journos in person.

Myself, Craig Skistimas (ScrewAttack), Dan Adelman, and Colin Moriarty (IGN).

Myself, Craig Skistimas (ScrewAttack), Dan Adelman, and Colin Moriarty (IGN).

After years of following their work, it was good to meet the Zeboyd Games team.  Here's Bill Stiernberg.  Rob stopped by earlier but I didn't think to get a picture of him, unfortunately.

After years of following their work, it was good to meet the Zeboyd Games team.  Here's Bill Stiernberg.  Rob stopped by earlier but I didn't think to get a picture of him, unfortunately.

And here's Michael and Chris Frauenhofer, the mother-and-son team behind the fascinating One Way Trip.

And here's Michael and Chris Frauenhofer, the mother-and-son team behind the fascinating One Way Trip.

Matt "Norrin Radd" Creamer and Brian Provinciano in the Retro City Rampage Booth!  Brian is an especially cool dude who started soldering cartridge pins when he was 3 (Or was that Davy Crocket?)

Matt "Norrin Radd" Creamer and Brian Provinciano in the Retro City Rampage Booth!  Brian is an especially cool dude who started soldering cartridge pins when he was 3 (Or was that Davy Crocket?)

Maya taking a break from manning the Close Castles booth to play some TowerFall.

Maya taking a break from manning the Close Castles booth to play some TowerFall.

Here I am with Dead Dodrill (creator of Dust:  An Elysian Tail) and his wife.

Here I am with Dead Dodrill (creator of Dust:  An Elysian Tail) and his wife.

Old colleague Michael Amerson - creator of Dark Breakers - stopped by to say hello. 

Old colleague Michael Amerson - creator of Dark Breakers - stopped by to say hello. 

Here's BustahWuff (world record speedrunner of Shovel Knight) and myself.  I plan to pick this man's brains about how to make AV an even better speedrunner.

Here's BustahWuff (world record speedrunner of Shovel Knight) and myself.  I plan to pick this man's brains about how to make AV an even better speedrunner.

Here's Greg Rinaldi, senior producer on NBA Live.  Back in the day Greg and I were both character animators on various EA Sports games.

Here's Greg Rinaldi, senior producer on NBA Live.  Back in the day Greg and I were both character animators on various EA Sports games.

Maya and Dan chat is I give my wife (the camerawoman here) a skeptical look.

Maya and Dan chat is I give my wife (the camerawoman here) a skeptical look.

Shareef of TicToc games getting ready to show Adventures of Pip!

Shareef of TicToc games getting ready to show Adventures of Pip!

So that about sums it up - a whole bunch of pics.  Hope you enjoyed them.  See you next show (probably PAX East!)



Screenshot Saturday 12/13/2014

Here's another 2X screenshot - this one being a made-up pair of chambers I designed just for the purpose.  Note that I actually had to make this in the level editor and not Photoshop, though I did make a bunch of screencaps and select the "best of" parts from each since the creatures all move at different rates and sometimes end up all clustered together.

It's been a while since I've posted; mainly due to Sony Experience and the run up to it.  I hope to make a post later this weekend about how that went!

The Balance Between Press Demos and Spoilers

First and foremost, and this is going to sound a little bit cheesy and maybe even a little bit phony, but believe me when I say this is sincere: I feel a tremendous responsibility not to let you down. I feel humbled by you and everyone else who has been looking forward to Axiom Verge and relishing the idea of getting your hands on the game. As you’ve probably heard a few times, I’ve been working on this during evenings and weekends for almost 5 years now. Every time I was tired after work and just wanted to turn my brain off and watch TV or something, I fought the urge and got back to working on the game. When I wanted to unwind on the weekends, I just kept working on the game. And I probably could have kept doing that for another few years if it weren’t for you and others like you who gave me the courage to quit my job and work on this full-time so I can actually finish it and get it out there. I don’t have a ton of savings, and what I do have I’m burning through quickly, but I feel confident I’ll be able to make it to the finish line. I know, indie cliché that you’ve heard a million times, but it’s my current reality. And it’s because of people like you that I feel like this is a risk worth taking.

But here’s another reality – for every person like you, there are probably a thousand other people who have never even heard of Axiom Verge. People who I think would actually really like it if they heard about it. That’s not really due to any lack of trying to get the word out or anything, it’s just the nature of the business and how easy it is to get lost among a sea of new and upcoming indie games. I’m hoping that each time I release a little bit more of the game is another opportunity for people to find out about it. (And any opportunity you have to help spread the word would be very much appreciated!) I think the Axiom Verge universe has enough depth to support a series of games, but for that to happen, the first one needs to do well enough that I can continue working on it as a full time job.

The first build we're sending out is just a very small slice.

The first build we're sending out is just a very small slice.

As a die-hard fan of the genre myself, believe me when I say I’m extremely sensitive to the concern that all of the secrets will be spoiled before it’s released. I’m only going to be releasing a little bit more of the game each time, pulling back the curtain ever so gradually between now and launch. By launch time, I’ll probably have revealed about 20-25% of the game. That means even if you watch everything, there will still be another 75-80% of the game that you won’t have seen. And if you’re worried about spoilers and want to go into it fresh, I would encourage you just to avoid watching any of the Let’s Plays. Launch will be coming soon enough, so hopefully it won’t be too hard to avoid!

So again, I really want to thank you for caring so much about Axiom Verge that you want to avoid having the experience spoiled. You’re exactly who I’m making the game for.

Tightening up the Graphics

Just a quick sample of some of the polish I've been doing lately.  When you've been working on the same project for almost five years, you find that tilesets you did four years ago don't necessarily match the ones you've made more recently.  So whenever I find myself back in those earlier stages (for a convention build or whatever) I make little additions to tie things together and make the art style a bit more consistent.

And Now for Something Different

It’s been nearly five years since I started working on Axiom Verge and even longer since I’ve started putting together a mental list of all of the cool things I’d want to put into my dream game. As I’m now approaching the finish line of my long journey, I’ve come to the realization that there’s a lot to explore in Axiom Verge. Too much to give reviewers a week or two to digest and absorb. There’s a deep storyline and lots hidden secrets, not to mention that part of the fun of the game will come from improving your speedrun time long after finishing the main story.

 

Dan and I have been thinking about how best to showcase everything in a way that will be more than a superficial preview. We’ve decided to do something that, to our knowledge, hasn’t really been done before. I’m going to break my game up into several small pieces and give it out to journalists and YouTubers at a rate of one small section per month up until launch. I’m hoping that by giving each section some room to breathe on its own, people will be able to do a deeper dive and explore all of the secrets hidden within. Each section will be long enough to extend the storyline and showcase the gameplay but also short enough that dedicated players will be able to hone their speedrun times. I’m personally curious to see if anyone is able to beat my time!

 

There’s of course a bit of a risk that too many secrets will be revealed and ruin the experience for people when it does come out. I’ll be sure to keep some secrets close to the chest, so there should be plenty of surprises for everyone when the game is released next Spring.

 

Dan and I have compiled a list of journalists and YouTubers who we think might be interested and will be sending out builds next week. If you would like to make sure you’re added to the list, please send Dan an email at Dan [at] Dan-Adelman.com. If you are a YouTuber, please contact us from your YouTube page. The games will begin shortly!

Extra Large Screenshot

You won't see this in the game - that's because I artificially zoomed out the "camera" just to make this shot (notice how the UI is still 1:1!)  Anyway, I've been busy as usual.  I was almost finished with the final boss when the IGF deadline popped up, so I took some time off to work on that.  But basically all that is left gobs and gobs of polish and additional features.  There's a bunch of media about to come out in the meantime; you may be seeing AV appearing in some prominent locations.

I'm Teaming Up With Dan Adelman!

If you'd been following the game industry news at all this past August, you've probably heard how Nintendo's indie games lead is now striking out on his own to help indies directly.

That's a big deal.  Dan is the guy who brought games like Shovel KnightCave Story, Retro City Rampage, the BIT.TRIP series, and World of Goo to Nintendo platforms.  He worked there for 9 years, and his name is basically synonymous with Nintendo indies; he's facilitated the launch of hundreds of titles.  Business development, marketing, negotiating - all those things that indies themselves tend to be weakest in - are his expertise.

I'm honored to be the first developer he's decided to team up with.  Honestly, he could take his pick of indies, but he can only choose a select few in order to give us maximum support.  He'll be announcing the others when the time is right.  It's going to be awesome!

PAX Prime 2014

So, if you hadn't heard, Axiom Verge was at PAX Prime, again at the Sony booth!  

Here's the Sony booth.  The layout was a bit awkward this time, but it didn't seem to keep a steady stream of players from squeezing in.  You can see Matt Bodega helping to set up.

Here's the Sony booth.  The layout was a bit awkward this time, but it didn't seem to keep a steady stream of players from squeezing in.  You can see Matt Bodega helping to set up.

Again I had two Kiosks.

This was the same demo shown at E3.

This was the same demo shown at E3.

I  hung out a lot with Dan Adelman, who I hope to work with in the future.  He introduced me to a lot of folks and gave some of his industry insight.


I went to a couple of more parties this time, and Chloe was there to take some pictures.  Here's me with Ian Stocker, of Escape Goat fame.

Here I am looking super chunky, talking with Susan Wright of Life Goes On, Dan Adelman, and Ryan Roth, the composer for Starseed Pilgrim and many others.

Below is a very expressive Phedran (a prominent indie youtube personality), Susan Wright, Dan Adelman, and myself.

I met Cale Bradbury and some folks from Klei at the "Humble Bundle Party".  Cale is a master of all kinds of trippy games and art (like Snakes on a Cartesian Plane).  He gave me a zine created entirely from sine waves.  Here he is playing Axiom Verge.

Tim Schafer did his Grim Fandango signing in the next row over from AV.

And then, I went insane!  No, just kidding.  I really don't know how to end this.  For the most part it was a very busy 4 days of introducing people to AV, doing interviews, and going to parties with industry folk.  We should be seeing more stuff come online over the next few weeks!