Hero’s Song: Doing it Right!

Today, september 7th, was the day Apple officially announced the iPhone7. That, however, was not what i was looking forward to today. September 7th was the day that PiXelMageGames made right what started in january with the announcement of this new company, their first game in developement, Hero’s Song, and the sadly failed attempt to launch a Kickstarter. Anyone with a bit of interest in gaming might remember that the game was pulled from Kickstarter within a few days after it started their campaign, appoligizing for their enthausiastic but rushed attempt. After that things got kind of quiet around Hero’s Song…

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Ofcourse the people behind PiXelMageGames got anything but quiet, passionately working on the game that they announced and that had sounded so promising. Sometimes there was some chitchatter on Twitter, usually voiced by John Smedley (CEO of PiXelMageGames), but nothing really big this last half year got announced nor shown to the public. A while ago i wrote a blogpost about community and how important it is to keep communication with your fanbase clear and active, to involved them on the project you are working on and how they are your best shot at promoting your product. In this post i used Hero’s Song as an eXample and tried to discribe how PiXelMageGames could benefit from a dedicated group of fans to both make their game better as well as keep the hype alive they started eventhough the Kickstarter failed. I hoped it got some attention from some of the people working on the game and fans in the community, for i still think together we can make this game a big succes. I dont know if anyone did notice my thoughts on the subject but today i got the feeling someone had seen the light and PiXelMageGames had made some eXcellent decisions!

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First there was the info on the game. All the credits for this goes to the people working on Hero’s Song at PiXelMageGames and they have the opportunity to show this eXciting game they are working on all these months. Alot of features and ideas already mentioned with their first announcement seem to have made it into the game and the possibilities of unique worlds, a ton of classes, privately hosted games and an indept living gameworld, each with their own history, is mindblowing but seems to have become a real thing! Im really eXcited how this will develope over the neXt few weeks and months until we get the possibility to step into alpha-/preorder release and eXperience these brave new worlds for ourselves. It feels like what No Man’s Sky could and should have been, the eXploration of a procedurely generated gameworld but with the actual presence of eXciting gameplay and story… The difference of a beautiful but hollow shell and a game in which fantasies become real and a new adventure is yours for the taking.

PiXelMageGames decided to make amends with their failure at the Kickstarter campaign and launched on Indiegogo today. Opposed to their earlier attempt they backed this campaign with a ton of eXciting info on what they have achieved so far and set a fleXibele thus realistic goal to raise money to top the game eXperience with even more features and options. They left out the ridiculous backer options from their Kickstarter campain and set up a variety of realistic but desireable perks. There is the opportunity to buy a pre-order with a discount on the official price after launch, alpha access and a smal variety of goodies and/or ways to get your own ideas in the world of Hero’s Song. For the official announcement on this neXt stage in the developement of the game they set up a live stream hosted by the partnered and well known Twitch streamen CohhCarnage. John Smedly and Patrick Rothfuss (World Building and Design) appeared on the stream, showing their latest trailer on the game, eXplaining their progress and near future plans. NeXt to the eXciting features of the game and story they talked about, i was thrilled to hear CohhCarnage emphasize the importance of maintaining a good and active relationship with the community. Looking at the choices PiXelMageGames seem to have made with this new backer campaign and the communication towards their fanbase i would like to think some of my wishes have been heared and pick-up, wether it is coincidence or not i do not really care, i just hope it will make this game the fantastic project we got promised and i see a bright future ahead for everyone that have put their hopes on this project which could blow our minds. Hero’s Song, the game No Man’s Sky never was!

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PiXelhunting Eastereggs

 

PixelAnt

An Easter Egg is an hidden joke in games, movies, cd/Dvd’s or books. Just like real easter eggs they are hidden and you have to go look for it to find them. With the introduction of the internet the search for Easter Eggs have gotten a whole lot easier since you can just look them up and if your lucky you will most probably also find a video of how to find the hidden joke.

Some of the funniest Easter Eggs i know of are the appearance of RD2D (the funny Star Wars robot) in the 2009 and 2013 Star Trek movies as well as in hieroglyphs in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Arc. In the GTA: Vice City videogame there was a hidden room with an actual easter egg on a pedestal and in Day of the Tenticle if you played as Bernard you could play an other computer game on a certain computer ingame… the whole game of Maniac Mansion! There are also plenty hidden tracks on various music albums when you leave it on after the cv/dvd ends and some famous hidden messages could be find on vinyl records by playing them backwards.

PiXelhunting originates from the oldstyle point-and-click adventures (videogames) in which you needed to click on a particular spot on your screen to pick up or activate an object. These objects could vary in size and if the developer made the item small enough you were actually looking for a dot (piXel) on your screen to click to be able to go on with the game… that searching for the right piXel is also known as piXelhunting. It was known to be implemented to make the game more difficult or at least to have the player spent time playing the game since searching for piXels among thousands of others could be very time consuming. It was also a very easy way to hide Easter Eggs into a videogame but not the most original way i must add. As much as i like to find Easter Eggs in the games i play, especially with funny references to other games, the devs or funny jokes made in these hidden secrets, i do hate it when the developers hides the Easter Egg behind a certain piXel making the Easter Egg hunt a PiXelhunt instead.    Single Ant1-1

Can you tell me if you have ever encountered a cool or funny Easter Egg on an album, in a movie or videogame?

The gaming “Carrot-on-a-Stick”

CarrotMC

My favorite gaming platform has always been PC although we also have a Wii and 2 XboX360’s at home. Its probably because i grew up gaming on PC (and so called Home Computers before that) and my parents never thought about getting a game console for my sister and me. When i was 18 i bought myself a Nintendo Gameboy when i lived in Canada for a year. Many years later my wife got me a Sony PSP for my birthday but despite that my go-to favorite machine to enjoy gaming has always remained the PC.

The introduction of the mobile phone also got us so-called mobile games. Starting with classics like Snake on all Nokia phones, with the developement and improvements to mobile phones and later smart-phones also grew the amount and quality of mobile games. There have been some very good and innovatieve games on the mobile and tablet platform but personally they cannot compete with a good and immersive game on PC or console. Usually they function as a quick passtime when waiting at the dentist or at the busstop but can hardly keep my attention for more than 10 minutes and a couple of days.

Most of these games however try to bind their players with the use of daily login rewards and the so-called “carrots on a stick”. Recently i have installed the free-to-play game Dungeon Boss on my iPhone. The objective is to get up to 4 of your collectable Heroes through short (1-5 minute) dungeons collecting tokens to get more Heroes or to upgrade the ones you already own. When you have reached a high enough level you get to create your own dungeon which you need to protect against other players with your available Heroes. Its up to you to raid other players dungeons for rewards or the general dungeons for Hero tokens. You can take on (daily) quests to earn eXtra rewards and to help out your guild in earning guildrewards.

I was wondering why this game keeps my interest for weeks on end already even managed to make me login on a regular daily base to go finish the daily and guild quests and trying to get enough tokens to get this new Hero or upgrading that one Hero i love to improve. Apparently the carrot in this game is the same used for eXample in the Pokemon games where all players keep trying to get all the available characters…

Mobile Ant

Eventhough these games wont replace the ones on my PC, not even Dungeon Boss, it is interesting to see why this carrot is so appealing. A good (mobile) game needs a good carrot but not every “gamer” is caught with the prospect of collecting 50 or so characters by grinding days, weeks or months… The secret i think lays in the fact that the first week or 2 you need to bind the new player with the prospect of offering them something new every day. If you dont reward them when they are discovering the game they will quickly put it aside to try something else. But if you manage to keep that player interested for a (couple of) week(s) they start setting bigger goals and they dont need to be lured back in every day. So you need short term goals as well as long term goals. I guess that is no different for mobile games, PC or console games nowadays… Alot of games have introduced daily quests and login rewards these last few years and i think it has the desired effect because i keep catching myself login in to several games just to pick up a login reward or finishing a couple of dailies, even feeling guilty when i skipped those quests/rewards for a day!

Enough on addictive game mechanics for now because i still need to pick up the login rewards for Marvel Heroes and Guild Wars 2 before i get back at finishing my daily quests in Dungeon Boss to get the new Hero ive been franticly saving up tokens for… Gotta catch ’em all!