Thursday, June 23, 2016

Radiator 2 reception and press round-up

As of June 23, a week since its release, Radiator 2 on Steam is rated "Very Positive" (85%) out of 595 user reviews, which seems pretty decent to me. The store page has gotten about 9,000,000 impressions (number of times someone has seen a link to the store page) and about 500,000 actual visits (when they actually click that link). (Moral: there is definitely an audience for gay stuff on Steam, let's put more gay stuff on there.)

There have been about 34,000 downloads total, with a peak of 132 simultaneous players on the day after launch. 18% of downloads are from the United States, followed by 10% of downloads from Russia, 7% from China, 6% from Brazil, 6% from Germany, and 4% from France. (Moral: localize your game! A lot of the world doesn't use English!)

As I've always said, numbers don't really mean much in the end, but I guess they're fun to think about. If I were selling this game for like ~$5 USD, those user numbers would've qualified as a respectable commercial indie effort that easily funds another project... But in terms of free games, many of which get hundreds of thousands of installs, Radiator 2 is more or less within the statistical median between "ultra obscure" and "viral", which I think isn't too bad for a 15 minute compilation of 1 year old gay sex games.

Here are some quick write-ups at Rock Paper Shotgun and Eurogamer, and here's a more in-depth interview with Nathan Grayson for Kotaku about more of the details behind putting and maintaining something on Steam.

Now, what's next? As I told Nathan, I'm currently re-conceptualizing the gay bar game, and I'm also doing some more technical design work for that Robert Moses game, which will hopefully be done in late July.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Radiator 2 as loud and quiet

Radiator 2 is an "HD remastered" (whatever that means) bundle consisting of previously released sex games Hurt Me Plenty, Succulent, and Stick Shift, available on Itch.IO and Steam.

(If you're interested in knowing more about the process and intent behind the individual games, see the Hurt Me Plenty talk I gave at NYU Poly, or the write-up I did about Succulent or the write-up I did on Stick Shift.)

Originally, the plan was to package them together to avoid going through Steam Greenlight three whole separate times, but now I feel like they all function similarly and share code / assets, so why not put them together?

I'm also concerned with accessibility and preservation. I want this game to function on a wide variety of systems, now and for a long time -- and Unity 5.4 finally fixed an OpenGL crash a lot of players have been reporting to me, so that's a big reason I've had to wait until June. The engine upgrade also brings better lighting and physically-based rendering, and I also added some language localization and gamepad support while I was at it. I'm now pretty comfortable with this being a "definitive version" that I don't have to worry about or maintain too much.

There's also a lot more to this release, other than these boring technical details...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Working with custom ObjectPreviews and SkinnedMeshRenderers in Unity

Unity's blendshape controls -- basically just a list of textboxes -- were going to cause me a lot of pain. After wrestling with broken AnimationClips for my previous attempt at facial expressions in my game Stick Shift, I decided to actually invest a day or two into building better tools for myself, inspired partly by Valve's old Faceposer tool for Source Engine 1.

To do that, I scripted the Unity editor to draw a custom inspector with sliders (based on Chris Wade's BlendShapeController.cs) along with an interactive 3D face preview at the bottom of the inspector.

The workflow I wanted was this: