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We’re releasing Blink on March 10th!

March 1st, 2017

We are finally about the release Blink after 3 years of development. We got our steam page set up and everything. Check out the steam page here.

Crush Your Friends Art

You can check out our new trailer on our steam page. I’m really happy with how the trailer turned out, especially compared to our previous two trailers. The main reason the new trailer is a lot better is that we spent a whole lot more time in preproduction. A long pre-production let us think through how to communicate our “blink” mechanic as succinctly as possible. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of it. Anyhow, wishlist Blink if it looks interesting to you, and help spread the word!

Crush Your Friends is on the Google Play Store!

June 29, 2016

Ryan and I decided to make a game during a Hackathon in Dallas, and what was born from it is the game Crush Your Friends. Ryan told me about the idea, and I thought it sounded like it would be a lot of fun; a simple single-screen multiplayer mobile game, how hard could it be? Well, when you have only 24 hours to complete it, very hard. By the 15th hour my eyes were killing me and sleeping on concrete seemed like an enjoyable experience, and Ryan looked like he was on his last battery, but we did it. We were able to get it working and submitted it to the ending contest.

Crush Your Friends Art

After the Hackathon we decided to polish the game up with some free time we had the next few weeks. I made a new title screen and updated the background and advertising art, while Ryan fixed bugs and refined the experience with some mighty screen shake! We then put it onto the Google Play Store and waited to see what happened. Sadly, mobile markets are tough so it sank to the bottom of the endless app sea, never to see the light of day… until we received an email from the Google Play Team saying that we made it onto the Indie Corner! Basically, it means that Crush Your Friends will be seen by a lot more people, which is great! The goal of nextReality Games is to make games that push the boundaries of the industry or introduce a crazy new game mechanic for all to enjoy. Overall we hope that people enjoy Crush Your Friends! Our next goal is to port it onto the IOS app store, but before that we are always looking forward to feedback and questions so never be afraid to contact us! Thank you for your support and see you in the next post!

What not to do when promoting your game on Twitch

February 14, 2016

Loic Ferdinandi and I are just two college students working on the puzzle platformer called Blink. Our previous attempts at marketing the game weren’t very effective, and this was our big break in some sense. Swiftor, a popular Twitch streamer, gave us the awesome opportunity to show our game to a large audience for the first time. He played our game while we provided live developer commentary. We got in touch with Swiftor by winning a Taco Bell indie game contest, so I can’t really give you advice on how to go about contacting Twitch streamers, but I can tell you what to expect during a live Twitch stream, as well as what not to do during a live Twitch stream.

The stream was not a failure by any means, but there were a lot of things we wish we knew ahead of time. An article like this would’ve helped us quite a bit, but I wasn’t able to find any when I was looking just before the Twitch stream. Overall, we got a very good reaction from the viewers, and I want to thank Swiftor for playing and streaming our game even though it isn’t what you would typically expect to be played on Twitch. You can watch a recording of the stream here, our game starts at about 3:33:00.

Swiftor Playing Blink

Microphone Setup

Loic and I used Discord to talk with Swiftor during the stream. We made sure the microphones were setup right, but last minute changes rendered a lot of the preparation obsolete. I wanted to use a high-quality microphone, but once the stream began, Swiftor pointed out my mic was picking up feedback (such as an echo of voices). I quickly switched over to my earbud’s mic to try and get rid of the feedback, but it ended up switching to my laptop’s microphone, which I later found out made my voice sound like a whisper. Luckily, Loic didn’t have any microphone problems and was able to keep talking throughout the stream. However, it’s stressful having technical problems when nearly 1,500 people are listening; so don’t put yourself in that position. The moral of the story is: use headphones that have a microphone.

Be Aware of Twitch’s Delay

The biggest thing we wish we knew before the stream was how much delay Twitch has. Communication with Discord is near instant, but Twitch has about a 20 second delay. We had to comment on what Swiftor was doing in the present, but we could only see what Swiftor did 20 seconds ago on the Twitch live-video stream. The whole time we were guessing what Swiftor was doing based purely on what he was saying via Discord. This made us really confused at first, but we quickly figured it out. The delay caused us to leave moments of silence when we were waiting for Swiftor to talk and give us a hint on what he was doing, when in reality, he and the audience were awaiting our responses. Blink is a not a game with a whole lot of action and noise, so the silence stuck out more than usual. We should have talked more about how we came up with ideas about the levels and characters, but we were too busy trying to guess where he was in the game. If a Twitcher is promoting your game, make sure you have a plan to fill up the empty spaces between lulls in the stream. Also make sure to leave space for your host to comment and ask questions since it is their show and they are the personality the audience wants to hear from. As a final note for this section, Loic and I caused some confusion on when our game was coming out (partially due to our mic issues); so make sure to have some sort of release date as well as pricing of the game in the back of your minds.

It’ll Last Longer Than You Think

We sent Swiftor a custom demo of Blink with some levels cut out to help speed things along and keep the stream interesting. Swiftor gave us a 30-minute “timeslot”, and we were expecting it to last 15-20 minutes based off of previous playtests. But it took longer than we expected, and Swiftor graciously gave us 40 minutes and finished the demo (It only felt like ten minutes to me, though). Swiftor wasn’t slow at the game--he plays video games for a living, after all--we just didn’t properly account for the factors outside of playing the game, such as: introducing ourselves at the beginning of the segment, Swiftor reading the in-game dialogue out-loud (which was quite cool), stopping to ask and answer questions from the chat windows, as well as asking us questions about the game. Given that, there are many things during a Twitch stream that’ll cause things to go along at a slower rate than you expected. It might be too early to make a rule of thumb based on one experience, but I’d say it’ll take about twice as long for a Twitch-streamer to get through a gameplay segment compared to an average play through. I want to thank Swiftor again for not cutting the demo short, as we got some of the best feedback in the last few minutes of the stream.

Some Twitch chat comments

Chat Comments Don’t Last

Getting live feedback from thousands of people in the chat windows is one of the most exciting things about twitch streaming, but we were too busy providing commentary to look at the chat window during the stream. Afterwards, we weren’t too happy to find that Twitch only lets you view the last 100 or so chat comments. Luckily, one of our friends watching realized this and took dozens of screenshots of all the comments, so we were able to enjoy the feedback afterwards. So make sure you record the stream or those comments are lost forever.

We didn’t have much experience with Twitch beforehand, so we didn’t know about the Twitch chat commands that users can type to get more information about the game being streamed, or the event going on at the moment. Another friend (who allowed us to do this in his awesome apartment) informed us of the chat commands a few minutes before we were live, and we asked him to send the Twitch channel moderators the links to our website and Steam Greenlight page. Sadly, these pages were not the best choices to provide links to. Blink was already greenlit a year ago, so linking to the Greenlight page wasn’t really the best option. Also, I’ve only been paying a $5/month fee for our company’s website server. Judging by the number of times people were chatting “!blink”, I’m sure our low-bandwidth server took forever to load our website. What we really wanted was more Twitter followers, but we forgot to give a link to our Twitter page in the heat of the moment. We only ended up with five new Twitter followers after the stream. Make sure you have all of your links ready before the stream, because it is really easy to forget things when you’re broadcasting live.

Great Feedback

So I’ve mostly mentioned what went wrong during the stream, but that is because that information is much more important to developers who are going to have their game live-streamed. Overall, it was a great experience. It’s really fun to hear hundreds and hundreds of people comment on nearly every aspect of your game. I received so many compliments that they eventually lost all meaning! You can know how deeply to consider some criticism by how often it’s repeated. It was a great experience, and I hope your “Twitching” goes even better by learning from our mistakes. Good Luck!

We’re Greenlit!

January 8th, 2015

Blink was greenlit by Valve yesterday, and we want to thank all our friends, family, and all those other random (but nevertheless awesome) people out there on the internet for making this possible. It is truly a dream come true. In the past 19 days, checking our Greenlight progress became an obsession for me where I would drive myself crazy checking it even two hours or so. Sometimes I would just leave steam open as I worked on the game.

Boy was I surprised when one minute I saw that Blink was 62 percent of the way to the top 100, and then the next minute we were Greenlit! We were ecstatic; almost as much as this kid! I figured a game had to be in the top 100 in order to be Greenlit, but I did hear that Valve sometimes walks up to a game with maybe about 3,000 ‘yes’ votes and says “Hey kid, you’ve got spunk”, then greenlights it. That’s at least how I imagine Valve. Here’s our final Greenlight stats:

Some Positive Chat Comments

These past two months of hardcore marketing and promoting Blink (hardcore for me at least) were actually really fun! It was intimidated by idea of greenlight and marketing, but it’s quite fun and valuable to get feedback from a lot of people. The process of showing your creation to the world is usually stressful, but it is really fulfilling. I’m sure Loic agrees. Thanks for all your support in getting Blink on Steam.

Blink is on Steam Greenlight

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. We launched our Steam Greenlight with a fantastic start, but it has slowed down as expected. But fear not, we have a few things up our sleeves to get the yes votes we need. First, we are going to be featured by Indie Game Mag soon if nothing falls through. The second thing I’ll talk about later, but it’s going to be pretty cool. We’ve gotten a lot of suggestions from people seeing the game for the first time, and one thing we somehow didn’t even think of is support for more languages than just English. So I asked a bunch of my bilingual friends, and they were super supportive. Thanks to some fantastic people, Blink will now support French, Spanish, Italian, and Norwegian as well as English. Thanks for your comments and suggestions everyone, both Loic and I are really excited to show the world Blink for the first time.

Our Trailer is Done!

December 13, 2014

After a year of working on Blink, we have our first trailer done which you can see on the home page. It’s been a busy past couple of weeks rerecording music, editing, polishing art, oh and studying for finals. Yes very busy. But if you are confused about what you saw in the trailer and are yearning for answers, then let me explain by telling you a story about how I came up with the idea for Blink. Way back in 10th grade I was taking a written final exam for gym class (I’m not sure why there was a written final in gym). We had three hours to finish the exam while sitting isolated on the basketball court. But I finished in about 30 minutes and had the rest of the time to lay on the hardwood floor in complete boredom.

But I found a way to entertain myself. If I stared at the bright ceiling lights and closed my eyes, I realized you could still see the shape of the light in negative colors. I’m sure you’ve stared at the sun before(though I don’t recommend it) and could still see an afterimage if you closed your eyes. Since I had nothing better to do, I began creating shapes in my eye by repeatedly exposing my eye to the ceiling lights. Then I realized there is a whole lot of stuff you can still see when your eyes are closed like background pattern and little “squiggles” that seem alive. It was like a faint world that existed inside my head because of some glitch in my brain. But isn’t your view of the real world just an image inside your head?

Forest Meadow

A few days later I came up with the basic premise of Blink. The screen lets you see through a floating eye which you can open and close. Also you control a character who is always in the eye’s vision whether you open or close the eye. When you close the eye, anything lit up in the environment leaves an after-image, and your character can use these after-images as platforms. The light from the environment is frozen in place and is now solid for the boy to walk on , that is until you open the eye. With this ability, you can pass through obstacles in the shadows, or walk on illuminated fog to get to higher areas. There are endless possibilities once we give the player the ability to manipulate light sources, but more on that later. I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for a long time, and it’s great to finally see it become a reality. Thanks for reading this first post.