All proceeds go to the Sierra Club, a nonprofit environmental organization that has spent almost 125 years fighting for our right to clean air, clean water, and now clean energy.
Last year, #BeatTheDev raised more than $5,000 for the Sierra Club. Now, we’ve set our sights even higher.
Our goal: getting California’s largest cities to commit to 100% clean energy. Why California? As the home of Silicon Valley, California is at the heart of the technology that has reshaped the world we live in. Now, it’s time for us to export something else: the transition to 100% clean energy around the world.
The purpose of #BeatTheDev is twofold: 1) Leveraging the powerful reach of streamers and game developers to enact positive change for the environment and 2) Building a better future for the young people who play and love our games!
#BeatTheDev is hosted by the UC Santa Cruz Games & Playable Media Department. Tune in and donate on June 3, 4, and 5, from 12pm-8pm PST, at twitch.tv/beatthedev. See you there!
I’m a bit late to the party here, but holy cow, Gravity Ghost is available for purchase on Steam: Check it on out!
It’s been 50 days since the game came out, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the responses we’re getting. Our reviews are 98% positive on Steam, which gives me a sense of validation that is difficult to put into words.
The LA Times:
“The solar system is your playground in Gravity Ghost”
The Onion AV Club:
“It’s an enchanting and strange vision of the afterlife, illustrated with a painterly style that emphasizes bright colors and expressive beauty. This is a vision of the universe as a majestic mobile, a feeling bolstered by the wistful, often triumphant soundtrack provided by Ben Prunty (FTL: Faster Than Light). It feels good to just linger here.”
“The ambition of the design and the ability to bring complex actions out of simplicity make Gravity Ghost feel like a calling card for a game designer to watch.”
“Gravity Ghost operates on pure empathy, and the story’s denouement left me on the verge of tears.”
YouTube personality Total Biscuit called the game “absolutely phenomenal” (with 350K views and counting):
And finally, a little “behind the scenes” view of the game: Kotaku has just posted a mini-documentary where I talk about what it took to complete Gravity Ghost over the course of several years. It was a lot of work, but hearing all the lovely experiences people are having with the game are making it all feel worthwhile. Full video below:
Hello friends! Did you know I do a weekly dev stream where I talk about Gravity Ghost? It’s true! I stream every Tuesday at 7pm PST / 10pm EST on my Twitch channel. I also archive past episodes on my YouTube channel.
Here’s a recent episode where I give an early look at one of the many ‘Guardian’ creatures in the game:
HELLO FRIENDS! I have some good news. Hah, no, not the fact that it’s my birthday today (it totally is). I mean that Gravity Ghost has a release date! It’s just a few months out! It’ll be in your virtual hands before you can say ‘orbital trajectory simulation.’
Gravity Ghost will be released on Monday, January 26, 2015, on Steam.
If you preorder you get $5 off the release day price of $14.99, plus a free bonus copy of the game to give away to someone special.
New to the game? Here’s our trailer from PAX last year:
Here’s one of the many story scenes which are hidden throughout the game:
As mentioned above, the game will launch on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux. If you already preordered, good news! You’ve already got Steam keys headed your way. They should show up in your Humble preorder within the next two weeks.
Finally, here’s what to look forward to in the finished game:
100+ Levels Of unique gravity challenges
10+ powerups, including a gravity-warping ‘terraforming’ mechanic
Dynamic new soundtrack from the composer of FTL: Faster than Light
Beautiful handpainted graphics and wildly original creatures
Voice acting by Logan Cunningham, Ash Burch, Sarah Elmaleh, and more
25+ minutes of fully animated story, hidden throughout game
I already wrote this on my Gravity Ghost devlog but I’ll post it here too because it is exciting.
Last week at E3 we had the chance to share the game with Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku. I admit I was a bit nervous – E3 is where all the megamillion-dollar video games show off their newest and greatest features. What would a game made by a small team have to offer that would interest a mainstream gaming news site?
As it turns out I needn’t have worried. Kirk was kind enough to call Gravity Ghost “The Little Indie Mario Galaxy that Could.” In the following video he interviews me about the game as I play through a few minutes of it (This is also your first chance to see some of the new planet types in action). Check it on out!
Huge thanks to Jonathan for the opportunity to speak to such a huge audience about my work. I started out making obscure-ass adventure games and now it’s showing up as news on one of the major gaming websites. That is bananas. It’s more than bananas. It’s papayas.
I’d like to personally thank Gorm Lai for giving me the opportunity to keynote the 2013 Global Game Jam. It was a humbling experience to be writing for such a talented and driven audience, and I hope my video provided at least a few ideas for getting the most out of a jam. I’m very much looking forward to playing the results.
Edit: And if you ain’t seen the video yet, here it is. : ) My keynote starts at 3:30.
P.S. By popular request, here are the ’social network’ comics that appear when I’m encouraging people to spend more time with their local friends.
(Click for full size)
Ah, social networks. One day, a hip new media company will trademark the phrase “Go Be Social” and the word will lose all trace of its original meaning.
I’m flying home this weekend after more than two months solid on the road, but rest assured I’ll find time to participate in the Global Game Jam in some capacity. : ) If you want to keep up with more of my nonsense, I highly encourage you to follow me on Twitter.
By the way, I don’t think I ever posted this here, but my most recent game jam creation was called Around the World in 100 Cards. If you’re interested, it’ll teach you to recognize foreign alphabets as a gestalt, e.g. by learning to spot the differences between the Thai alphabet and the Cambodian one.
This is making me think there should be a jam where the theme is just “Global.” Although that could just be my pun sense tingling.
This will be the year that my team and I release Gravity Ghost, hooray! We have every milestone scheduled from now until our (as-yet-unannounced) ship day. Now all that’s left is a metric craptonne of work. I love it when a plan comes together.
I invite you to follow our progress at the Gravity Ghost devlog, where you too can learn the secrets to indie game development. You’ll also find tangentially game-related comics, like this one.
Although we’re a few weeks in already, I like to use the new year to evaluate my goals for the next 12 months (besides “more puns”, which is always on the list).
Here are a few of my professional goals for this year, in no particular order:
- Teach game development/programming to more young people (next week ends my third year of teaching the Indie Game Sprint at Columbia College, so we’re off to a good start : )
- Learn C# (or rather, learn it properly, not just enough to make simple prototypes)
- Improve my illustration, especially digital painting
- Start doing something comics-related with some regularity
- Learn more about DIY marketing
- Teach/lecture in more new places
- Find more silly words that rhyme with blog
I’m happy with how my independent games career has come along these last 8 years. It still astounds me that this actually is a career. Back when I started, “video games” were always big-budget studio titles. Having any creative input on a video game at all meant you needed to have 10 years of industry experience (or so the prevailing wisdom said).
My game development started as a hobby in a practically non-existent niche (I didn’t hear the word “indie” applied to games until about 2008 – before that, we were “amateur” or “freeware” developers). I expected my audience to be in the hundreds. So much has changed. Thanks for sticking with me and supporting me and my work – I’m so lucky to be able to create the worlds I do.
Last week at E3 was amazing. I got a chance to demo the game to a ton of people, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Like, overwhelming enough that I had to calm myself down with coffee. The whole thing was pure developer soul food (the positivity, not the coffee. Well, maybe the coffee too).
One of the people I talked to was Evan Narcisse of Kotaku, who was kind enough to feature the game on-camera. So head on over to Kotaku to see the first-ever video footage of Gravity Ghost to grace the internet:
Another exciting thing I forgot to post here is that I’m now updating the Gravity Ghost devlog pretty regularly. So hang out if you want to hear me wax poetic about things like animation, inspiration, and probably coffee again.