Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doodles while designing

Over the last couple of days, I've been reading my old design notebooks for inspiration.  Apparently I tend to doodle a lot...

Sooo, yeah.  I'll leave the psychoanalysis of my past self up to you guys.


Monday, October 17, 2011


That sound is me blowing one of these things:

So, five years ago I incorporated Wadjet Eye Games.  I was so wrapped up in the recent launch that it almost passed unnoticed.  Not a day goes by that I am not floored by the fact that I am making a living doing something that I love, and all I can wish for is to do it for another five years.  And if it's not too much to ask... another five after that, and another five after that.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to bake us a cake, we wouldn't say no.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On giving away stuff for free

Today I wanted to address another infrequent question I'm getting about the pre-order offer.  The DVD (which is only available for one more day, incidentally)  contains all the previous Blackwell games burned onto the disc, and buying it gives you immediate access to Blackwell Convergence, the third game in the series.

I've gotten a few emails from customers asking why I didn't give them access to Blackwell Legacy instead, since it is the first game in the series.  It technically makes the most sense, but in practice... not so much.  When a company gives a product away for free, it's not just to be nice (well, maybe a bit nice). The free product is being used - primarily - as a promotional tool.  So why not lead with your best product?  Telltale did this with Sam and Max a few years ago.  The fourth game in the series - Abe Lincoln Must Die! - is now freeware, and it is widely considered by fans and critics alike as the best of the season.  This is no coincidence.

Blackwell Legacy is a solid game, but it was also my first game, and I've improved my skills significantly since it was released five years ago.  Convergence is a much better showcase for the series, so it made more sense to give the customers immediate access to it.  Had I given them Legacy instead (or given them all three, in which case they would play Legacy first), I ran the risk of them not seeing me at my best. 

Maybe this was the right decision, maybe it wasn't.  Some of you might feel slighted.  Heck, you bought the DVD which contains the games, so why can't you play them now?  To you I say: I understand.  So, here's what I'll do.  If you bought the DVD and don't want to wait for it to arrive before playing the first three games, I will give you a voucher so you can nab the downloads free of charge.  Email me your DVD order receipt and I'll hook you up. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

CD or not CD

One of our pre-order deals involves a DVD version of Blackwell Deception that you can nab for a limited amount of time.  This "limited time" thing has led to a lot of you asking the same question:  Why, dear Dave, did you decide to do it this way?  And didn't you used to sell the hard copies as a regular part of your store?

You'd be right.  When I started Wadjet Eye, there was a small but eager demand for CD copies, and it seemed self-defeating to not supply that demand.  There weren't enough orders for me to use a CD duplication service, so I constructed and shipped all the hard copies myself.

With some moral support from my friend here, of course.

It was a pretty good system.  I only got a few of those orders a week, so I could easily keep up with them.  The customers got something they wanted, and I got a bit of extra cash. Sometimes I would even sign the CD if the customer asked for it.  It worked well, but... not for long.

Time went on and things got busier, and I began to dread getting those CD orders.  Even though I only got a few of them a week, I found myself with less and less time to deal with them.  Sometimes I would be so busy and harried that I'd almost resent having to fill a CD order. I'd rush through the process, copying a file incorrectly or smudging the ink into something ugly, forcing me to start over and get even more frustrated.  I knew it couldn't last, and round about the time I was working on Emerald City Confidential and Blackwell Convergence at the same time, I bit the bullet and discontinued the CDs altogether.

I hated to do it, but I also had to face a hard truth. In the year they were available, I sold only 30 CD copies of each game.  With so little demand, and as time-consuming as they were, the choice was obvious.  I had to stop selling them.

But as a gamer from forever ago, I remember the sheer joy of holding a physical game in your hands.  One that was actually in a box, with a proper manual (that you actually were expected to read).  I hated that hard copies of my games didn't exist anymore.  So I decided to try another tactic.  If there wasn't a high enough demand for them, why not try and create a demand?

And lo, the "limited edition pre-order CD" offer was forged.  You couldn't just buy the CD whenever you gosh darned pleased.  No sir.  You had to buy it NOW.  Or else it was GONE.  FOREVER.  And it worked. The CD of Gemini Rue became a hot item.  We had to hire a duplication service to handle it all.  Our little apartment began to fill up substantially with all the packages we assembled.

If you ordered a CD of Gemini Rue, your copy is in this pile somewhere.

It worked so well before, that we are doing it again. We are even going all out and throwing more stuff into the package to make it a more attractive deal.  So much that we had to upgrade to a DVD instead of a CD to accommodate it all.  But I'll shut up about it before this turns into a sales pitch (but you should totally buy it anyway).

Anyway, that's why I do it this way.  It seems to work for us, at least for now.