Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with different people, both supporters and nay-sayers about my hand-drawn indie game “James – Journey of Existence.” Both with Kickstarter and this blog, among other social media sites, I’ve tried to post updates and respond to everyone. However, it has happened often with both sides that they would completely miss important information I’ve posted when writing a comment.
This has quickly become my biggest pet-peeve: making a comment before actually reading an article. This is very common, especially on video game news sites where the fanbase is as “passionate” as they are. I don’t mind too much if the comment is nice, where I would then kindly repeat what I’ve said elsewhere. But more than once, people have poo-pooed “James – Journey of Existence” and used examples to help back their claim.
I don’t mind people making comments. I love comments! Because, even with me being as pompous as I am, I know they are usually right. Yes, the art can be better (and I will work on that). Yes, the level design is far to basic and rudimentary (I will improve that). But people have also tried to say that this game isn’t at all unique, and that several games, like Paper Mario, Braid, Wolfenstein or Okami have already done it better.
In my Kickstarter campaign (and in previous posts here), I have very clearly stated how none of those games are like mine and why. No game in existence has attempted to be a fully-functioning, 3D third-person game with 2D visuals. Paper Mario uses a fixed camera when in “3D mode,” and Mario himself only has one, flat dimension. Games like Braid and Fez are 2D, again with fixed cameras. Wolfenstein is similar to my concept, but were pixelated to meet hardware restrictions, and again had restricted cameras. Games like Okami are COMPUTER MODELS WITH FANCY RENDERERS, AND AS BEAUTIFUL AS THEY ARE, THEY ARE CLEARLY NOT HAND-DRAWN AND DO NOT FILL THE VOID I HAVE FOR TRADITIONAL ANIMATION! (sorry, I got a little upset there…)
To better visualize why my game is different at all, I suggest looking at the two very early concept videos below. “James – Journey of Existence” may be crude and you have every right to say so, but please, never say that it is not unique. It only shows that you haven’t spent any time actually reading the description, and you have no business spending more time making a comment then reading about the thing you are commenting on. And please download the free demo at http://james.fromdustscratch.com … I made it free so you can see for yourself what it is like in real time, and words, pictures, and videos simply cannot describe it, even if the demo itself is still far from complete. And if ever a trained artist takes the time to use similar methods to make a hand-drawn 3D game, the results could be breathtaking… but so far, I’m the only one suggesting it is even possible, and worth trying.
As upset as I am with commenters like this, it is largely my fault, and indie developers should take note. Most people may only see your project in one of the several places you post it. Of course they won’t go around searching for other information. If they don’t like your work, they will make a comment right there and never think about it again. They will not go searching through your past blogs, your Kickstarter updates, your Twitter feed, your Youtube channel, your Reddit posts, or any of that. So if I make a post here, I can guarantee that 99% of the people who have ever seen “James – Journey of Existence” will never read it. I’m yelling at air here, but it’s a lesson I will no doubt learn in future projects. I suggest making all of your important information as concisely as possible, and including it with the description of your game everywhere you put it. Additional information should also be short and easy to find. Preferably, keep information separate, so that you can easily refer to a link with a blog post or a article you wrote instead of typing everything out for every single person. Trust me, it would be less frustrating for everyone.