2016 wrap-up


Ok people, let’s do this. I know it’s a bit late this year but there’s an explanation. Hear me out. For no particular reason I decided to fight Apple tooth and nail in order to create legal and legit Mac OS X builds of my games from 2016 by becoming a certified Apple developer and I also decided to do it right after New Years. Why not. After banging my head against the wall for next few days I finally managed to do it, with help from much more skilled friend (thanks, Mike). Skilled, as in: more apt in deciphering what exactly it is that Apple wants you to do now: pay up, jump the hoop or roll over. Now that it’s done, and it’s a REAL milestone in my book, the only regret I have is that I can’t put it on my to-do list for 2017. Because… it’s already done. Oh well.

Let’s look back at 2016.

Plan A (comic books)

Why exactly did I divide those plans this way? As in: one for comic book, another for games? Seems senseless, since games (plan B) were much more important than comic book (plan A). Nevermind. Let’s take a look.

Revolutions 10: Full Automatisation.  Yeah, 10th book in the Revolutions series, written by Jerzy Szyłak, slated once again for May release, which means I’ll spend most of Jan-March painting that book. Fortunately the story is already written (it has been since… uhm… 2004… 12 years ago?… Jesus…), so all I have to do is draw it. Seems legit.

Well, yes, sure. That kind of goes without saying. Another year, another comic book album. Nothing to see here. Carry on. Oh, right. A link. Ok, here you are: read more about this project.

Revolutions 1: the Parabole [digital version] – first of the Patreon sponsored projects, this will require me to prepare entire album for an e-book version, which then will be sold in .pdf, .cbr and .cbz formats (supporters from Patreon get that book naturally free).

Yes, mainly because it was a Patreon goal, now you can buy and read this comic book in digital form, and, what’s funny about this project, it was far more difficult to create a .pdf file than I expected, but it’s never too late to learn new things, like Adobe Indesign for example. This book is available in my store, click here to check it out.

Revolutions 2: the Elipse [digital version]. Same as above. I want to publish those two first books from the series this year, and if it turns out that you like it, I’ll press on with the rest of the series, 9 albums so far, 10th being in production right now as I said a minute ago).

Exactly. As I said a minute ago. Same as above. That was the second digital comic book Patreon goal. Achieved, released, well, barely released. I barely squeezed it into the back end of 2016, having it postponed till after the release of Mission to Earth. But I managed. This book is also, like the previous one, available in my store, check it out here.

Daymare Morphs [online webcomic version]. Again, thanks to Patreon you can enjoy this comic in a webform for free. It’s out already. You can find it here. The idea is – releasing one episode each monday this year. All of those stories are already done, it’s just a matter of digitalisation and translation. I feel it’s achievable. Maybe except summer months when I’ll be away from home, but other than that, you can check every Monday for a new episode.

I’m sorry if the word “Patreon” is showing up too much for your liking in this post, however it’s hard to deny that this became my main source of income in 2015-2016, therefore it kind of dictates what’s happening here. Anyway, back to the project. This one was the longest and probably most time consuming of all this year’s projects. It lasted almost entire year (46 episodes in 46 weeks), that’s 225 pages all together. Each page had to be scanned again, cleaned of all entropy imperfections (those pages are 15 years old), everything had to be colorized, translated and prepared for web. And guess how many people were in my team to do all this. If you guessed: nobody except for me – you’re right! You win a prize of… uhm… reading Daymare Morphs web comics again? For free? By clicking this link?

Plan B

Oh yes. The B plan. The plan that is usually referred as being the backup, secondary, not-that-important-as-plan-A plan. Well, not in this case. In this case, plan B was far more important than plan A this year. Yeah, I know. Sorry about that. I don’t know what I was thinking a year ago. Wait, let me check what I was thinking a year ago.

You know what, this year I’ll divide it to two plans, plan A being about comic books and plan B – about games. That will clear things up (not really).

Genius.

Pure genius. That’s some world-class thinking right there. That’s some high level plan dividing skills right there.

Anyway, back to plan B.

Mission to the Sun and Mission to Earth. Yeah. You can stop laughing already. I know those two games are like never ending inside joke by now. They’re always on this list, but they never get made. This year will be different. This year they will both get made. You just wait and see. Probable release date – somewhat around summer 2016.

IN!

YOUR!!

FACE!!!

Yes! those two games are done, the series is done, the goddamn “finishing old stuff before doing new stuff” is done. Goddamn “transition years” are done. I’m done with the old, there’s nothing to look back to, only the road ahead. (More about this later on).

You know what, I went back and checked since when I’ve been talking about creating these two games and finishing the series. And you know what? I’ve been talking about it since THE VERY FIRST WRAP-UP IN 2012. Don’t believe me? Here’ take a look:

plan B)

finishing the “mission to…” series

 

That was supposed to happen in 2013. Oh, happy days.  They were postponed every year since, but NOT ANYMORE! Oh, a side note: remind me to never give any probable release dates in the future. I was a bit off on this concerning these two games. I wrote: summer 2016. Well, Mission to the Sun was released in September, close enough. But Mission to Earth was released in December, but there are good reasons for it. First good reason: I’m not that good at estimating probable release dates.

But joking aside, this, my dear readers is the moment when the world stood still, figuratively. This is the tipping point, the exact moment when I ceased being a Flash developer, and became a Game Maker developer. I know it seems like not that important, but it was a giant leap for me. You see, I’m not a programmer, switching to new software, to new programming language, to new interface, new way of thinking about creating games wasn’t a walk in the park for me. But I can proudly say that I did it. And as I become more fluent in Game Maker Language each day I can say the switch was a good decision from my current point of view. Maybe there are variables that I can’t see right now (like diminishing fan base due to lack of presence in the free online Flash games market), but for now things are looking good. Better than ever actually.

And these two games, the same ones that were a joke since 2012, turned out to be most important this year. Mission to the Sun was my first game ever created in Game Maker. Mission to Earth, on the other hand – was my biggest and most advanced of the 2016 class. While Mission to the Sun is just a one-screen endless runner type of game, as many in the series, for Mission to Earth I wanted to look back at the entire series, go back to the very first episode, Mission to Mars and kind of redo it in the new environment, new circumstances, new era. You can see that Mission to Mars, sporting a small screen, suitable for web pages (I remember the guidelines from Arcade Town back in 2006 or so, stating the game shouldn’t be wider than 480 pixels, that’s really like an era ago…), was about finding your path through a level that you couldn’t see (you were travelling through the level Mario-style, camera was following the player). In Mission to Earth on the other hand you can see the whole level at once, it’s a full screen modern resolution game (1920 x 1080 pixels). The camera isn’t following the player. It stays still, so that you can enjoy the graphical design. As you can see the focus of gameplay changed. You didn’t have to explore the level, you had to solve the puzzle of getting to unreachable platforms. The evolution of game design marches on. I’m kind of babbling at this point, but main thing is – I managed to switch from Flash to Game Maker, and that gives me wider possibilities of not only game creation, but distribution as well (I’m looking at you, Steam). It is done. Can hardly believe it. Era of finishing old series is over… Here you can download Mission to the Sun and Mission to Earth.

10 Gnomes in Pothia. Ah-ha! I told you I already had location pictures for this one! Yes, this game is definitely happening.

Continuing the transition – this game was the first point and click attempt in Game Maker. It was deliberately this one, since Gnomes are rather simple to make as far as pnc goes, there’s no inventory, no actual interaction with environment, just clicking through and finding gnomes. That’s all. And it works fine. But when I look at that script from half a year ago – it’s laughably bad, next gnomes will have completely overhauled engine. But that’s a normal turn of things when you learn new game creation engine. I remember 10 years ago in Flash, every game was twice as good and advanced code wise. Right now it happens again, that quick evolution of my coding ability. Do I feel 10 years younger? Yes, yes I do.

Where is 2017? well, as I said before, if I find a new way to entertain you next December, I’ll do it. If not, this series is done for. Let’s hope for the best here, ok?

Done for? Are you insane, me from a year ago? But we’ve reached a bit of a controversy this year. I know not all of you were here when the series started, but just to explain the point of the series. This game is more of a end of year postcard, than a real game. It’s always been like that since 2009. Once there was even a game that consisted of only one screen. Having said that – I received two nicely outspoken and long written comments about Where is 2017? that it was not only too short, but also not in the right genre of gameplay. Shortness I explained already, but the genre argument is kind of funny, since when you look at the whole series, it sports many different genres, ranging from point and click, through puzzle platform to simple platforming. Once there was a game that I was making an entire year, when you had 12 scenes, created each month throughout the year. So this series is not really constant in terms of what it is, how it plays and how long each game is. This year for example it was a simple shooter where you defeat [spoilers!] old year which turned out to be a massive troll. I will continue this series even though some people might get an impression that I sold out, and it’s all about the Patreon money and slacking off, only because their free new years postcard from me was too short. See you next year for Where is 2018? Meanwhile, here is Where is 2017?

Covert Front 5. This one is a bit shaky. It’s like 40% probable. I won’t be surprised if next year’s wrap up will encounter a LOL NOPE on this one. Can’t tell you details right now, but there are a lot of circumstances that might influence this game’s existence. One being – game storyteller, I have no idea whether he’ll come up with a decent story for CF5. Other variables include – me being able to create this game at all. Wait, I already said too much right now.

Uhm… No comment! I plead the fifth! This is the only LOL NOPE this year. Which is a good win/loose percentage in my opinion. But as you can see above this project was a bit shaky from the beginning. It was a Patreon goal, but since then total pledges sum fell under that goal once again and that’s when this game kind of went to the not-happening state. The future of this game remains shaky. Will it make my 2017 to-do list? No.

The foundations of something bigger and better, a proper game if you will. I know this one sounds vague, but believe me, it’ll all come together once I explain in detail what I’m about to do game-wise this year. Just hold on.

That was a bit cryptic, right? Well, you know everything by now. The switch from Flash to Game Maker, creation of smaller games, learning new coding language, all of that business. All done. Yes,  foundations for something bigger and better have been laid. Something bigger and better, a proper game will be happening. It kind of is already. I’ll talk about this in the to-do section of this post, but for now let’s check out Plan C, also known as all-other-things-I-did-that-were-not-listed-a-year-ago.

Plan C

All other things I’ve done in 2016 that were not listed on my to-do list for that year. And, oh, boy, there were few of those, (checks the list). Oh right, here we go:

  • Submachine Universe update. Actually, three separate updates, each in some way important in the process of HD-fication of this behemoth. First, there was an overhaul of entire structure with encryption of locations files. That was an essential update before HD release, since all location files are stored in a separate folder, and their filenames reflected location name within the game. It would be so easy to cheat the system and just get all names of locations from that folder. Right now all location filenames are encrypted and looking at them gives you no advantage whatsoever. Second update was adding a switchable sound system, just as jin regular games so you could turn on and off sounds and music. Strange it wasn’t done before, but there you go. Now it’s here. I also added a shard system to the game, the one seen in Submachine 10 where you could chase shards of reality with your cursor and they would remember their position. Now it’s added to the Subnet for the coolness factor if nothing else. Other minor changes included some HUD coloring and loading object overhaul. Minor changes. As for the release of Submachine Universe HD – even though it’s ready to launch, there are some philosophical problems concerning the release. I might write another article on that subject, explaining, asking for you opinion in this matter. I’m kind of torn on this one to be honest. You can still play the free online version here.
  • Live streaming. This one came out of nowhere and caught even me by surprise. I made 40 live streams in 2016, all about digital drawing and watercolor painting, don’t know how many hours in total, but it’s a significant number. My stream (Each Sunday at 4 pm EST) became a meeting place for some of you which is the strangest thing, but I’ll take it. Here’s the list of all my streams from 2016. Here they are in a speed painting form. And here’s the stream itself if you ever want to watch the process of creation of Submachine or Daymare Town live.
  • VormkfasA #56 and #57. Again, two mini self-published xerox zines, created for festival distribution (mainly a give away for people at my meet and greets and book signings), one for Book Fair in Warsaw, and the other of International Comic Book Festival in Lodz. Again, it’s a low profile event. If you got one of these, that means you met me in person and I thank you for it.
  • 2016 Easter Egg. Yeah, I know, it’s like nothing, but still, it’s hard to find those Easter Eggs on my website, why not give you a link to it right here.
  • 24 Hour Comic Day. Yes, once again I participated in total madness that is 24-hour long comic book drawing. This time my goal was to begin creation of next year comic book album, which is Morfolaki 4. I manged to do 7 print-ready pages. Seems not that much, but it was. I assure you, it was. I even made a movie about this event. Check it out right here.

I think that’s it. Let’s move on from what was to what will be.

~~~~~

2017 to-do list

Let’s make sure this list is divided by importance, not by arbitrary reasons like whether we’re talking about comic books or games. Let’s add some gravity to those plans.

Plan A

  • The Big Game. Yes, the one that will end up on Steam eventually. It’s still an unnamed project which I call the Big Game (or TBG for short). In my head, as I see it, this game will be the biggest, most advanced and most important game up to date. I’m done with finishing old series, wrapping up lose ends and all that sort of thing. No excuses left. There’s only one way to go now and it’s TBG. The thing is – such games are not created in one year, this one might take two or more, but I’m starting working on it in 2017 and will keep you informed about the development process, whether through playable samples or graphical designs or other media. You will know what’s happening and where do I stand concerning TBG.
  • Unnamed short point and click game. While developing TBG I will surely need some testing grounds. 10 Gnomes are the foundation of a pnc game, but expanding it is a priority. Adding inventory, interaction and all that pnc stuff you know from my Flash years. Creation by example. And this example will be a short game, to the tune of Great Kitchen Escape or something similar in size. I’m also doing it because you are impatient lot, if there are no games from me for a long time your patronage goes down. The problem here is that creating a game is so different from creating a youtube video (youtubers get tons of money from Patreon). While you can do a video every week, that is not happening with game development. And since I’m going to develop TBG, which will take a year or more, I also have to do something smaller to keep you interested. So there.
  • 10 Gnomes in Trstenik and Gnomengine overhaul. I’ll share a little secret with you. Last year I finally figured out when will this series end. First series was a project of 12 months. It was done in 2008. The second phase, in which we are right now, is the project of 12 years. It started in 2010 and will last until 2021. We’re 7 games in, still 5 games to go. 10 Gnomes in Trstenik are already shot, I’ve got pictures on my drive, now it’s all about overhauling that engine (yes, I wrote Gnomengine in the title. What) and preparing pictures. No biggie in fact. This is happening around June I hope. Wait. Scratch that. I wasn’t supposed to estimate any release dates anymore. Ok, forget it. I didn’t say a thing about June.
  • Where is 2018? Well, yes, sure. Moreover, since some of you criticized the length of previous game I’ll make sure this one is LONGER AND BETTER than Where is 2017? I want to make an adventure game with Santa, he turned out to be so adorable this year, and I like how his animations look. It’s a proper fine character and deserves something bigger this time. And this will be it!
  • Live Streaming Watercolor Painting and Digital Drawing. Once I started I can’t stop right now it seems. People are kind of counting on it. Not sure for how long, but I’ll keep this alive as long as you want to watch it.
  • Mission to the Sun and Mission to Earth. No, wait, I made these already. I MADE THESE ALREADY! THE CURSE IS BROKEN, I CAN MOVE ON! OH GLORY DAY!!!

Plan B

  • Morfolaki, tom4 (Morphs, tome 4). Well, yes, sure, as usual, a yearly comic book. The definitive ending to the series of Morphs stories.
  • VormkfasA #58 & #59. Again, festival xerox zine to be handed out to good souls that come out to see me. In June and October, respectively.
  • Rewolucje: Homunkulus and Rewolucje: Toxic Connection. These two short stories set in the Revolutions universe are the beginning of my 2018 comic book called Revolutions: Apocrypha. It’ll be an anthology of short stories written by people other than me. It’ll be fun, and it starts this year.

And guess what, this time those plans are also divided to game- and comic book- focused ones. Who might have foresee that! (Not me). But it’s kind of understandable, the gaming stuff is what keeps me and my family alive, comic book stuff is just art.

I’d also add creating Mac OS X versions of my games to this list but I already did it! Dang it! But that just proves that I’m not messing around this year, things are already happening, development is already in motion, let’s see where it will take us this year. (I’m not sure).

We have another great year ahead of us and the path is clear. What else could you wish for.

And with that I’ll leave you.

Remember that you can support all of this on Patreon!

See you next year!

 



2015 wrap-up


wrap_up_2015_things

Now, for the first time, this feels right. Wrapping things up, telling you what happened in 2015, because now I use Patreon and your kind donations to create. It is only fitting for me to tell you what you got for your money’s worth. Actually a lot happened and you can see most of it in the above collage. Then we’ll talk about what’s coming up next, and that’s a handful as well.

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2014 wrap-up


Now this is kind of interesting. Even though I don’t have any kickstarter projects, nor patreon or indiegogo (no one is giving me any money before I deliver) – I feel kind of obliged to keep you in the loop on what I’ve been doing last year and what my plans for future projects are. It’s kind of obligatory for those “fund my project” situations, yet here we developed this kind of relationship without dragging money into the equation. After all, it’s not one project and it’s not just one year.

So… Let me confront my to-do list from 12 months ago.

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2013 wrap-up


213_mash_up

Looks like I started a new secular tradition last year with the summation of 2012. Let’s take a look at 2013 through the promises I made at the beginning of the year.

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2012 wrap-up


This year, as any before was marked with few intertwining year-long projects as well as occasional high-endurance ones. Let me recap for the sake of remembering just what the hell happened in 2012. [for the impatient ones: 14 games and 2 comic book albums happened].

 

1)

 

First of all, there was a project of creating a one small game per month. 12 games all together. The results are as follows:

The reasoning behind this project is simple. I’m a completionist, I’m trying to get a closure on unfinished series, and there were few game projects just laying around on my hard drive, reminding me that they’re still not done. You can see couple of “mission to…” games, mothballs, two games expanding the daymare town lore, as well as few standalones. The mothball series is probably done, as I have no fresh ideas on how to approach this character anymore. The last one was actually a rebuild of an old small game that maybe few of you remember from this page’s header. The header game (you can take a look here). But that was way back in 2008, so this game was waiting for an upgrade for four years. Daymare Kite was in the to-do folder since Daymare Town 2, Garden Door’s pictures were shot in 2011 and so on. The only ongoing series left is “mission to…” as there are two games left, and I’ll be damned if I don’t finish this as well. The remaining two are Sun and Earth (Pluto does not count, sorry) :D. Adding to that couple of regulars, such as 10 Gnomes and Where is 2013? and we have a full list. For the curious, yes, I still have unfinished small projects on my drive, yes, I’ll be making them eventually, but god forbid I’ll commit to making one per month anymore – that was… exhausting. Especially in the light of other 2012 projects, such as:

 

2)

 

I also created two big games from major series:

and with that, the Covert Front is finished and done. Phew. The story of Kara following German scientist Karl von Toten has run it’s course. A big sense of closure right there. On the other hand – the Submachine is as strong as ever. There was a minor confusion whether this would be the last Submachine ever, which it isn’t. Let me once again reassure you – the Submachine will go on INDEFINITELY. Sure, the main storyline ends at Submachine 10, but that doesn’t even mean that this series will be over. I’ll make standalone Submachine games from that point on, such as Submachine: 32 chambers, ancient adventure or FLF. We’re good here, don’t you worry. The sky is clear over the Submachine. Wait, is there a sky in Submachine?… :/

 

3)

 

Another big step forward in 2012 was the attempt to bring you even more quality – this time for a small price. The idea of creating full screen, standalone, browser-free games was in my sights for a long time.

Luckily I was able not only to overcome the technical obstacles, but I also figured out how to actually handle a monetary transaction of such item. I did it my way and I’m proud of this.

 

4)

 

Moving on, let’s not forget the pastel games. Me and my buddies from the company were able to create 5 games together:

The Sneak Thief series is finished with the fifth installment, however we’re planning a brand new series with Kamil Kochanski, the artist behind Sneak Thief, the Great Escape games and Halo & Pixy. You know, the funny, cartoony one in our pack. The new series is still a secret, but it’s coming, I can assure you. As for other series – time will tell. The future of those series doesn’t depend on me, but people writing and drawing them, so I can’t tell what will become of pastel games in 2013. Let’s wait and see.

 

5)

 

Are we done yet? Not even close. Remember when I said something about year-long projects? Here’s another one. This one was also a simple premise: create one-page comic every week. I started this project back in October of 2011, so to complete a full year cycle I had 42 weeks to go. And I did. The new 52-page album, entitled Tetrastych is going to be published in may. Here are few pages, which also explain the bizarre title of this album.

 

6)

 

However that previous project was not the most important comic book work of 2012. This one is. Again, a simple task. Create 46-page comic book album in 46 days. That would be one page daily for 46 days straight. The outcome is the newest Rewolucje album, and you can read more about this right here:

Now this one is my absolute best project of 2012, not only because of it’s bold outcome, but this one is by far my best graphical work to date. Let’s not forget that it also sports a killer of a scenario written by Jerzy Szylak. So… are we done?… No.

 

7)

 

This next project was a bit different. Yeah, I had to paint a cover and title-page graphic for it, but it was mostly an archaeological work of picking a good material from the sea of old crap. Everything had to be retouched in photoshop, as most of the originals were kind of destroyed by father time. This album shows my old ways from times when I wasn’t Mateusz Skutnik, the Submachine creator, but just simple Mateusz Skutnik. :D

 

8)

 

Bare with me, we’re almost done. Normally I wouldn’t list the following here, but this kind of out grew it’s premise and became a larger-than-expected thing. This is a series of 7 movies showing how to waterpaint a comic page. Well, maybe it’s not “how to” per se, it’s just a showing of how I do it. Nevertheless – a project of it’s own, realised during that period of Rewolucje 7 daily painting.

 

And with that, I’m done. That’s it. But wait, from the looks of it, is it true that in july I was:

  1. Making Daymare Kite
  2. making a one-page comic story each week
  3. painting Rewolucje 7 – one page daily
  4. creating Submachine 8

all at the same time??

Yes, yes it is true. That’s how it went down. That’s intertwining right there. And frankly speaking I forgot about another small project that I was slowly but steadily creating. The subnet got few small expansions as well. So there. Thanks for reading through up to this point, right now there’s a reward for you for being stubborn enough to dig through this list. Ready?

 

the_plan

2013

Let’s talk about 2013. Get some insight.

To be honest, 2012 was exhausting. It was a year of closure (well, attempted at least), a year of different experiments, and now I have to take that all in, process the data and come up with a reasonable plan for the future.

plan A)

Is to create 4 games this year, these are, in chronological order:

  • Daymare Town 4
  • 10 gnomes in…
  • Submachine 9
  • Where is 2014?

Yes, I focus on my four major series this year. This is the top priority list of must-do games.  Besides this I also intend on doing:

  • Rewolucje 8: in Space (Rewolucje w Kosmosie)

Of which I have already 46 finished pages. I could call it a wrap and just publish it as it is. I could. But I won’t. This album needs another 40 pages or so.

 

plan B)

Once I’m sure that plan A will be fulfilled, there are other smaller side jobs. Those include:

  • further expansion of the subnet
  • creating specific series oriented websites for all major ones, such as Covert Front, 10 gnomes, Daymare Town etc. I’d like to move away from the regular online games portal and create game hubs for each series. The one I did for the Fog Fall was received warmly and I think it’s a good direction for the future of our catalogue
  • releasing HD versions of older Submachines, starting with Submachine 6 HD
  • finishing the “mission to…” series
  • other small games (also trying to empty my to-do catalogue)

 

plan C)

If time is kind enough I’d like to start painting another Blaki comic album. That would be fourth of the series and I’ve got it all written and sketched right here in my notebook.

And I think that’s it.

Once again – happy new year 2013.

It’ll be a good one.