July has been a busy month for me, lots of big and small game jams leading to a couple of neat little projects that I’d like to share with you today. So let’s have a look!
And here’s the links to the games:
If you follow our new podcast Inside Hypnotic Owl, you already know that we’re having on a couple of exciting things in the works, including a brand-new shop for all your merchandise needs.
Well, rejoice, it’s finally here!
And yes, we’re also excited to announce that the full, ad-free edition of Prime Division is now only 99¢! Head on over to the Prime page and get it for your Android and iOS devices!
Happy dividing, everyone!
As promised in a certain birthday retrospective, we’re planning on sharing our development processes and such with you on a more regular basis. For that purpose, our new social media management intern Tami has convinced us to let her record our Hypnotic Board Meetings for your listening pleasure!
Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, YouTube, or our RSS feed and gain an exclusive insight into the inner workings of Hypnotic Owl!
You also listen to the first episode right here, right now!
My my, how time flies! It’s actually been around this time 5 years ago that Hackenstein and I first explored the idea of going into business together, and only 6 months later the jobs were quit and the wheels that eventually lead to our founding on this gloriest of days in 2013 set in motion.
To celebrate this joyous occasion, we’ve recorded a short birthday video, looking back on our past endeavours and perhaps hinting at one or two new ones.
Enjoy, and Happy Birthday to us!
Remember when we got that award for The Day the Laughter Stopped? Well, I finally got around to editing, uploading, and whining about everything I hated about my speech, so you can now admire us in person!
(English captions available.)
Lookin’ good, eh? Me with my Henry Rollins neck and Hackenstein holding the award like the boss he is, we sure broke some hearts that night.
Of course, if you missed any of this, you can read up on our DCP experience here, and if you’re dying to hear me go on and on about everything I thought was wrong with my speech, you may find sweet relief over at my personal blog.
Oh have you not heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heard…
Two days ago, we won an award for The Day the Laughter Stopped. Or did The Day win an award? Well, someone certainly won an award and The Day was somehow involved. Which means we’re an award-winning studio now. And I hope it means I’m an award-winning writer, too. Because I like saying that. Award-winning. So fancy.
Either way, the event ended up being not quite as cringeworthy as I had feared (still was of course), I gave a speech I hated but everyone else seemed to be ok with, and we got drunk off our asses, mingled, and met some pretty cool people. As always, my heart broke a little every time someone came up to me to tell me about their friends and family who went through the same as the girl in the story, but their support and display of gratitude were overwhelming and beautiful, so all in all, pretty sweet experience!
Award-winning Crabman out.
Exactly one year and ~4 hours ago (on a much nicer and warmer day, by the way), we sat in a very old man’s super fancy office, listening to him read a 1000-page contract at a pace slower than hair grows. It was the last of a series of tedious steps which I, gracious as I am, let Hackenstein handle entirely on his own, so this is all I know about what happened there.
But now here we are, one year later, during which literally nothing happened (except for The Day, The Wizard, our nomination, the cancelling of our nomination, and some other small stuff of course), ready and psyched for another year of sort of being around!
So I guess, yay for us and Happy Easter to you!
Well, cat’s out of the bag then, eh? Time for a Totally Official Statement™!
In case you missed it, The Day got nominated for Best Serious Game in the German video game awards (Deutscher Computerspielpreis), along with Scorpius Forge’s Evolution: Indian Hunter and Kalypso’s Rise of Venice. Naturally, we were pretty excited about that, which is, also naturally, when things went awry.
Long story short, bureaucracy happened. That’s how we roll in Germany, after all. The details are not at all exciting and, in our opinion, the DCP’s business how they want to communicate them to the public, but since there’s some vaguely misleading information going around, we’re gonna give you a brief rundown of what happened.
1. The jury couldn’t settle on a winner, so after long discussion they decided to drop the category. We’re all a bit sore about that, but it’s not as simple as “Just pick one!”, sadly. It certainly had nothing to do with none of the games being worthy of recognition though.
2. We were all consulted on how we wanted to handle this going forth. They offered to treat us as regular nominees and to include us in all promotional campaigns and whatnot, and while Kalypso voiced some concerns over that solution, they initially agreed to go along with it since the rest of us agreed it was for the best.
3. Some other things happened that we’ll discuss at another time, but while all of this has been a little frustrating and disappointing, the staff has been nothing but kind and courteous during their efforts to work out a solution, so I’m not all too happy about some of the articles’ implication that there was any kind of funny business or cover-up going on. We were all blindsided by this, staff included, and they handled it with as much compassion and consideration as one could’ve hoped for.
Bottom line, we’re not psyched it played out like this, but we can’t fault the people who are now taking flak over this either, and while a controversy is always good publicity, it doesn’t feel quite right to throw those who did their best to help us out under the bus.
That is all.
Official Crabman out.
The Day the Laughter Stopped is nominated for Deutscher Computerspielpreis in the category Best Serious Game, alongside Rise of Venice and Evolution: Indian Hunter. Yes, that’s a thing that happened.
For all you lovely people not familiar with the DCP, it’s basically the biggest award show we have in Germany. It’s huge. As such, getting nominated, too, is huge. And I’m speechless. Then again, what is there to say other than “thank you?” Exactly, so let’s just do that:
First of all, there’s all the people from Ludum Dare who made my first jam a really great experience; moonbeamwhim who posted it to reddit; Rute who saw it and wrote its first review; Angelica Norgren and Thomas Arnroth who brought it to Sweden’s attention; Rami Ismail and all the other wonderful people on Twitter who passed it along and provided some fantastic quotes for me to brag with; Lena LeRay who wrote one of the first articles; Alexis Trust and Mike Bithell who gave it its next big push, which I think might’ve been responsible for Meg Turney hearing about it and recommending it on SourceFed Nerd; Amy Silbergeld who repeatedly lent her support when things became a little tough to process; Becky Chambers who reviewed it for The Mary Sue; Leena van Deventer and Amy Gray who quadrupled our Australian audience; Lara Luccas who surpassed them all and brought us the most hits we’ve ever gotten in a single day; everybody else who supported and shared the game, everybody who wrote, argued, discussed, everybody who played and everybody who couldn’t but passed it along anyway—everybody except 4chan. I mean, two threads and not even a little increase in publicity? I expected better from you.
But there’s one person in particular I should mention. I don’t talk about her often because she wants to be kept out of it, understandably, but please don’t forget that there is a real person at the heart of this, a person who had to live through and with it, who trusted me with her story and allowed this game to be made. It’s she who’s to thank for this, so here it goes:
I hope you realize what happened here. There are people writing how much the experience changed them, how they had to confront some truths about themselves they weren’t comfortable with, people who say, “I get it now.” There are victims whom this helped come to terms with what happened and to accept that it really wasn’t their fault, that what the other people say about them wasn’t true after all. I’ve gotten many messages of this nature, from men and women alike, and I’m sure there’s even more who didn’t write. This story gave them something, changed them, and all of that because of you.
Yes, you. Without you, none of this would’ve happened. While this’ll never make the past less horrifying, it will and does do some good. You did what so many people strive for and the fewest ever achieve. You changed the world for the better. Maybe just by a small amount so far, but it’s mind-blowing nonetheless, and don’t forget, all of this from only 25.000 players. As we go forward, these numbers will rise. Every future game we’ll make will generate new attention for The Day. More attitudes will change, more people will find solace, maybe it’ll inspire even more to speak out and tell their own stories (which, if any of you do, let me know and I’ll help you in any way I can to get it out there).
We can’t single-handedly fix all the world’s problems overnight, but we can contribute, and you did. So if you ever feel small and insignificant, remember the hundreds of people whose lives you bettered, and the attitudes you’ve changed for the good of other victims. You matter. Not just to me, your friends, your family, but to people all over the world, you matter. I mean, Robert tap-dancing Pattinson, if that isn’t incredible!
So yeah, from me, and everybody else I’m sure, all the thanks, love, and happiness in the world to you. God knows you deserve it.
I’m tired and this is boring, so I’ll keep it short: We need to earn money if we want to keep this going. We’ll be good for a while, but we’re paying out of our own pockets and they’re only so deep, so that’s not a long-term solution.
Now, there’s a few ways to finance something like this, but we’re picky. We don’t want to be at the mercy of investors or publishers, we don’t want to be in debt, and we don’t want to deface our beautiful site with ads. There are no guarantees that we won’t have to resort to any of these things if all else fails, but as long as we can help it, we’re trying to stay clear of that.
So what’s left? Selling our games, of course. But producing a quality that we’d feel good about selling is already expensive, and then there’s some things we just don’t want to sell. The early beta of The Wizard that we’ll release during the next few weeks would be one example, or The Day the Laughter Stopped, for which charging money would be downright wrong.
Instead, we’re making those titles donationware. That means you can play them for free, and if you enjoy them and would like to support us, you can do that, too. As a thank-you, we’ll add some small perks to the donation—standalones, source code, soundtrack, things like that—which you then can download. Or not, whatever tickles your fancy.
Long story short: Support us if you like, don’t if you don’t, get the games (and our love!) either way. Sound fair?