Over Cloud 9's Blog

A boring record of whatever that comes in my mind

Life of an Indie- Part 2


It’s been long that I blogged about anything. Shifting to a new place has done one bad thing- high cost of living. Self funding in business and living on your own without any external source of income other than games is taking its toll on game development and my general sustenance. For the past two months, I have been struggling to make payments to artists due to the restrictions raised by Reserve Bank of India on international payments. The progress has slowed down because of that and forced me to come back to my home and work from here for sometime. I am hoping to complete the ship game in two months if things go as planned.

In the mean time, I thought of making a comic series based on ‘Pascal’ from my game and sending them in newsletters. He was quite popular amongst players and it would nice if players can enjoy more of his outrageous jokes outside the game. Here’s the first one, the others will also be posted in my blog apart from the newsletters (Click on the image to enlarge).

The problem of being an indie is you get a lot of money once your game is out for a month or two. After that sales start decreasing, and unless you have a lot of your own game titles or affiliate sales, you will start to feel the pinch. Being an indie is not just making games, but making a living too! And to make money, it is important that you understand and take care of the business aspects of game making. In my earlier post of ‘Life of an Indie’ series, I had mentioned the problems one faces in this career. In this post I will be discussing how I have solved some of those problems and plan to solve for those who are facing this. So let’s take the issue one by one-

1) Sustenance- This is a major issue for indies. From what I have heard or seen other indies doing and also what I have done, here are some ways to manage a sufficient income to sustain yourself (can’t say if you have a family).

a) Get a job which is less time consuming and if  this is your first game in development. Teaching is a good option as it is not as exacting in terms of time and energy like other jobs. You will have a fair pay and sufficient time to do a game in your spare time. I am sure there are plenty of other online freelancing or contract based work that you can do depending on your skills. Read the rest of this entry »


Ship Adventures- update 2


It’s a bit sad that I am unable to put some funny stuff I was intending to share now because I want to finish this game. Neither am I getting time to publish Life of a Indie series second part. I might be able to do that after I am done with the dialogues I guess. And before that I have to finish other stuff and get rid of procrastinating :P . Here are some more ships friends, these are the submarine types and attacks player ship suddenly from under water ;)

(Images are taken in Maya, not in game. Click to see enlarged)

So far I liked the whale more than the others, Jim used Killer Whale texture which I really liked and was a surprise as I thought he will use the conventional whale. :) Which ship did you like so far? I mean judging both the bird and submarine ships? Leave your comments, I would like to know your opinion.


Ship Adventures- update 1


We just received the 3D art for the fantasy ships we are going to use in our game I spoke of. We have named the game as ‘Ship Adventures’ for reference/working title, though the actual title is yet to be decided. The images below are taken from Maya, just the side view of the ships which look more like birds, but deadly and dangerous. There are another set which looks like sea fishes and will function like submarines. The pirate and ghost ships are in the making.  The concept art was thought by me LOL and implemented by Manu. Those concept arts were modeled and textured by Jim. Erek and his wife has taken over to take care of the 2D art and I really love his painted style of art. I will also post his artwork here once some is completed. So presenting our fantasy ships, tada!

Click to see its enlarged version.

That is it for now. Will post some more when some gets completed.


Second Game project- a non RPG


I think you might have noticed that I’m not blogging too frequently. Blame that to my new work atmosphere at Bangalore! There are so many interesting stuff and I am spoilt for choice as to what to do and which one should come first. While I am still struggling to put Arevan on BigFish Games (their QA is quite strict and takes time), I have started working on the GDD of my first 3D game. The game draws it’s inspiration from Tradewinds Legends, though the underlying principle is different. I shall post screenshots when I have something ready. I am going to take care of the 2D graphics, game design and marketing while the 3D art, sounds and development is going to be conducted by our partner Phantasm Games Studio. This going to be my first 3D game as well as a non-RPG. Which is why the game’s IP will be that of Phantasm Games as we publish only RPG games at Over Cloud 9. The game will be featured at our site because it has some partial RPG elements like quest system, battles, etc, but primarily will belong to my partner’s website. The project is coming along quite fast, and the artwork and development is already in the process. The GDD is almost complete, I am working on the the dialogues currently. I will try input some outrageous humor like you might in Pascal in Arevan :P . Apart from these, I have too many other plans on my mind. Like working on my 1st 3D RPG game which is coming next to this project, starting a marketing service for indie developers, researching on indie problems and coming up with solutions to those, etc, etc. The latter is going to be continued to my 2nd part of the ‘Life of an Indie series’.

This is all for this time, I might have a couple of random funny updates following this one. So keep checking back. :D


Life of an indie - Part 1


All these while I was doing some background research on the game industry in general and trying to collect nuggets of information that might help me enhance our business. For that reason I have been keeping quite all these days.

As you might have already noticed, we have changed our forum layout again, trying to bring it as close as possible to the original site to maintain a flow of navigation for new visitors. Also, I finally completed Arevan: The Bitter Truth’s official strategy guide which is available here. I also plan to add a FAQ section to my website so that players can solve certain kinds of problems on their own quickly without having to post in our forums or mailing us. If you have any other suggestions regarding the website you can think of, then do let me know…

I would like to drop a note of heartfelt thanks to Indinera and Titaness for arranging an interview about my indie career. It was quite a surprise considering I haven’t shattered the world yet :D . You can read it here (they have used my username over_cloud9 for addressing in it). Currently I’m dabbling on 3D game development in Bangalore, with assistance from my co-developer Manjith from Phantasm Games. He has come up with a AI rich tank strategy game, Armoured and Dangerous, which I had been marketing in between. We have been thinking of doing a joint project in 3D, but we are both neck deep into our own stuff. Let’s see how it proceeds in near future.

Coming back to the topic, ‘Life of an indie’ is a series based on my own experiences and that of the things I have observed other indies struggle with. This series will not be updated in a series ;) , instead it shall be episodic depending on the outcome of the research that I’m conducting. My aim is to not become another industry veteran in gaming dishing out general opinions, neither to claim or pose myself as a veteran in the first place. I have taken independent game development seriously enough to consider it my profession, so an honest narration of my experiences might give other upcoming developers some idea about what they are going to get in this career. Instead of whining about what I don’t have and what cannot be done, I thought of doing something about the things which have long posed problems to indies. This is my current piece of research going along with the ongoing projects, and my aim is to overcome these problems sooner or later. But this will not be a one way or a quick process, I need your feedback to get a better understanding and for bouncing off ideas. I might try things which others didn’t attempt in fear of the untested waters, so I need to do a lot of experimentations which might sound off beat or weird. Some of the experimentations might fail as well, but as long as it serves the purpose, I don’t mind taking the extra step forward ;) Read the rest of this entry »


Silently completed a year of being indie


So….. today is the day when I launched this website officially last year. I hardly realized when time flew by so quickly. Feels so great and awesome to be an independent developer (indie), including the successes and the hardships/trials I came across. It feels like winning a challenge of survival…not just survival in terms of life as an indie but also in business. With this glorious year ending, I don’t know what lies ahead in the years ahead. But definitely the successful inspires positive hopes and new aspirations. LOL too bad I’m not a poet, or could have expressed my feelings better with the right words.

Guess what, I received an awesome gift from one of my friends who stays far faaaaaaar away from India. ;) She is from Austria and her name is Karin. She and my sister (Priyanka aka Rifle100) were playing a forum game when Karin asked her to translate two lines of English in our mother tongue, Bengali. Priya did that… and…. voila! Karin sent us pictures drawn and colored by children of her school with those translated words! It was such a cute surprise that we both went like crazy with happiness! That is the best gift we have ever received, that also in December when Christmas is nearing! Karin has also beautifully attached the images of those cute little angels. I couldn’t contain my joy and were dying to share it with everyone.  And on the occasion of our year long presence in our niche of RPGs, here are the wonderful gifts. Click on them to get the full view, I have arranged them alphabetically by their names so that none of them are disappointed :D . Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »


Marketing games…what I learnt.


Many things are happening, so much that I had not been able to even update my website like I used to. Had been busy promoting Arevan last month apart from the 101 others things I got myself into. Instead of moving over to my next game project, I thought of doing something new this time. I want to experiment with 3D gaming, and will be shifting my base to Bangalore for a couple of months for that. Honestly speaking, after working with RPGmakerVX, I am not satisfied with what it can offer. There are so many limitations to it…though I can’t complain much as this is the best I can get from a customizable commercial engine. So before I move over to my next project, I want to expand my horizons and learn something new this time.

In my older blog post, I had discussed how I had planned to market my game. In this post, I shall discuss which of the methods were success and which ones were failures. I shall discuss it with respect to the points I had mentioned in the earlier blog posts for the assessment of it’s performance.

  • Primary release of Arevan on my site, Amanda’s and Indinera’s.

This had worked really well. There is nothing else that I need to say. Both of them have been simply awesome in their cooperation and have generated a lot of sales for my game.

  • Sending press releases to game sites.

Press releases were a huge boost in promoting the news of our first release. Since we’re new to the indie scene, identifying ourselves in our niche was an important step. That really helped us gain exposure and visibility in gaming industry, particularly in India. Many Indian studios, sites, and game related companies took notice of our site and were eager to cover it. Read the rest of this entry »


Random thoughts….


Just thought today I’d discuss things other than our business. Have been busy with Arevan’s promotion and stuff all this while, and after the bout of fever, I couldn’t do much updates to the main site nor the blog. May be I won’t be able to do any walkthroughs like I said in my last post, really can’t make up my mind…. Loads of things are pending :( , yet my mind is desperately craving for a quiet vacation.

Coming back to my personal life, things has become much better after I joined the Rotaract Club of Calcutta in August, 2010. Rotaract is the child of Rotary.org and they organize a lot of social events and activities every week. Being a lazy person all throughout my life, a sudden call for active participation for such events was a refreshing change for me. Take the example of our mini event on 26th September at Bodhi Peet, an institution for mentally-challenged children.  A handful of our members went to visit the institution to gift those children an enjoyable day, a break from their mundane routine! We had a lot of fun, played games with them followed by singing & dancing together. We also distributed food and chocolates. They all enjoyed and spent a good time with us. Here are some of the pics (it was just a couple of days before Arevan’s release and the effects of my over-working is clearly visible. I have grown thin with prominent dark circles under my eyes :P )-

Our members and the in-charge of the institution (the lady wearing white saree)

This guy was dancing to the song we played while Rajani (in blue salwar) was distributing the chocolates.

Some of the inmates are quite grown up and were able to perform some basic tasks unlike the others.

Our vice president Vishal was passing on the teddy bear and our president Tanuja was clanking the steel thali to begin the game.

There are numerous Rotaract events that happen each month, but we don’t have the pictures of all of them sadly :( . Here’s another event that was organized on Vishal’s terrace. It’s the ‘Green Pledge’ that was aimed mainly to foster more greenery in our environment.

Harsit, Vishal and Siddhant (from left to right) planting seeds.

The Green Pledge!

Apart from these events, there was Durga Puja from the 14th to 17th of October, which is a big celebration for Bengalis in Kolkata. Yet I feel these vacations aren’t sufficient enough to satiate my desire to break free from my routine for a while :P . The best thing is that, after all these months of leading a caveman’s life, sitting in front of my laptop 24X7 making games, I could reconnect with my friends during the Pujas after a loooooooooooooong time. They were definitely angry with me not being able to contact them all this while, but I managed to convince them ;) . And then one of them had a baby! <3 I’m planning to visit her whenever I can squeeze some time. So that is all for today friends. Now I’m off to watch some Disney DVDs I bought ages back, but didn’t find time to even unwrap them :P .


Arevan is OUT!


Ah sorry for late posting…I couldn’t manage time since Arevan’s release yesterday. Check it out-

Arevan: The Bitter Truth

Finally, delivered the baby (read Arevan)! Whew! Haven’t slept for ages…feel like going into the ‘hibernation’ mode or sleep for a century! The phase-based testing was a success! Caught all the major bugs…bugs kept cropping up at each phase. In fact the testing stretched to 4 phases and I would like to thank all my testers who did an AWESOME JOB! I’m so happy to have found them ^_^

Also I need to get the official strategy guide done in two weeks because I promised to do so. You must have noticed that I  also changed the looks of my site. Well after my web designers ditched me :( , I had to take up things in my own hand. And I’m glad that I did because I would have never realized that a little bit of tweak here and there can completely change the overall look (saved me money). Bought some images from Vectorstock, did some mixing and matching in photoshop and Voila! I hope you like the new layout <3 Read the rest of this entry »


My Heroes….


Hmm…like every time, I will put all my updates in one post such as this one. But yes, my every post has a central theme which I discuss elaborately. I’ll put the unnecessary stuff first, :D and then we shall proceed with our topic of discussion.

Arevan is being beta tested. I divided the testing in three phases. The first phase is purported to catch the primary bugs which can cause the game to crash or not function properly. When the 1st group of testers were done,  the 2nd group started. The second group caught the bugs that were missed by the first group, played the opposite options in the game (unlike the 1st group) to get to a different ending in the game,checked grammatical or spelling mistakes and mainly fine tuned the game. The third phase,which just started yesterday, is supposed to check whether the bug corrections have led to the creation of unknown or unwanted bugs or not. The plan went well so far, but had started with series of disasters. One of the testers blew up his computer for some peculiar tech problems of his machine and had to wait for 5 days before he began testing. The other tester fell ill..and another one struggled to download a large file (that was mainly my fault). Anyway, things got settled then after …but thats the reason why things got a bit delayed. I thought of releasing Arevan on the 25th of September, but I had to extend the time because of these delays and to get the game bug/error free completely. So if things go as planned, Arevan will be released on the 29th of September, 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

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