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April 12, 2013 - Alex Ayars
Zigfrak 1.04 was just released, adding support for GNU/Linux and fixing several issues.
There are a couple of bundle and/or variable pricing deals on the horizon, please keep an eye out!
Downloads are available at http://zigfrak.com/
Thank you, drive through.
February 27, 2013 - Alex Ayars
Still hovering at around 55% progress towards the top 100, after slipping a bit but regaining some footing after the latest greenlit batch. Here's an update on what's been happening:
Zigfrak "1.5": I've received lots of useful feedback here, and carefully consider every suggestion. A new starting scenario which gears up players and gets them into the action much faster is being planned and developed. Another possibility I'm excited about is the introduction of talent/tech trees. This will be a free upgrade for anyone who owns the game. This major update is a longer-term development, which might take until late this year to complete.
Linux support, etc: Still waiting on bug resolution from Unity, and working on improving other areas of the game in the meantime. If the next Unity release doesn't fix my blocking issue, I will probably end up paying a chunk of cash for the privilege of receiving a support response from them... because I'm dedicated to this project, and it's been stalled by bugs which aren't mine for way too long. Zigfrak 1.02, which I sincerely hoped to have had out by now, will include some important bug fixes, useful and entertaining new items, Linux support, and numerous other improvements. Will get it out there as soon as possible.
The game manual is available for your perusal -- it's a good way to familiarize yourself with some of the core game mechanics. It may be grabbed here: http://zigfrak.com/manual.pdf
Sgt.Psycho's "Initial Impressions" thread, linked in the Discussions section, is also well worth a read.
I'm still working on some gameplay videos which showcase the late- and end-game experience. Most player-contributed videos only show the current tutorial content, which isn't representative of the intense and fast-paced action which follows. The game's many systems (such as the item crafting interface) are also underrepresented. Another effort in progress is a detailed postmortem writeup for the game's 1.0 release.
Even if the game stays in Greenlight Limbo forever, it has been made worlds better by having been here, and I've made some insightful new contacts within the community. This is not a traditional title in any sense, and I'm facing an uphill battle as a result, but it's an exhilarating ride. Thanks for your interest!
(Follow @zigfrak on Twitter for minor updates and random gamedev quips!)
January 15, 2013 - Alex Ayars
Yesterday, like many Greenlight devs, I checked on my project to find it had achieved 100% progress towards the top 100! It was nice while it lasted. After an hour or so, the number had returned to its normal value. Zigfrak is currently (correctly?) hovering at around 55% progress towards the top 100 list... and that was a very hurtful website bug, Steam Greenlight.
In the first few weeks of Greenlight campaigns, projects benefit from being listed near the front of the site's Recent Submissions section. Zigfrak's progress shot up rapidly during that time. As new projects are listed, older projects are slowly pushed out of view. After the initial honeymoon period, Greenlight devs are on their own in terms of discovery. Custom searches and random voting queue appearances do help, but just don't provide nearly the same exposure. PR and player adoption must drive the final stretch.
That's where I'm at right now. During the last month, I've been intently reaching out to blogs, journalists, youtubers, and pretty much anyone who I think might listen. The silence is deafening, but there have been a few recent takers with words to say about Zigfrak:
"Zigfrak": Shoot'em And Loot'em (Indie Game Magazine)
Zigfrak: A Funny, Action-Packed Space Romp (Space Game Junkie)
If you're interested in covering the game for your website or channel, check out the demo and press page. If you exhaust the free content, reviewer codes (and t-shirt bribes) are available.
The 700ish Club
Yesterday, Zigfrak passed 700 copies sold... Important psychological watermark!
Also yesterday, Fireflower Games, a new indie-friendly distributor, listed Zigfrak in their growing catalog. Check them out!
Distribution agreements with more small online game shops are TBA.
Unity 4 Hates Me
The project has been ported to Unity 4. Almost everything works great, but there are two serious bugs which are preventing me from releasing an updated game build today. These problems probably mean waiting for a minor update from Unity, but if that takes too long, I may spin up a preview release with known issues and cheesy workarounds.
In addition to Linux support, Zigfrak 1.02 will address several cases where campaign progress could become derailed. It will fix a handful of item attributes and a couple of miswired crafting templates, and will introduce a small handful of cool new powerup items. Late January is sounding increasingly unrealistic, but I'll have this update out as soon as possible.
The world of indie game dev is crowded! If you're following the game's updates, then quite probably, you hold some interest for Zigfrak in its current form, and might even be excited about its ongoing development. Clearly, you are a gamer with discerning vision. Therefore, it humbles me to ask... Will you help Zigfrak? Please? In addition to voting on Greenlight, here are some really easy ways to help:
- Get touchy! Approach a friend, and lightly touch their shoulder to gain their attention. Establish eye contact, and say "Friend, there's a game I think you might be interested in." Go ahead, pimp it. You just did a good thing.
- Use the social sharing button thingers on Zigfrak's main Greenlight page! It's lame, I know. Everybody hates Facebook, but again, you will have done a good thing. You can apply eyebleach and wash off the sticky taint afterwards.
- Vote on IndieDB! Some jerkbear came along and dropped a deuce (2) in Zigfrak's IndieDB reviews, so please contribute a review! Do leave a note with your score, so I know what the number represents. Your honest feedback is appreciated. Currently 89% rated, by 33 players... not bad!
- Say hi on the forum! Your black body radiation helps light up the place. http://forum.zigfrak.com/
- Buy Zigfrak! First, try the free demo... hey look, you burned through it in 4 hours or less, grats on level 10. You're not sure why, but now you crave more. To mitigate the pain and trauma associated with parting from your money, check out the juicy coupon code at the very end of this article.
Things Just Got Personal
That's right... and it's not creepy at all. Tell me how you want it! Tell me what's broke, and I'll fix it. Players often step up and show me things in plain sight which I was blind to, and the game becomes better. Nothing is set in stone-- major changes like the oft-requested multiplayer support might be a tall order, but are on the table for a sequel.
Zigfrak is a passion project, and I am in this for the long haul. As Zigfrak's developer, I pledge to be attentive and responsive to the player base (you!), and to continue supporting the game to the best of my ability.
A frugal Greenlight commenter noted that he might buy Zigfrak if it's ever under $10, so I'm just going to leave this here...
I virtually just handed you $4.01. Virtually. This coupon expires Feb 15 2013, and is for direct sales only. Serial keys are compatible with Desura. In the event of Greenlighting, Steam keys will be made available.
That is all. Thanks for reading!
December 19, 2012 - Alex Ayars
I'm not sure how other games do after two weeks here, but so far (I think) the response to Zigfrak has been pretty positive. I am thankful for the feedback and interest. The game and Greenlight entry are mostly a single person effort, and I'm trying to keep up!
Many visitors have been bringing up similar points and questions. I do respond sometimes, but don't want to dominate the comments or sound like a broken record. Official-sounding responses to many of these commonly discussed points are inline, below.
Thanks for your time. If you think Zigfrak deserves greenlit, you could do it a solid with a recommendation to your friends on the twitterspheres.
Greenlight ZigFAQ (Part 1?)
Q) Oh God, the explosions! My eyes! The burning! I'm seizuring!
A) Players can toggle full-screen flashes from explosions in the graphics options menu. Obviously, explosions happen more frequently in the release trailer than they do in-game.
In addition to the current option which toggles full-screen flashing from explosions, the game uses an internal timer to prevent other full-screen effects (eg bloom) from taking over too often. I'd be open to making these other effects configurable as well, but so far it has not been raised as an issue by players.
Blowing things up in space is an important part of Zigfrak. There will *always* be some amount of bright flashing lights during space battles, because that's just how it goes.
Q) What's up with multiplayer?
A) Zigfrak is a single player game, but I very much want to make a sequel incorporating multiplayer action. Right now, development effort is focused on supporting the game's single player incarnation.
Q) When is it coming out? Are you Kickstartering?
A) Zigfrak finished beta and was released on November 1, 2012. You can get the extensive free demo (and purchase it directly) at http://zigfrak.com/ -- it's also available at Desura, GamersGate, and GameStop Impulse.
Q) Any chance of a cockpit view?
A) Cockpit and bridge views are another thing which could appear in a sequel. Zigfrak was designed entirely from a third person perspective. Because the game is already released, this would be a pretty big change.
Q) What is up with the Linux version?
A) I've started porting the project to Unity 4.0, which supports building for Ubuntu and other modern Linux distros. Many players enjoy Zigfrak on Linux via WINE already, but a native build should be available by late January 2013. Players will be able to move their saved game across platforms.
Q) What is up with Steam keys?
A) If you already purchased the game, they will be made available.
Q) Any chance of seeing more gameplay?
A) A longer video focused on gameplay is likely to appear at some point. There are lots of videos on YouTube (developer- and player-created); most of these reflect the state of the game during its alpha and beta, but many are still worth checking out. My Steam profile has a few.
There's also the free demo, of course.