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July 27, 2019

Early Access is a program on Steam designed for players to jump in and start playing games while they are still in development. The goal of the program is for players to provide valuable feedback to improve the game and make for a more polished, complete experience. But is Early Access right for just any game? This article is a reflection of my experience and opinions and may help offer some insight to other developers looking to enter the program.

My experience with Early Access begins a couple years ago, midway through The Forbidden Arts’ development cycle. I began to think about ways I could improve the game through various types of player feedback. After a bit of research, and back and forth in my head, I decided to try out the Early Access program on Steam. I went in completely blind and oblivious to how the system worked. I’d never purchased an Early Access game in my life, let alone browsed the Early Access category on Steam. I knew literally nothing other than the program seemed...

September 17, 2018

Thank you for your interest in voice acting for The Forbidden Arts. For these auditions, please do not add any effects to your voice. All auditions must be raw. Due to the number of auditions we receive we will not be able to respond to you unless we are interested in having you voice a particular role. If we are interested we will ask you how much compensation you are seeking for the role. Compensation is negotiable and will be paid via Paypal or similar service. Please send all auditions to info@stingbotgames.com. Please submit your auditions, with which role(s) you are auditioning for by Friday, September 21. Unfortunately we will not be able to listen to or accept auditions past that date.

1. Female voice needed for the Fire Spirit. The fire spirit speaks to the main character of the game in a slightly angelic and ethereal tone. There are 4 lines that she needs to say:

  1. “Phoenix…”

  2. “It’s Time”

  3. “Rise…”

  4. “Rise from the fire within”

You can download the reference mp3 h...

May 3, 2018

EDIT: We have filled this role. Congratulations to Jonathan Cooke! We look forward to sharing his voice in the game.

We need a voice actor to assume the role of Joppay, a desert drunk. Joppay used to be a treasure hunter in his youth, but as of late he spends his days drinking and spreading rumors throughout the desert. He’s a light hearted fellow whose happiness rests in a half empty bottle of Whiskey. He’s not angry, rude etc. Just a drunk.

This role will require you to sound drunk. What we are looking for is someone who can do a great old man voice and add some drunken flair to it. See below video references for examples of some drunk old men:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpauq6hfkY0 - 00:30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULfZ63HtjeQ&t=61s 00:30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAy2oNHltkU 01:20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RheiUBETVVE 01:24 

If you are interested in auditioning for this role we would like you to voice the following lines and send them to us via email at info@stingbo...

December 29, 2017

Recently we entered our game, The Forbidden Arts, into the Windows Dream Build Play contest. One of the requirements for entry was to build and publish the game on the Windows UWP platform, although it isn't required to be live in the store. We didn't have the smoothest ride, but we did make it to the end of the road. I'm writing this Blog to help other developers who might be struggling to port your Unity game to Windows UWP. At the time of writing, we were using Unity 2017.2.1 and Visual Studio 2017.

First let's begin in Unity. Most of The Forbidden Arts' code is compatible with Windows UWP, but there are some parts of .NET that are not. Be prepared to change some of your code. For example, System.Reflection is not supported in UWP development. We had to rewrite any code which used System.Reflection, but it wasn't the biggest deal. Just take note you will likely encounter errors with your game and have to fix them before proceeding to port the game. This of course, depe...

November 18, 2017

The title says it all. Zelda has Hyrule, Mario has the Mushroom Kingdom, Elder Scrolls has Tamriel and so on. We need a name for the world the game takes place in. We are asking for suggestions from anyone and everyone. If we choose your suggestion we will give you a $50 gift card to Steam, or simply $50 via Paypal. We will make an announcement on Facebook/Twitter with the winner when and if one is chosen. Please email info@stingbotgames.com, or if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you can simply reply with your suggestions.

Thanks for being a part of our development process. We look forward to hearing your suggestions!

August 31, 2017

Music can really strengthen a game and make you fall in love with it. Mario 64 would have been a very different experience for me if it wasn't for the beautiful melody that is Dire Dire Docks. I remember swimming around collecting red coins just to listen to the music on repeat. Or how about the original Mario on NES? Remember the first time you entered level 1.2? Such a simple theme and so classic. Makes me happy just thinking about it. Music can play with our emotions and make us feel things we didn't know we could feel. It does truly have a profound effect on us.

Game development is actually something a bit newer to me in my life. I actually have the most experience in writing, recording and playing music. I started playing piano at the age of 7 and guitar at 15, which then led to singing, playing bass and drums as well. I played in a band for 8 years in my late teens to mid 20s, toured some of the world and I've released 3 albums and several E.P.s. I have and will always love music....

August 19, 2017

This past summer has proven to be quite a busy one. We are very happy to announce a demo of The Forbidden Arts has been completed and we recorded a video showing some in-game footage which can be seen here: 

We explore the basics of the game mechanics, story, exploration, collectibles and challenges available. Aside from finishing a demo we have integrated hundreds of voiceovers and sound effects, and lots of music. We have built more than 50% of the game world to date and about 70% of the game is fully programmed. We are very pleased with the progress we have made and the game is playing smoothly. It's been a long road but we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and can't wait to meet you there. 

July 9, 2017

As an indie game developer it’s very difficult to juggle time between development and marketing, so I decided not to spread myself too thin. I wanted to focus on just a few social networks to promote our upcoming game, The Forbidden Arts. I decided on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.  With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook was a prime choice and should be a no brainer for anyone wanting to promote their business or services on a social network.

Once I got started with Facebook and began to build a following for the game I realized how expensive Facebook promotions actually are. This isn’t meant to be a deterrent from using Facebook. Quite the opposite. I value Facebook quite a bit and we intend to use it as one of our main sources of marketing in the future. This blog is intended to shed some light on our experiences with such costs, and how we run effective campaigns.

I decided to run a test for this Blog. I posted a promotional image to the Forbidden Arts Facebook page.

Before I ran this c...

July 7, 2017

This post first appeared on the Black Shell Media blog.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a corporate attempt at fighting piracy by controlling exactly how and when you use media. There are, approximately, 10,742,489 kinds of DRM and copy protection out there, with almost every company or format having their own take on it. And with a total estimated revenue loss of $74 billion due to pirated games in 2014 alone, it makes sense why DRM is so prevalent.

Valve’s Steam is one of the primary examples discussed when mentioning DRM, especially online, where the words “digital rights management” are so controversial. Surprisingly, despite the slack it gets, Steam is one of the most elegant and integrated DRM solutions available. It offers unlimited copies of games on unlimited machines, but only one user can play on an account at a time. Overall, it’s a seamless system, like DRM should be.

. . . Or is it? Players who purchase their games cannot use the account on more than one co...

May 21, 2017

Today I’m going to discuss exploring the World Map of the game. In a previous Blog I mentioned how much fun it was to explore the castle of Super Mario 64 when I was a kid.  From extra stars to collect and challenges to complete, the World Map was a blast to explore.

I wanted to change up the feel of The Forbidden Arts a little bit when you are on the world map.  The actual levels are played in 2d side scrolling mode within a 3d world, but on the world map the movement is full 3d as shown in the GIF below.

I revised the system to feel a bit more open and offer a greater sense of freedom.  My goal is to capture that Super Mario 64 feel of exploration while on the World Map.  There are 3d platforming areas, unique challenges, and more collectibles.  The world map is not just a way to get from level to level.  In The Forbidden Arts, the world map is an adventure all its own. 

I like splitting the control style between 2d and 3d.  Although the main emphasis is 2d and I abs...

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