Smugglers of Cygnus Blog Post 1
I've been meaning to produce a dev blog for Smugglers of Cygnus for ages now. When none of the existing platforms or solutions quite fit, it was time to write my own.
Enter DevBlogCMS, a new CMS for a new blog for a new game.
Why the heck would I create a new blog platform when I'm already in the middle of writing a new game?
That is a very good question, and I'll address that first, then move on to Smugglers.
There are several reasons. Each time I ran a poll asking about dev blog platforms, there was a near tie, except once. The one time a victor emerged, it was a platform I had previously used for game dev blogging, with all of 1 average view. There was literally no appreciable correlation between sales and the dev blog, and I'm almost positive only 2 or 3 people ever even read it. The next reason is that there are a lot of complications with themes, content, and limitations inherent in the big name platforms (for example, popular blogging platforms are constantly being hacked, while game-dev platforms like Steam would not appreciate a blog about a game launch on VoxPop), and that's fair. Another reason is that the non-game specific hosts are expensive if you don't want to spend all your time managing their buggy messes. Between $9 and $30 for a managed blog on the two more popular 3rd party forums. There are a lot of metadata issues with some of those blog platforms, for example one that I won't mention
itch, has massive issues when sharing to Twitter because of metadata problems.
Ok, so the existing solutions have issues with content, security, bugs, cost, maintenance, weight, complexity, and intrusive advertising.
The obvious solution of course was to write my own CMS. Since I wrote the CMS for the WereBooks platform which served over 200k hits a month to primarily lower-end mobiles, I had a good starting point. I forked the BookshelfCMS that had been released under the Apache 2.0 license. This served as a great starting port to produce a static blog-style site. Flat/static sites have no databases that can be hacked, no admin or managment consoles that can be hacked, and generate entirely read-only static pages. They're ideal for serving up pages extremely fast with no exposure, and the normal activities of generating pages are done on the owner's computer and uploaded. In my case, they're uploaded via the Azure CLI. A quick weekend later, I had a place where I could post anything, in any format, with no ads, for no additional cost.
No money pulled from Smugglers of Cygnus game development, no ads, no conflicts of interest, and I can share anything that's relevant to the gamers. Merch stores, platform sales, even full-scale patches.
Ok, on to Smugglers of Cygnus! In these first entries, I'm going to discuss the tools, the team, and some of the design decisions we've chosen to make - and the reasoning behind some of them. First up, the team!
Our lead writer is science fiction writer Jessica Alter, who has written a number of awesome science fiction books, and our previous game, GYATM. She's a great writer, you should totally check her books out from your local library (or ask them to get a digitial copy!)
Our lead artist and cinematographer goes by Dspazio, and he is a very talented hard-surfaces science fiction artist. His work has given Smugglers that beautiful atmosphere and triple-IIndependence, Imagination, and Innovation. A play on AAA gaming for indie studios. quality.
Our lead QA and co-writer is Sten Pettersen, and his imagination, thoroughness, and attention to detail have made him an excellent writer and expert at tracking down and reproducing elusive bugs. He is also a GYATM alum.
The talent behind that fantastic futuristic soundscape on our trailers and games goes by Hexenkraft, and I used his work to give the GYATM soundtrack the oomph that it needed. He joins us now on Smugglers of Cygnus in a greatly increased capacity, where he is composing an entire Original Sound Track for the game (which of course will be available as a standalone piece), and is producing a full-sized score.
Joining this core team are some talented voice actors you have definitely heard before.
In our lead roles are David Banks, Kyle Hester, Michael Schwalbe, Aimee Smith, and HourADayGamer. These folks will be bringing the crew of your ship to life.
We're adding a number of cameo roles as "space versions" of themselves, including the COO of VoxPop Games (and former voice actor on GTA) Marc Rodriguez, streamers LuisIpa07 and Sylent Wrath, and a few other fun people who are interested in being part of this project.
See you next time!