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Hey, since my new turn-based RPG, Epic Battle Fantasy 5, is 99% finished, I think this is a good time to write about the previous game in the series. I wrote a postmortem of Epic Battle Fantasy 4 back in 2013, and things were not looking so optimistic at the time.

—The Story so Far—

EBF4 was well-recieved by players and got very high scores on Flash game sites, and the premium content for the game sold quite well on Kongregate. However, even with millions of plays, the game didn’t have the same viral appeal that EBF3 had – and the biggest part of that was that the Flash game industry was rapidly shrinking. EBF4 paid off it’s development costs, but only due to lucky timing – if it had been released just a bit later, it would have had trouble getting sponsored, and may have flopped completely. I worked on EBF4 on and off for a few years, but the final development time was probably around a year of full-time work, and in the end it made $60K, which is decent for a software developer in a cheap city. Making another big game for Flash sites was no longer an option though.

Golems by KupoGames

While EBF4 was nearing the end of development, I started thinking about Steam. Games like Binding of Isaac and VVVVVV made me realise that good Flash games might be allowed on the platform. Luckily, Greenlight was announced around the same time, and it seemed like Steam was the way forward for the types of games I was making. But getting through Greenlight was incredibly hard at the time – initially your game would need over 50K votes or so, and only a handful of games were selected each month. EBF4 sat on Greenlight for a few months, and seeing that it was never going to get that many votes, I wrote the 1st postmortem, and decided I may be doomed to make lame mobile games, or some other career path. And now, some 5 or so years later, it’s time to continue the story…

—Preparing for Steam—

After 5 or 6 months, Valve started Greenlighting many more games than before, and EBF4 had a chance again! I immediately started working on new content for the Steam version of the game (which I also added to the paid Kongregate version), and EBF4 finally got through Greenlight, with around 15K votes. (For comparison, in the final days of Greenlight, all you needed was somewhere between 500 and 1K votes) Kongregate was a great sponsor, and they allowed me to link to Steam Greenlight in the web version of EBF4. I kept their logo on the Steam version, but they were not involved in it – I had no sponsor or publisher this time.

Steam was terrifying at first, since it was the first time I was publishing on a platform that wasn’t specifically designed for Flash games. It’s also very lonely, as you can go through the whole process of launching a game on Steam without ever talking to a human from Valve! I was worried I would not be able to implement all of the steam features – achievements, cloud saving, overlay, fullscreen modes, and trading cards. My time at University prepared me for situations like this – when you’re stuck on an assignment, you’re forced to talk to other students and to find out who’s better at it than you are, so you can get some help. I hunted down the developers of all the Flash games on Steam, and most of them were very happy to share their solutions with me. A huge thanks goes out to Alexey Abramenko, developer of Intrusion 2, who suggested I use MDM Zinc (basically a Flash projector) to package EBF4, and let me use his code for Steam achievements.

Preview by KupoGames

While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank Amanita Design, developers of Machinarium, for sharing their FRESteamworks ANE, which allows Adobe AIR to interface with Steam features. I later used Adobe AIR for other games I released on Steam, but it was no good for EBF4, since for some bizarre reason, Adobe decided to remove the LOW and MEDIUM stage quality options, which would have drastically damaged the game’s performance. (I eventually found a workaround for this, and will be using Adobe AIR for EBF5)  Anyway, MDM Zinc worked very well for a couple of years – it got my little Flash game running on and interfacing with Steam. But in the end the company closed down and stopped all support for it, and I’m no longer able to update EBF4 on Steam unless I update it to use Adobe AIR instead, and I don’t have a huge desire to revisit old work.

In the end the only Steam feature I couldn’t get working was the Steam overlay! It turns out this is because regular Flash content isn’t hardware accelerated, and the overlay cannot appear if the GPU is not active. The FRESteamworks ANE has a handy workaround for this problem – it creates a single off-screen hardware-accelerated sprite, which allows the overlay to be updated. Oh well, I found out about that a bit late.

—Time to Launch—

Anyway, onto the Steam release! I expected a lot of pushback from Steam users that are angry about Flash games showing up on Steam, but there was only a few of those, and the game was incredibly well recieved, with a review score of 98% positive for almost its entire lifetime.

There’s definitely a lot to criticise about EBF4 – it runs traditional Flash content with vector graphics, which even if programmed perfectly, would take up a lot of CPU resources. But there’s also a major memory leak in the game on top of that! I limited the game’s resolution to a max of only 720p, because I know most users would go as high as possible and then be surprised at how badly the game runs. The game was never designed to be played in widescreen, so the aspect ratio is an awkward 4:3. (apparently I was one of the last people with 4:3 monitors, and thought this was still normal)

Cutscene by KupoGames

I’m going to speculate here about why I think EBF4 got past these issues. First of all, I think I was very honest on the store page about what the game was offering. The trailer is just standard-definition footage from the game. Anyone who is expecting technical brilliance or mature-looking graphics, would instantly back away from the game. But more than that, I think the vast majority of people who bought the game were fans of the series from the good old Flash days – my art style hasn’t changed in 10 years, and anyone who’s played my games or seen my animations on Newgrounds or Armor Games will recognise them instantly. With EBF3 alone having over 20 million plays across the web, there was bound to be a lot of Steam users who had played the earlier games on Flash sites before finding EBF4 on Steam. Maybe nostalgia for Flash games is a real thing now.

But Flash does have some unique advantages. For one, it’s incredibly compatible – no matter what your hardware is, it will most likely run on it, even if it doesn’t run well. Only a small handful of players had trouble running the game at all. It’s also very easy to decompile Flash games, which most would consider a weakness, but this turned into a very helpful tool for hobbyists who create wiki pages, and some players would even find bugs in my code for me! Unofficial Chinese and Russian translations were even made! (EBF4 was actually the first game I localised into different languages, and here’s a blog I wrote about that.)

Maybe the game would have been more successful if it was made in a modern engine, but in my opinion, the risks and costs or learning a new engine and rebuilding the game would have outweighed any potential benefits. Working with Flash allows me to limit scope-creep, because I can’t get carried away with fancy graphics or new features, and I am able to guarantee that I will finish my games, no matter what. (unless I’m killed) I prefer to jump straight into prototypes and development, rather than thoroughly learning new tech, so I’m still not in a hurry to ditch Flash, even in 2019. I might be the last guy still using it for Steam games.

—Big Sales—

The opening day was strong – EBF4 got into the top 20 bestselling Steam games for a few hours! But after a few days, things began to settle down, and I thought that was it. I was used to the Flash game lifespan, where games only get major attention for a week or two, and then fade away after that. I was not expecting the long sales tale that would follow. But even so, the sales so far were just barely enough to make the extra content and Steam launch worthwhile.

I got lot of emails from game bundles, asking me to take part in them. I was an inexperienced Steam dev, but even at the time I knew it was not a good sign to send your game into the bargain bin a few months after launch. (though the game was over a year old in my view, if you include the web version, so maybe…?) I picked carefully and chose a very small and obscure bundle group, called Blink Bundle, (I don’t think they exist anymore) and EBF4 sold 5K copies there. It was a nice little introduction to bundles – it didn’t result in any user engagement, and didn’t change anything in the long term, as far as I could tell. But I did panic a bit, and swore not to bundle the game again unless sales had completely dried up, or I was approached by Humble Bundle.

Some time in its first year on Steam, EBF4 was featured in a flash sale (anyone still remember those?) and this was possibly the most exciting day of my game dev career. I got news in the morning that it was featured, and went out hiking for the day. When I got back and checked the sales stats, I thought they were broken, because the graph was just a backwards “L” shape. I can’t be too specific about the numbers, but the sale had quadrupled the number of Steam owners so far, and that allowed EBF4 to get enough traction to start getting picked up by Steam’s recommendation algorithms. (getting over 500 reviews is a major milestone for the algorithms) That’s also when I decided I could actually make EBF5 someday!

In 2016, sales of EBF4 were starting to wind down. But then Steam introduced the discovery update, which introduced smarter game recommendations, and made it easier for players to find niche products. Top selling games were featured less prominently than before, and much more indie games were promoted throughout the store – if that’s what a user was interested in. Since then, EBF4′s day-to-day sales have remained strong and fairly constant, only decreasing slightly over time. There have been a few occasions when Steam’s algorithms decided to stop promoting the game, and sales would drop by up to half, but luckily these have all been temporary – so far. Most indie games really are at the mercy of Steam’s algorithms and policies, which are changing often.

At the start of 2017, Humble Bundle approached me to include EBF4 in their Overwhelmingly Positive Bundle, along with some very well known games like Shantae and N++. The results were as good as I could have hoped for – huge sales and very low customer engagement. Around 135K people bought EBF4, only 90K bothered to activate it, only a fraction of those played it, and just a handful actually left reviews. Those new reviews averaged to around 75% positive, so it’s good that there wasn’t enough of those to damage my overall score very much. It goes to show you the dangers of showing your game to a much less invested audience.

Clipboard011 by KupoGames

Thanks to the bundle, and to Brexit for plummeting the value of British currency, that turned into my best financial year ever. I hadn’t even published any games that year, so it’s funny how things sometimes turn out. Game dev sometimes feels more like a lottery than a job.

EBF4 still has no critic reviews on Metacritic, and has never been covered by a major YouTuber or gaming news site. I’ve never paid for any advertisements. I had no marketting plan, I just made free web games for 5 years, (they were still very profitable) and it looks like many of the kids who played them are now adults who want to support me.

—Conclusion—

As of now, EBF4 has sold around 255K copies across all platforms, with around 140K of those being from bundles. It ended up earning many times more than the initial web version! It’s also worth noting that 75% of the game is still available for free online – I do wonder how a free Steam version would have affected the numbers?

To this day EBF4 is still selling around 7 or 8 copies on an average day, and a lot more during seasonal Steam sales. 5 years after it launched on Steam, it’s still covering my living expenses. Thanks to this I was able to work full time on EBF5 for 3 whole years! (but not without stress of course, as income like that could stop without warning if Steam decides to change something. I’ve recently started a Patreon as an emergency source of income) (I’d also like to mention that my living expenses are only £15K per year – with an unstable income like game dev, you gotta save a lot)

I think it would be a miracle if EBF5 saw the same success as EBF4 did. (even though development time was more than double…) With some luck, maybe it will come close. I’m definitely more prepared this time, as this will be my 4th game on Steam, and based on various social media stats, there’s around 10K people following EBF5′s development. I’ll also be sending out discount coupons to everyone who owns EBF4 on Steam, which should make for some good marketting, and I’m planning to release a free web version of EBF5 on the usual Flash sites, some time after the Steam release.

We’ll see how it goes.

Slimes by KupoGames

So now that Summer is over, I can do a write up of my gardening adventures.
We recently bought a house, which while in very good condition, had a very plain and low maintenance garden. In particular, there’s a 25sqm area that’s simply covered in gravel. I would prefer to have grass, so dogs can run around. It can’t be that hard to remove the gravel by hand and lay down some grass, right?

Well, the top layer of gravel was quite useful, and I reused some of it in other parts of the garden, and gave a few car-fulls of it to my mum, who used it in her garden. The problem was that under the gravel was a much thicker layer of useless concrete and rubble. That took many digging sessions to get rid of – and around 15 trips to the dump in my medium sized car. In the end I excavated 6 or 7 tonnes of rubble with just a shovel, pickaxe and some buckets. It definitely would have been worth hiring some professional equipment for that… but at least it was good exercise.

Back Garden by KupoGames

Once the rubble was gone, I finally reached the topsoil, but there was a final challenge. The soil was full of buried chunks of fences, bricks, and slabs! I had to go through it all with the pickaxe and pull out even more rubble. On the bright side, some of the slabs were complete, and I used them to build flower beds later! I didn’t get to plant the grass this year, but the area is almost ready so that I can plant it in Spring. I didn’t expect grass would be so much work. I invited some friends and family over, and we had a little planting session in the corner of that area.

In another part of the garden, we wanted to get rid of some grass and build flower beds along the fence, as this would make for a great view from the patio and rear windows. My mum cloned many of her plants for us, and Ronja helped with the planting and layout. The problem this time is that the grass didn’t want to die, and started growing back a few weeks later. That project is still a work in progress, and we’ll see how many of the plants survive…

Front Garden by KupoGames

We also extended the driveway a bit to look a bit more aesthetic, and so that it can potentially fit in an extra car. Whoever originally laid the driveway slabs got a bit lazy and didn’t put them all the way along the fence, so we cut some slabs into triangles and filled in the gaps. It seems like a simple job, but if you don’t flatten the ground underneath, they can wobble or break when you step on them, and one of ours cracked through the middle. Also at 70KG each, slabs are surprisingly heavy and make for a good workout.

I got some old decorative garden furniture from my mum, scraped the old flaky paint off, and spray painted it black. The intricate design made this a huge pain. I didn’t manage to get all the old paint off, so I’m sure the new layer won’t last that long now. But for now it makes for a really nice decoration in front of the house.

Anyway, that about covers everything. This was all very new to me, as I haven’t done much gardening in the past. I learned a lot in the process, and also got much fitter. It was satisfying how little money we spent on all that – mostly on a few essential tools and compost. Most of the plants and materials were recycled, either from my parents’ garden or from Gumtree. It just took a lot of hard, dirty work.

Garden Me by KupoGames


Hey guys, this is an announcement to say that I’m closing applications for translator roles, and we’re starting to work on the translations. If you’ve been selected, you’ll have recieved an email and been invited to Google Docs by now. I’m sorry I can’t reply to you all individually – I got almost 200 emails.

But even if you haven’t been selected to translate directly, you can still contribute to the translation effort on the EBF Discord. We’ll be discussing translation issues on there. I’ve also made a list of everyone who emailed me, so if anyone drops out, or we need more help, I may invite more people.

Big thanks to everyone who emailed me, and please wish us luck! It’s going to be a big project…

Hey guys, I’m still preparing the translation stuff and reading emails from people who want to help out. I haven’t replied to most people yet, maybe I’ll be able to do that tomorrow. You’ll be invited to Google Docs if you’re in. I’ll make an announcement to tell everyone else that they’re not in – but I’m still making a list of everyone who emailed me, so I’ll have your name for later if needed.

Spanish is by far the most popular language – so if you want to help out with Spanish, you’re probably out of luck. Everyone wants to do Spanish.

I’ve decided to do both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, since people have convinced me that it’s very easy to do the other once you’ve done one.

If you’re interested in helping with Korean, please email me with your details ASAP (see my previous post). I got a few volunteers, but probably not enough yet, and Korean’s a good language to support if possible. I could also use one or two more helpers for Japanese.

I’ve created a channel for each language on the EBF Discord. This way translators can talk to fans and get feedback or suggestions easily. That’s a good place to contribute even if you’ve not been invited to the Google Docs team.

That is all, I’ll keep you updated. But I’m overwhelmed by the response at the moment.
Thanks!

Hey guys, it’s time to begin translating Epic Battle Fantasy 5, and I'm looking for translators!
I think the total word count is over 50,000 words, so it’s the size of a small novel.

This is purely volunteer work, as I couldn’t pay enough to translate that many words, but you’ll get a few copies of EBF5 out of it.

What I’ve done in the past is have 1 or 2 people translating for each language, and another 2 or 3 proofreading it and making suggestions. We’ll be working on this over October and November – hopefully 2 months is enough time.

The languages I’ve done before and I’m doing again:
• German (neutral dialect)
• French (neutral dialect)
• Spanish (trying to be neutral, but leaning towards South American)
• Portuguese (Brazilian)

New languages:
• Polish
• Russian
• Simplified Chinese (feel free to make an argument for Traditional Chinese)
• Vietnamese
• Maybe Japanese (not sure if I can find enough volunteers for this one)

I don’t know much about these new languages yet, so feel free to give me a quick intro about dialects and other problems that we might run into.

If you want to help out, shoot me an email at kupo707@hotmail.com.
Stuff you should include in your message are:
• What language and dialect you want to do.
• Whether you’d like to translate (more work) or just proof read.
• Link me to some paragraphs you’ve written in English (a blog or something), so I know you’re fluent in English.
• Let me know how much free time you have, especially if I may need to replace you later.

Stuff you’ll need:
• A Google account for using Google Docs. (We might need to find an alternative platform for Chinese..?)
• You’ll have to be quite familiar with my games, the characters, and the style of humour.
• It’s best if you’ve played a few hours of the EBF5 beta.
• For legal purposes, you’ll have to agree that your translation can be used in every release of EBF5, and possibly in future games, indefinitely, and that you own no part of EBF.

I’ll start preparing the translation notes and I’ll get back to you soon. Translators who have worked on the previous games will get priority.

Also if you’ve played an EBF4 or BH2 translation before, now’s your chance to give feedback on how we can do a better job this time! Common criticisms in the past were about dialects, and translations being too literal sometimes. It’s also possible I may consider more languages in a future update, so suggestions are still welcome.

Thanks!

Hey guys, here’s some info about the Steam release…

Epic Battle Fantasy 5 will cost $15 on Steam. The release date is "Late 2018". The soundtrack will be sold separately, probably for $5. It’s DLC, so you can’t buy it on Steam without the game, but you can get it directly from Phyrnna for a little more.

Everyone who owns EBF4 on Steam will get a 20% discount coupon for EBF5. I think Valve sets this up so that coupons are sent out just after launch. This works better for me than a launch discount, because it lets me notify 200,000 Steam users at once. Should make for a decent marketting campaign to get the ball rolling.

Once the coupons expire after a month, I’ll release a Steam bundle of EBF4, EBF5, and Bullet Heaven 2. This bundle gives you 20% off if you “complete the set”. If you only own EBF4, for example, you can buy the other 2 games together for 20% off. This will be a permanent deal going forward, and it works in conjunction with other discounts. It’s basically a scam to make people buy BH2.

Patrons who have given me at least $15 will get Steam keys a few days before official release, so they can double check that everything is working correctly.

The free web version will be released once I’ve had a break from the Steam release. But the beta will most likely stay up on this website until then anyway. Saves between all versions will be compatible, and easily transferable with the save backup feature. Saves from the beta may have a few minor problems – such as permanently missing an equip or two if you save in the wrong place.

Hey guys, this is a list of some leftover stuff that won’t be in the EBF5 at launch, but I’d like to add to the game later.

• A battle arena dungeon, where players must fight waves of enemies solo. Combat with just one character is something I haven’t explored much in the series, and it could add a very interesting challenge to the game. Additionally, summons could be disabled, forcing you to rely only on each character’s unique skills. Even a regular foe could feel like a boss fight.
• A library dungeon, with paper cut-out style enemies. Trying out different art styles is fun, and a dungeon like this could make it work nicely in context too. It also let’s me use a lot of my old sketches of tanks and robots in the game. Plus a library could be filled with lots of lore and information, if that’s something people would like to see more of.
• Hidden portable game consoles, which would initiate battles against one-of-a-kind pixel-art foes. The aim is to have something like a treasure chest, except the treasure is that you get a chance to capture a rare enemy. This is another chance to play with different art styles, and it’s likely I could even host another foe competition for this one.
• Challenge runs - I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d like to add the option to replay the game with some differences, including: shuffled equipment locations, different weather, stronger foes, and various other little changes that could make the game feel fresh for another playthrough.

Anyhow, this list will probably still grow as I think of more interesting ideas. And ya’ll better buy the game if you want me to keep working on it after launch.

Hey, this is a big blog about my experience translating Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Bullet Heaven 2, and how I’m trying to do things better in Epic Battle Fantasy 5.

Translating EBF4 was a last minute decision – it didn’t even cross my mind until the game was almost finished. But I knew I had a lot of fans that didn’t speak English, based on my Facebook page and Kongregate data, and the fact that my Flash games were quite popular on Spanish, Chinese, etc, Flash game sites. The languages I chose to translate to were Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. The first two because I had a lot of fans in those regions, and the second two because they just seemed like the most popular European languages to translate to (ie. they buy a lot of games). I didn’t consider Chinese because they already had made unofficial translations, and I figured they just pirate everything anyway. (I don’t know how much that’s changed in the last 5 years, but China seems to be really big on Steam now)

I asked for volunteers from my fans to translate and proofread, and a lot of people stepped forward. I couldn’t judge their skill at their first language, but I made sure they were at least fluent in English. My translation strategy was to turn all of the text strings in EBF4 into arrays of text strings, and dump them on Google Docs so that all the translators could work on them at the same time. “Word” would turn into ["Word","","","",""] and the translators would fill in the gaps. Once translated, the script was also shared publicly, so that anyone could provide feedback if they wanted to.

This wasn’t very efficient, but it worked. The worst part was going through all of the game’s code, trying to find every tiny bit of text, copying it to a Google Docs file, and then later doing that whole process in reverse. It also means that adding a new language now would involve all of that work again. With EBF5, I’ve put all of the text in seperate files right from the beginning, and each file contains one language. The game’s code just loads the relevant text file depending on the options. This means that adding a new language requires almost no extra coding work: I can just give out the English files, they can be translated, and the game can load them as a new language. So that should save me a lot of work in the long term!

But there were some other problems when translating EBF4:
• It turns out that most translated text ends up being a bit longer than the original, so I had to significantly increase the size of many text boxes. Lesson quickly learned.
• Translating parts of sentences separately is a very bad idea, for example: “A ” + “fire/water/ice” + ” elemental attack!” This works well in English and a few other languages, but you never know when weird grammar rules might pop up. From now on I’m sticking to full sentences, even if it leads to a lot of redundancy, like typing out the full line for 10 different elements.
• Dialects! I didn’t realise how different these could be. With French and German we managed to settle on neutral dialects, but with Spanish and Portuguese we went with south American ones, since that’s where almost all of the volunteers were from. Some Europeans were not very happy with these translations. I’m not sure if this problem is totally avoidable, but it’s worth talking to your translators about it before you start. (and then marketting your translation accordingly – luckily Steam let’s me specify that it’s Brazilian-Portuguese)

One thing that went very well was, uh, Flash! Flash handles special characters and text related stuff very well. So I never had any problems putting weird non-English characters in my games. The default fonts seem to handle everything.

So, in the end, was translating worth it? Well… kind of? It took me about a month to organise and implement EBF4′s translations, which also includes countless hours of work by the translators and proofreaders. The Steam sales for German (8%) and French (4%) are reasonably high, so from a financial perspective, those languages were worth doing, maybe even if I had to pay professionals instead of volunteers. But even though tons of Spanish and Portuguese speaking people played the free versions of EBF4, very few of them bought the game on Steam (less than 1% of Steam sales each), so if I was translating just for money, I wouldn’t have done those languages.

EBF4 was overall very successful on Steam, with around 100K sales in total – so 8% more sales is a lot in the end (well, I’m sure a lot of Germans speak English, and may have bought the game without a translation, but whatever). My other game, Bullet Heaven 2, on the other hand, was not so successful. The game wasn’t a flop – but it’s not far from it. Even though it had much less text to translate, I think translating that game was a waste of time – it just wasn’t worth the extra work. And if I had paid professional translators, I would have lost a LOT of money on it.

So I think that’s what it all comes down to for me. If I have a lot of fans in some region, and they want to volunteer to translate EBF5, I’m perfectly happy to work with them and make it happen so that more people can enjoy the game. But I wouldn’t bet on the translations to be worth it financially if I had to pay professionals. I guess I just don’t like taking too many risks. It’s also not particularly fun to program my games to support multiple languages.

Anyway, I’m almost ready to start translating. I’ll start doing research and asking for volunteers soon-ish. German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are coming back, and the new languages I’m strongly considering are Chinese, Russian, Polish and Vietnamese. Feel free to suggest others, but I think those are the most likely. Of course, I can always add more languages after the game is released, as the new infrastructure makes that much easier than in previous games.

I’m interested to hear what you all think.

tl;dr: I translate for the fans, as it’s probably not worth translating a text-heavy indie RPG for financial gain, except maybe to German.

Hey guys, Epic Battle Fantasy 5 now has a “Coming Soon” Steam page!: store.steampowered.com/app/432…
Please follow the game and add it to your wish-list, so it gets ranked above other stuff. (and obviously buy and review it when it comes out!) EBF5 will *probably* release on Steam first, for $15, with the free web version coming a few weeks later. The steam version adds about 33% more content, in the form of super hard optional dungeons, which includes the evil player battles.

In other news, the EBF Discord server now has new creative channels, including: Misc Art, Lego, and Minecraft. The EBF-Fanart channel has been quite popular so far, so if you’re a creative person and want to chat with others about stuff you’ve made, check it out: discordapp.com/invite/5gnkTvE
EBF5 trailer done! (minus a few mistakes I'll fix later)


Here's the trailer for EBF5 that I'm working on!
I'm planning to have the narration voiced and to tidy things up a bit.
What do you think? Did I miss out anything important?


Hey, I'm playing through Epic Battle Fantasy 5 right now!
Public beta coming soon-ish!


Hey guys, I’ve been without internet for over two weeks, but I’m back now. I guess I have to start off with a write-up of the Play Expo.

It went really well! Not a single thing went wrong!

Setting up was easy. I just brought in my computer, two monitors, a poster, an old pile of Kongregate stickers I got from Mochi London, some cute business cards to give out, and that was about it. The venue was conveniently 10 minutes away from my home. At first I didn’t have anywhere to put up my poster, but the guys next to us left very early so we essentially got a 2nd table just for that. Me and Ronja took turns manning the stall, so we didn’t tire ourselves out. (I also got to try some VR stuff on my break, woop!)

Expo Photo 1 by KupoGames

EBF5 never crashed. Both days it ran non-stop for 8 hours without any problems, which was pretty cool, but also what I would have hoped for since the demo was just the most basic parts of the battle system. On the second monitor I had my YouTube videos of EBF5 running on loop forever.

The audience was a bit different from what I expected. EGX in England was mostly for gaming enthusiasts, but while this event still had some of those, it was generally much more casual and family oriented. There were a lot of really young kids, but also a lot of parents and grandparents who weren’t even into video games at all. I ended up showing off EBF5 to a huge variety of people, and it was a very educational social experience for me. I learned how to talk to kids, disabled people, and a lot of very socially-awkward people.

I’m glad I had EBF5 configured in work-safe mode, and I’m happy I made that option available in the first place. Bouncing anime breasts were not out of place at the event, but I think it would have been a bit awkward with the game’s default settings, especially when young girls came to play.

A related point that surprised me was the lack of PC gamers! I think EBF5 was one of the only mouse-controlled games there, and a lot of kids were confused when they couldn’t find the controller or keyboard. Quite a few people had trouble using the mouse accurately, and double-clicking when single-clicks were fine. But besides that people picked up the game very easily. I just told them to pick commands and hit the baddies, and that was all they needed to know really. I only intervened to tell them how to heal when their health got low.

Expo Photo 2 by KupoGames

Besides all that we also got to know some of the other exhibitors, including Mega Cat Studios, who make modern NES games, Wrench Games who make card games, and Oi Oi Games who are a store for retro games (their Mario Maker stall dominated the area at first and sort of overshadowed us – not fair!). I don’t think there was anyone particularly famous there – there wasn’t even any official presence from the big gaming companies. It was all quite local and modest. A reporter from The Sun talked to me briefly, but in the end I don’t think he actually wrote anything about me.

I had around 5 people tell me they were fans of the EBF games, and another 5 or so who said they’ve probably played them at some point in the past. So that’s not bad – I’m not a total nobody!

Anyway, it was all a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again if I get more chances to do it so cheaply. (Grand total spent on the event: £89 and around 3 days of preparation)

Hey guys, me and Ronja will be exhibiting EBF5 at the Play Expo in Glasgow on the 9th and 10th of June! They’re nice enough to give free tables to small local game devs, so I have to take advantage of that. It’s our first time exhibiting, so we’ll probably embarrass ourselves. I wonder how many fans I have in Glasgow… probably enough for at least a few people to recognise me I hope. Mostly I’m expecting the kinds of comments I get on YouTube: “I remember EBF3, I didn’t know the series was still around!”

The timing is a bit unfortunate, as I’m in the middle of moving and would also need a bit more time to finish the EBF5 beta. I’ll probably just polish the Battle Demo a little bit and make it more presentable. It would have been nice to get feedback on the beta, but oh well!

Anyway, the Play Expo is pretty cool. It’s not as big as some of the events in England, but it’s got a lot of fun stuff to see like classic consoles, arcade games and pinball machines, and can easily keep you entertained for at least a day. If you live near Glasgow, you have no excuse not to go now.

Play Event Jpg by KupoGames


Something a lot of people requested for Newgame+ was additional challenges, like perks for monsters or different upgrade options. I’m not going to lock content like that behind a 2nd playthrough. Instead an idea I’ve had for a while is “Challenge Run” settings that you can set at the start of the game and cannot change after that. Ideas I’ve got so far are:

Content Remixes: 
• Randomised locations of equipment.
• Alternative weather throughout the game.
• Different foes appearing in battles.

Added Difficulty:
• Perks for foes such as more resistances.
• Dead players lose their turn, additional cooldowns, or other handicaps.

Basically stuff that will make the game feel fresh if you want to play it again, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out if you only play through it once. It doesn’t involve any new content, just a bit of remixing.

This won’t be a feature at launch though. I’m saving it for a future update if sales are good.
(along with lots of other leftover ideas, such as bringing back old bosses and making some totally new enemies!) 

Also here’s an unrelated video.

Hey guys, all the battles in EBF5 have been defined. Most of what’s left to do is stitching all of the parts together, the title menu, tons of testing and balancing, translations, and the final boss. Then after that there’s still some promotional stuff like trailers and store pages etc. But it’s getting there. People who have volunteered to translate are getting a bit impatient, but I’ll get round to contacting you soon-ish. Still need a month or so before I’m ready to organise that.

I was supposed to be buying a house, but the seller is having trouble moving, so that’s been delayed. I’m moving back in with my parents for now – hopefully not for too long, but who knows. Maybe it will be a chance to take a break from work.

But while that’s happening, you guys can tell me what you want from Newgame+ in EBF5. Like usual, I don’t want to put much work into it, but I do want it to be a fun way to replay the game. Did you prefer it in EBF3 where you could just rush through the game again with super powerful players? Or did you like EBF4′s version where monsters got much stronger and you could keep levelling up for longer? If I do that again I’ll have to balance it a bit better.

In other news, I’ve been suffering quite heavily from nostalgia lately, and have been playing lots of games on Kongregate and Newgrounds again – old stuff and new. I’m probably too young to feel this way, but it feels like a huge part of my life is over. Flash games and whatever replaces them will still be around, yet I feel that some of the magic is gone, now that they’re no longer the cutting-edge of the creative space. I feel like the old man who doesn’t like what kids these days are into, because I had better entertainment in my day. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just have to keep making games in my style and prove it.

I read through my EBF4 postmortem, and I really need to update that soon. Back when I wrote that I felt like EBF4 was a failure and that I didn’t have much future making PC games, but since then EBF4 came out and Steam and was hugely successful there. Now my problem is that EBF4 might have been the height of my career and I won’t manage to make another game that’s so successful. That’s a bit silly of thing to worry about, I suppose.

I really need to blog more. It’s very therapeutic and a nice way to connect with people. I’ve got a few long ones that I’ve been meaning to write for a while, so maybe while I’m stranded at my parents house I can write some of those. I know I’m not the best at replying to comments, but I do read them all and appreciate them.

I found a super cool speed run of Epic Battle Fantasy 4 that was done a while ago. I’ve only watched the first 10 minutes and I’m already very impressed, so watch at least that much if not the whole thing.

There’s a very interesting bug being exploited here. :P
I didn’t think EBF had interesting speedrun potential, but this video shows otherwise.

If anyone knows other cool videos of my games that I might have missed, let me now!


Hey guys, I made a little video preview of the EBF5 world map.
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel, I’m almost at 9,000 subs, and I don’t post very often so I won’t be annoying!

Yesterday was the snowiest day in the UK in literally decades, and half the country shut down!
The police told everyone to stay home and car insurance companies voided everyone’s insurance!
People were panic buying and supermarkets ran out of bread and other supplies!
It was wonderful.

I got stranded at my parents house for two nights and built stuff.
I made this fort with my mum, and expanded it with an archway once my brother arrived to help – that part was tricky.
The fort seemed sturdy enough, but some of it collapsed overnight, and the rest was slowly on its way down, so I mercy-killed it for safety.
In total the fort weighed 700kg. I’m super exhausted, but I have no regrets now. 

1 by KupoGames
2 by KupoGames
3 by KupoGames