in this post I speak for the Starcat Devocean team. We’ve been toying with a new game idea for a while now. This post is about getting an idea whether or not there may be enough interest in a Jag version. And how such a version could be realized and distributed.
Who are we?
Starcat Devocean is a team of two from Germany (Starcat and Gavia + occasional helpers) developing homebrew video games in our spare time. We’re not making games for a profit, but because we want to say something, share our vision, entertain and tell a story. The games are experimental, creative / artistic and sometimes raw. There is no padding around unpolished edges.
If you like games in 2D pixel style strong focus on storytelling and oldschool game mechanics maybe there is something here for you.
What making homebrew games is like...
This isn’t a business. It doesn’t pay any bills. (Maybe it does for pirate scum on Ebay, but not for us. We don’t even get a dollar donation if we don’t enforce it, but we don’t want to resort to that.)
We’re creatives, artists and programmers and we do what we do with what limited resources (time, energy, motivation, money) we have.
The best thing you can do to support us is enjoy what we make, spread the word, show a bit of appreciation and if you liked a game maybe consider a donation. Like help cover expenses, buy us a virtual beer or coffee as a token of love.
A look back...
The previous Starcat Devocean release »HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim« was a bit of a shock to us. The download numbers were the lowest of any of our releases yet. From a technical and creative point of view it was pushing the Jag further than any of our releases before. So what went wrong? Not your kind of game? Not interesting because there is nothing for collectors? Not enough »promotion«? Not interesting because it’s just a demo to test the waters?
Our expectation was that at least people would be curious to play something new. There are definately worse releases out there...
Whatever it may be. To us it felt like we were wasting our time by bringing new games to the Jaguar. We have decided that »HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim« will not be developed further for the Jag and maybe not at all.
We were considering a cart version of »JagMind: BombSquad«, but we got zero reaction to that. Again it feels like nobody cares.
To us it’s a simple question of priorities and time. Making a game for the Jag is a lot of extra work. Personally I still love the Jag and would like to keep doing something.
But my honest question and worry is: Is this still the right platform to put time into?
I’m willing to give it another try. But I’m really having a hard time understanding today’s community. I've been keeping an eye on the forums and social media for the past year. Prices for hardware and software go through the roof. Most people have the equipment to play homebrew games. There are less flame wars. People have grown up it seems. There are more releases than ever before. Great things are happending. More developers are around, but still the community doesn’t feel as active or more healthy than it was fifteen years ago.
Why this post?
I'm not asking what games you want to see on the Jag. That's not the point here.
We can only make our games and I wonder if the Jag is still a good fit for those.
What I’m trying to figure out is how this whole thing can work for me and my team.
And if our game idea is something you want to get for the Jag.
Do you still play Jaguar games or just collect them?
Do you care about a game if it’s only available as digital release and would you be willing to pay for it to support the developers?
Would you care about a game because it’s on the Jaguar, but not if it was on a different platform?
Is there a kind of game on the Jaguar you’re sick of? Something you do NOT care about?
What would be your perfect release scenario and medium for a new game? (CD, Cart, Download + homebrew-runnable-device...)
Our game idea...
ITCAN (working title) would be an interactive story in a noir-like setting with life-simulation-like and rpg-like elements. A bit coming-of-age, a bit dystopian, socio-critical thought-provoking. It’s based on a short story of mine, which I wanted to turn into an animated movie almost ten years ago, but that never happened.
The idea never went away. I feel like a game format would be perfect, because playing is stronger than watching something.
It will not a big game in one run, but replaying it will open a lot of possibilities.
It won't be a feel-good game and there is no action. It’s no graphics or hardware showcase. But there is nothing like this on the Jaguar and if you like indie storytelling games this one is for you.
A lot of the game concept is already written and I’m prototyping on PC. Now I’m trying to get an idea if this would be a title you want to get and play on the Jaguar.