The Long Dark

I'm not a fan or early access games, or "paying for beta testing games" as I would call it, but after a recommendation, I bought the survival game "The Long Dark" which isn't a finished game yet.

The game play works basically like this: Without a lot of tools or supplies, you get thrown somewhere randomly into the Canadian wilderness during Winter, and you need to survive. You mainly fight against hunger and the cold, and sometimes also wolves, but that's it already.

I don't have much time for playing games, but this type of game still fits quite well into my gaming habits: I usually die pretty quickly in this game. The best I've done so far was surviving for about 4 days, I think. And although the game isn't finished yet (there is only the sandbox mode available, the game will apparently contain a story as well once finished), it is both fun and frustrating at the same time.

So far, I can recommend the game, especially if you are interested in learning how much nature sucks. :)

Our Steam Greenlight Progress so far

About 3 months ago, I added CopperCube to Steam Greenlight, Valve's pipeline for testing if unknown games and apps are worth for publishing them onto their game selling platform 'Steam'.

We've received primarily only positive feedback on that page so far, but the amount of votes isn't as high as I thought they would be. I think one reason for this might be the Steam User interface update: Today, it is not easy to find the Greenlight pages anymore, especially not the ones for apps (instead of games). First, you have to click the rarely used top Menu Community -> Greenlight.

And then, you still need to select "software" manually from the again rarely used menu:

Not very easy to stumble upon it that way. But I'm not sure if this is actually the reason for the low amount of votes, maybe there is some other one, and I don't have any values for comparison.

Anyway, I was quite happy to see that so far, most people voted with "yes please!" for CopperCube, even 71%:

However, as mentioned, there is this huge drop in visits:

Seems like the the visits went down to nearly zero around November 10th. Very strange.

But anyway, let's see if this will go somewhere. If you haven't voted on Steam for CopperCube yet, it would be nice if you would do this and help me a bit!

I'll post updated stats in a few months again.

Heating, Energy, Zubadan and Me

I create software for a living, which is a rather clean and environment friendly business. But because of this climate change and earth destroying stuff going on, I recently thought it might be still a good idea to be more eco-friendly. So I made a few changes:

The first step was to switch our energy provider, which just needed 5 minutes of my time on a website. For a few weeks now, my office has been powered by 100% clean hydro-electric engery, and I pay even less for my power now.

The second step was to rip out the old oil-fired heating, and replace it with this monster:

(I took this picture last week, when we had a lot of snow)

It is a Mitsubishi Zubadan air-to-water heat pump, which now heats our building. Basically, it gets the heat from the air and sends it into your heating system. This concept is rather new for many people, and I was also a bit skeptical. I didn't really think that this would work also on very cold days, but we had a pretty cold last week (-9 C Celsius = 15.4 Fahrenheit), and it provided 60C hot water without a problem. In addition, although the power usage went up on that day, the costs still were lower than what our old oil heating system would have used:

(Note: The power needed shown is the one of the full house, not only the heating system)

Right now, I really love the system. Less costs, cleaner energy, no need to buy refills and the like, quite a Win-Win-Win situation. And basically, now our heating and power is generated fully by water power. It is a quite nice feeling.

Happy new Year 2015: Resolutions and Discounts

Happy new year! I didn't blog for some time now, because there were quite a few changes in my life recently, fortunately all of them quite positive. To celebrate the new year, I am offering some big discounts (-40%) on most of my software, including CopperCube. See all the discounts and how to get them on the Happy New Year 2015 discount page.

The discounts are valid only during the next 3 days. Maybe there is something interesting in there for you as well. Also, one of my New Year's resolutions is to blog more again. Consider this as a start :)

Philae and .NET

So ESA just successfully landed Philae on the comet. And Microsoft open sources .NET and is planning to make it cross platform as well. The week can't possibly get any better now.

CopperLicht now Free and Open Source

I finally made CopperLicht, the WebGL library free and open source. You can download the library including its source from its website, and use it for every project you like to.

It is quite mature already, and has been used by many companies for internal projects already. Now that WebGL is widely available, I thought that it would be nice to make it free for everyone.
There are a handful of games in development with CopperLicht already, and I'm looking forward to see them finished. The library is quite easy to use, and if you ever tried Irrlicht, you'll notice that its API is very similar to it. Have fun programming!

CopperCube on Steam Greenlight

After quite some people suggested this, I finally added CopperCube onto Steam Greenlight. This is basically Valve's pipeline for testing if unknown games and apps are worth for publishing them onto their game selling platform 'Steam'. You can vote for the software you like, and in theory, if you get enough votes, maybe Valve considers your software for putting it onto Steam.

I think this might be a nice way for getting CopperCube more popular, and if this will be successful, I would be able to invest much more development resources into CopperCube. I'm a bit afraid if the audience on Steam is the right for CopperCube, I know that there are a lot of teenagers with harsh criticism on there, but let's see, maybe they like it. It is a great game development tool after all.

So if you have a steam account, please vote for CopperCube on there:

It would help CopperCube development quite a lot.

Problems with uploading to youtube

I created a short video for CCB5, and uploaded it a few hours ago. Strangely, it doesn't show the correct thumbnail. Must be a youtube bug? Not sure. Here is the video:

As near Youtube-Noob I'm wondering if I have to re- upload it.
Update: Yes, re-uploading fixed it.

My book is (nearly) feeding my family

I just received the financial report of the last quarter of my book sales. And a couple of people seem to have bought my Book during the last three months. That's great, thank you! If a few more buy it, I can invite my family to McDonalds from the earnings, next quarter.

If you wonder: I only earn 50 cents after taxes from each book which gets sold. It is a pity that book writers only earn so little, so I'm probably not going to write a second book in the very near future. Nevertheless, I only received positive feedback until now, which is quite motivating, so I'll probably do it anyway some time.

If you are looking for a nice end time / scifi book in german language, you can read the first few pages on Amazon.

CopperCube 5 and the Race to the Bottom of the 3D Engines

After quite a lot of work, finally, I uploaded CopperCube 5. It includes a lot of new features, such as terrain support, physics, video playback, network communication, iOS 8 support via WebGL, shader programming, animation blending, and much more.

I also created a list with screenshots with detailed descriptions of the changes in this new update. People seem to really like this release, and I received a lot of overwhelming feedback for this release of my small and apparently quite useful 3D game engine. However, there are also voices like these getting louder each release:

"WTF, 99 euro for this? $OTHER_ENGINE$ is free!"

I already once wrote about the new race to the bottom of the 3D engines, where the most popular 3D engines currently seem to be in a battle, making their software packages cheaper and cheaper. App developers know this phenomenon from the app store, which resulted in the current state, where mostly only developers of very, very popular apps can make a living from their work anymore.

I have no plans to participate in this race to the bottom. CopperCube has a set of quite unique features, and isn't a direct competitor to those products, fortunately. And my users seem to understand that it won't be possible to get the same amount of support, dozens of free updates and this set of features if I made CopperCube a free product.

But I'm curious about how this will end. For a short time, when Crytek payed its employees late a few months ago, I thought maybe this would be the first visible victim, but for now, it looks like they will go on.

But it's true: All this has made me thinking about the pricing scheme of CopperCube more than once. The Basic edition now is 99 euro, but since someone actually still complained about this price point, I thought about adding a monthly subscription option. Not sure if anyone might be interested in this, but 5 euro / month for example really looks a lot lower than 99 euro. Hm.