Reproduction Man Dev - Polish, or Glitter Bomb

"Polishing" my upcoming game, Reproduction Man, for release. Steam uncertainties, trailers, and promo Twitter accounts.


[Ya-a-a-a-a-wn. I am so exhausted]

Reproduction Man is nearing completion, and the thing that's taking me totally off guard is the sheer number of details that keep popping up. As I said on Twitter:

Testing levels means finding all kinds of small but unacceptable bugs (as if there are such things as small, acceptable bugs). Some things are just not going to happen if I'm going to release this thing this summer. If I get most of the glitter back into the jar, I'll be a happy developer.

My approach in the final stretch has been to get a "polished" demo with 14 good levels in it, so that I can get some people to take a look at it. I got a Windows build working (I'm developing primarily on a Mac, which allows me to switch around more easily), and I submitted it to Chris Scullion's Tired Old Hack Developer Open Invitational. No idea how that will go, but it felt good to get the game out there. I just barely missed submitting to IndieCade, which was disappointing. But a broken game wouldn't have done me any good anyway.

My main remaining questions have to do with how to do a release. Should I have a free demo with a couple of levels? Should I do an release at the same time I submit to Greenlight? Should I wait for a while after E3 to do the Greenlight submission? When you submit to Greenlight, should you have the Steam integrations already in there? I haven't seen a lot of answers to these kinds of questions in the blog posts I've read, so I'll be sure to write about my inevitable failures for the benefit of others ;).

I also really have no idea how I will manage to get "greenlit". My daughters both have boyfriends who are Steam members, and they seem game (groan) to mobilize their friends to help out. I am also planning to beg a couple of the more established indie developers I follow on Twitter to re-tweet my Greenlight announcement. Will it be enough?

No, it probably won't. So one of the things I'm doing is trying to make a catchy game trailer. Here are my constraints:

  1. Short. Very short. Maybe 40 seconds, tops.
  2. No lead-in. Start with gameplay, show almost nothing but gameplay.
  3. Cash in, somehow, on the ridiculous premise of the game (helping sperm to reach the egg).
  4. Funny/campy = good. But don't go over-the-top with it, and don't let it distract from showing the game being played.
  5. Make it as professional and smooth as possible.

I decided to get help from a friend of mine who works in TV and film. He helped write the script, and he's doing the voiceover. He's got access to good recording facilities, and he has quite literally earned a living writing voiceovers as part of some of his gigs. Guy knows what he's doing.

The trailer script is a takeoff on a romantic comedy trailer. But instead of ReproMan being the star, the protagonist is one of the sperm, and ReproMan is the "wingman" brought in to help him make his dream come true. It's like Hitch, if Will Smith were purple, and Kevin James were a single-celled organism.

Obviously, my biggest problem is going to be constraint #4. But I think I've got that solved. Basically, all of the "moments" of the faux romantic comedy trailer are about the mechanics of the game. When the narrator talks about Sam Sperm's problems, they're illustrated by various difficulties that arise in the gameplay. When the narrator talks about ReproMan being called in as an expert, I'll show the use of powers in the game.

The rest of it is basically bad puns. It's pretty simple. We'll see how it turns out.

Another thing I did recently was to give ReproMan his own promo Twitter account, @ReproductionMan. So far, he's just wise-cracking and complaining about the development process like a difficult actor in a B-movie. The idea is to build up a history of tweets and establish some interactions (mainly with me), so that he'll feel "filled-out" by the time I go live with the game. It's a lot like what Mike Bithell is cleverly doing with his account for the AI in Volume. It's also a great way to blow off steam.

I don't know if I'd recommend a promo account for every game developer, but when I assess my strengths, one of them is that I am able to express myself pretty well in writing. I feel like I should be exploiting every minor thing possible to help the game get some attention.

Latest Jobs


Playa Vista, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Senior Level Designer (Zombies)

PlayStation Studios Creative Arts

Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Lead Concept Artist

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, CA, USA
Technical Designer at High Moon Studios

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, CA, USA
VFX Artist
More Jobs   


Explore the
Advertise with
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Advertise with

Game Developer

Engage game professionals and drive sales using an array of Game Developer media solutions to meet your objectives.

Learn More
Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more