Author Archive

Podcast Hypnosis

Posted by Adam Coster

May 18th, 2017

Hey there, lovely humans! We’ve brought the podcast to everyone’s favorite cat-video-sharing platform: Youtube. And all it took was my creation of a robot army (details in Episode 98).

The videos contain the original podcast audio tracks laid on top of a super-hypnotizing moving image, brought to you by our amazing box artist Eric Hibbeler, and by some of Seth’s programming magic. You’ll feel like you’re right there with us (and with Flux, Tack, Juicebox, Bella, and others), sitting by a crackling fire, hearing hilarious tales interspersed with chunks of wisdom.


Crashlands Anniversary: an enormous thanks (and a documentary)

Posted by Adam Coster

January 21st, 2017

What a ride.

5 years ago today, Sam and Seth joined forces for their very first game jam, at the St Louis chapter of the Global Game Jam. At that time, Seth had been learning to program for a mere 6 months and Sam had barely done any art in his life. Together they made Towelfight of the Gods, and then thought, “HEY maybe we could find a way to do this for a living…”.

And so Butterscotch Shenanigans was born.

1 year ago today, we launched Crashlands. By then, we had already launched four major titles, I (Adam) had joined the team, and Sam had crushed cancer twice. We’d made no money and Crashlands was pretty much our last chance to prove we could do this for a living. Amazingly, we are still here today, able to finally pay ourselves and even provide a living for a few new Butterscotches, and have built up enough of a runway to develop our next major title. While we had done everything in our power to make that happen, in the end success wasn’t really up to us.


Juicemancy/Controller support Beta begins!

Posted by Adam Coster

November 16th, 2016


[STATUS: Available on Steam (Windows), the App Store, and Google Play. Will be rolling out Steam (Mac) soon!]

Just last week we dropped the news that the Juicemancy Beta was imminent, and we’re rolling it out now! The Beta is open to Crashlands owners, with instructions on how to get in on the action at the end of this post. Before we get there, we should first cover all the warnings, how-tos, and what-fors of joining us in this Beta testing adventure.

What we’re testing

There have been an enormous number of bugfixes and optimizations since the last update, and each of those carries the risk of introducing new bugs. In addition to crashes and bugs, we’re specifically looking for feedback on the all-new Controller/WASD support and on the all-new Juicemancy system. These features will be available on all platforms at launch, and will be rolling out on Steam, the App Store, and Google Play for the Beta.


Crashlands Closed Beta HAS LANDED!

Posted by Adam Coster

November 23rd, 2015

Crashlands beta is GOING LIVE for our awesome group of testers!

[UPDATE: Crashlands is now out of Beta and launches on January 21, 2016]

If you want to follow the journey the Beta players are going through (minus spoilers, as per their NDA), the Crashlands subreddit and the Butterscotch Forums will be leaking with player-generated goodies over the next few weeks.

Maybe you know the cancery story behind Crashlands, maybe you know that we’re a 3-brother, bootstrapped indie studio working out of our apartments, or maybe you know that the games industry is among the toughest in the world, and you want to lend us your POWER to make the launch of Crashlands the biggest deal in the early moments of 2016.


Giving useful gamedev feedback

Posted by Adam Coster

November 10th, 2015

[Updated on 2016.02.17 for clarity and brevity]

We, like many tiny indie studios, don’t have full-time QA staff. And even if we did, feedback from large numbers of players is really what we need. But we know that most players have never beta tested a game, and the fact is that providing useful feedback is super difficult. So here’s a quick prime.

Understand what the feedback is for

Remember: Feedback that isn’t useful wastes everyone’s time.

For example, if the developer hands you a game that is done and scheduled to release a month from now, they may want to know about game-breaking bugs (so they can make an emergency patch) but may not want a laundry list of things that “could be a little better” (it’s too late for that). But all this depends on what the developer is actually looking for.


Why isn’t Crashlands out yet?

Posted by Adam Coster

October 24th, 2015

“When is Crashlands coming out?” This is pretty much the only question we get asked these days. It’s frustrating for us, because the answer is “we don’t know, but soon!” But hey, that’s our fault, because we’ve now passed our original “summer/fall” release date, which was when we thought the game would be out. Oh, and we’ve also passed our June 2014 release date, which was also when we (hilariously) thought the game would be out. So what happened? Why didn’t Crashlands come out this past summer like our trailer said it would? Why didn’t the beta start two months ago like we planned? The answer is a simple one: inexperience. We’re pretty dang new to the game dev scene. We have never done a project of the size and scope of Crashlands. Before Crashlands, we had never made a crafting game, and we had never made a game with a more than a superficial story. Crashlands has both crafting and story, plus a ton of other things that we’d never done before (cross-platform save syncing, an infinite and reproducible procedural world, story creation via the Crashlands Creator, etc). So our ability to estimate how long each component would take has been consistently wrong!

At the end of development, a game looks complete even though it still has a long list of needed tweaks and improvements. The larger and more complex the game, the longer is that strange period of looks-complete-but-actually-isn’t. We’ve been there for months now. For the entirety of that period, we always thought that the end was just two weeks away. (We still think we’re just two weeks away!)

Indeed, if you were to play Crashlands right now, you would think it was done. Because it basically is. All of the content is in and all of the systems work — mostly. But you would also notice some rough edges: confusing UI elements, some weird creature behaviors, some balance issues (things getting too hard or too easy as the game progresses), graphical errors during the game’s nighttime, the occasional crash, etc. All of those things need to be fixed before we can call the game done. Fortunately, it is way easier and less time-consuming to fix those little issues than it was to build the content and systems for the game.
BUT! Even when the game itself is truly done (very, very soon) we can’t launch it immediately. We still have to run a bunch of players through the game for beta testing, to figure out what devices it works on and find any bugs we missed. We’ll then have to get approval from the various app stores, so we can then find a launch date where we won’t be competing with other highly-anticipated games for feature spots, so that we can make the announcement and have enough time to get the marketing/PR/hype train rolling.
So, all that said, when is Crashlands coming out?
We don’t know! It’s nearly November already, and we still have to do all those things listed above. We have no doubt that the game will be done by the end of the year, but it’s looking less likely that we’ll be able to launch it by the end of the year. It’ll be a close thing. [EDIT: Crashlands is done and comes out January 21, 2016!]


Indiepocalypse? More like INDIESCHMOCALYPSE!

Posted by Adam Coster

October 1st, 2015

Adam Coster is 1/3 of Butterscotch Shenanigans, and is a card-carrying PhD scientist. That doesn’t mean you should believe anything he says, but it does increase the probability that he can do logic and statistics properly.

It seems every time I open Twitter or look at gamedev-related subreddits someone is linking to yet another article about this scary “Indiepocalypse.”

If you haven’t heard of it, the idea is (roughly) as follows: The barrier to entry for making and distributing video games has become super low. Consequently, the market is becoming supersaturated with indie games, and it is therefore increasingly unlikely for indie developers to find financial success in the industry even if they make a great game. The idea is that the pie (total games sold) isn’t getting bigger, therefore the shares are getting smaller, and soon the market will be untenable for indie studios.
Figure 1 | AHHHHH! Apocalypse!!!! (Data from Steamspy)

And that argument sounds legit. I mean, just look at Figure 1. On Steam only 10-20 indie games were released per month at the start of 2013, a mere 2.5 years later there were up to 200 indie games launched per month.


The Road to game Dev: Adam’s story

Posted by Adam Coster

June 26th, 2015

Adam is one of the three brothers making up Butterscotch Shenanigans. He is the resident scientist and data nerd, and the developer of BscotchID.

The face of Adam

A few weeks ago Seth told you the story of how he became a game developer. There he noted that there is no one path to game development, and no one kind of developer, as our twisting career paths surely demonstrate. So I’ll skip that preamble and jump right into my own (long) story.

Unlike Seth, I did not have a burning passion to become a game developer. I wanted to be a scientist. More than that, I wanted to be a capital-S, Platonic-ideal, Scientist who attacked all claims with furious skepticism and was comfortable living in the realm of the unknown. And now I am the web developer behind a tiny indie game studio. How did I get from point A to point B?


Pirates gonna pirate

Posted by Adam Coster

June 8th, 2015

Adam is one of the three brothers making up Butterscotch Shenanigans. He is the resident scientist and data nerd, and the developer of BscotchID.

Piracy is an ever-present battle for game developers because we make products that can be duplicated at almost zero cost. Our livelihoods therefore depend on the honesty and generosity of our fans.

A lot of development time (and money) goes into anti-piracy measures for video games, but is it even worth the effort? Is piracy, as many pirates claim, a victimless crime? In this article I briefly outline the numbers and logic behind the decision to fight piracy.

One of the most flame-war-inducing questions related to piracy is why people do it. Undoubtedly much piracy is done by people who can’t afford what they are stealing or don’t have access to legitimate forms of the game (e.g. due to country-specific distribution issues). Certainly some theft is done by people wanting to “stick it to the man” or, amusingly, as a form of revenge against draconian DRM policies.