Word Count Based Writing with SpurtWriter

Creative writing exercises are great for writing and as a general imagination workout. I’ve long been a fan of working with some kind of constraint, which can often help guide creative projects.

Recently, I saw someone on Twitter, talking about how they like to do their writing in 1000-word spurts. The idea is, that you set the goal to what you can realistically do in the allotted time. If you have 15 minutes, maybe aim for 300 words! I wanted to build something around this idea, and SpurtWriter is what I ended up with. It’s a small app specifically for word count based writing. Simply set your word count goal and go!

Presenting SpurtWriter!

To use this app, you must be running Windows. The app itself is free to download and use, and please tell your friends, etc. Install the app from the embedded link. Once it’s up and running, here’s what you do.

  1. Choose a target word count from the dropdown menu.
  2. Start writing. You will notice the word count go down as you get closer to your goal.
  3. When the goal is hit, you can choose to save the result as is, or keep editing.
  4. If you decide to scrap what you have, hit Esc during writing. You can still save what you have.
  5. You can only save your work when the word count is reached, or if you abort the session.

On a sidenote, I have recently breathed new life into the WriMuse twitter account, which features randomly generated writing prompts.

Additional info

  • Depending on your settings, Windows may ask you to confirm the installation due to security. Allow the app to run, if this happens.
  • SpurtWriter saves are RTF files (Rich Text Format), compatible with all major word processors.
  • SpurtWriter is very much a prototype/work-in-progress. Feedback is welcomed. Please send your thoughts and ideas to info@tagunda.com.

Update from the Nebula

Yesterday, I spent 14 hours implementing two new features in my iPhone game, Nebula Rescue. One is a statistics screen, where you can track your averages and totals, and secondly a series of 20 achievements that can be unlocked while playing the game.

This is the first update to Nebula Rescue since its launch back in spring, and though I’m very excited about it, I’m not expecting a bump in sales for my efforts.

Designing games has taught me many things, among them that competition is insane in the marketplace – my other apps far outsell the game, in spite of being much simpler in nature.

Without proper marketing and a good deal of luck, indie games from an unknown developer such as myself are bound to drown in the constant flow of new apps. But this does not deter me. I make games because I love it. If just a handful of people like playing it, it was worth building.

The new update contains features (and a couple of bug fixes) that I’ve wanted to add since I first launched the game. As with any software project, there were things I deliberately put off until the update, just to get the game out and see how the reactions were. And though reactions have been nothing but positive, it still felt unfinished to me.

Finally, late last night Nebula Rescue 1.1 was submitted to the App Store for review, and I feel better.

I don’t think, as a solo game developer, you should ever design games with the primary goal of making money. Do it for the love of the genre, to have fun and for those fans who will share in your joy of the finished product (I’m super thankful for every person who tells me they’ve played it and had a good time). The same could be said for any other creative endeavor, whether you’re a musician, an actor or an artist.

We do it because we can’t not do it, and never mind the consequences.

Nebula Rescue in the App Store!

Nebula Rescue is finally available in the App Store! In this race against the clock, you tap and destroy UFOs, while collecting crystals and gunk! It’s my fourth app for iOS, and my first game. The video below shows exactly how the game works, and offers a few power plays tips.

Get Nebula Rescue in the iTunes App Store, for $0.99.

My personal high score, mentioned in the video, still stands. If you beat it, do let me know!

In Nebula Rescue, you play an awesome space pilot working hard for humanity, deep inside a distant nebula. In there, precious resources offer hope for our future in the form of Time Crystals and mysterious Space Gunk. Thousands of Drones remain trapped in the nebula, and your secondary goal is to rescue as many as you can. Powerful artifacts known as Zappers are being dispatched as quickly as they can be made – it’s up to you to activate them, which will send a few of the Drones back unharmed. In the meantime, try not to hit any Drones with your deadly fingertip.

Nebula Rescue was designed for iPhone and iPod Touch, using Game Salad. Apart from a couple of stock sound effects and the Game Center graphics, the game is 100% original, from the obviously hand drawn “graphics”, to the music and voice acting (by the amazing Kelly Cline). The graphics were kept in a sketch-like style, because I wanted the game to have a very innocent feel. Even though it’s all about destroying aliens and being a hero in the deep depths of space, at the end of the day Nebula Rescue is also just a simple, lighthearted and fun arcade game.

If you would like to support an indie game designer, get Nebula Rescue and let your friends play it, tweet your score and challenge your followers to beat it, or if you have a blog, consider writing about it (want to host a giveaway? get in touch!) – and please show some love to Nebula Rescue on Facebook, which is where I will be running a giveaways and keep you updated.

Get Nebula Rescue in the iTunes App Store, for $0.99.