Sell Out Vault 11

A Blog about Villainy, Entertainment and Shameless Self Promotion.


16th Anniversary & Terror Chasm is Coming-

I concluded last year's anniversary post by saying of our upcoming game Terror Chasm- "As time goes on we will be, step-by-step, allowing more and more people to try the game and exposing more of it's menacing form to the wider public as our creation lurks closer to release. Until then, keep watching and paying attention, because this THING is coming."

Well, as predicted, we will be releasing the first publicly available version of the game this very month! It will be an alpha-demo that anyone will be able to download and play for free. This version of the suspenseful horror platformer will be single player, as the game is still in development and it will be a little while before we implement multiplayer functionality into it.

While this is definitely not the full or completed game, we will be releasing 100 different levels for gamers to try and play through. This should give everyone at least a very basic idea of what we've been working on and hint at what the final version of the game will be like. It also allows us to demonstrate the power of our A.I. driven, procedurally generated level system that we have specifically designed and made for this game. Because we can so easily create new levels at the touch of a button, giving away 100 of them is no big deal for us (we can always make more).

And although we are giving a lot of gameplay away, this is still just a sample of what is to come. The final game will not only have more playable characters, but an even greater variety of levels, traps, puzzles, platforming challenges and types of monster plant attacks. Basically, the final version of Terror Chasm will have everything that this alpha version has, but expanded.

All of the essential elements are in there now, but the completed game will have more and greater variety of everything. It should be a really awesome experience for the player. We hope that you will join us and try out this new alpha demo when it is released, and share and spread this piece of dark fun that we are creating for you!

- False Prophet

Creating Value for Gamers-

It is undoubtedly true that one of the most important factors in the success of any business is the ability to create value for your customers. The reason for this is very simple- it's because that's literally what they're paying for! In fact, some have argued that this type of value creation is the whole point of business in the first place.

But of course the concept of value itself is extremely vague and nebulous. Value is essentially whatever people find value in, and is therefore completely subjective. However, like most other things in life, there are larger overarching patterns. And in most industries, types of products and services, there are specific value propositions that most customers who purchase those types of products are looking for. This is true of videogames and gamers as well.

So then, it is the job of the game developer to provide the right type of value to those gamers; to basically give them what they want. But what's the value proposition of gaming? This is a surprisingly challenging question since videogames are not “practical” or utilitarian products with an obvious purpose in mind.

On a basic level you could say that it's about providing entertainment, since videogames are essentially entertainment and recreational products. But saying you're going to make something more “entertaining” is still too vague and not very helpful in any kind of practical way when you're designing a game. To really understand what the value proposition of gaming is, you need to understand what gamers really want. And generally, that requires research. Fortunately, with the help of the Internet, this isn't that difficult. In fact gamers will often tell you what they want and this is very helpful if your goal is to provide value for them (which it should be, if you're a game dev).

While I think that understanding why gamers play games is very important (and there has been a fair amount psychological research done on the topic of the different motivations for why people play games, video or otherwise), an even better question for any game developer looking to provide value might be- “what's the most important element of a game that I should focus on in order to provide the most value?”

I believe that all industries have certain value propositions that are uniquely important to them. There are certain elements of any product that are more vital in providing this value. And in the case of video games, I'd say that history shows us that the biggest factor in whether or not people enjoy a game is the gameplay itself. (Shocking right? Who would have guested that gameplay would be important in gaming?) This isn't to say that other elements such as graphics or sound design aren't important, but when examining what makes a game popular and successful, gameplay seems to be the most critical element of whether people enjoy a game or not. I feel that this distinction is very important if your goal is to design a successful game. But of course, there are many other, even more detailed or sophisticated distinctions a game developer can make.

For Terror Chasm, our current gaming project, we decided that replayability was another thing that can massively contribute to a game's enjoyability and potential for success. It can be argued that this is true of any game, not just video games. It seems that throughout history, the best games are the ones that you can play over and over again, indefinitely. This is one of the reasons why we so heavily emphasize replayability in Terror Chasm's design. Our custom A.I.'s procedural level generation, combined with our cool enemy A.I. and the fact that we are going to have multiplayer functionality in the final version, all contribute to an insane level of replayability. We believe that presenting this in the form of a fully 3D game with unique and compelling gameplay, will be a great value proposition for gamers indeed!

One other thing I'd like to point out about replayability and value is that it also gives gamers more bang for their buck, by receiving more gameplay for their money. Since Terror Chasm is designed to have near infinite replayability, we're hoping that gamers will find that it's well worth a purchase.

- False Prophet


15 Years & Terror Chasm Blogs-

It's Twisted Jenius's 15 year anniversary! This year has been very productive and despite the lack of developer blog updates (or perhaps because of them, from a time/management standpoint), we have gotten a lot done on our current obsessive gaming project known as Terror Chasm.

This suspenseful platforming game is creeping closer to completion and eventual release. But since it seems we've been neglecting our communicative duty in making regular dev blog updates to let everyone know what's going on with the game, we've decided that throughout this month we will be posting recaps of what we've done so far, just to make sure that everyone's caught up. This will also serve the purpose of catching us up so that we can start posting more regular updates without it being all weird, like the information is coming out of nowhere without context, because we didn't cover any of this stuff previously. We'd like to make sure that everyone reading about the game understands what's going on (obviously we hope lots of fans will be interested in Terror Chasm and its development sometime in the future) and so we want to give you more of a starting point, and lay the proper foundation for everything that's going to come. The first one of these developer recap blogs will be posted today!

As I said in last year's anniversary post: "Our goal for this project is to create a massively successful game. It's designed to specifically provide a great amount of value to the player, while simultaneously furthering our mission of spreading dark fun." Of course that is still what we're shooting for, but one of our other secondary goals and perhaps a predictable outcome of a certain level of success, is to see merch of Terror Chasm in physical retail stores. This is just a weird personal ambition of mine that I think would be cool. Having merchandise of your game on physical store shelves feels like one of those indicators that as a developer you've "made it"; and being a life long fan of malls and materialism, it's something I would like to see happen. In order to add visual flair to this post, I'm including a sort of photoshopped, "vision board" like image that I threw together a while back to help make this goal more tangible; to make it more real and something to focus on. Technically it's using the older logo color scheme, but I think it gets the point across.

While we would still classify the game as being "pre-alpha", we do hope to get some initial testers in there soon, to navigate the deadly temple and savage platforming and give us some feedback on what aspects of the game most requires our attention and generally get an impression of how the game plays and how things are progressing. This means that we are soon going to be having lots of other people play Terror Chasm and eventually it will be unleashed upon the world! Very exciting! Once we have more feedback we will know what to work on, what's important to players, and this should also help to accelerate our development (we've already spent quite a lot of time laying the groundwork for various systems and more generally the game itself, and so a lot of Terror Chasm's future development will just be adding and building on the framework we've already established).

As time goes on we will be, step-by-step, allowing more and more people to try the game and exposing more of it's menacing form to the wider public as our creation lurks closer to release. Until then, keep watching and paying attention, because this THING is coming.

- False Prophet

14th Anniversary & Success-

Tonight marks the 14th anniversary of This year we have been working diligently on our major video game project, Terror Chasm. And we've accomplished quite a bit on it! Being the anniversary post, I'd like to take this opportunity to go on record and share some of our motivations and plans.

Our goal for this project is to create a massively successful game. It's designed to specifically provide a great amount of value to the player, while simultaneously furthering our mission of spreading dark fun. However, among other numerous secondary goals, we would like this project to serve as an example to the games industry and to people in general. We want to prove that success is not accidental, or just simply a result of "good luck"; as many people seem to believe. We want to show that it can be deliberate and planned. That ambition, intelligent strategy and persistence works.

Right now the game is being developed by 2 people. We currently have no marketing budget (or any real budget at all, for that matter), no major industry contacts or associations, no significant following on social media, and no preexisting reputation or clout from previous projects. And yet we intend to succeed. The thing is, no one starts off life with any of these things. They must be acquired. Any advantage that people have in any industry or undertaking is something that they managed to pick up at some point. And in all fairness, we do have a couple of things going for us, such as knowledge and experience. But these are things that had to be acquired as well.

This is currently where we are at, where we are starting from. Our goal, our destination that we are heading for is to make $100 Million over the life cycle of the game. When we achieve this, when we arrive at this place that we are shooting for, we will have more clout and reputation and budget and many of those other things that we are currently lacking. And inevitably, people will think that we always had those things. They will come up with explanations about our success, about why it was easy for us, and why we had an unfair advantage. So I'm putting this here as a preemptive reminder for anyone who is curious about the nature of success, as well as a future rebuttal to conveniently link to, when the topic comes up. This is a statement of intent, a reference point for the ambitious, and a reality check for the doubters.

This is where it all starts, this is where it begins…

- False Prophet

Suburban Man-Eater Postmortem-

Suburban Man-Eater, an interactive short story that we originally made for Alexa, is now available in text form here on Twisted Jenius for you to check out & enjoy.

The story was an experiment of sorts, to see what we could do with this kind of interactive audio technology, in terms of creating dark entertainment. We realized that compared to our normal 3D video game projects, this would be relatively simple and it would give us some experience and insight into the creation of these kinds of voice apps, as well as the market for them. It was clear based on the popularity of Alexa and similar devices that there could be an emerging market for smart speaker apps. Though in retrospect it seems that the most in-demand ones tend to be more practical in nature. Obviously certain mediums lend themselves to certain types of content and I think that the method of input and practical limitations of smart speakers tend to make them more appealing for general utilitarian purposes, as opposed to story-based interactive entertainment.

Although I doubt we're going to be specifically developing any more interactive short stories for smart speakers, it's good to occasionally experiment with new things like this. Suburban Man-Eater acted as a kind of project between projects for us, and it didn't require any kind of major investment of resources. And the experience of briefly dabbling in this realm of pure audio entertainment seems to have only further reinforced our preference for working in 3D video games, a largely visual medium, by providing contrast and something different. I think that it also allowed us to think about story telling in a new way, with the branching multiple choice scenarios. It was a unique challenge.

While Suburban Man-Eater might be sort of a one-off "tried something new" project for us, we are very pleased to add it to our growing collection of dark entertainment, kept in this cabinet of curiosities known as

- False Prophet

Lucky Number 13-

That's right, Twisted Jenius is now a teenager!

It was 13 years ago tonight that Twisted Jenius first crept into existence. Like a black demonic feline, it defiantly strut across the path of the world and boldly shattered the mirror reflecting many of the standard norms of society and sanity. And even now it continues to beckon a precession of willing fans to stroll under it's tilted ladder of dark fun.

One of our most exciting projects is a game that we announced earlier this year called Terror Chasm, which is now well into full development and you will definitely be hearing more about in the months ahead. So join us in this anniversary celebration by unfolding your umbrellas and raising them high above you as a salute to inspirational villainy, all from within the comfort of your own home. And you can be sure that Twisted Jenius will continue to spill the salts of hypocritical goodness and boring mediocrity, without ever bothering to fling a single grain over it's dark, pointy shoulder.

Yes, for all of us who love lurking in the shadows and continue to move forward with our dastardly dreams, we are all truly fortunate. Luck is on our side!

- False Prophet

New Happiness Tip-

I've previously written about happiness in one of my Evil Rants and even did a video version of it featuring many tactics and strategies to help you capture the elusive hobgoblin of happiness. However, for anyone out there who is still chronically suicidal, wallowing in the depths of your own despair (or maybe just feeling a little bit down occasionally), I have another basic insight for you that might help you on your journey towards becoming happier.

The thing to understand is this- we suffer when our blueprint, meaning our ideas, values and beliefs about how reality and our lives are supposed to work, don't match what's actually happening. It's about the incongruence or contradiction between the way we think things are supposed to be going for us, and the way they actually are. If you believe that a part of your life is supposed to be happening a certain way, that you were supposed to have certain things, or that certain things are supposed to be going well and they aren't, you are going to be unhappy about that. If you have the belief that you are supposed to be fit and in shape, but you are 100 pounds overweight, you are probably going to be miserable in regards to that. If your story is that you think you should be making "X" amount of money, and you're making significantly less than that, you are going to be frustrated about that area of your life.

Simply put, when reality doesn't live up to our expectations, we get pain. On the other hand, when things are going way better than we thought they would, and some area of your life is exceeding expectations, chances are you feel great about it. The challenge is of course that life often doesn't give us exactly what we want. So how do we deal with this? The old school spiritual approach is to detach yourself from ego and other earthily and material concerns. But this kind of philosophy doesn't sit well with the ambitious, achievement oriented villain in me. I like material and earthly concerns. So instead I have another suggestion. In fact there's 2 ways that you could go about dealing with this, depending on the situation.

The first is to start to move your life in a direction where it begins to more closely resemble your blueprint of how it should be. Basically you need to take action to improve. This is something I'm very passionate about. If you're not getting what you want, then you should go find a way to get it. Change what you're doing and you will change your results. The really cool part is that if you begin to make that change and start on the journey to improving that situation, you will already be happier. You don't even have to fully accomplish what you're trying to do or arrive at the point where you want to be, you just have to begin the journey and you will see an upswing in your happiness. Just the progress you made will make you a lot happier.

But sometimes we can't get exactly what we want no matter how hard we try. This is because there are many aspects of reality that we simply cannot control. In fact the only 2 things in this entire universe that we have any direct control over are our own thoughts and actions. In cases where it is impossible to have what we think we need to be truly happy, we must change our own story about what it takes to be happy. We have to realize that happiness is the ultimate goal of getting that thing that we thought we wanted anyway, and even if that doesn't measure up with reality, we still have the power to make ourselves happy. To do this you have to examine yourself, question why you wanted that thing, and what you thought that thing would give you. Then you have to get creative and find another blueprint, another way to meet that need to feel the way you need to feel in order to be happy.

If you are truly depressed it is because your life doesn't match the way you think it should be. And if you are suffering this way for a long time then you probably feel like you're helpless to change it. That feeling of powerlessness is what leads to a lot of suffering. So in order to remedy that you simply have to find a way to get your life to match your expectations for it. And that means you either have to change your life, or change your expectations. Either way it's worth it, because either way will make you happier. And another quick hint is that often this requires changing a little bit of both.

- False Prophet

Value of Amorality -

Moral certainty is the enemy of both empathy and effectiveness. It causes you to be righteously judgmental of others while simultaneously limiting your own options.

There is something despicable and damaging about self righteous superiority. When people treat right and wrong like a fact instead of their opinion and act like everyone else should care what that opinion is and follow it. Expecting the rest of the world to adhere to your values and beliefs is a good way to be very disappointed, and it's typically extremists and fanatics that believe their version of "right" is the only acceptable one. But the truth is, just because something is important to you doesn't mean that anyone else has to care. Why should they? After all, they're just as selfish as you are about their own priorities and they have things that are very important to them which might completely conflict with what you believe is "truly right and just". This is why it pays to be morally flexible.

Always remember, the more rigid you are, the more things there are that can break you. It's the most flexible and adaptable people, the people with the least rules, that are usually the happiest.

- False Prophet

Conquering Your Fear-

Hello minions! Tonight we have another villainous video that provides some simple tips and tactics for overcoming your everyday fears and anxieties and becoming a more powerful and effective version of you. After all, conquering your own fear is one of the first steps to becoming more terrifying yourself. And for more general observations on the topic of fear, check out this classic Evil Rant I did about it a number of years ago (damn, I've been into this stuff for awhile) - Evil Rant: Fear


- False Prophet

Happy Holidays! -

Happy holidays! Here's another group of dark motivational messages and villainous wisdom clips, collected here for your viewing pleasure. Forbidden knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving (well that and sentient, self replicating A.I.)

- False Prophet

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