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The developer behind the Kickstarter-funded indie video game Moonman talks about using crash reporting during development and how you should mix lemonade with an IPA.

Ben Porter is the developer behind the game Moonman. He was able to get 1,873 backers to pledge $46,078 (AUD) on Kickstarter to make Moonman a reality.

He answers a few questions here for us about why crash reporting is important for developers and why he chose BugSplat for his game.


BugSplat: Hi Ben. How are things? You’re in Australia right?

Ben: Hi! Things are going well. Thanks. Yes, I live in Melbourne, a beautiful city and the cultural heart of Australia.

BugSplat: I’m bugging you today because you’ve been using BugSplat for crash reporting for a few months now. You’re developing an awesome indie game, and the artwork/style is supercool. There really isn’t a question here, so I guess I’ll throw one in. What do you like to drink on a Friday afternoon after a productive week—lemonade, beer, wine, or something else?

Ben: Ha, ha. Yes, beer is always good. I enjoy a good IPA, wine, too, and lemonade, typically all combined together!

 
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BugSplat: I mentioned earlier that you’re working on a video game project called Moonman. Do you mind telling us a little about it?

Ben: Sure! Moonman (a tentative title) is a game I’ve been working on for a few years now. It’s a 2D procedurally generated adventure game set on a nocturnal alien planet, with colourful moons, odd characters, and a fully destructible world. The goal is to explore and find parts of a sun machine that will bring light to the planet.

BugSplat: You went down the Kickstarter route with this game and had quite a bit of success. You were even included as one of Kickstarter’s “Staff Picks.” What was it like raising money that way for the game?

Ben: I reached a point in development where I could only continue if I started to raise some external funding. I chose crowdfunding and spent a couple of months working on the campaign. The campaign itself was very exciting but exhausting. I spent the entire month doing a lot of marketing, responding to interviews, sending thousands of tweets, updating the campaign with new content, and replying to comments and questions. It was a huge amount of work, but ultimately it was successful, and so I’ve been able to continue working on the game.

BugSplat: You’ve been using BugSplat now for a few months. What problem did you encounter that led you to BugSplat?

Ben: One of the reward tiers in the Kickstarter campaign was to alpha test the game, and so I wanted to make the most of that by capturing all the potential crashes. I looked into a few methods for doing this and considered rolling my own, but then I found BugSplat, and it’s done exactly what I needed it to do.

 
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BugSplat: How has BugSplat helped your development process with Moonman?

Ben: It’s been vital to isolating significant bugs in the game. At a guess, I’ve had 100 testers in the last 6 months and about 500 crash reports from those testers.

I’ve integrated BugSplat into both the Windows and OSX builds of Moonman, and it was very easy to do this in both cases. It was easy to incorporate BugSplat into my deployment pipeline with their supplied tools (SendPdbs, etc.).

The crash-reporting dialog has been essential in getting useful descriptions of the state of the game. Here’s a classic report I received earlier this year:

Well, I was playing Moonman, I was in a cave shooting flaming arrows at two small spiders (royal crossbow) I had about 400-ish arrows and all of a sudden the game froze, then closed and crashed, then this window opened up. Btw, I LOVE THIS GAME!”

I think the best part about BugSplat is the online interface which lets me quickly view crash logs and stacktraces.

BugSplat: Thanks for taking the time to do this! For anyone interested in playing Moonman (and you all should be), it’s great!

Ben: Thanks for the interview! Moonman will be in development for a while yet, but you can support the dev team by preordering it at http://moonman.io/.

Follow Ben’s twitter to stay up to date with the development of Moonman.

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