Bushfire appeal follow-up

Smoke from the Victorian bushfires mixes with clouds over Warrandyte. Photo: Nick Carson.

Smoke from the Victorian bushfires mixes with clouds over Warrandyte. Photo: Nick Carson.

In February I announced I’d be making a donation to the appeal fund set up by the Australian Red Cross to help victims of the bushfires that were ravaging the Australian state of Victoria back then. Specifically, I promised to donate 50% of the proceeds received by yours truly from sales of Mayhem Intergalactic which occurred between Feb 7th and March 14th.

Red Cross receipt for the donation of $1,100.

Red Cross receipt for the donation. Click for larger version.

Due largely to the inevitable lengthy delays involved in getting money from distributors and having it wired internationally, and also to this little thing I’ve got going on called “final year of university” and a lack of fondness for doing complicated accounting (this was harder to sort out than you’d think), I hadn’t done it until today.

Well, now I have (see image). Which means I can reveal how much money we raised:

$1,055.02. That’s one thousand and fifty-five dollars. And 2 cents. In Australian dollars – it’s “only” about $837 USD – but still, a grand is a grand! I’m seriously impressed it got that high. I have the best customers ever. I love you guys.

Unfortunately the bushfire appeal which I was intending to donate it to actually ended before I received the money (doh!), so I rounded up to $1,100 and donated the money to the Australian Red Cross’s “Where It’s Needed – Australia” category, that being the closest available. Mea culpa. I hope nobody is too disappointed with the category switch.

Happy Mayhem raising! Just… don’t do it on Earth.

A moustached alien wearing a monocle and a top hat.

“If you do, my robot protector named Gort will release insectile nanobots to scour all the pathetic life-forms from your puny planet! To, ah… save it from you. Yes.”

P.S. For the record, my stats show that, as expected, sales did not double during Feb 7th-March 14th – they merely continued their steep post-Steam-release decline – meaning that I now have less money than I would have if I hadn’t done this. Which was, of course, the entire point. I did it for its own sake, not as a nefarious capitalist stunt as some people have claimed.

21 Levels of Achievement

The good folks over at Valve have recently created global gameplay stats pages for all Achievement-supporting games, including Mayhem Intergalactic. It makes for some interesting viewing. There’s quite a range of percentages, which speaks well to the achievement design skills of you guys and myself; a mere 0.9% of players have completed Maestro of Multiplayer Mayhem (not surprising), while First Blood is right up at 78.2%.

What does surprise me a little is that the highest percentage isn’t higher – it’s pretty much impossible to play the game at all without triggering at least one achievement. Maybe lots of people are playing in Steam’s offline mode, e.g. as a result of not having an always-on internet connection, so the achievements never trigger?

Whatever the reason, it’s not exclusive to Mayhem Intergalactic. Audiosurf and Valve’s own Left 4 Dead have maximum percentages which are even smaller (77.8% and 74.5% respectively). Interestingly, Braid has one achievement which is right up at 96.6%, and almost half of the people who bought the game managed to finish it (which is pretty good going). Perhaps the people who wanted to play Braid but didn’t have always-on internet connections decided to buy from one of the other online distributors, rather than Steam. It’s worth noting that Audiosurf and L4D are Steam exclusives, and Mayhem Intergalactic is only available on Steam and directly from me. This might support the “offline mode” hypothesis.

Strikingly, less than half of the people who bought Aquaria are recorded as managing to reach the second area (Open Waters). I know the home area is pretty big, but still, this is a bit saddening. Maybe they got bored because the combat wasn’t difficult enough, or because they got bored by the pure exploration part of the game (before you get weapons)? Push on, people! The game gets better (and harder) the further on you go!

(That reminds me – I still haven’t finished Aquaria. I almost beat the final form of the final boss before I got killed – his stomach beam is nasty – and then wasn’t particularly motivated to start the battle all over again. It’s looooong. Must get to that sometime.)

Well, that’s all for this post. Keeping on making Mayhem, folks!

P.S. Despite the recent radio silence, I certainly haven’t forgotten about my bushfire appeal pledge – I’ll post an update on how much we raised as soon as I get time to do the accounting. Stay tuned.

Mayhem Intergalactic bushfire appeal mentioned on Good Game

This just in: Mayhem Intergalactic’s bushfire appeal has been mentioned on this week’s episode of Good Game, Australia’s best (and only) gaming TV show. The segment can be viewed on the Good Game website; click on the Gamer News entry on the right-hand side of the video player.*

Thanks, Good Game!

* At least, you’ll be able to do that once they fix the video player. In the meantime, the episode can be freely downloaded in full via the ABC’s vodcasting site, in either WMV format or MP4 format (~100 MB in each case). And you don’t even have to visit dodgy websites and infringe copyright to do it. Isn’t public broadcasting awesome?

50% of proceeds from sales of Mayhem Intergalactic to be donated to Australian bushfire victims

Many of you – especially those of you who, like myself, are from Australia – will have heard by now of the devastating bushfires which have been raging in the Australian states of Victoria (especially) and New South Wales since late last week. As of this writing, the fires in Victoria alone are known to have killed more than 180 people 209 people, with the death toll expected to rise and possibly top 300. Last I heard about 500 people had been injured, and 100 of them had been hospitalised. Over 330,000 450,000 hectares have been burnt out and nearly 1000 1,800 homes destroyed. In some cases entire towns have been levelled. These are officially the worst bushfires in Australia’s history, which is no mean feat considering that Australia is claimed to be the most fire-prone country in the world.

Even after seeing the devastation and dozens of traumatised victims on TV, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like. It seems like half the state was on fire at one point or another.1 I do have some inkling of what they’re going through, having had a bushfire come perilously close to my house about 5 years ago; but that fire, terrifying as it was, was piddling in comparison to these bushfires. It “only” killed about 2 people and destroyed a few dozen homes. Even that much left scars on our community which took a long time to recover from. The scale of these fires in comparison staggers the mind.

At times like these, it is up to the rest of us Aussies to help, knowing that the people affected would do the same if our positions were reversed. That’s why I’m pledging 50% of Inventive Dingo’s proceeds towards helping bushfire victims, dating back from the day the fires took hold (February 7th) and lasting until the end of the month March 14th.

To be clear, by “proceeds” I mean the money which I actually receive, calculated after e-commerce fees and conversion to Australian dollars. So about 45% of the purchase price of each direct Mayhem Intergalactic sale will be donated. The percentage of the purchase price in the case of Steam sales is slightly lower, since my cut is lower than in the direct case. The dates reflect the times that the sales are made, not when I receive the money (there is usually about a month of lag time).

The money will be donated to the Bushfire Appeal set up by the Australian Red Cross; 100% of the donation will go directly towards assisting victims and reconstruction efforts, as they have promised not to use any of that money to fund administrative overheads.

I figure it’s the least I can do.

1. The burnt-out areas in Victoria actually comprise about 1% of the state’s land area, which is a pretty significant chunk of land. As a point of comparison, Victoria is larger than the average US state, according to Wikipedia; 237,629 square kilometres, compared to an average of 183,238 square kilometres (calculated based on the total land area of the 50 mainland US states).

Edited 14/2/09: Updated number of houses destroyed and hectares burnt.

Edited 21/2/09: Appeal extended for two weeks, until March 14th. Updated official death toll.