Article In 2009, I had a lot of success and popularity from The World's Hardest Game (2007) and TWHG2 (2008), and I lost nearly all of my interest in school. I had been wasting some time playing Fallout 3 on PS3, and I became more and more motivated to make my own RPG. On March 29 I started SB, and made this on my first day of work. As I worked more on SB, at the same time high school was coming to an end, and I became way more focused on developing the game than I was on finishing school. At one point during grade 12, I ended up getting Mononucleosis and missing 2 months of school. Eventually, I decided that I liked Flash freelancing so much, and I hated high school so much (especially since I had to catch up after getting sick), that I dropped out, moved out, and started working on SB full-time. At the time, I didn't plan on ever finishing high school, because I felt I wouldn't need a diploma or a degree in order to become successful doing Flash. I also had a ton of money saved up from TWHG, and it kept coming in from ads, bonuses, royalties, and new contracts for non-exclusive licensing of the game.
When I moved into my own place, my friend Isaiah moved in with me to be my partner. Even though he didn't have much Flash experience (the best thing he had made was "Takin' Care of Business"), he was supposed to work full-time releasing small cartoons and games while I worked on SB. It started out fine; we were going to make a small game on the side with lots of cutscenes, but Isaiah lost interest in the project, and didn't want to work on anything other than music videos (which never got finished), so eventually he moved out and we went from partners to just friends. The truth of the matter is, it takes a lot of perseverance to be able to finish even a small Flash project, and we both overestimated his ability to get work done. He had the potential, though.
One day while playing poker at a friend's house, he put on a "Geto Boys" CD, and he said his favorite song (which he was singing along to) was "Straight Gangsterism". Within a few days, I realized that bullies were a lot like young gangsters, because they completely ignore any laws/rules in order to unfairly obtain money/homework. So, I decided to call the game, "Straight Bullyism" as a parody.
After about a year of work, I had finished the first level of SB (except for the boss cutscenes and fight). It was when I was adding in the first boss battle that I realized Flash essentially has a limit to the amount that can be in one file. Since I was working on a cheap laptop the whole time, I thought buying a desktop computer with more RAM would solve the problem. It didn't really make much of a difference (in terms of fitting the game into one file), so I was forced to find a solution in order to continue working on the game. After ample research and trial and error, things seemed hopeless that the game would fit in one file. I pleaded for help on the Adobe Flash Forums, but none of the people there were able to inform me about ".swc" files (Flash CS4), which would have saved my ass and allowed the game to be in one file. I ended up finding about .swc files after the game was released, from the programmer of the large-scale "Abobo's Big Adventure" game. Instead, I gave up on getting the game into one file, and decided to make a multi-part game, where the first level can be played on any site, and then you open this site in a new window when you need to go to level 2. The downside was it's harder to get a sponsor (I eventually lost 2 great sponsors because of the multi-part aspect), harder to get the game onto other sites, and I would need a server that can handle a lot of traffic. The upside was that I could make more money from ads, because more people would end up on my site (when they come here for levels 2+). It also gave me an excuse to go all-out on the StraightBullyism.com website.
I originally wanted SB to have 5-10 levels, but after taking over a year to finish the first level, I had to cut the game down to 3 levels (so I scrapped all my ideas for levels 4 and 5). Over the next year, as I came closer and closer to finishing level 2, I became very tempted to just release the game with 2 levels. But when I finished the second level in March, 2011, I thought since I only get once chance to release to sites like Newgrounds, it would waste the potential of the game if I released it with just two levels. Instead, I compromised and just temporarily released the game on StraightBullyism.com for Beta testing, which helped fix some bugs and get feedback, and also to let a few thousand people play the game. When I took it down a few days later, I had some extra motivation to spend the next year making level 3.
While in the middle of working on level 3, I pretty much had to start going back to high school. Although I was originally hopeful that SB would become popular and I could continue freelancing without finishing high school, I no longer saw that as a viable option. Mainly because making SB multi-part would hurt its chances of becoming popular, it didn't turn out as good as I thought it would, and also because I was running out of money and my dad had to start paying my rent toward the end of the 3 years. It was actually pretty amazing that I was able to sustain myself almost completely independently for 3 years with mostly money I made from doing Flash, but it couldn't last (unless SB really paid off, which it didn't seem like it would). I went to summer school for Advanced Functions in July 2011, and ended up passing a month later with a 64%. It was really tough going to summer school and doing math for 6 hours a day (not including homework), because I had SB and Defend Your Trump hanging over my head, but mainly because I had been smoking weed for 3 years straight and I completely failed math in grade 11, and didn't even attend in grade 12. So I had some serious catching up to do, while high, and with other projects. And did I mention I could only barely walk (due to a foot condition caused by skateboarding that had been getting progressively worse)?
After finishing summer school, I still had another 3 courses to take in one semester high school: Calculus (required Adv. Functions), Philosophy (optional) and English. Doing high school this time around was especially brutal, for many reasons:
- I was really close to finishing SB (and DYT), so I wanted to work on it way more than school.
- I could only barely walk, and it kept getting worse.
- I was close to 21 years old, and way too old to be in high school. Especially since I went to a ghetto school for troubled kids, and I wouldn't fit in with anybody even if I was the same age.
- I was still smoking weed every day.
- I had bed bugs in my apartment.
- The teachers weren't very good. Let's just leave it at that.
Eventually, my feet got so bad I just couldn't walk anymore, and I stopped going to school and eventually moved in with my dad. I should have stopped going sooner, and I also should have received medical treatment sooner, but unfortunately our health care system failed to help me until I was terribly injured. I had seen many "doctors", but none of them even knew what was wrong with me, and most of them told me to do the opposite of what I should have been doing. In the end, I really needed: Anti-inflammatory/Painkiller pills, Orthopedic shoes, months staying off my feet, and then progressively more and more physiotherapy. When I stopped going to school (with only 2 months left in the semester), I tried to stay up to date with Calculus (with help from my dad), and also hand in assignments for other classes, but eventually the pain/stress became overwhelming and I couldn't do it. I ended up working out a deal with my teachers where I would just hand in a few main assignments, and the rest were voided. I also got completely let off the hook with Calculus, and he just passed me with the mark I had (74%), even though I missed many tests and the exam. Since I was doing well in all my classes and I legitimately couldn't work, I was lucky to get let off the hook, but I could have just as easily failed high school and had to take it again. That would have fucking sucked, but luckily I passed (with and 83% average overall) and graduated.
On January 20th, 2012, I finished the Flash-aspect of SB, and finally released it to SnubbyLand.com and StraightBullyism.com. This gave people a chance to play the game while I finished making the info pages, walkthrough, desktop wallpaper, released DYT, and also to switch to a more reliable dedicated server with a different web host (to make sure my sites never crash when people try to play SB). While finishing up SB, I noticed there was still a huge bug in level 1 which causes the game to freeze, but it's really rare and only occurs around 1% of the time. This was really frustrating, because I already tried as hard as I could to fix it, and now I would have to just give up and release the game with the bug. But it's so rare and possibly caused by a factor outside of Flash, that it's something I can live with.
On April 11th, 2012, I finally released SB to Newgrounds and everywhere else around the net. It ended up getting front-paged on NG for almost 2 weeks, which helped it gain some early exposure. The game never ended up going viral, mainly because people found it too "slow" overall, the multi-part aspect annoys people, and the missions and gameplay were lacking. Also, quite a few people reported loading issues (due to the multi-part aspect), but I was relieved to see that it worked for most people. All in all, I'm still deeply satisfied having just finished the game after 3 years of hard work, wondering if it would ever get done, wondering if it would even work, and wishing I could do other things. So far, the game has a total of 416,186 hits/plays (check out more SB stats), which is still more than enough exposure to make it worth-while (just not from a financial point of view). Now I can finally call it a day!
Rough Draft Images
- Jock in Fight
- Jock Swinging Bat
- Bully #6
- Bully #7
- Bully #8
- Bully #10
- Bully #12
- Hall Monitor
- Girls Washroom
- Secret Stall in Boys Washroom
- Boss #2
- Character Model / Simple Dialogue
- Coin Flipping
- Dissolving and Exploding
- Girls Washroom
- Guy Sitting in Corner
- Hair and Belly Swinging
- Hair in the Wind
- Hair Swinging
- Hall Monitor
- Hall Monitor Walking Sprites
- Hurt Face
- Kicking a Ball
- Pouring Water
- Putting in Pocket
- Second-Hand Smoke Attack
- Simple Character Stuff
- Splashing a Water Bottle
- Stomach Grumble
- Washroom Background
Voice Acting Bloopers & Outtakes Here are 10 bloopers and outtakes from the game's voice actors. The audio quality and volume is pretty bad, also I lost a lot of the bloopers.