I wanted to take this first posting on the blog to introduce myself, my company, and a little bit about where I’m coming from as a developer and indie startup. I know if I were seeing a new name or face for the first time, that I’d like to know a bit about who they are and where they’re coming from. Excuse any overlap from Becca’s post yesterday. Hopefully the different perspective will be a bit refreshing.
Where the adventure starts
Over the past two months, transmedia game for The Electric Company (Sesame Street), working with Primal Screen, a local digital media production company. As that development cycle started to wind down, I was able to start thinking about what the next steps in my career might be. Becca and I had been positioning ourselves to allow me time to work on a game of my own design. Still, you never really know what it’s going to be like working on your own project until you’re the captain and the ship is really yours to command. I couldn’t put myself in that position until the other project wrapped up. In hindsight, the transition was a bit jarring for me.
I had started planning what will be my first independent game, Robots Love Ice Cream, over the last several months of my work with Primal Screen. I remember sitting down with Becca at a local restaurant and describing and drawing out for her the visions of what this game will ultimately be. Surprisingly enough to me, she was sold before I finished my pitch. Over margaritas, we started considering the game experience through wireframes, considered how approachable it was, and defined a style. One of the things we’ve felt was paramount in our efforts is that people can instantly look at the game and distinguish it apart from a lot of other indie efforts. We think this will give us a better chance to make a splash when the game releases.
The Hero? Well, are you sure?
This is my first article on the site, but I think as I write more on my process and approach to game development, you’ll find that I don’t consider myself a particularly deep programmer. Maybe it’s because I got a programming degree from an art school. Perhaps it’s just the level at which I’ve always identified with games and even music. I’m notorious for falling in love with music that has some of the most appalling language. I just don’t hear the lyrics first. The melody and instrumentation is what sets my heart on fire and evokes the emotions in me. Game development and design is the same way for me. Tim Lindsey taught me level design in school. He did LD work for Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the Coolboarders series, among others. He taught that you can connect with the player through a minimal amount of information. He showed me how to develop a 3d environment with simple form and color, no textures, no fx. If you couldn’t connect with the emotional context of one area from another with just those two elements, then you might need to reevaluate the immediate environment altogether.
I use this sort of mentality with my programming. I, myself, have to enjoy the process. I have to connect with the form of things; how approachable it is; how easily I can convey a feeling or sentiment without crazy effects all over the place. I guess we’ll see at the end of this first installment how well I’m able to effectively communicate these feelings with the player.
The Hero’s Companions
I’d be remiss to give proper credit in this post to my wife, Becca. Without her, I’d likely not be in a position both emotionally and mentally to take on this project. She’s helped us to account for every last detail, keep our artists on track. She’s also been a stalwart promoter during our current Kickstarter promotion.
Apart from my wife we’re working with some great creative talent. Rob Shepps, who is serving as the Creative Director on the project, is helping us keep a consistent style in place as well as making sure our contract artists are getting the needed feedback to move their efforts forward. One of our other artists is Alan Tupper, who is incredibly good at taking all of our ideas and turning them into something concrete and impactful.
The party sets out for the adventure ahead
Thanks Mike Acton and company, for having me on the blog. I look forward to sharing some more “meat and potatoes” stuff with you guys in the coming weeks. Speaking of which, I’m going to be giving a peek into my game’s development at the end of the month at the Twitter anytime.