Archive for March 28, 2012

We <3 games press & ethics!

First of all, we were super chuffed to get our first press coverage from GamesIndustry.biz, Gamasutra, Joystiq, Pocket Gamer,and several other sites last week.  All those years toiling away on “proper big” games served us well!

You can see all the links here, on the “Our Coverage” page.

And secondly, its been nice to see some discussion in the games press which deal with issues around the kinda ethical/business side of the games industry which was, besides my passion to design games, one of my big motives for setting up Lady Shotgun.

First up, the Gamasutra article about Shay Pierce, a game designer formerly at OMGPOP who turned down working at Zynga, where he impresses on other devs “Values aren’t just for idealists — they matter”.   Then Jade Raymond, talking about young game industry recruits becoming disillusioned by the inherent shallowness of games (I find the article’s comments, by the way, are far more on the money that Raymond’s take). And now today Brian Fargo stating his views on publishers significantly increasing cost & reducing efficiency of games development.

If I was a more articulate person I would write a brilliant blog post about all of that, but sadly I writing is not one of my strong points (that’s why I leave our game writing to Katharine!) so I will just wrap it up by saying here, here chaps to the articles above, and long live Lady Shotgun’s ETHICAL co-operative way of working :)

 

Exiting the tunnel!

Wow!  This week has really flown by, which is partly scary and partly amazing!  After a couple of weeks of being “in the tunnel” of production – as a French team I used to work with so charmingly called that phase when you’re all working your nuts off but there’s nothing to see yet – things have started to absolutely snowball.

First off, we have writer Katharine and artist Celine starting to put together some hilarious story boards for the story screens.  Lead artist Gabriella has delivered some tantalising new screen mock ups of the Boss characters – including a visualisation of a wee little wish list mechanic which I am crossing fingers, legs and dreads makes it into the game – which is making me busting to see the whole thing.  And our awesome code team of Simon, Lauren and Derek have got the very first test version of the game itself up and running via Testflight (which is itself a really rather awesome little tool for testing iOS software )

The nice thing is in mobile dev things go fast – you’re only in the tunnel for a few weeks, rather than the months it can take on a console title.  So there’s no time for flagging enthusiasm!

From here, things are going to go fast  – a real white knuckle ride for me, can’t wait to see where it takes us!

 

Working co-operatively

I read a great quote from a Buddhist Monk on the BBC website the other day.

As Buddha has taught, we living beings must face the truth and bring about the truth.

Going through the process of setting up a company really brings home how unfair the current capitalist system we operate under can be.  Did you know for example that directors of a company can be taxed at a lower rate than their employees if they are taking a dividend of the profits?

Something very important to us is that Lady Shotgun is a co-operative of workers who will share any profits we get equally based on our contribution to the project.  It might be a small thing right now but just imagine – if we became successful enough to make a reasonable amount of money that will go directly to the team, not be siphoned off as “spare” profit to shareholders or directors.  That means we could use that money to make another game, or we could take a break – but it will be our decision, we’re not shackled to a release schedule that demands we keep churning out titles to keep creating that “spare” profit to feed the shareholders.

Which means, we only have to work on games that we really believe in.  Which is good for everyone! :)

Plastic Cows and Ninja Pigs

This week I’ve having a butchers at coder Simon’s (AKA Plastic Cow Games) latest iOS game Ninja Pig, soon to be released.  One thing I love about indie development as opposed to traditional dev is the community spirit of pitching in to lend a hand on each other’s games and projects, and the free flow of talent between projects.

I think its a breath of fresh air after the hollow, macho posturing and “We’re SO Triple A!!!” protectionist bullshit which can pervade certain areas of traditional development, where whole teams are obliged to assume enforced enthusiasm about a project to the point that it sometimes even prevents them from addressing key issues, lest they seem “too negative”.

Round here,

we get enthusiastic because we think we’re making a flamming, fricking fun game!

But I digress.  Ninja Pig is a great little polished title and well done to Simon and his team – we’re looking forward to its release!

Everybody loves the sunshine!

After the trials and tribulations of hardwaregate last week, the last few days has me in a far more positive frame of mind.

A minor panic about a missing couriered parcel (I say minor now, at the time I was having an undignified strop that called for several medicinal beers) had a happy ending when the parcel magically turned up – hooray, and thank you Parcel2Go.com.   The coders have been in full swing submitting code, story artist Celine has been getting stuck into storyboarding with her new tablet, and I have put together a first pass of our Open Feint features, which turned out to be a breeze – I am rather impressed by how nice and useable Open Feint’s developer tools are (so far anyway, I hope I haven’t just cursed that).  Plus the lovely (male) Sam on OF’s customer support could not have been more helpful.  How charming J

And finally, the sun has been shining, which means my hair dries in less than 2 days –nothing like the feel of freshly washed dreads drying in the morning sunshine to put a spring in your step!