Thursday, September 24, 2009

Land of the In-Between

And returning to my weekly gaming blog - things are going alright, as mentioned previously things are very very busy over here. It's been a tumultuous week as my partner and I scramble through development of our second iPhone application, lots of highs and lows. The big news is that, about a month since the first proof-of-concept, we've finally got the main implementation of the bulk of the gameplay in place, there's much to do with bug-fixing and presentation adjustment, but overall we are both very happy to see it is coming along better than we'd planned! In spite of this, a major blow early in the week which is - well, it's a pretty ridiculous slap-in-the-face, one of the more awful things that a dev with a secret project could imagine, I will have to save this story for the post-mortem. That being said, we are doing our best to make lemonade out of the lemons -

Next week is Indiecade in Culver City, International Independent Game Developer's convention. I am not sure how this this will be run/organized, it's my first time attending (first time I would consider myself an independent developer!) but looking very forward to the con and also to showing our new project around, and getting some feedback from our peers. Drop me a line if you will be attending and would like to meet up!

Things are alright besides. I have put my normal job search on the back burner for some time, as I am concentrating on the iPhone business for the time being. I still send out resumes and reels to the rate of about 3 or 4 a week, but there's really not much available for artists of my level in Southern California for the time being, I figure things will remain quite conservative until next spring sometime - after the 2009 Holiday receipts have come in and been tallied, generally, and the big studios can sigh a little relief and stretch out their development plans a little more. It's all airtight right now and I am not too keep to look for work out of the area (though after this small project wraps up, I will look where I need to - a guy's gotta eat!)

In the meantime it's quite humbling doing the indie gig, it is also very liberating to no longer be tethered to the extremely inefficient world of big-studio game development. I am sure I will return to that world in due time, but for now it's very gratifying to be master of my own destiny without having to answer to morons and producers who's only concerns are covering their own behinds. I detest what game development has become in the large scale, though it is quite apparent this is where things are going as it becomes bigger and bigger business (and requires so much more investment, in time, manpower, and budget). A few companies have their heads on straight and know what they are doing, but plenty of them are run, erm, "willy-nilly" I'll say to be polite - good studios who deserve respect for their past accomplishments, but who are in way over their heads in the current economic and business climates. I don't need to name names, anyone who pays more than a passing amount of attention to the industry news of the past couple of years can easily think of a few high-profile examples of what I am referring to.

But such is the game industry, it's quite well-known for it's usual topsy-turviness, dating back to the days when I was a kid (Crash of 1984!) This too will level out, and then it will eventually go haywire again - studios who were huge and in charge will become top-heavy and semi-collapse, some small places will have their eyes the prize and their heads screwed on properly and take good advantage for their own shot at market dominance. And so, the worm turns...

Follow our studio's progress at

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Re-Emergence Day

Greetings, out there in video-land. I am awake from my longer-than-long slumber and here to resume my particular brand of musings on the state of the videogame union.

This blog has necessarily been dark for some time, as I have been busy on a daily basis with the other blog and my own personal one - as well as an endless stream of work to deal with - though that is all changing now, as it's time once more to pick up the... err.. keyboard and get busy again. Off we go!

2009 has been an inordinately busy year for me. I got let go from a studio early this year as a big project of theirs went off the radar, to put it kindly. The other title I devoted my blood, sweat, and tears to the year and a half (or so) prior to all of that is still waiting to see the light of day - that means this is the longest drought in my 12 year career in games since a release (3 years now) had my name attached to it.

Well then what have I been up to since? A bit of freelance, tried getting a startup console group off the ground, banded together with a buddy to get some iPhone development underway, released a respectable app between the two of us, got a second (and profoundly more ambitious app) well into development, partied with a bunch of my peers, had a crazy E3 return-to-glory, got back in touch with character modeling and skinning (I am a level artist!), started to unravel Radiant, substitute-taught a couple of level and concept art classes, started helping out ANOTHER startup, and now pursuing another possible freelance partnership, so.. um.. you could say it's been a rather busy year.

How does this all leave me? In a good place. I am much happier now, in many ways, than I was when I was "just another studio monkey" - I am feeling much more in control of my own destiny, and excited about where things are leading. What does it mean for the present though? Our new iPhone game will release (6 weeks-2 months from now) and I am very excited for it. Whereas our 1st title was a humble experiment to learn the tech and pipeline of assembling such a project from start-to-finish, the next one will be (already is!) a game which I think looks great and is incredibly fun to play for any gamer worth his salt- As for getting back into the rat race? Well there's a lot of things on the table, some mentioned here, many kept hush-hush for reasons that anyone with half-a-brain can reason why-

As for the state of the game industry, well there's much to say on that subject. We will broach that topic next time-