Monday, March 17, 2014

March Post

Hey guys,

There will come a day when we’ll make an announcement about a game we've been working on and the crowd will go wild.  Until that time, there’s no real reason to keep our projects a secret.  As such, we let it slip on Facebook that we’re working on a fighting game called “Granny Wars” with, you guessed it, all grandma characters.

We first started work on the project almost a year ago.  We've gone back and forth about making it 3d, but ultimately opted for the hand drawn, 2d style.  3d certainly would have gone much faster, but I feel hand drawn was the right decision.  We've already faced the pain of that decision.  After about 6 months of full production, it was clear that the direction we were going down wasn't working out.

I know I've mentioned before that it’s a very common thing for young studios to make the mistake of thinking, “We’re too small to try a lot of different methods, so we have to get it right the first time.”  I didn't really understand how flawed that logic was until we were deep in production down the wrong path.  You can’t get it right the first time.  You’re going to screw up and you absolutely cannot be afraid to throw out work, no matter how small a studio you are.   So, we bit the bullet, and threw out a whole lot of work.

I transferred an artist from our casual game project to Granny Wars and she did a re-imagining of the characters, all with a consistent look.  I was very happy with what she came up with.  She asked to be made the Art Director for the project, and I felt that would be a good decision.  As such, she’s organized the artists in a way I would never have been able to.  The team got shook up a little, but, by the end of last year, was finally a solid unit and of high morale.  Since then, we've been in solid production again since the beginning of the year.  I hope to have some really basic game play footage to show off in a month or so.  I hope y’all like watching the sausage being made, because we’re going to try out showing off the game while it’s really, really rough.  You can see the process starting as we’re testing the waters through our social media channels.  Thanks to everyone that’s been sharing our posts and inviting their friends to Like us on FB.  We were at 90+ Likes last week, and we’re almost at 150 now.  A +50% jump in one week isn't too bad.

So I've mentioned Indie Arcade.  Link:  It’s not going to be at the Sheraton.  The original sponsor pulled out and a replacement wasn't found.  As such, the location will be at a nightclub formerly called “Bows and Arrows” and recently renamed the “Witch Room.”  That’s a pretty confusing name for a club.  Imagine the following:

Dude 1: Hey, what’s the name of the club we’re going out tonight?

Dude 2: Witch Room.

Dude 1: The one we’re going out to.

Anyways, I’ll admit, I’m pretty disappointed that we’re going from the 5,000 person capacity Sheraton to the 100 person, +49 for the back patio, capacity Witch Room--and that the cover is still a whopping $15 bucks at the door.  We had a gathering of game developers at Capsity a month ago and it had about two dozen people with no cover.  Same event with no cover draws 24 people.  What will we draw with a $15 dollar cover?  At this point, I don’t care.  I see it as a dress rehearsal.  Being a game developer means going to conventions and showing off your game to people in person.  We’d better get used to doing this.

I recently got another job.  Now I do Stigma Games(on Sundays and evenings), work as an artist / designer for my father’s architectural company(on Saturdays), and, in addition, started a 9-5 office job.  That’s basically three jobs, but it means I can start pumping some much needed funds into Stigma.  That includes having the funds to do marketing, rent booths at conventions, and put together other type events.

What else am I up to?  I’m still teaching myself Drupal.  It’s actually really easy if you understand basic object oriented concepts and know css and php.  What makes it hard to learn is that there are thousands of different modules and, as a beginner, you have no idea which modules do what and which ones you need.  I’ve found that Views is a must have.  Basically the deal is you create object types to organize your data, fill those data types with content, then use Views to display that content.  You can write templates in php to override parts of modules if you need to.  Most modules will let you change their look through your css page as well.  So again, not really that hard.  It’s just time consuming to go through learning it all.

When will I have the site up?  I dunno.  A couple weeks maybe.  I’m really happy with how it’s coming along.  It likely won’t look terribly different, though it will be set up in a way that there will be a ton more content to sort through as I’ll be adding a news section.  I know these blogs I write are pretty long, and not always interesting to read through for most people.  But the news pieces will be short and better focused on what Stigma followers will care about--our games.

I have to get ready for work in 7 hours, so should say I’m going to get some sleep, but will likely do more Drupal tutorials instead.