Monday, June 1, 2015

Games on the griddle

June 1st? Here we go again..

What the heck is going on, everybody? Playing some games lately? Interested in some games? Anybody, anybody?

Well things have been busy over here. As usual a lot of work going on, and things are all over the place as ever. Still putting some late-game touches on Jumpburger and hoping, very badly, to get that submitted this month to Apple. Also talked with the coder from MTMB Studios about putting a bow on Blast Rover and just putting it out the door. He's porting the Android build over to iOS right now and as soon as that is done, it will be submitted as well (following a bit of test, natch). I'd imagine it is a few weeks out. On that note, he is finishing up another game (no involvement from me) on his new game Mute Crimson + which just looks awesome, see the trailer for yourself here. Check out his Steam Greenlight page also. This game deserves some attention and I know my audience will love it!

Trapdoor? Well hey it's getting on a year now since it has seen any progress - which is painful - but I still resolve to see this thing get released! Actually I met with the Android programmer recently and we had some talk about how to potentially kick that end of it back into gear. I've been slow to move on it since the other things, noted above, have been demanding a lot of my time. As it's summer now, my attention turns more fervently on "get unfinished things finished" and my blog feels a bit heartache to look at as it's been some years since I've actually put out a new damned game :) I'll reiterate that making indie games is really my hobby more than a bonafide business agenda for some time now (obviously), but that frees me up to want to create things to the best of my ability and deliver what I consider are labors of love- because I do truly love doing development! - rather than just trying to meet some business deadline and "get something out the door." But as with all things, the more they linger, the more they weigh you down, so wrap-up would be key, for sure.

I'll take this opportunity to ruminate on GunHead for a moment. The game has purposefully been shelved for years now, which has been upsetting since it still is my "dream game" to make - but I don't regret it. I would prefer to put the entirety of my energy into building that rather than back-and-forth with so much else going on. Meanwhile, once in awhile I do come up with some great ideas to help set the game apart, and it makes me happy to still feel that the creative juices are flowing in that particular stew. It does sting to think about how long it's been since I have touched it, and how much work had gone into it. But yeah - in due time.

There's much to say about the world outside of this 2D mobile game development I do. I work at an augmented reality-facing studio in my day job, and it has been a couple of years now. It's been fascinating to be at the front of that sector of the industry, and I've learned so much by switching gears in that regard. We are coming into a strange period with AR right now however. As E3 is upon us (2 weeks away, I believe) and lots of talk about VR in the media, the buzz gets one thinking about where all of this is and where it is going. These new formats and media, the way we compute and interact with the digital and physical worlds - it's all changing and advancing so rapidly that it feels nearly impossible to keep up with things, so often. Especially when you are a creator (and an old man like me) you tend to want to dig your heels in, concentrate on your tools and process, and hammer away at trying to build and define methodologies and philosophies and specifically mechanics about how and why all these things will work together. It's a more elaborate departure that has been in play since this whole new mobile wave took off, designing for and controlling with these new interfaces (touch screen, gestural, movement controls, etc) - never mind how the marketplace and all of the business infrastructure has dramatically been evolving and reinventing in this time as well.

It is so fascinating, so exhausting, so overwhelming. But it is very gripping and I cannot help but to constantly be swept up in my own little part of it.

I think back constantly about what brought me to this point as well, it's a direct draw from my time as an independent developer and freelance artist,business-person - and also as a studio grunt/artist from the days before all of that, as well.  And so I look at where things are now, and my part in it, and where it looks like things might be going. Ad I say "fascinating and exhausting" all the time and it becomes a broken record, but there's really no better way to sum it up.

And now I find myself at a precipice once again. Every year in my life is different, with all of this stuff. With my business, my know-how and experience, even my immediate and long-term goals, it is all constantly and steadily shifting, and getting good footing is constantly elusive (yeah, thanks to the nascent industry and the peculiarities of my role and history with everything). And through it all I reflect back on the immediate things that brought me here, a blossoming love of design and desire to innovate and control how interaction and feedback and results work - to manipulate how people experience things on both conscious and subconscious levels, in a way to get past these current caveman-days where much of it is still seated and to a more active and participant and meaningful integration with how we look at and understand and communicate with each other and everything.

So I am not truly sure what I am saying. Making games and interface design and direction is the tip of a larger iceberg, and it's impossible to fathom what shape everything will take as it keeps expanding out. So much of what I touch feels tremendously humbling in the current phase, and that accounts for all these independent projects as well - but it does absolutely give validity to their necessity, and what they mean for whatever is next. And that is why I am still inspired to work hard and find out what is the next step for me, in all of this.

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