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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Indie Cabin = The Last Shadow prototype

So everyone keeps telling me to do game jams, but I sometimes have trouble understanding how they can do this. I feel like I spend almost every waking moment working on the games that need to make me money, and have a wife & child that take up every other moment. Where can I find the time? How can I say to Holly: "Hey, take care of the kid for the weekend, Imma go work on a game, oh but not the one that I've been telling you will be done for the last 2 years..."

So there was an "indie cabin" that we put together to go to Tahoe and hang out & work on games together. I wanted to use this as an excuse to bang out a prototype I wanted to make, essentially do a game jam.  But as the date got closer I had so much to do I decided not to. Then when I got there I was so out of my day to day mindset that I decided to spend my 2 days jamming out my game, and did just that.

The Last Shadow prototype that I made at the cabin

I have to say, it was awesome. I got so much done, have the beginning of a possible new title, and feel refreshed. I spend so much time wearing my biz dev hat, my PR hat, etc, that I forget I can develop too sometimes. Not only that but it's what's most important. Holly saw the change in me instantly and is a strong proponent that I do this at least 3 times a year or so. She's awesome, and I've already married her so find your own! If you're a game maker: people care about us because of that, so let your PR be showing what you make, my weekly videos are trying to do just that.

As for the cabin, it reminds me yet again how incredibly fruitful it is to be around amazing and creative people. We played each others paper prototypes, games, and just enjoyed each others company. I'd like to do that 3 times a year as well ;) Thanks Brendan!

Indie Cabin-ers: Left to Right: Myself (Tim Keenan), Brad Johnson, Pete Angstadt, Brendan Mauro, Ryan Williams, Randy O'Connor, Rich Vreeland, Holly Keenan

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dusker 318

So our second prototype has a 'working title' of 'Scavenger'. I have a tendency to have working titles that are pretty straight to the point since it saves time, and in Scavenger you board derelict space ships, temples and the like to basically tomb raid them, like a scavenger.

The problem is that we're going to give our current prototypes to our community to try out, and as such I want names that I can at least put a google alert on. So when musing on a name less generic than Scavenger, Holly came up with the word 'Dusker'. She thought it was the slang name that Dwarves in Dragon Age called surface people. Turns out that was a mis-memory. But we both liked the word as an invented slang term for people that may be doing less than legal activities after dusk. Dusk-er.

I didn't want to name the game Duskers since that felt like it'd be a story about a group. Then we thought that perhaps we could tack on a number to it. After all that only makes it sound more sci-fi, like the name of a ship (Holly chose 318 scientifically: it's our address). Then I thought that maybe these 'Duskers' have a code or guild. They'd have a ship name, but if they recognized you as another Dusker they'd use that as code. Kindof and honor amongst thieves deal where, if two of them came upon the same derelict ship, the more senior would get "dibs". Hence the number. If your number is lower, you're more senior. I thought it'd be cool if you were scouring a ship and another vessel approached claiming the call sign "Dusker 200" and told you to get the hell out, leaving you with a decision to make. I've heard decisions are good things to have in games.

It's only an idea of a name, and possibly only for the prototype at that. Some have mentioned it may be too similar to Dust 514. Maybe we could go with Duskers. Feel free to comment or tweet at me with any thoughts.