Month: November 2014

Monkey Business

I’m going forward with a broad front, business-wise. I’ve piled up a bout 5 – 6 projects, not only game dev related, quite the contrary. Entrepreneurship is interesting generally, and though Sneeweis is the main part of my company, it is not the only one – Sneeweis is the trade name I do game development with, while the rest of the company is still running a full schedule of subcontracting and small projects within the IT world. Yeah, I’ve piled on a bit too much, one could say, but hey, it’s great fun.

I’ve always wanted to grow Sneeweis to a “real” game studio with 4 – 5 employees, but it’s hard to do when you’re revenue based. Simply put, it takes a while before your account contains enough sweet, cold cash to be able to employ someone.

I had an opportunity to take a step forward with Sneeweis a few months back, when I was invited to discuss about game development to the local school, which has a study line for game design. To cut the story short, I ended up signing a student on board for a 6-month learning-at-work period. We’ve been drafting concept art for a game, Jungled Baron, which I had to dig up quickly from the big box of game ideas. Glad I did, as it got a real boost to become the next game for Sneeweis!

The student, Elma Lähteenmäki, is a 2D artist/animator, she’s 18 years of age, and given what I’ve seen in our few weeks of concept work and Skype calls, she’s got a nice career in game design in front of her! You can check out her portfolio right here. While I get actual art for a game which is supposed to be released, I’m hoping I’ll give Elma an insight to both the game devlopment process, as well as to how small game studios operate.

But hey, let’s not stop there. Take a look at some of the concept art Elma’s been pushing into my Dropbox folder!

Baron-concept-web Enemy-ape-concept-web.png

Greatest enemies. The baron and an ape.

Once we’ve got a bit more finalized work, I’ll start dropping some Jungled Baron gems to this blog. But for now it suffices to say that the game is an homage to the 1980’s electronic games (Donkey Kong, and those, you surely remember…) and the theme is, as the name implies, the jungle. A baron crash landed on a desert island, went a bit nutty for the coconuts on the island, and I think what made him snap completely was when he noticed there are apes on the island, vicious, dirty, thieving apes, about to steal his precious coconuts! He defends his coconuts fiercely, and he’ll need a lot of help from you for that.

Palm-light-concept-web
Palm tree, colour tests.

 

 

Palm-dark-concept-web
 Palm tree, colour tests.

 

We’re hoping to whip up enough of the basic art to start creating a real “screenshot test” on a real device in the coming two weeks. I’ve really started looking forward for the development phase of this game!

Things Happen Even In Silence

Long time no action, or that’s the impression one would get just by following this blog. Well, I’m glad to tell you otherwise – there’s been a lot happening in the background even if it ain’t visible here for the past months!

Being a small company things change quite fast, so it’s not unusual that some parts get less attention during some periods of time. This is especially true for bootstrapped companies where the revenue stream needs to exist and be somewhat constant, and to do this, I’ve been busy on the business development side as well as in some side projects. One of these is particularly good and hopefully it’ll serve the opportunity to focus even more on the game development in the first half of 2015.

Regrettably this “side track” has lead to Pixelem being late, but that did not come as a big surprise. The game has grown a lot also, there’s plans to make it quite large in terms of content, which itself means another few months of “delay” to the original plan. I seem to have taken a liking to games with more content in them, as opposed to simple one-action games like Oggipital, so none of this additional work I have paved for myself comes as a surprise to me. Quite the contrary, it was the plan all along. But fear not, I’ve been able to throw in a few gamedev days for Pixelem, and the current plan is to have a prototype working at the end of the year, and fill in the content during spring time!

And there is more. Trying to be a bit active in the local [non-existent] game dev scene, I had an opportunity to get a gamedev student on board for a Learning-at-Work period of six months. With some rushed planning for a game which would suit such a collaboration, the pieces fell together and I signed a contract with a 2D/animation artist. This actually means the third game of Sneeweis is on its way! I’ll definitely do a proper introduction of the artist, Elma, and start posting some of the great concept art she’s been whipping up so far.