Releasing a game is pretty exhausting, especially one that you’ve put a lot of yourself into. So I made the unusual decision (for me, anyway) to take some time off from creating things. I’ve had time to reflect on the game, be thankful for the many glowing reviews, and write a mini postmortem for the IGDA newsletter.
And now, I’m ready to start looking ahead again. As it turns out, I’ve got lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. :}
First, there was the glorious news that Puzzle Bots was selected for the PAX 10, out of more than 100 entrants. I honestly thought we were a long shot, but I hoped the punchline-based dialog would click with the Penny Arcade judges. Whatever happened, we now get our own booth at the amazing PAX conference, and I get to go to Seattle for the first time. Man…I’m so glad I took that chance with Dave’s entrance fee.
Secondly, with the help of Scott Roberts of DePaul University, we’ve started poking at the embers of the Chicago indie games scene. So far we’ve had two meetings of “Indie City Games” (I knew we’d find a great pun, I just knew). Next month we’re hosting our first game jam, and I see good and pixelated things in the future.
Third up, there’s the 3G Summit, where I was invited to be one of 5 panelists (the others are industry notables Mary Flanagan, Tracy Fullerton, Jennifer Jenson, and Susana Ruiz). The premise won me over: I get to spend a day working with 10 high school girls to design a video game. The other panelists all do the same, which means 50 girls get to participate. The winning design of the 5 gets made into a real game by a group of Columbia College students (it’s their final project).
As far as I’m concerned, it’s high-stakes game design boot camp, which sounds like entirely too much fun. Plus, I’ll have the chance to tell these young women personally that if they want to pursue a career in games, they “totes” can.
And maybe if they’re lucky I’ll tell them some long, rambling stories about my marching band days.
I’m late to this party, but I wanted to send a huge thank you to Brandonnn for giving my games a shout on Boing Boing this week. I now refer you to his awesome article about retro-style adventure games.
Well, I finally did it. I finally got my greatest expression made into a poster.
As I’m sure many of you indie-loving persons are aware, there’s an event called Indiecade coming up within the next week. My game Nanobots was selected as a finalist, which was in itself a huge honour. But imagine my surprise when they offered to pay for my entire trip. My reaction was…well, see above.
So any of you who are going to Culver City next week, I’ll see you there! For those of you who aren’t, I’ll be staring at you ominously from that poster.
This is my first attempt at a humanoid form in 3D. My choice of subject matter eez, how you say, unsurprizink. The assignment was to create a character and a prop, and you can scroll down to see what my instructor had to say.
“Erin, Great job on this one. Looks like you have a girl model here at 1486 polys, nicely under the 1500 limit, and a prop gun that is 208 Polys, a little over the 200 limit.
I’m trying to figure out a story for this fez wearing girl and her AK47, and anything I come up with is a little freaky. All the same, very nice work on the character. I like the overall look of the character. The big nose, pony tail, fez, and skinny limbs are all full of personality.”
Here are three things I wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago:
#1. I’m speaking at GDC!
I’m giving a 5-minute talk as part of “The Indie Game Maker Rant.” There are 11 of us in total, and we each get to talk about whatever suits our fancy (I’m going to be talking about humour in games). Also speaking are the creators of Fez, Flower, Crayon Physics Deluxe, and Aquaria, to name a few. I am officially stoked. I am Facebook-officially stoked.
If you’ve got access to the Independent Games Summit, come say hi!
#2. I was mentioned in a…fansong?
Listen up around :53.
All I can say is, guys with accents are my kryptonite. So it’s all very flattering.
So, here’s the story. Five weeks ago I stumbled across an awesome game competition at TIGS, or “The Independent Gaming Source.” The task: take an existing game and “demake” it. That is, create a version of the game in a lower resolution/game system than the original, and don’t use any copyrighted characters.
I didn’t really think much about it for a week, and then suddenly it took over my life. I blame the fact that I was in France at the time, sipping strong coffee and taking in the energy of 20 or so other game developers. In any case, I’ve been working on it daily since then.
We made it in four weeks. I did all the art as ink drawings in my moleskine notebook. I’m currently lacking a scanner so I had to capture the art with a digital camera, adjust the levels to bring out the linework, and colour all the bits. Once I had all the component parts, I assembled the characters in Photoshop and got to work animating them.
In addition to all that, we had to get rid of the fuzzy character outlines, record all the lines of dialog, and code the entire thing (I take no credit for this; thanks Grundislav!). Additionally, the wonderful Mark Lovegrove was kind enough to compose an original in-game score. All in all I’m delighted with the outcome, and now the world has a confused Soviet knockoff of American McGee’s Alice.
I’m sure many of you have seen this, but I just found it today so I’m sharing it here.
It’s a video of a guy named Matt dancing all over the world. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it as much as I can without reaching out of the screen and hitting “play” for you. Enjoy it and enjoy the morale boost you feel afterwards.
Hey all! Tim W. of the Indie Games blog has kindly interviewed me about all things game dev, and the aftermath can be viewed here. You can read about the status of my current game projects, the public reaction to Nanobots, and some of my inspirations. There’s also a sketch of something from “Skyward” and a picture of me wearing glasses.
I highly recommend the other interviews if you’re at all interested in the indie games community. A lot of the names are familiar, and if they aren’t their games certainly are. It’s humbling to even be on the same list.
Okay, seriously, that’s enough about me. If you want to check out something awesome, you should read this blog my friend Brendan writes called The Tao of Wichita. He’s been writing a lot of hilarious zen koans lately, and if you ask me, they’re a little too good. Every time I ask him if he’s really a time traveler he changes the subject and throws a blanket over his airship.