Week 44

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creative.

A tumultuous week! On monday I got to view an apartment in Utrecht with my girlfriend, and we decided to pull the trigger on it right that morning. So that means moving soon! A lot to think about, but aside from the inherent boon of being together I’ll also be closer to the dutch games industry hotspot.

On tuesday Bounden was released to much fanfare. It’s incredible that the game came together with no delays or major problems and became something really special. I’m glad to have been a part of it.

The rest of the week I worked on some freelance drawing assignments, posted about Black Feather Forest in a number of places, and dug up some unused Bounden concept art for fans to gawk at.

I also updated my portfolio, not so much in terms of new projects but mostly the infrastructure. I had “NEW!” ribbons on each fresh project, but those were still scattered across the various pages so it wasn’t real easy to see that stuff at a glimpse. So I added a rotating banners at the top, much like the iTunes Store. And in doing so I broke the lightbox for the images, so I replaced that with something much more lightweight, slick and fast. And you can link directly to certain projects now! I had put in those anchors long ago but they never worked until now. I figured it out!

And the week closed out with some bad news: Black Feather Forest was not selected for the competition I entered it into. With 60 entries I can totally understand the high-quality and cool games they selected to showcase Dutch gamedev (Bounden is in there! And hooray for Westerado), but it’s still disappointing that the outcome of those weeks of hard work amounts to “Sorry, good luck hey.” But I’ll keep working on it and responses for other places are positive, so that’s motivating.

Unseen Bounden

While I worked on the concept art for Bounden we tried a lot of things. Mainly related to the world- and theme-building. We worked hard to distill all the level ideas down to the best possible ones, the ones that you can see in the game now. But for every ‘world’ that you see in the game, there were like fifteen more designs. Here are some that didn’t make the cut. (click on them for a slideshow with descriptions) :

Week 27

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

It’s been a pretty productive week, finished up my to-do list for the webgame I’ve been making assets for, did some logo design and mockups for two other projects, and spent thursday working at Game Oven again on Bounden. We looked at some new interface shapes and button layouts for various menus, and managed to push a Testflight build out the door so I can finally check it out on my own phone, which is quite useful when I’m designing at home.

I did some writing on friday based on a dream I had the day before, and the satisfaction I got from it was quite intense in comparison to the bigger tasks I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I forget what an instant high writing a short story can give you. It was a welcome feeling.

Your ‘job’ as an independant creator doesn’t just stop at doing the work and nmanaging your clients and finances, you also have to manage yourself and your own contentment in doing the work in the first place. It’s an aspect that often gets overlooked, and I read some good articles about it this week that made me realise again that we as humans are inclined to focus on everything that can be improved and all the uncertainty we face, and with that forget all the good parts.

When You’re Feeling Self-Doubt & a Lack of Motivation

http://www.artfulgamer.com/the-albatross-of-incompletion/
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JamieFristrom/20131212/206951/How_To_Be_A_Happy_Indie_Game_Developer.php

It’s good sometimes to stop and take a moment to appreciate all that you have, even if it is an uncertain whirlwind. Getting up early to go to the office on thursday through the cold and the dark was one of those moments for me. Check out those articles, they’re a good read.

Week 25

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

2014! Time to start things up again.

Last week I drew a new Off-stage page, one that was half done when I took a christmas break but which honestly read like shit then, I didn’t like it. Now I came back to it fresh and found the missing piece that made it a nice rounded out page. Chapter two will be complete soon and then I think I’m going to take a break from it and plan a whole chapter in advance, writing a chunk a week is just not great for an ongoing story.

Between wrapping that up, my work for Bounden tapering off and closing out another project this month I have plenty of time coming up to devote to two things: a second pass at the ideas I worked up with Niels ‘t Hooft for his upcoming iPad novel Ninja Gimmick Girl, and diving into Adventure Creator for my own game.


Classic Jake and Toby, IN SPAAAACE (placeholder dudes). The scene is actually all 3D, textured planes with navmesh and collision

My meddling with Unity so far was all well and good but I was still a bit in over my head when it came to building things like a dialogue system (I hate the Unity GUI system, it’s bonkers) or competent 2D pathfinding. But Adventure Creator is basically all the features I already know how to use from another engine I used to use and love (because the maker did too), so jesus I was over the moon. Now I can start making the sort of game I want right away.

On wednesday I had an extremely productive day working on Ninja Gimmick Girl, and then I got VIOLENTLY ill. Just like that. I could tell you platitudes like ‘life can always intrude’ and ‘be prepared for anything’ but mostly being sick just fucking sucks. So better just submit and get it over with.