Week 88

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

This week I spent a good chunk of time filling out a grant application for Creative Europe Media, a European Commission that offers support for interesting video games. Though because it has to go through the European Commission there is a ton of procedure to follow – making accounts, registering my company, discovering that the registration system the dutch Chamber of Commerce used when I registered two years ago has been changed, googling to find the correct code for the new system, and then generating a fancy pdf form and filling that out. 21 pages of complicated questions, some of which I didn’t really have an answer to. One thing is that I got the feeling they are thinking in a waterfall schedule, where milestones and deadlines are set in stone. I’m doing this project by myself, so I can’t already estimate in hours how long I am working on each phase. The budget was a monster to wrangle as well, but I managed to fill everything out on time, and the guys at the Vechtclub were very supportive when I told them about it on wednesday.

The reason I was at the Hubbub studio on wednesday was to brainstorm about the direction of the museum game project (I’ll start using the official codename SHACHI from now on because I’m getting tired of typing ‘museum game project’). We had a cool prototype, but it kind of existed outside of the targeted museums, instead of being integrated in the exhibit. It was a tough nut to crack but we came up with something really interesting. More on that soon as we start the beta phase.

On thursday I sketched up some mockups for the new idea so that Kars could use them in the client meeting, and then I went to Amsterdam to have dinner with my old couchsurfing buddy Troy. This was the first time we were both back in Amsterdam again after I had moved away from there, so for both of us it was a welcome reunion with a lovely city, I thought that was interesting.

Friday I was spent, so I passed the time catching up on my backlog of games. I finished the Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy playsets in Dinsey Infinity, and reflected on how brilliantly simple their game design is. They get the core of the characters right, give you a playground to exercise their abilities until you have mastered them, and it’s exactly long enough that you don’t tire of it too much. Then I played some MGS Ground Zeroes (big fan also) and upgraded some of my other game projects to Unity 5.

Next week: Getting my short game into beta state for real and deciding whether I’m going to participate in the upcoming AdventureJam.

Week 83

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

Working irregular schedule is fucked.

On monday I went by the Hubbub offices bright and early to figure out the new storyboards for KLM. After that I went to lunch with Niels ‘t Hooft, which I hadn’t seen in a criminally long time. We talked productivity, planning as freelancers, cool apps and how to create new reading experiences in the digital world. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

On tuesday I got asked for another short illustration assignment, and I again struggled with what I should set my hourly rate at. Or rather I have one but I tend to scale it down for friends and longer assignments. It’s hard putting a value on yourself.

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I knocked out the new storyboard sketches and then on thursday Skyped with Kars to review KLM’s feedback and set up the final tasks.

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The next morning I was back at the Hubbub office again to kick off the next project I’m doing with Hubbub, this time one that runs for several months where I’ll be involved in a more intensive manner, doing design and prototyping as well as art. It’s a cool project and I’m excite to get started on it.

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On saturday I spent all day in Amsterdam to watch Oscar-nominated movies with friends, and spent a quiet sunday with my parents and girlfriend.

Next week: new project kick-off.