Sunday, March 30th, 2008
We’ve been quiet. Frozen Synapse is… well, I’m very very excited about it right now. The closed beta will be sooner than you think.
It’s massively remiss of me not to have announced it at the time, but we have a fourth member of Mode 7. Robin Cox, a friend of mine for 21 years, is the newest full time member of the team. Having him on board is just amazing… it’s a true new era for Mode 7. Robin, or Bin as he is known, is Mode 7 Level Designer.
The company management has, if you can believe it for a management team of two, had a bit of a shake up. Paul has had many of his graft responsibilities taken by Bin (who enjoys them more) and is now spending a lot more time on Business Development; which in turn has taken some responsibilities off me. I am now able to do what I do best. Or at least what my job is, which is to design and program the next game you’ve never heard of but will want to play. Business Development sounds massively boring to the indie gamer masses so let me just assure you it makes it more likely we’ll be making ambitious crazy games into the next decade. Paul continues to be musician, sfx designer, writer; and of course co-designer creatively. He just has to enter fewer numbers into script files and more into excel spreadsheets.
In terms of actual game playing I’ve been wasting two hours a day on Bridge Baron and getting mildly intrigued by The Club. I have Jeanne D’arc in my PSP and am waiting the next chance to play it. I’ve also been listening to Paul’s chip-tune music (Swing Little 16 is almost certainly now my favorite track he’s produced) and watching Kings Of Power 4 Billion % and Boston Legal. As Studio 60 is to my esteemed colleague Boston Legal is to me. I may not class myself as an uber-geek but seeing Quark and Odo face each other over a courtroom definitely gave me an obscene pleasure.
I can’t wait to play Frozen Synapse with you soon.
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
I decided not to submit anything to Austin GDC this year.
Last year, going to Austin GDC was a great experience. I met a lot of interesting people in the development community there; I got to hook up with one of our friends at Novint; I had a pretty ridiculous night out (crashing a Gamecock party, having John Romero buy me a pizza slice) and I got my silly comments on Gamasutra.
This year, I really don’t have anything to say, because we’re smack bang in the middle of two games. I feel like I’ve learned a lot since I last spoke in public about what we’re doing, but that needs to be distilled into something of practical use by finishing another two games and releasing them.
I am really fucking tired of a lot of the nonsense that goes on in this industry – we have always set out to try and beat that somehow, and I think we have a novel approach. We have a lot of things now that we didn’t have before – committed, caring co-conspirators (Ying, our ace programmer, and Bin our ace level designer) for one. Also intelligent prototyping – these games will beat the living crap out of anything you’ve ever seen even before they leave the drawing board (or your money back).
I recently re-read Steven L. Kent’s Ultimate History of Video Games, and there are some inspirational things in there. It’s a difficult, slightly self-important and not entirely coherent history of our industry- how more apt is it possible to be? But it brought home to me how the problems we’re trying to solve (marrying creativity and commercial concerns, par exemple) are basically just age-old. People think the new indie revolution is exactly that – not so.
So, that’s why I’m keeping to myself a little. Sure, we’ll be on the Gamespot podcast talking nonsense fairly soon, but it’s in this country at least, so you’ll have to forgive us that.
Fear not, convention circuit. I will return.
Friday, March 14th, 2008
Long-term DT fan Mischief Maker has seen fit to include us in the Caltrops Top 100 Indie Games – some nice comments there and a bunch of other cool games I need to try out.
When I say that we’re busy right now, that’s like calling Winnipeg boring.
Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Without further ado
This has made it all worthwhile.
I want to savour this moment because I know it will never feel this cool again. But for now I’m holding a game box with my company’s logo on it.
And that’s pretty cool.
(I really don’t want to take it out of the cellophane – and thus remove the very cool Blue Label Seal Of Quality – but I want to read the manual for my own game a LOT)