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Springloaded is one year old

April 17, 2013

I haven’t posted in a few weeks, because I have been unbearably busy…you see I have been trying to get the RPG a little further along…but, I still have a long way to go…

Recent goings on:
• My bike was stolen – so finally I found out that crime really does exist in Singapore, and I spent nearly an hour discussing it with a Police officer, and even got a call the next day from the detective in charge of my case…all for a bike!
• So the logical next piece of news will be of no surprise…Two weeks ago, I went out and bought a new bike.
• I finished my second semester at Digipen…
• Springloaded went past its first year anniversary!

One year of going it alone:
The original plan was that I should make a game every month…so I should have twelve games out by now… but no it’s only five (with another two very deep into long production cycles).

Did I fail? Well the fact I didn’t release all those games means I missed some opportunities to learn things about the market, but what I did learn pretty quickly is that I should be trying to make bigger better things rather than just throw whatever I make out there and see if it strikes indie-gold.

My desire to try and catch up with this 12 game target meant that I released things like Atomic Test Pilot, which is really about as simple as a game can get. It isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t offer enough for anyone to want to play it for more than five minutes…so I now realise that I probably should have made it a bit deeper before releasing it (something I will do for the Playstation / Ouya version if I ever make it).

Over this last year, everything I did taught me something that I can use to make better choices and achieve more in future. Because of that this has been one of the most rewarding years since I started in this industry.

On the negative side, it’s been stressful, and I often questioned whether I did the right thing. Despite making games for Springloaded, and working part time in a local studio, I feel like I have stepped off the games-industry ladder. I no longer have a big name company on my CV, and am not working on one of those high profile titles that will make adolescent males weep with excitement.

However despite these concerns I feel now more than ever that the industry we all worked in is pretty much gone. With so many large studios closing, it’s a scary time to be working for a company. It would appear their competition is from smaller more agile teams who can keep up with the trends and change course quickly. This lack of reactivity is the thing that slows most large companies down to the point where their products become irrelevant or obsolete.

So I am in the best place to be, it’s just very scary and lonely right now! But my current plan is to try and change all that.

I think that the best place to be currently is with a publisher who can help you cut through the noise of the marketplace and offer you support and advice when things get tough.

I feel like there are some similarities that can be drawn with the record industry. When MP3’s first appeared, and bands could sell their own music on the internet everyone loudly proclaimed that this was the end for record labels. The same happened with the app store, however looking at music, we know that all the biggest artists are still those that have the support of major record labels (with very few exceptions). I am not ignoring the fact that the music industry has gone through huge problems, in much the same way that we are seeing the games industry doing the same now. But, if a guy in his bedroom makes a record, or builds a game, chances are no one will ever hear about it. In the case of  game, what happens if it actually starts to gain momentum? Will that guy in his bedroom have the resources at his disposal to properly react to that success? For me I know that marketing is hard, and the thing I enjoy the most is thinking about game ideas and then making them. I know I need to study the market, follow trends and make games that as many people can enjoy as possible.

I also need to be more powerful to react, the games I am building are still in step with the market, the RTS has things in common with FTL, but innovates on a number of levels (I didn’t realise it was like FTL when I started making it, someone pointed this out to me recently). FTL is a huge indie hit – it also isn’t on iOS, no doubt Zynga or someone equally ruthless is out there figuring out how they can profit from someone else’s idea. So buy the time I am done with my game, the moment may have passed…therefore I need to be quicker.

Anyway, I have plans to try and fix all of this (the first of which I should be able to announce next week) – so wish me luck!

Over this year I shed some large chunks of naivety, and am now hopefully ready to start taking bigger strides in the right direction.

Anyway, I made a video that highlights the accomplishments of these first twelve months:

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