A Conversation with… Kevin Maloney

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Kevin Maloney, from our 12th graduating class, at Harebrained Schemes in Seattle.

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

These days I am a Game Designer here at Harebrained Schemes in the greater Seattle area and have been on Shadowrun the whole time. I’m kind of an all season radial in our smallish shop. I was brought on as a Level Designer for our first kickstarted project “Shadowrun Returns”. I started with making content but as time went by I found plenty more things to keep me busy. So beyond taking levels from concept to ship, I design features, script AI and along with a few other folks get to pitch in on the narrative side of things as well.
Read More

Student Endeavours: GD23′s The Last Phoenix on Kickstarter!

Back in July of 2012 five students (David Dryden, Ian MacGregor, Rishi Patkar, Marc St-Onge, and Jay Zhou) finished off their final project “The Last Phoenix”: the crown jewel of their year at VFS, but little did they know that this would just be the start of their journey.

“It was a tremendously visually impressive game, with unique mechanics, and a huge expressive world. Also they were the first group to pioneer with advanced shader techniques at VFS”
- Chris Mitchell: Game Design Instructor

Read More

A Conversation with… Nick Yonge

After watching the CVA awards show, A Conversation with… tracked down Nick Yonge of krangGAMES from our 16th graduating class.

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

Currently I’m self-employed at my own independent games company, krangGAMES. I’m developing downloadable games for home computer and consoles, like my Kickstarter-funded main project, Emerald.
Read More

INTERVIEW: Eric Ford, Designer & Programmer of ‘Social Justice Warriors’

SocialJusticeWarriors

In Social Justice Warriors (SJW), the player takes on the role of an internet crusader, fighting trolls wielding popular fallacies such as “Argument from Self-Knowledge”, “Ad Hominem Attack” and “Argument from Incredulity”. Taking inspiration from traditional role-playing games, SJW features four player-classes: Paladin, Cleric, Mage and Rogue.

SJW_Screenshot

Each round the player deals one of four attacks to manage their sanity and reputation levels whilst simultaneously destroying those of their opponents. The game ends when the player’s sanity, reputation, or both, are destroyed.

Initially inspired by a picture of “social justice warrior videogame journalists to avoid” that was making the rounds on social media, the game is a satire on human interaction online and the pains of internet debates.

I spoke with Eric Ford (A.K.A. Nondecimal), designer and programmer of SJW, to find out more about the inspiration behind the game, the process of making it, and public reaction since releasing it and putting it on Steam Greenlight.

Read More

From Concept to Kickstarter: A Teachers path

I’ve been teaching at VFS for just over a year now, as one of the two Game Theory Analog instructors. I’m also a board game designer (sorry – analog game designer!) and have a partner named Sen-Foong Lim, and we have two games currently published: Train of Thought and Belfort (along with an expansion to Belfort called, appropriately enough – Belfort: The Expansion Expansion). Right this moment though, we have two new games that have launched on Kickstarter and I thought I’d give you all a little history on how each of these games came to be!

 

The two games are Tortuga – a dice rolling pirate game, which can be found HERE

and This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us, which can be found HERE

Read More

The Mandate: Kickstarter to Completion Episode 2

Space Battle Command Display Concept Art

Interested in hearing how industry veterans approach pre-production after a successful Kickstarter campaign? Perihelion Interactive recently sent out a newsletter with updates on their recently funded game, The Mandate, which is currently in pre-production. The newsletter provides great educational material for both designers and producers. Their team has to be commended for sharing light and answering forum questions with such detailed responses. Some questions remain unanswered, but in most cases they acknowledge that these particular problems are still being addressed. The condensed status update includes:

- More programmers have been added but the rest of the team have not been finalized due to legal obstacles and holding out for potential key players

- Their character artist broke his Wacom tablet and is focusing on creating concept art for NPC units and other side tasks until his replacement arrives

- Funding has reached $725,000, and the project is still scheduled for release in early 2015

The more interesting revelations from the newsletter include producer-level insight into adding mod support, their depiction of features in a two-by-two matrix of risk versus value, and how development is being staged during preproduction for both art and gameplay elements.

Current Funding from Kickstarter and BackerKit

Read More

Starbound – 2013′s Greatest Indie Success Story

The Starbound logo

On December 4th, indie game Starbound, created by Chucklefish Games, launched under Steam‘s Early Access listing for Windows, Mac and Linux gamers.  It is a 2D block-based sandbox adventure game, set in an infinite universe of procedurally generated planets, creatures, and environments (its website can be found here).

Many games have preceded Starbound in these and other respects (the game is considered the spiritual successor to the highly popular Terraria, and much of the two fanbases overlap), but few indie titles have managed to accomplish everything else Starbound has.  Indeed, it has arguably become one of the most successful indie games on the PC in years, thanks to an approach that has garnered the game hundreds of thousands of fans and backers.  In this post, I’d like to provide an overview of the game’s (ongoing) success story.

$0 in One Year; $2,300,000 the Next

Starbound was first announced in February 2012 by Finn Brice, a UK game developer better known to fans as Tiyuri (or just Tiy).  Brice was the artist behind Terraria’s sprites, and thus the only official link between the two games, though much of the design of Starbound can be read as an incremental improvement over the formula developed in Terraria.  The team that worked on it eventually came to encompass around 14 developers, and so Chucklefish Games set to work.

Read More