What are you up to?

How come there aren’t blog entries every day!? No, I’m not getting lazy. Actually, things are pretty crazy around here. But one thing I noticed is that a lot of the blogs I tend to haunt on a regular basis are fairly quiet. It’s probably everyone getting back in the groove after the holidays!

So what am I up to? There is always the work I’m doing for my clients, and most of that I can’t talk about until it’s either done, or released from NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). It’s all remote freelance work – and I want to talk about remote freelancing some more, but I’ll save that for another day.

In my spare time (you know, the time between client projects, between renderings, meetings, sleeping, eating, exercising and all those other ‘life’ activities) I’m working on my own game. There is so much to think about when designing a game, the levels, the characters, the story, the engine, the assets, and the list goes on and on. I can see why a lot of games get started and then get shelved by independent game developers. Unless you have a dedicated team of artists and programmers you won’t get very far. Often the only way to keep the team is to get funding and finance them. That’s one sure way of keeping your staff – pay them! I’m trying something different. No, not a slave camp. I’m going to wing this one on my own. It’s pretty ambitious, but I think I have the background I need to tackle it. Maybe not the time, but definitely the background. I have about 20 years of software development experience and about 10 years of artistic experience. I’ve been doing a lot of research in the last two years (yes, it included a lot of playing different kinds of games – sigh, you have to do what you have to do…) and I think I’m ready to take the indie plunge. Of course I’ll need some outside help on things like musical scores and voices, but I’m trying to keep that to the bare minimum.

On the software end of things, I think I’ve narrowed down the field to two different game engines. Each engine has it’s strengths and weaknesses. One is open source and the other is a commercial engine. One you get the source code to mess around with (but have to release any changes to the engine back to the open source community), while the other you are limited to the capabilities of the engine. On the artistic end of things, I have the basic story, character development and one of the levels partially designed. I have some character designs, but I’m still working on those… The first thing I need to do is pick an engine, then create the assets (models, characters, animation loops) and finally put it together into a proof of concept. Hmm… I wonder who I’ll get as an animator? :o

So if you are interested in this sort of thing be sure to stay tuned since I will post more as the project progresses. Of course, life may get in the way and this may join the ranks of all those failed startups, but then again, maybe not… if it doesn’t make it, I can always blame the team.

One other thing… I found another interesting blog you may want to visit. This one is by Matt Williames, one of the animators from Curious George! I’ve seen the trailers and I think they did a fine job. They seemed to have captured the ’spirit’ of the books.