Building a studio from scratch: Week 11

Building a studio from scratch: Week 11

By Andy Gahan

November 16th 2011 at 12:00PM

Andy and the team outline the basic gameplay concepts for their debut project - but coding it is going to be tricky...

[Go here to find all entries in Gahan’s diary]

Week 11

We have definitely decided that the art style for the underwater game should be realistic. Now that we have agreed on this we can start to crack through the list of assets that we need to build. Peter Wilkes (our Lead Artist on this) is doing really well and is getting quite a lot of work done on it.

The basic idea for the game is that you start out as an egg and need to navigate through a few Brain Coral mazes to reach your goal. Once you reach the goal you hatch out into an Alevin, which is a really small fish with the egg sack still visible. Now you have to navigate through a series of mazes until you grow once more avoiding the enemies.

We’ve planned out 6 stages of growth for the player and a different group of enemies and levels for each stage, each one posing a different challenge for the player. I had created the first few to see what they’d look like, but we’re going to need to re-do these to match the final realistic looking style.

We’ve also started to develop the Sudoku game too. Once again I’ve started to look at possible different art styles whilst we start to get the basic functionality working.

The management of the team and projects is now starting to be a much fuller role now than it was before, which is great as I always loved to work on multiple projects. I have a friend from my forum on www.3d-for-games.com that is desperately trying to break into the industry in a production role.

I’m really trying to find a way of helping him out as I have the work here, but it’s all a bit fragmented and needs my decisions to keep it all running smoothly.  I’ll have to have a think about how I can get this to work – maybe I just need the projects to bed down and get a little more settled, then he can take one over maybe?

Finally, we had a bit of a setback this week too. Paul has been offered a contract at his previous employer which is too good for him to turn down, so he’s going to take it. It’s not a major blow, but it’ll certainly slow progress down a lot. We’ll still be able to crack on with the artwork for the game, and Paul hopes to be able to keep the game moving along.

I think that this is something that we might have to get used to and prepare for. As everyone working solely on the Pixel Bullies projects isn’t getting paid, we will have to find a way for this type of an upset not to be a project killer, and we’ll need to find a way to move forwards when key people drop out of the team.

Everyone has to earn and there’s only so long that each of us can go without earning money. For some people it will be indefinitely, if they are supported by a spouse or a trust fund, but for most, it will be a lot shorter.

I think good planning really comes into its own when setting up on your own and if you’re planning on doing the same – make sure you are completely prepared for it financially – or have a plan to enable people to drop in and out of the project.

Total money spent so far: £292.63

Negatives
- Paul has taken on some contract work so the underwater project will slow done on the code side
- There’s a bit of rework to do on some of the artwork that was originally produced in the cartoon style.

Positives
- The Sudoku game is starting to take shape
- The outsourcing with Art In Games is going well