2013 has been one crazy ride. I honestly am surprised how quickly it went by and what happened this year. Easily said, it’s been one hell of a year for me (and I’m sure many other people too). Compared to previous years, I’ve done so much in what seems like a little amount of time.
I’ve released not one, but two successful games on the iOS and Android platforms, attended three awesome gaming conventions/events, worked on countless side projects and started a brand new company on the side, and I’ve also made a ton of great new friends. I’m surprised I have time to sleep!
Global Game Jam (January)
Global Game Jam was my second game jam competition I have ever participated in. I did it with two of my teammates from Play Nimbus, Mike and Adam. We worked on a game called Paranoia, which ultimately is a simple puzzle game where you progress through a maze and try to escape. The closer you get to an enemy, the faster your heart beats, the more you can see and the faster you move.
This was one of my favorite projects of the year, and I honestly wish one day to pick it back up and work on it further as it is such a simple, and fun idea. I made a ton of sounds and music for the project and had a blast doing it. I even got a little grumpy because of the lack of sleep, hah.
Mass DiGI Game Challenge (March)
The Mass DiGI Game Challenge was probably my favorite thing that happened during 2013. Every time I think about all the hours spent, the class I almost failed because of it, I smile and am extremely happy about it.
My team, Play Nimbus worked pretty much day and night for a few months straight on preparing a simple little game idea we had, called Wobbles, for this game pitch competition. We actively perfected our game design and pitch pretty much every day working to get it to be well thought out and very strong.
Being a group of freshmen in college competing against primarily college seniors and other proven game designers, I didn’t really know what to expect out of this. I was happy enough that we got lots of great feedback for a game we were pursuing to create, but we got much more out of it.
After a day of mentoring from industry professionals and fine tuning our game and pitch to meet more industry standards, we made finalists. I remember sitting around the table with my team just shocked and happy that we made it to the final round of pitching in front of the whole room. We had minutes to prepare our final pitch, and I felt my heart racing. Just remembering this moment brings some of those feelings of excitement and anxiety back.
When we stood up to do our final pitch, we nailed it. I remember seeing tweets come in from other people in the room saying that they loved the game concept and others talking to us how we brought them back to the good ole days of Lemmings and how they felt a connection to our characters.
Sitting around the table once more waiting to hear who won the “best college entertainment game” award, I was more nervous and excited than I ever have been in my entire life. Every single other game that was pitched in our category was excellent, and some were extremely well done. I didn’t expect that our game would be the strongest out of all of them, and when I heard our name called, I still couldn’t believe it. The excitement my team felt as a whole was beyond belief.
Honestly this is a moment I think I’ll always remember and look back to.
PAX East 2013 (March)
PAX East was great this year. I was able to finally meet up with a long time friend I had made on Xbox LIVE years ago. On top of that, it was the first year I was majorly aware of the Indie Megabooth and spent so much time in there meeting with some of my friends and checking out their games in there.
Overall, it was just a great time, as PAX always is!
Ball 2 Box (May … maybe?)
This was a side project that my roommate Adam and I started during one of the Ludum Dare game jams. I believe it was in May, but can’t remember correctly.
Ball 2 Box was a very simplistic iPhone/iPad game where you must guide a ball around objects to a goal (which was a box). There were moving obstacles and some of those caused you to lose a life and restart the level while others just pushed you around.
This was a fun project and I’ve always wanted to return to it just due to it’s simplicity and release it on iOS and Android for free. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get around to that though.
Summer Internship (May – August)
One of the prizes from the Mass DiGI Game Challenge was being able to have our game in their Summer Innovation Program, which is an internship for college students in the New England Area. My team was able to work full time over the summer and get paid to work on Wobbles! It was an awesome experience and helped us learn a lot about the game development experience from concept all the way to shipping the thing out the door.
At the end of the program, we shipped our game Wobbles on iOS and Android. It’s a great feeling to have the game out the door and finished and no longer in my mind 24/7!
Changing Colleges (August)
For a while during my first year of college, I did have a feeling that Becker wasn’t right for me. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of things about it are great and I do miss it, but I feel as if I wasn’t focusing on the right program for me.
Personally, I’ve started to lean more towards marketing and public relations for a while, and for all of my projects I have ever worked on, I’ve taken on those roles. I feel that I’d be better off studying Marketing instead of Video Game Development (which is such a broad field) to better myself in the long run.
When a few of my friends were actually leaving the college to switch degrees, it really dawned on me that I was paying a lot to attend Becker and decided to withdraw from the school. After a few months at looking at other schools, I’ve applied at several online schools for the Fall 2014 semester for a Marketing degree. I feel a marketing degree will better me in the long run for what I want to do in life.
Also, I still love games and making them. Nothing’s going to change that. Not even the craziness and stress it might bring sometimes.
Codename Cygnus (August/September)
Just as my internship was ending, my boss/mentor let me know of a team in Boston that might be looking for someone to help out with their marketing and public relations. I decided to follow through with it and joined the Reactive Studios team in late August as a contractor doing just that.
I helped form a public relations strategy for the launch of the game, Codename Cygnus, as well as keep social media pages up to date and handle customer support inquiries.
All the way from then to now, I still have been involved helping promote the game and handle customer support. It’s been a great ride thus far and some of the things we have planned for 2014 are just awesome and I can’t wait until I can actually talk about them. 😉
Boston FIG (September)
The Boston Festival of Indie Games (Boston FIG) was held in September 2013. It’s an event for all developers of indie games in the area to come together and show off their games to all sorts of gamers! We (Play Nimbus) submitted to be accepted as part of their 100 digital games showcase and we were accepted!
We showcased Wobbles there throughout the day and it was great to meet so many gamers and see people enjoy playing the game. It was awesome and very exciting.
Side Projects (October/November)
When I decided to leave college, in search for a new school, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t sitting around doing nothing or just playing games on my computer. I still wanted to be active in the game development community, and thus I started to work on several side projects. These projects went from games to websites to random ideas. Most of em you probably haven’t heard of, and some were completely failed ideas:
- Frozen Kitten (Originally a December 1GAM Project. Possibly given up on it, might return to it. Was a great prototype though!)
- Tumbling Towers (December Ludum Jam Project. Still an active, ongoing project!)
- Indie Duds (A website / web store I tried to start, didn’t get far past the planning stages)
- Xbox Fox (Xbox gaming community, slowly going to evolve into a podcast about Xbox in the New Year… hopefully)
- Sovereignty (A card game I finished and launched! Yay!)
- Card Game #2 (I have a second card game I’ve been slowly working on for 2014, more on this… in 2014.)
As you can see, out of these six major projects I focused on between September and December, I only finished one to completion, have one I’m working on actively and one that is at a “kinda” working on. So, in terms of side projects just for this period of time, it seems I had a 16% completion rate and a 50% of them (Tumbling Towers, Sovereignty and Card Game #2) that I enjoyed!
It’s a somewhat good thing to know that most of my projects that I think I’ll pursue, I’ll probably only find half of em good, and even less of them will be finished.
Silver City Entertainment & Sovereignty (December)
In November/December, now that I have officially come over the fact that Play Nimbus as a team probably won’t exist (at least as it did) any more, I decided to found a new company/team to release games under. I decided to name it after my hometown/the town I currently live in again. My hometown’s nickname is “The Silver City” and well, we create entertaining games, so it seems to fit pretty well!
We just opened up our game Sovereignty for pre-orders, and we’ve been working on it since May, but only fully announced it this month. Since Play Nimbus is only partially mine (at least that’s how I feel about it), it wasn’t right to release it under that name, so a new company was formed.
I am hoping to work on more games with this small (frequently changing) team. Some digital, some table top/card games. It’ll be a fun project while I get back on my feet for college next fall.
Today – 2013’s Conclusion (December)
Well, it’s the end of December and almost 2014. As I said in the beginning, what a hell of a year it’s been. I honestly think it’s been one of the most exciting years I have had in a long time. I don’t think I can remember one year where I’ve done so many different things, met so many amazing people and enjoyed almost every single bit of it!
Sure I had a lot of down times this year which I didn’t cover, but looking back, they aren’t what I want to remember. The good events and the awesome friends are what I want to remember.
Thanks everyone for making 2013 such an amazing year for me. Here’s to an awesome 2014!