Interview with American McGee Part 2

We continue the interview with American McGee…

T: Big Head Bash, Crazy Fairies and Akaneiro are all “Free to Play” titles. What draws you to this model? What opportunities do you see in it? and what’s your own definition of Free to Play? 

A: I like to think of it like a ‘pay what you want’ model. You can get into any of our games and access 100% of the content for free – though you have to exchange your time in order to do so. Or, if you don’t feel like waiting, you can pay for access to those things you don’t feel like earning. That means it’s up to the players whether or not – or how much – they pay. If they feel like the game is worthwhile or the content is interesting, they’ll pay for it. If not, they aren’t out of pocket. It also provides a wonderful way for us to maintain a connection with the audience and provide constant updates to the content and game play. Coming from the world of console games, this is probably one of my favorite aspects of the model (which is really more related to being an online game in general.) Continue reading “Interview with American McGee Part 2”

Interview with American McGee Part 1

To celebrate the release of Toy Glider and to spice up the blog a bit I thought I start a series of interviews with other developers from the game dev community. Who’s better to start than somebody who has been making games for a long time without any signs of slowing down. Enter American McGee.

T: Beta testing Akaneiro, regularly adding content to Big Head Bash as well as Crazy Fairies and now  planning your Kickstarter Campaign. You’re keeping yourself busy. How do you manage all these projects at the same time?

A: Over the years the studio has developed an internal culture that expects and rewards multi-disciplined people who are comfortable wearing lots of hats and jumping between a variety of tasks and projects. At times it can feel a little disorienting to keep track of everything that’s going on – but no one has ever complained of boredom from repetition. For everyone in the studio the balancing act requires decent organizational and prioritization skills. We all try our best to maintain basic tracking sheets with an understanding of priority based on feedback from the studio at large. We hold a weekly meeting where we assign resources for the next week – and from that basic resource planning flows the detailed planning that makes each department hum along for another week.

T: Over the years, I’ve noticed that you have a very refined daily routine. Could you share a bit how you developed it and how has it evolved over the course of your career?

Continue reading “Interview with American McGee Part 1”

An Inside Look Into Freelance Game Development

It’s been several months since this blog first started. Today is a another “first”. The first guest post comes from Aaron. Aaron is an experienced game developer who shares his experience as a game contractor/freelance developer. Happy to have him here to share his insights and experience so far.

Enter Aaron,

Hi all – great to ‘be’ here. First, a quick shout-out for Tomasz – it’s awesome to see how another game contractor is making it work, so thanks for being so open. I hope my post adds something to the conversation.

I’ve been developing games since 1995, and mostly as a Designer, though recently as a Project Manager / Executive Producer. My background is Computer Science, with an Art minor – I know my way around Photoshop, Illustrator, and a sketchbook, and spent 5 years building levels in 3D Studio Max.

I mention this because as a freelance developer, you never know which skillset you’ll be called on to use in a given day. The client may need artwork cleaned up, or a prototype written, or a new feature implemented. As you delve into various tasks, of course, you’ll need to have the “Producer” hat on at all times to be asking “Is this getting me towards the client’s goals”, and “Am I on track?”

Continue reading “An Inside Look Into Freelance Game Development”

Depth of Engagement

There are different levels of engagement/commitment to any specific task or project. I’ve been thinking recently about the different tasks a game developer has and trying to decide at what level of depth I’d like to get involved in each.

Let’s take Photoshop as an example.

I’ve used Photoshop for many years but until recently never dug very deep behind the basics. Photoshop is an interesting example because it’s used by both amateurs and professionals. At the most basic level Photoshop is an image editing program and at that level it does what it needs to. Perhaps a person who just wants to edit a photo they took of their dog might learn how to open a document, use different selection tools, crop the image and perhaps do basic colour manipulation.

Continue reading “Depth of Engagement”


It’s always nice to have something read in your own native language. Yes, a lot of people now do speak basic English but a lot still don’t.

The current game offering I’m cooking up is not very text heavy, I recon I’d need less than 30 words to communicate all I need and I’m trying to reduce that as much as possible. (Currently replacing the “Play” button with the “Play” icon).  I’ve been focusing on trying to communicate as much as possible visually and hopefully that has a bit more of an international appeal.

A game released on the app stores spreads across the whole world with one single click. Having traveled over the years, I know how much being able to say even simple things in the local language is appriciated. So I decided to localize my game into several languages… it’s not that much extra effort for this current game.(this obviously changes based on the type of game you’re making) A lot of the translations are basic one word translation which I was easily able to find online. I’ve already implemented a language button that toggles between several languages and I’ll be thinking of adding more with updates.

So who knows, if you’re native language is not English, you might just enjoy my future game in your own language. Not that it’s a requirement for the game but just because it might be nice.

List of iOS Game Review Sites

I’m at a point where I’m starting to look deeper into different types of ways of marketing my upcoming mobile game. All this is still in very early stages of exploration but I thought at least for now I’ll gather some links to submission and contact pages of some of the review sites in case later on I decide to go that route. The consensus right now is that these sites get blasted with hundreds of submissions a day and getting reviewed is like winning a lottery. Nonetheless the alternative is to do nothing and I’m pretty sure where that leads. So here is my humble start to get a list going.

Continue reading “List of iOS Game Review Sites”

Living in the Cloud

As hard drive space increases with each iteration of hardware. Cloud computing requires us to have less and less of it each time. As I’m setting up the structure of this freelance/indie game dev venture, I’m making a conscious effort to make sure as much of my software is cloud based. Cloud computing allows us to keep our data accessible from anywhere where access to internet is available on servers hosted by the service provider. Why is this important for me?

Continue reading “Living in the Cloud”

Adopting New Technologies

I finished an animation, it was a rough 3D model of a soccer player juggling a ball. It had a whole stadium in the background. Created with 3D Studio R4 (yes even before Max) This was more than 16+ years ago in HighSchool. After all these years I find myself currently updating skills and learning yet another software package and thinking back on all the software that I had to learn/relearn throughout the years.

Continue reading “Adopting New Technologies”

Indie Game Developer Mindset Check

Before I made the decision to go indie. I thought about my strengths and weaknesses as a game developer. It’s an honest exercise to see if the skill sets align to make sure I have what it takes to be able to make it as an indie. A lone game developer has a lot on his plate. Artistic ability, technical ability, design skills, business, self-promotion etc. All this required knowledge could be intimidating at first. That’s why I think the most important ability in indie game development is having the right mindset.

So is the decision to go indie crazy? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. On one hand the opportunity to work on self directed game project is very intriguing on the other hand I do realize the sheer amount of work that it takes to improve on the current skill set to be able to release something that I’d be happy with. The scope of knowledge required is a challenge and a learning opportunity for me. It will require recognizing strengths and weaknesses and finding the time and putting in the effort to improve upon them.

Continue reading “Indie Game Developer Mindset Check”

Pigment Hunt -Born in a Flash

The Hook

Out of nowhere on Dec. 23 in the early hours of the night I get email from Unity3D informing that a new 3.5 Beta and a Developer preview is available for download. Included was news about a Flash in a Flash contest with a Jan 5 Deadline. What transpires is a two week fairly intense game jamming session where the result is Pigment Hunt. Three levels of Pigment collectin fun while avoiding oinkers full of… you guess it, pigment.

First Contest Ever

I’ve never entered a game contest before. I’ve always somehow found an excuse not to enter. This time was no different, it was Christmas and holidays, I had plans, my automatic response was no way. The plans changed once a friend of mine had to cancel last minute due to family reasons. No more excuses, I decided to give it a shot.

The rules were simple and fairly open, use Unity3D 3.5 Developer Preview and make a game or interactive presentation using the new Flash Export. Submit a link before the Jan. 5 deadline.

Continue reading “Pigment Hunt -Born in a Flash”