So this week was… interesting.
At the end of last week it was mentioned that we’d be able to pick our own teams this next round. What that meant was up to us to decide. Immediately, artist Joe tagged me to be on his team, and we met up with Tina, Sidd G, Skip, and Shelwin. We tentatively invited Owen not knowing if he was able to be on our team. The studio quickly became a feeding frenzy of people recruiting and being recruited to different teams. Everything was in a bit of disarray until Monday evening when it was somewhat decided that we should stick to the traditional team structure so all would be fair among the teams.
But it wasn’t.
Suddenly there were orphans who were once part of teams standing alone. This included myself and some other severely talented people. So quickly, I got Owen on board and we picked up Peijun and Dayna on engineering, and acquired Jed at the last second. The other orphans filtered into other teams needing artists and engineers. I was feeling good about our new team. But then we learned that we would be down two team members halfway through the project – Owen’s twins are due any second, and Peijun is leaving to go back to China for the break. So we had a choice – stay together and get as much done with the full team as humanly possible, then punt the rest of the time with the remaining three team members, or dissolve the team into other teams. Dayna and I were heavily on the dissolve side. Since we are publishing this prototype (more on that later) we decided that spreading the resources among other teams would result in a higher quality game than staying together and attempting to piece it together at the end. It also alleviates the pressure on those team members that have to leave half way through. Owen and Peijun were torn, they really liked the team and wanted to work with us all. I reminded them that this isn’t the end and there is still the opportunity to work together on the thesis game. Jed wanted to keep the team together and see what we could do. In the end, we all voted to dissolve, it was best for the team members and the group as a whole.
So, I was then immediately picked back up by Tina and Joe’s team, where I originally started. But that is exciting because I get to work with another artist! Something that I haven’t been able to do up to this point. Our engineering team is top-notch, and Tina is always fun to work with.
So, this prototype is going to be published on the Windows App Store. We had a huge presentation from Randy, Tech Evangelist (yes, that is a thing) from Microsoft telling us about the cool features in the hardware and software options for the new Windows stuff. We will be publishing the prototypes on the MSAS because it is ridiculously underpopulated and easy to publish. Plus we get a whole bunch of MS swag and software to play with.
So, we wanted our game to be casual, have an audience of people that received new fun things for the holidays, and people who will be needing distraction during family functions. We wanted something with repetitive play and big payoffs to keep people coming back. After tooling around with the design box for a while, Joe and I came up with a game where you defend you winter getaway cabin from the hordes of snow goons trying to destroy your fun.
I threw together some concept artwork for the monsters (snowmen, penguins, and yeti for now) and a couple weapons to use (hairdryer, hot chocolate hose, and a sun gun) to melt the icy monsters before they get to the house. The bad guys will also be capable of tossing snow at the house, potentially destroying it. Concept sketches at the bottom of the post.
We presented to the group and received some excellent feedback, the most exciting of which is the potential to craft the main weapon instead of switching it out mid-game. So you start with a hair dryer, and after the first wave you can go to “The Attic” and rummage around until you find something like a motor or super heating element to enhance the original blow dryer. This has huge potential I think, and the changes you make to the weapon can be visually represented at the beginning of the round. You can also choose to make upgrades to the cabin to make it more snow-proof.
I’m really excited about this prototype, I think it’s really fun to develop and should be fun to play. And really, nothing is better than penguins with freeze rays.