Blog – developing Realm of the Turtle King

GameBCN update 13: the day after the pitch
In the previous update, I mentioned the big demo day that was coming up. This update was written in haste due to all the preparations we were doing at that time. The dust has settled, we’ve done our ‘trick’ and now a week of business follow-ups ensues. Here’s us standing on stage, seemingly comfortable:
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The amount of attendees was around 170, which is good but extremely terrifying the first minute before getting up the stage. I was doing okay until I noticed the microphone being completely uncomfortable, only to realize that this was an excuse: my nerves started playing up. Ultimately, all went well, but during these events I notice more and more how important graphic material is and how heavy our presentation leans on storytelling.

It’s not a bad thing though, because most people like a good story and since they’re there to hear yours, there’s nothing to worry about. We introduced our game to a wide array of listeners, presented a new game that’s perfect for monetization and talked business with a couple of promising contacts. Now, it’s a matter of choices: do we choose the safe path with a publisher – and possibly a good deal with perks (marketing, localization), do we continue work within the boundaries of our small team or do we monetize our other apps and fund our biggest project ourselves? I won’t go into detail on these business choices, but I will in the future. GameBCN has provided us with a lot of choices and opportunities, enough to fill a book. Said this, I’ll share as much as I can in a series of articles explaining our choice. Here’s to a productive year, with many great stories ahead of us.

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GameBCN update 12: the big pitch
Our last update was all about pitching and this was for a good reason. Next Tuesday, we’ll present our company and products to an audience of 100 to 150 investors, publishers and gaming enthusiasts from around the globe. We want to make a good impression and are working hard on a showreel of our products. Why a showreel? Because a lot has happened in the last few months and several opportunities have presented themselves.

We are talking to companies for branding of one of our apps and all I can say at this juction is that it concerns a very popular kind of app for children. It is a typical app in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 downloads range, which makes it perfect for branding and advertising. Furthermore, we are in talks with several publishers and investors regarding Realm of the Turtle King. There’s been a lot of interest for the game and a publisher could help up launch the game with more leverage on the market. As a small developer, you cannot count on an extensive marketing funnel, so this is where a publisher comes in. We have calculated that we would make a small profit after launching the first paid episode, although these profits would exclusively be allocated to the development of the next episode. This is okay, but does not leave a lot of room to focus on other products or invest in future opportunities. That is why we’d rather see the game sell really well by positioning it in a healthy, well-established ecosystem, launched from a publisher with experience therein.

Besides branding and working on our proprietary IP, we have been asked by several authors if we could create an interactive version of their children’s books. Since we have both the knowledge and the tools to do so, this is something we are currently investigating. With funding for Realm of the Turtle King pending, however, we take a cautious approach toward venturing into new territory. It’s great to know that there is interest (and that we can provide this service) but we need to prepare and structure things first before getting too ambitious.

GameBCN update 11: pitching your game
It’s one of those weeks again: we are pitching our game to a group of students from a videogames related university.  These students and their opinions are very relevant for us, so we updated our presentation once again. Our pitch is getting better with every presentation – this will roughly be the fifth ‘demo’ we’ll give – and we are adding subtle changes as we go. To prepare for pitching, Anneke attended Florian Mueck’s public speaking training, a very helpful workshop about presenting with confidence, for a large audience. Florian offers a set of interesting trainings, so do visit his website if you’d like to read about the basics of public speaking. I attended his training a few years back and found it a very helpful exercise. Particularly his three pillars of persuasion. Whether I quote Florian, Aristotle or another one of his sources is unimportant; the outcome of these methods is the same. And its good for anyone looking for a boost of confidence.

When pitching, there are three pillars you can use to your advantage to empower your arguments: Logos, Ethos and Pathos. Convincing an audience can be done by using facts or statistics (“did you know…”, “sales figures for last year’s…” all form part of Logos) although your presence and authority are important influencers on its own. Do you use direct eye contact when talking to a group? Do you look for similarities within the group (“Has any one of you ever…”) and do you interact with the group?  This is all related to Ethos. And finally Pathos: can you give convincing examples, good metaphores or quotes from those who inspired you? Good! Always have a few quotes ready for those hard-to-convince audiences.

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The pillars of persuasion, by Florian Mueck and in turn, his sources. You can find this and more material on his website.

These three pillars are very helpful when you pitch a game. They demonstrate how you should tackle the arguments which justify the publication of your game and appear very logical would you listen to your own pitch. Leafing through the examples in the pillars, you can easily construct a story that is both appealing as well as authentic. A genuine story is always the best story and even the best fiction lends mostly from real life (although it may be inspired on the lives of others). So how did we implement this in our presentation? Here are some pointers.

Never use bullet points
In order to be concise and clear, a pitch does not require bullet points. In fact, bullet points can be really distracting to an audience that is looking for information as opposed to a large listing of topics. Information is brought to an audience by providing arguments, tickling the senses and speaking to the imagination. It is certainly not helped by continuously summing up what you are going to discuss (if you have the time, since most presenters using bullet points read out all of their points and structurally stick to them).

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A pitch can be damaged severely if you focus on covering your topics in the time you could actually use to tell a convincing story. On slides, use short phrases if you have to. Even put up some unexplained numbers, to garner interest. You are there to back up those numbers, so go for a visual approach with as few words as possible. People are there for you and your product, not for your slides. Another great advantage of not including every bit of information on a slide is this: it will keep your pitch reasonably secure and non-public. Never forget that you add the value to whatever runs on the screen behind you. If you manage to do so, the audience will remember  you as the creative talent behind the product on display.

And isn’t that entirely true?

Another tip: never use more than ten slides. If you can prove a point in roughly ten slides (or less), you’ll definitely conduct a convincing presentation between five and ten minutes. Perfect for quick pitches.

Apply the real world to your game
It is great to have so many ways to support your story. Whether it’s facts, metaphores or a self-confident attitude, you can try out as many combinations of these to get your pitch right and adapted to your personality and audience. Here’s a few pillars we constructed for our pitch. They are, of course, tailored to our kind of game though you can always link something from current events to your specific project.

Here are three ‘pillars’ from one of our pitches:

Did you know that the creator of 2013 and 2014’s best game was heavily inspired by the first graphical adventure game?
We are extremely lucky that adventure games have made a huge comeback, thanks to Telltale, remastered versions of classic games, director’s cuts of various older games and mobile versions of classic games. Another stroke of luck came in the form of Naughty Dog’s creative director Neil Druckmann. During the Game Awards in 2014, he presented an Industry Icon Award to Ken and Roberta Williams of Sierra, the birthplace of graphical adventures. Neil talked about how he learned English by playing King’s Quest and how these games defined his passion for videogames. To hear this from the creative director and writer of The Last of Us, a game everyone in the industry knows and loves, is a treat. It’s the perfect angle for us to start our pitch with.

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I would file Neil’s accomplishment (The Last of Us) under Logos as a fact, although his passionate ode to Sierra boosts confidence in our project and can thus be filed under Ethos. But wait. Take a moment to watch the video and you’ll learn there is a great story behind Neil’s love for King’s Quest. Coming from Israel, he learned English by playing graphical adventures, something he and I have in common. This has Pathos written all over it, which is beautiful. All pillars of persuasion are covered. And there’s more, because the abovementioned example covers just the first minute of our pitch. Let’s continue.

With multiple solutions to puzzles and a focus on a casual audience, we will be the first genuine point and click adventure on Facebook.
We are confident that our game fills a niche (as a classic adventure game), although with our specific approach we take an extra measurement to appeal to a casual audience. By launching a genuine point and click adventure on Facebook, we are able to track the player (thanks to Facebook’s developer platform), find the active and paying players within that ecosystem and improve the game even more for all end-users. Naturally, we launch on tablets and pc in the process, while Facebook forms a reasonably safe launching pad for the ‘new market’. What Telltale did with their games, erasing all traces of point and click and replace them with quicktime events, is an example we won’t follow. We still offer a genuine point and click game. Instead of compromising (tuning down puzzles or implementing hint buttons) we offer more solutions. This has never been done before. Easy mode offers up to four solutions to puzzles, meaning that you may be able to use more objects in certain situations. In normal mode, you’ll still have one or two solutions to a problem, with the additional reward of feeling very proud of your accomplishments. Wouldn’t you want to share these different approaches with your friends on Facebook?

Take a look at our budget and imagine what more than two people could achieve
Now the numbers. When participating in a development contest or game jam, this is less relevant. In our case however, the budget really counts. When we decided to participate in GameBCN, we knew we would eventually deal with publishers and investors. Having applied for funding at the Dutch Government (during our time in the GameBCN program), we learned how to put a number on our costs. We can now proudly say we are on budget and on schedule. We used some of our savings to travel to Barcelona, received a small grant from Incubio, consequently tracked and documented all of our costs within the course of the program. At this junction, the incubator program has proven very valuable, in both financial as well as immaterial sense. We learned a lot from the industry professionals invited to GameBCN, for which we are very grateful. If you ever get the chance to participate in such a program, by all means apply!

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Wait a minute. Didn’t I write somewhere that numbers are cool enough on a slide and possibly even more compelling without explanation? Sometimes they are, sometimes being frank and crystal clear about numbers can be even more effective. In this case, we are very open about our budget and will provide anyone requesting more information with an extensive overview of hours and money spent during the creation of this game.

To conclude: it really helps if you can summarize your USPs in pillars, categories, phrases or main elements. A bonus learning experience is a very commonly known one: talk in threes. Choose three specific USPs and build a convincing story from here onward. Always summarize these once your pitch nears its end and try to latch back on to early elements, e.g. those from your introduction. That’s what I’ll do in this concluding paragraph.

Considering it took entire teams to create the kind of game we are making during the wonder years of adventure games, it is relevant for us to mention we are just two people. A bit like Ken and Roberta Williams I might add. They started out together and formed a company after their first successfully launched title. In addition, I’ll mention Imangi Studios, creators of the Temple Run series, who are still a very small team. I could add other adventurous anecdotes, but suffice to say, inspiring stories work to prove a point. In conclusion, I would like to add a personal experience connected to working as a couple. Someone approached us after one of our pitches and said: “You should never tell your audience that you are a couple. It’s less professional and very dangerous.” We nodded and didn’t jump into defensive mode, because we heard this remark before and have given it a lot of thought. Here’s our official response:

“As a team of two, we feel very proud of what we’ve accomplished in four months. As a couple, we survived quite a few storms, fights and dramatic talks. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs and felt the pressure on our relationship. Said this, we’re not just a couple. We are professionals and wouldn’t blink when asked the following question: what if you break up?

Since we are professionals, our professional relationship will continue until the goals of our project are met (goals, KPIs, whatever you want to call them). We would feel sad to see our romantic relationship end – we certainly don’t expect it to do so – but we regard Realm of the Turtle King as a product of our combined efforts. We’ll work on the game until players take their first steps with Hero (our hero) on tablets and computers around the world. Creating Realm of the Turtle King has been a grand adventure for us as designers and we look forward to seeing our hero fly around the world in search of his lost grandfather. This is why we pitch Hero and the story of the elusive Turtle King to a new audience every other week. The road to GameBCN’s Demo Day is nearing its end and the experience so far has been very educational and valuable, with minor turbulence along the way.

Here’s a fitting quote for our journey, one we might even use it in a pitch: “There are many ways to the top of the mountain. The views are always the same.”

I found that on the back of an oriental spice mix btw.

See you at the next (possibly last) GameBCN update!

Merijn & Anneke

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GameBCN Update 10: user testing
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of welcoming a group of students from UPC (Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya), who are preparing for professional game development. No less than four students wanted to test our game, so we set up our workstations for a demo. With the material we have at the moment, playtime is between five and fifteen minutes (depending who well you do), although some bugs prolonged time in-game. Standing behind these students while they where playing was a blast and we got to see a lot of cool reactions to the first rooms.

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The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is the perfect inspiration for new control schemes. This is mainly because the controls are really cluttered in the remastered version. Here, you can use the mouse wheel to scroll through actions, although most icons will never be shown to the player. In fact, by using the right mouse button, the necessary action will be triggered. This makes all other icons practically redundant. On the left, you can see the remastered version, with an icon that changes according to context. You can scroll through icons like talk, push, pull, etc. but you don’t have to. Furthermore, you can use keys like S (push), Y (pull) or T (talk) to change the icon, but again: you don’t need to do this since icons are context-sensitive. This is why we went with ‘do’ and ‘look’ icons only, at the end even eliminating ‘look’ since this is triggered when you first click an item. Said this, we did notice that players like the illusion of different actions (grab, push, etc.) for a more immersive experience. So, what to do with this information? Maybe we’ll bring back at least the eye icon? More feedback is required.

Next steps
In the next few days, we’ll prepare a new demo with most bugs fixed and a lot of the feedback applied where necessary. We’ll prepare an online demo as well, to share with new testers. This time our fellow developers from GameBCN will give feedback. Very helpful! 

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When testing on first-time users, here are some tips to get the most out of the experience:

  • Have a questionnaire prepared
  • Watch them play!
  • Be present to help testers out
  • Ask other testers to watch

We were very lucky to have students that actively chose our game for testing. The next step is to get our game tested by non-gamers, to see how they fare on their journey, albeit a short one. Among these testers will be members of our family, friends and a lot of people who request a playable demo from us via Twitter and other channels. If you’d like to be kept in the loop, do drop us a line via info <at> mindbreakergames.com. We’d love your feedback!

GameBCN Update 9: being featured
First of all: happy New Year to everyone reading our blog! We’ve had a great holiday back in the Netherlands and came back to some nice surprises. We’ve been featured on no less than six websites dedicated to adventure games, which is amazing and very encouraging. Out of the six websites, I contacted two with a small press release, the other news spread organically.

Here are the websites that did a write up on Realm of the Turtle King. A big thanks to all of them:

http://www.adventuregamers.com/news/view/27815 (US)
http://www.pointandclick.fr/upcoming/133-realm-of-the-turtle-king (France)
http://justadventure.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2527:realm-of-the-turtle-king-is-headed-your-way&catid=42:news (US/UK)
http://www.bug.hr/master/vijesti/realm-of-the-turtle-king-iduce-godine/138733.aspx (Hungary)
http://www.adventurespel.nl/nieuws.htm (Netherlands)
http://www.adventureadvocate.gr/news/item/realm-of-the-turtle-king-2 (Greece)

Coming from a career in journalism, it is great to see this kind of coverage. I myself would like it a lot if independent game designers would approach me with their story and I love the response we got from the editors of the abovementioned websites. We have a great story to tell and sharing that story is our main priority!
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GameBCN Update 8: presenting our first teaser
Yesterday, we had our first big presentation since the start of the program. A group of industry professionals, including local investors, was invited at the offices to watch us present (or pitch) our projects in roughly five minutes. We did well despite some nervous moments and are very happy with the reactions. The coverage we are getting is great, specifically the encouragement from local universities and the like (see embedded message below).

@OnlineMerijn and Anneke presenting @gamebcn They are Mindbreaker Games!!! #videogames #startup We @ENTI_BCN like! pic.twitter.com/pUs0bmN278

Sitting in the front of the room, we didn’t really notice the amount of people in there. This creates an additional burst of anxiety when you stand up and turn to face the audience. Said this, it feels good to see so many people fully focused on you and your project. I was looking forward to showing our little teaser and more artwork from the game. Also, I really liked us being there with the two of us, so we could both talk about and elaborate on the project.  Our project shows what just people can create in a month time and I am really proud of our work.

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One remark in particular struck us as funny and helpful: “You guys are showing us a really delicious dessert and then only give us a spoonful.” This was more or less the intention of the video we showed. It is only 37 seconds long and meant to show a little skin and present the (only) kind of vertical slice possible for a project like ours. I think we pulled that off pretty well. I particularly like Ron Gilbert’s view on vertical slices, which I encountered by coincidence the other day.

If you want to see our teaser, do check it out on our Facebook page. While you’re at it, give that Like button a try.

https://www.facebook.com/mindbreakergames/

GameBCN Update 7: impressions from designers and USPs
So far, we’ve shown small demos of our game to seasoned developers with different fields of expertise. Most comments are about monetization, retention and the selection of platforms to focus on. So far, there’s a lot of praise concerning graphics & gameplay and these compliments are really good to hear. Since we primarily focus on pc and tablets, we implemented touch and mouse controls and are confident both input methods will work like a charm. We really want to appeal to both modern and classic gamers and therefore heed the need for a distilled, albeit uncompromised puzzle experience. It is a challenge to prepare a classic adventure experience for a F2P-dominated ecosystem, but we are taking casual players into consideration and we take these players very seriously.

We distilled the point-and-click experience to a ‘look’ and ‘do/act’ – system. The funny thing is this: never have I felt the need to add more functions or additional icons. The ‘act’- function is context-sensitive and never dumbs down the game. Players decide to act with clear intentions and will probably never experience our hero doing something entirely unexpected. Moreover, one of our USPs is enabling the player to solve puzzles in multiple ways, with multiple objects. In the past, this freedom was frowned upon, but mostly because it was hard to program. Not no more!

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Look and ‘do’. Since our Hero’s words are his actions, talking is also doing. Handy AND heroic.

In short, working on our unique selling points is really fun. We offer an adventure experience with a light ‘sandbox-feeling’, enabling casual players to enjoy the game while still offering point-and-click fans a solid experience. Easy mode will offer more interactive objects and more solutions to a puzzle, Normal mode will offer a slightly more frustrating yet rewarding experience. And there are achievements! More on those later.

GameBCN Update 6: Rooms, movement and the urge to polish
When creating rooms, it is extremely important to focus on those elements that absolutely need to be in the game and those we can do without. Say we have a list of 15 objects we’d like to see in the basement of a university that are connected to anthropology. Naturally, there are hundreds of objects we could place here, which is the case when you have both our history as well as the history of adventure games as a source of inspiration. As a result, we are adding and eliminating ideas at the same time…a confusing process. These moments demand a close look at puzzles, scripting and dialogue because we need to focus on the stuff we need. Take for example the boomerang we decided to place in the wall on the left. We didn’t really need it at first, but since one of our puzzles didn’t live up to our expectations, we decided to use the boomerang for a replacement puzzle. Adding extra objects is a very good way to enhance your active assets for plan B, C, D scenarios.

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A seemingly irrelevant object suddenly becomes of use. Just make sure to have separate layers active when you create a basic room in Photoshop and export its active layers/objects to a game engine.

Then there’s the constant urge to already have our animations present in each room to impress everyone who’ll go for a first playthrough. It is key to not fully focus on perfect animations and instead spend time on new locations, branching out puzzles and/or dialogue. For this, I’m using Balsamiq and I’m pretty happy with it. For dialogue, I use Inklewriter, because it’s super user-friendly and feels like an upgrade when compared to Twine. Don’t get me wrong, I like what you can do with Twine, but Inklewriter can do the same thing using shiny menus and an impressive preview engine.

Inklewriter has gained ample popularity due to its implementation in games like 80 Days and Sorcery!, which are perfect examples of its capabilities.

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Production highlights in the first month
We are currently in our first month of the GameBCN program. Here’s our work schedule so far, simplified for your viewing pleasure:

Week 1: set up shop, finalized character sketches, created an intro-comic (one page, eight pictures), implement intro in Construct 2, polished script, started work on first puzzles
Week 2: created a playable demo (milestone) and presskit, worked on first puzzles and recyclable material from demo to end product
Week 3: worked on character development (small RPG elements), created scenery for first puzzles, started work on new dialogue, puzzles
Week 4: our current week, in which we: created an entire room, finalized a large animation connected to the intro comic and made some important design choices. We wanted our hero to walk through a hallway like the main protagonist in Another World does:

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At the end it didn’t work as we wanted it to, so we switched to a side-scrolling hallway view. Much more convenient. We lost a little time creating the 3D-ish front view, but now have a more classic side view with a scrollable hallway. Happy times.

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On schedule
Now in our fourth week, we are pretty much on schedule, despite the full week spent on creating a small demo. This actually helped us with the animation and enabled us to mess around with a small puzzle. We have a lot of work to do (as creating the demo demonstrated), although we now have an intro comic, nearly three rooms in one location and a good idea of time spent on these assets. And while writing this post, we received the news about a new presentation coming up, which also requires us to show a playable demo. These notices normally pop up one week before the due date, so we decided to use the same demo, polish it where necessary and hope for a good reception.

It is good to work on the actual creation of rooms and locations from which the story unfolds. This is our main priority, because creating content in a team of two people is taxing. While I work on puzzle design, room design and dialogue, Anneke is hand-drawing every single asset and implementing most graphics in Construct 2 to see how the pieces fit together on-screen. At least we can say we are on schedule. Our schedule.

We’ll conclude this update with a small gif of the university exterior. There’s rabbits!

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GameBCN Update 5: Demos and deadlines!
In order for the participating lecturers to… -erm-… lecture us, we naturally need to show them a little more of our game. In our specific case, this was a bit of a bottleneck, since we are predominantly focusing on dialogue, engine and animations to get the game started. We are also working on the creation of rooms, although a full puzzle set and/or finished room puzzle is not yet on the horizon. Despite this having nothing to do with upping our game or working harder (we work from 09:00 to 19:00), we decided to dedicate the current week to the production of a room with at least part of a puzzle. That way, we are able to show more of the interactive elements within our game to a large audience, something that is required when a game moves into the spotlights. And with GameBCN, you can count on them for bringing the project to the attention of a large audience (and investors!). It’s one of the reasons we applied and a great perk of such an initiative.

Previously, we regarded GameBCN as a boost to move into full production on Realm of the Turtle King. It gave us the chance to pause other projects and dedicate four entire months to our most ambitious project. Having said this, we are very motivated to continue work on our other projects, simply because focusing on one project feels like having to kill some of our darlings.

Projects on hold
Take for example our previous projects. Anneke’s pet project used to be Fashion Fiesta, which started as a light-hearted, humourous challenge. Since there are so many dressup games in app stores, we asked ourselves the following question: how long would it take to create such a game, with the intention to make it roughly 50 times better than the rest?

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The creation of Fashion Fiesta evoked a Sims-like experience.With over 250,000 possible combinations in just the dressup segment, we were amazed of the speed with which value is added to a seemingly simple app. Naturally, as a game designer you feel held back with ‘just’ a dressup experience. That is why we’ll probably implement some more gameplay in the form of challenges and/or achievements.

We don’t even know how we’ll release Fashion Fiesta (maybe free, maybe with ads) but here’s the quick outcome of the challenge; it took Anneke three weeks to create this game, with our promise (to make it 50 times better than the average game in that genre) fully redeemed. I’d go so far as to say it’s 52 times better.

External productions
Before venturing into GameBCN, I worked as a producer for a small indie developer in The Netherlands. Since most of the team members worked part-time on the project, progress was slow and frequent sprints were required. I did two sprints, resulting in two productive weeks, but I learned that without full-time commitment the project would not be completed within my set time frame. Production slowed down, just when we were in the process of hiring a new artist. In order to maintain a steady work flow, we decided to adapt the time frame to a part-time schedule. This is hard to manage, yet something a producer should take into account when working in a small team. Once we resume production (which is on hold due to GameBCN), sprints will be much more efficient, certainly when our new artist is on-board and an intern is available for level design. Again, I am really looking forward to the new sprints.

The GameBCN grant is an opportunity Anneke and I could not turn down. And although production at the external developer is now paused, I believe this is beneficial for that particular project. Memorable Knights (which I developed for Excalisoft) can benefit from the gathered knowledge at GameBCN, which requires a couple of productive sprints upon my return to the Netherlands. I am looking forward to finishing this project and applying the freshly acquired knowledge to the new sprints.

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We were in full production at Excalisoft. until schedules intervened. Starting from March 2015 I hope to get back to finishing Memorable Knights.

Yet for now, our focus is on Realm of the Turtle King. We’ve learned an important lesson after the first two weeks in the programme, which is also connected to pausing production in a way. In order to move ahead within an incubator programme or when working with investors/backers, one needs to dedicate time to making a demo. Particularly a small team like ours needs to have a playable room ready, as to collect valuable data from seasoned developers participating in the programme. Next week we’ll have a workshop in game design, which naturally works best once we have some design implemented and a puzzle to show. This means switching from working chronologically (and logically in our opinion) to jumping to a random room and designing a puzzle within this room. Luckily, we can use all assets and programming we use in this demo in the game, so no time and/or investments lost.

Writing for gamer.nl
Ever since we started producing games at Mindbreaker Games, the time available to play games has dropped to a minimum. Naturally, this severly affected my availability to write for gamer.nl in the process. Despite the fact that I really like to play games (and I mean a LOT), I just cannot find the time to do so any more. The last games I reviewed include 80 Days from Inkle (highly recommended) and the final episode of The Walking Dead Season 2. It was strange to see Telltale move away from point-and-click entirely, which was particularly noticeable in the last episode. One deserted item was left in Clementine’s inventory, despite the fact that the need for inventory in Telltale Games was long gone. Having it right there on your screen, without being able to access it was a bit harsh.

Understandably, as long as I am producing games, my articles will have to wait. There’s still a lot I’d like to write about (the fall of the RTS-genre, the danger of Clash of Clans for young children, etc.) but alas, this also will have to wait. In general, I am very happy with the chance to produce games, develop new concepts and see these come to fruition at the moment. Expect regular updates from Barcelona from now to (at least) March 2015!

GameBCN Update 4:  Time to animate!
This week, Merijn mainly worked on scripting and branching out dialogue, while Anneke finalized our intro comic and added some cool animations. We also finalized our hero, aptly named Hero. Considering this is a fairly common name in our hero’s homeland, we decided to stick with it. Here’s a sneak peek of our intro comic as a gif:

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Hero also received a fair amount of attention this weekend, as we started work on his expressions, idle behavior and other small feats. He can now scratch his head, something that will come in handy when adventure lovers try to click every possible object in a scene.

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GameBCN Update 3: Monday, Tuesday: meeting days
Monday started off a little rough, with an eight-hour training that had some of the participants leave the room with severe headaches. Not due to losing interest though (!), but simply because sitting in a reasonably hot room for eight hours is not particularly healthy. We presented our project in a few minutes and received some good notes from Raul.

Raul continued his talk about video game production, while highlighting the different projects. Unfortunately, the five calculated minutes per team quickly evolved into 20 to 50 minutes per team….which made it taxing for those groups who were waiting their turn. This might have been a meeting more fit for an individual instead of a public approach.

Tuesday, Ramón Nafria from A Crowd of Monsters gave a couple of helpful tips regarding the publication of a game as an indie developer. The road from indie developer to console developer has been a long and interesting one for A Crowd of Monsters and it was very interesting to hear about the challenges along that road.

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How to go from a simple iPhone game to producing a game for Xbox One? A Crowd of Monsters did it, Ramón explained how.

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Anneke is hard at work, expect to see some really cool in-game art soon! 

GameBCN Update 2: The first day
Being the only international team in a Spanish incubator is a little awkward, but most of all it’s a special feeling. We are among the 8 selected teams,  from a total of 42 teams. This is a huge privilege and a tremendous boost for our new project: Realm of the Turtle King.

Today, Raul Herrero from Digital Legends (Kroll, Battlefield Bad Company 2, The Respawnables) gave a great lecture on the production of games, with a strong focus on the division of roles within a company. We talked about Product management, the different ‘sombreros’ we wear as indie developers and the necessary jumps between these roles in a small company. On Monday we’ll present our projects, something we look forward to. We’re excited and a little bit nervous to do so, although we are confident that our point-and-click adventure will make a striking impression on the rest of the group.

More on Monday!

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GameBCN Update 1: we just arrived in Barcelona, setting up shop in our new offices!

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Mindbreaker Games has been accepted in the GameBCN programme, an incubator for young startups such as ourselves. During the next four months, we will work on Realm of the Turtle King. This ambitious project would not have been possible without this programme, so big thanks to Incubio for this great opportunity.

 

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