Archive for the ‘Behind The Scenes’ Category

Next version of Danger Balls in the pipeline

Sweet! We made it onto DIYgamer’s “Top 10 Break Out Indie Games of 2010” – thanks DIYgamer for putting us up alongside class like Shank and Super Meat Boy!

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Our momentum on Danger Balls slowed down after we completed the IGF competition version of the game; everyone needed a break so we’ve been working on other projects – like PlayMaker – and prepping for our next version, due mid-December.

The next version of Danger Balls will contain a few more of the features we were hoping to get into the first – luckily the IGF rules allow for updates to your entry. Although the organisers don’t guarantee that the judges will see any updates you make, it can’t hurt to have the option available. It benefits us to have a version that more adequately highlights the features of the game, too.

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P.S. the IGF is going to be killer with the number of quality entries this year – the worst part is knowing that you might have to wait quite a while before you’ll ever get to play some of them.

What makes a good Game Design Doc?

The extent of our last Game Design Doc

The extent of our last Game Design Doc

I tend to think that Game Design Docs – in the indie field at least – are going through the same renaissance that it appears business plans are, in some quarters.

Realists understand that the business world moves too quickly to be able to pin down every facet and feature of your planned enterprise in advance. It’s foolish arrogance to think you can anticipate every whim of today’s market so a modern business plan needs to show that you’ve thought things through, have a plan to mitigate the impact of risk, and are yet flexible enough to change tack and strategy when the market or industry pulls a surprise on you or doesn’t quite do what you thought it would. (I’m not saying business planning is a mystical art either; just that it’s an inexact science that precludes our knowing every detail of all the relevant variables.)

In a similar way, a Game Design Document needs to show you have a feeling for your project and a general plan, yet an understanding of the complexities of game design: namely that “fun” is an elusive quantity made up of many variables that ultimately find their best light in one of any uncountable number of possible permutations.

I’d suggest that the ultimate Design Document template is a general list of common sections and requirements with a final version very specific to the particular game in question. The document – if you want it to last beyond the first or second iteration – needs to be flexible enough to develop with the idea. What I’m talking about is, of course, more suited to an Agile approach – I’d be interested to see how many people are using and not using Agile or some variation thereof! Also, what the general feeling is, as far as game design docs – do people prefer more descriptive and detailed docs or open-ended docs that allow the concept to evolve?

Meet the Danger Balls Development team

Tim Evans: Game Designer / Artist

Tim Evans is the strange chap with the charming photo on our “About” page. I think his mummy and daddy dropped him on his head when he was a baby. They say you have to be a bit loopy to be a good game designer – I don’t know if that’s true (or even if anyone actually said it) but it takes up paragraph space.

Tom Mulgrew: Coder / Game Designer

Tom is our evil genius coding guy – he takes the random ideas everyone comes up with and turns them into maths that the computer (or, in this case, Xbox) can understand. I think he was dropped on his head too… just check out his Bebo page if you don’t believe me… (specifically that little video down the left-hand side…)

Damien Caine: Writer / Musician

The other member of the team is me – I’m the guy behind the camera who watches everyone else do the hard work, pokes a camera in their face at the most annoying times, then turns up at the after party, claims all the glory, and collapses drunk in the garden out the back for the night. I also do a bit of writing and game design when I’m allowed to.

Together, we make up the Danger Balls Development team for Pixelati. And here’s the first video blog in a regular series on the making of Danger Balls (note: there’s a lot of temp programmer art in there at the moment :).

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P I X E L A T I

We are a transmedia entertainment company working in video, music, web and games.

We've made game trailers with Grinding Gear Games, created music videos with Illegal Musik, built communities with PlayMaker, and we're working on a casual game for Xbox and iOS called Danger Balls.