A celebration is in order! We finally got the website fully up and running and ready for public consumption. It's amazing how long this process actually took, how involved it was, and how much I didn't actually know going into it. However, before I go any further, I want to state right at the start, that Ellen Topitzer is simply amazing. Seriously, go check out her work! Mike is lucky enough to know her, and she developed the awesome logo that we're using. Her artistic skill is astounding. Go check her out at www.ellentopitzer.com and www.facebook.com/EllenTopitzerIllustration. Her dream is to make children's books, and I want my little girl to have her books. So if you're either in the industry, or know someone that is, you need to get her hired now!
Okay, that aside, I believe a bit of an introduction is in order. My name is Shawn Greer, and I'm the founder, lead game designer and lead programmer for Ding! Games. However, anyone who's observant and actually looks around this site will be quick to point out that I'm also the only game designer and programmer we have. But saying lead makes me feel more important. I started the company with two others. First is my brother Mike Greer, who is running the business side of things (and I'll let him tell you more about that himself when he posts an introduction) and my good friend, Josh Williams, who is our 3D artist (again, he can tell you more about that himself).
We're an indie game development startup, hoping to make our mark among the thousands of others out there developing games. All three of us are avid video game players, and we came together out of a strong passion to create our own games. At this point, we're pretty far into development of our first game, codenamed Ares (we needed something to call it while we're still coming up with a name). The game is a physics based endless runner game targeting mobile platforms. While our intent is to make a fun, polished game, one of our big objectives with this game is simply learning how to work together to make a game. While we all have some experience (of varying levels) in how we're each contributing to the game, none of us has ever actually made a game (that's partially a lie, I've done a lot of dabbling on the programming end, and even made a working version of Tetris - with extra features - in C++, but there were no menus or anything like that, so it only partially counts).
So what's the point of this website and blog, if we aren't a bunch of experts in our field here to dole out wisdom gained through years of toiling away in the game industry? Simply put, it's to chronicle our journey. All of us at Ding! Games will be writing blog posts on a regular basis, each throwing a shining light on our successes, failures, discoveries, embarrassments, and failures (I'm expecting a lot of those). If you're brand new to developing games, you can follow along and hopefully pick up the occasional useful tidbit (hopefully because we discover something awesome, but more likely because we share a blunder of something not to do, and you can learn from our mistakes). If you've been in the industry for a while, then maybe you find it a bit humorous and refreshing(?) to to see someone stumbling their way through the trenches that you paved the way for (and if so, feel free to offer up any suggestions or advice by responding to our various posts!).
Now, as I mentioned (wrote?) earlier, all of us here at Ding! will be blogging about our respective journeys on a regular basis. So we will be able to provide insight, or at least humor, about many different aspects of developing a game, from game design and programming (me), to modeling and animating (Josh), to the business stuff (Mike). Although, as you'll see in the remainder of this first post, because there's only three of us, there will be a lot of cross over and dabbling in other fields.
This brings me to this website. I am a programmer, yes, but I am not a web designer (which I'm sure is apparent). However, I was able to put together this website, which I think itsn't too shabby, due to a couple of amazing tools:
- Bluehost: These guys are awesome, and I highly reccomend them to anyone looking to create a presence for themselves online. Not only do they provide some really great hosting solutions, their customer support is among the best I have ever dealt with. They are friendly, knowledgeable and resolve issues extremely fast. That's like the Holy Trinity of customer support! Check them out and use them.
- Wordpress: I'm sure I'll be preaching to the choir on this one, but Wordpress rocks. It sets up an entire framework for putting together your webpage, so that you don't have to create everything from scratch. When we first looked into establishing a presence online, we looked (and spoke) with a few web developers. It was going to cost us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to create a decent looking website. Wordpress enabled us to do it ourselves, almost for free (I'll get to that in a second). Could a professional web developer have made site a better? Of course! Yet as an indie game studio with zero income, not spending money on things is pretty nice. This allowed me (a complete nub when it comes to web development) to put together a rather decent, customized web page. Wordpress enables this by its use of themes, which come in thousands of flavors, both free and premium (that's where we dropped a few bucks, we really liked one of the premium themes, Avada). If you use Wordpress, awesome. If not, check it out.
- So that's us. Ding! Games. Since I've gotten these preliminary introductions out of the way, expect to start hearing from us on a regular basis regard the game (called Ares for now) as we continue to make it. Also feel free to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook (my business guy tells me to say things like this, and he's pretty smart, so I listen). Feel free to toss us a hello, either in the comments below (there are working comments below, right?) or on the "contact us" page (which I'm about 99% positive is working now).
Thanks for listening to my opening ramble.