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About liquiddark

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  1. liquiddark

    Founding a community group

    It's been a long time! When I founded Perfect Minute Games a few years back, I thought I'd be a lot further ahead by now. Instead I've practically given up game development while working on a novel. It's a long road between then and now. I wasn't able to preseve that incarnation of PMG, but I managed to weather its failure without losing good relationships, which I count as a win. But it did damage to my initiative with respect to game dev. Lately, however, I've come to the conclusion that it's a good and necessary moment to build a strong, independent community group here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I've been involved in a few groups in the last few years - as an executive member for one group, as a member and presenter for another, and as a variety of different things for yet another. I decided to take on that responsibility. I've never been much good at community-building, but having some roots in theatre has proved helpful, and my involvement in other local tech groups has proven helpful. I guess that's an obvious outcome, but I didn't realize beforehand how useful those connections would be. Gamedev NL is the fruit of that work. It's still nascent, but I'm already excited by the interest and activity it's generating. I'm having conversations with lots of folks in the local film, game development, and educational communities, and there's plenty more to do yet. Someday I'll get back to PMG. For now, though, I'm hoping to do some good for a few others in the field.
  2. liquiddark

    Looking for a Founding Artist

    I mentioned before that I had founded a game studio focused on short, incredible games. We are making slow, slightly unsteady progress on our first game, so I've decided to start looking around for an artist who Believes that short games can and should be the best games Has the experience and artistic vision to make that happen Has the kind of distinct, interesting artistic voice to establish a visual identity for many games to come. I don't want to misrepresent the situation - right now the studio is still an idea more than a business, and very much a spare-time pursuit for those involved. But for the right person I can promise I will do whatever is in my power to bring it rapidly to the point where it becomes a rewarding, professional opportunity. If you think that might be you, drop me a line.
  3. liquiddark

    The LEAN Business Model

    I'm doing a pre-incubator business class/program at the Genesis Centre here in St. John's, and I'm actually learning a fair bit along the way. At the moment my big challenge is proving the working model for Perfect Minute Games. This is a place where the artist/auteur in me comes up hard against the pragmatist: on the one hand, I want the products I aim to build. On the other hand, I am not the person who has to buy them, nor am I able to pay for their production. The program focuses on a concept called LEAN. This is apparently also a part of the Startup Weekend model, although that part of the experience was not emphasized during my last crack at that particular can (we're working on it for this year's event). LEAN, in a nutshell, is the practice of proving your theories by talking to people you think will use your product or service. For Perfect Minute Games, that is some subset of gamers, but getting a precision slice of the gaming population turns out to be a bit tricky, so for now I've satisfied myself with simply interviewing whatever gamers I can find who are willing to give me the time of day. It's an interesting approach. You set up a canvas that has a bunch of sections. The really key ones are Value Proposition and Customer Segment - these are the "heart" of your business. If you don't have a customer segment identified (I do, or at least I thought I did before I started talking to people) then you probably don't have a business idea yet. If you don't have a value proposition, on the other hand, you don't have a service or product yet. In the program I'm doing, these are couched in the language of problem/solution. Perfect Minute Games aims to solve two problems: - people have limited time to play - they love deep gameplay but don't want to endure lengthy games Which gamers have these problems, though? I started with myself as a market, so I figured they'd mostly be people like me - 30-some-odd, house, job, commitments. It turns out, asking different people questions about their gaming habits helps to open that up a bit. Some gamers just plain like short games; in particular, they find that long games run out of ideas. This is actually something I'd figured out for myself - you can concentrate limited resources on a shorter game much better than on a long one. I didn't spool the idea all the way out, though. I didn't think about the fact that a gamer who only has limited time wants a game with save-anywhere play. A friend with whom I used to play pen and paper games likened it to those games - you can walk away at any point without losing your work. This is how computers should work, and games are no exception. And there were things I really didn't foresee. My formative experience with coop was on Deus Ex; The Coop Project, to which I contributed a small but nonzero amount of code, never really gained traction in that community. Apparently there's an easier way to make that work now, so that's good. Nearly every person I talked to during this process mentioned cooperative play. It's no longer something that you get to muck about with; you need to be building cooperative play modes. The tool we're using for all this is Launchpad Central, which apparently is only available in this kind of incubation setting. They're using their own stuff to decide that, or so I understand, which is at least nice to see. The process has really given me some new muscles to target in the future, and I feel a little less overwhelmed by the concept of building a working business at this point. I'd love to hear from other devs who are trying this or any other method for planning the business side of things.
  4. liquiddark

    Perfect Minute Games

    Thanks so much!
  5. liquiddark

    Perfect Minute Games

    Myself and a buddy here in Newfoundland have founded a game development company called Perfect Minute Games. Thus far it's going pretty well; I've had a year or so to really get my feet under me since moving home and now I am at last reasonably stable again, so it is a good moment to dive back into this realm. Perfect Minute is an idea that came out of getting older and still loving games. I've got friends that run the gamut of family structures, from confirmed bachelors (a category that included myself until quite recently) through three kids, a dog, and a minivan. I think a lot of us have discovered as time rolls on that regardless of one's circumstances it becomes increasingly difficult to find the time to play. I found myself wondering why I would try to get through yet another days-long marathon of grind-style content just to get myself a prettier shoulderpad or a two minute cutscene. There are exceptions to this description - for me Mass Effect is a big one - but it is largely true of modern games. I realized somewhere along the way that length was not a valuable axis for me when it comes to games (or any other medium, for that matter). I would much rather pay $15 for a game that focused its dollars on a two-hour campaign that offered me something like catharsis than a 60 hour game that had its rewards laid out on a carefully sculpted reward curve to give me maximum addiction. I also realized I'm an addict when it comes to games. If you give me infinite gameplay and lay that addiction schedule down, I will snort my way through the checkpoints for a long, miserable time. There are exceptions to this - FFXIII is a big one for me, more because the game is dull than anything else - but there are a lot of non-exceptions, and I feel comfortable stating that that's my relationship with games now. I want self-contained, short, incredible games. So Perfect Minute Games was born. Our first game is called Contension. The misspelling is purposeful, although I'm not sure exactly how much it will play into the overall theme just yet. It's the barest prototype of a concept as yet. Here are a few screens of the WIP: I hope you'll drop in on us now and then.
  6. liquiddark

    Back in

    I started prototyping something new tonight. Nothing very difficult, just a 2d particle fountain with some on-click effects. But it reminded me of something that has recently hit home: even very simple mechanics, paced correctly, can lead to deep gameplay. More importantly, the simpler a prototype, the easier it is to find inspiration.
  7. liquiddark


    Screenshots of the work-in-progress first game from Perfect Minute Games
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