Tomorrow, I’m starting a spiffy new day job. I’ll be doing some Flash work for Agentic, an awesome local web development company that targets social change organisations. From what I know already, the projects I get to work on are going to be an interesting new use of the skills I’ve already developed in game design and interactive storytelling… obviously, I can’t talk in too much detail just yet, but expect to hear more in the months to come.
For now, it shall suffice to say I’m quite excited and intrigued as to where this will take me. It’s going to be a change, not working in the game industry proper, but it’s the kind of change I feel like I need right now. Let’s hope it all works out.
My quiet spell on this blog still isn’t quite over yet, by the looks of things. Oh, sure, I’m alive and kicking. The Twitter feed gets updated on a near-daily basis, and I try to keep up with all those things on the internet that matter. I just don’t really have much to say these days that can fill a blog post. That said, I have been feeling that gnawing obligation to keep this place active, so here’s a brief update of sorts.
Right now, I’m at the phase in LFB where the honeymoon period of telling everyone about my awesome new game idea has passed to give way to the sometimes-daunting task of, well, implementing the whole thing. I’d been hoping to do more progress update-y things during this phase, but they’re hard to write (or record) when you’re constantly feeling self-conscious and sometimes a little embarrassed about what you’re putting to paper.  I often worry that I come across as too whiny, or not funny enough, or just plain out of touch with how real people think and speak to one another. It’s somewhat of a consolation to know that Charlotte herself is a rather unusual character, but it remains yet to be seen whether anyone other than me really cares about her story.
- Well, code and pixels, in this case, but yeah. ↩
I’ve been going through a bit of a quiet spell lately, in terms of updating this here blog. A lot has been going on in my life lately, but it’s been difficult to put it all into words in such a public space. I hope you’ll all understand.
Last month, I lost my job. It was something I knew would happen to me one day, eventually — nobody ever said a career in the video game industry would be stable and secure. Still, given that this was the first time anything of this sort had ever happened to me, I was unprepared for the stress and anxiety that resulted from such a significant life change. I’ve since recovered somewhat, and am doing the best I can to keep my chin up and look forward to what the future will bring. Of course, it’s also been an opportune time to reflect on how I got to this point in the first place…
I’ve been showing off various pretty Life Flashes By-related images to my Kickstarter backers, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to make at least one available for the general public to see. Here is the LFB title logo, created by my good friend Lee McIlmoyle:
Also, because all the cool kids are doing it, I went and got a formspring.me account, so you can now ask me silly anonymous questions  and see how I respond. It’s like a Livejournal meme, but Web 2.0-ified!
- But nothing blatantly offensive, or else I’ll just ignore you. ↩
One of my big goals for Life Flashes By is to have it be playable on as many platforms as possible. So far, thanks to the efforts of a handful of awesome people working on the OpenSLUDGE engine, there will be Mac, Windows, and Linux versions, which means practically anyone with a PC will be able to enjoy the game, even if said PC is five years old or is a tiny little netbook. I would try to target consoles, but am not doing so because the hurdles needed to develop for them are really not an option for me at this point in time, so I try to console myself  instead with the notion that most console gamers have a PC with which they could play my game, so all is not lost.
A few days ago, Apple announced the iPad. I’ve been waiting for this announcement ever since I started hearing rumours about an Apple tablet a few months ago, convinced that the form factor of a tablet — particularly given that it’s small enough to curl up on the couch with, yet has enough screen real estate for cartoon characters to move around comfortably — would be perfect for Life Flashes By. Learning about the feature set makes me even more convinced. The majority of geeks I know have been deeming the iPad a great disappointment, claiming it to be underpowered and overhyped. While I can see where they’re coming from, I’m not too worried about their reservations. The iPad isn’t really made with them in mind. 
- That was a terribly pun. I apologise. ↩
- And as someone said to me over Twitter, with such a low price, many of the detractors are likely going to buy one anyway. ↩
The Life Flashes By funding deadline has now passed, and 54 backers have pledged $1,357 to help me turn this fanciful little idea of mine into something real and (hopefully) better than anything else I’ve created up until now. I’m quite pleased with this outcome; sure, a part of me wonders if I could have tried for a higher goal amount and/or timed the funding period better so that it didn’t fall smack in the middle of a busy period at work and a just-as-busy holiday break, but for the scope of this project, I’m satisfied by what I did manage to achieve. As I’ve said before, this is the first time I’ve attempted anything quite like this, and while my project is a labour of love first and foremost and not a means to make a profit, part of that love is the ability to communicate with an audience, and so far, this Kickstarter experiment has helped with that in a way more significant than I could have anticipated otherwise.
So, what happens next? Well, right now, I’ve recruited two artists to work with me: one doing background art, and one doing UI and promotional materials. I won’t say who just yet, but will say that if you’ve been following my stuff for a while, you might recognise one or both of them. I’ve also had several people volunteer to be voice actors, who I’ll be sure to audition and put to work once I have enough of the script ready. As for me, well, I still have to wrap up the work I’m doing on DeathSpank before I can really do much else other than plot and scheme and daydream. But definitely stay tuned for more updates of both the Exclusive Video™ and the plain old text variety in the coming months!
Until then, thanks to everyone for coming along for the ride, and very special thanks to my backers — I’d give you all a big hug if I could. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for another great indie game project at which to throw your wads of moolah, may I suggest former Telltale designer Heather Logas’s “Dreamtime” game? Her project is similarly interactive story-like to mine, though interestingly different at the same time, and she’s still got a ways to go before she meets her goal and only 11 days to do so.
Ah, the 2000s: the decade I came of age, wherein I started out as an eccentric, socially awkward teenager who liked to make her own games and finished as an equally eccentric, slightly less socially awkward young adult who now gets paid to make games. Now that said decade is over,  everyone and their dog is making top 10 lists, so I figured it’d be fun to create one myself. Of course, coming from me, it’s inevitably a highly personal and subjective list, so hopefully no one takes it as anything other than that. I have included the games I could think of that inspired and affected me most, but that I did not work on in any way myself. So, here goes, in some random order that only makes sense to my subconscious mind…
- Or is it? Shouldn’t it go from 1 to 10, instead of 0 to 9? Isn’t that how we count centuries and millenia? I’m confused. ↩