Building a studio from scratch: Week 5

Funding is sought and The Pixel Bullies begin crafting assets as new project edges closer to production
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[Go here to find all entries in Gahan’s diary]

Week 5

So we’ve agreed on a simple maze game and we have started to play around with ideas. I’ve started to sketch the enemies and we’ve started to look into different game engines.

We took a look at...

Torque2D -www.garagegames.com/products/torque-2d
Corona - www.anscamobile.com/corona
Unity - www.unity3d.com

I’d heard great things about Unity as one of my friends had used it for his game Air Attack on iOS so I was keen to use it too – he rated it for both 2D and 3D development, which suited me. My Programmer had heard great things about Corona, so as he was coding it, I let him decide.

We now have a game idea and also a game engine picked out, so the next thing to do was to start generating the assets.

I had put together a high level design document which basically showed the progression of the game, the enemies the player would face and a lot of reference images.

From the design doc I worked out rough estimates for the artwork which came in at just over 70 man days – so if I take weekends off, that works out at around 100 days. This was a fair bit longer than I had anticipated, but wasn’t a show stopper. We did the same with the programming, and that came in at a similar estimate, so we got started.

I started off by sketching a few of the characters out and then building the vector versions in Adobe Illustrator. We haven’t set a definite art style yet, so we’re trying a vector version and a photo real version, doing the vector version first.

I spent the rest of the week working on the vector characters and we got a basic background and one character moving on the screen (without animation). The animation may be a bit of an issue, but we’ll find a solution to that, once we have the art style set.

Whilst working on the artwork, as I had a few meetings lined up for the next few weeks, I thought I’d better get some business cards sorted out. I took some time out and designed a basic card. I fired that off to Vista Print (www.vistaprint.co.uk) and got a couple of T-Shirts ordered at the same time as they were pretty cheap.

I managed to get a meeting with a company recommended by the North West Development Agency to see what help was available for start-ups. We can get help with a business plan and stuff like that, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any ‘pots of cash’ for me to dip into – so it seems we’ll still be bootstrapping this studio from scratch.

Total money spent so far: £292.63

Negatives
Our small project isn’t so small when planned, we may need some artists.

Animation might be an issue as we don’t have an animator.

Positives
We have a plan and our 1st working test of the game on our Iphones.

We have Pixel Bullies T-Shirts which we can wear with pride

The Pixel Bullies
andy@thepixelbullies.com
www.thepixelbullies.com
Twitter - @AndyGahan

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