Dare Blogs - Angry Mango

Dare to be Digital 2010 team Angry Mango talks exclusively to Develop about working on their entry title Mush.
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It’s been a sunny week in Dundee, home of Dare to be Digital. Not that I, or the rest of Angry Mango have had time to venture away from our game-to-be.

The last three weeks have been crammed full of art, design, programming, tensions running high and a bunch of setbacks and eureka moments. With another six weeks ahead of us it would be easy to get stressed about the sheer quantity of work we’ve yet to produce and the lack of a development model Windows Phone 7 (our target platform), but we’ve simply been having too much fun. Working in a creative environment full of intelligent and inspired individuals does wonders for productivity.

Developing alongside teams from all over the world has really opened our eyes to different cultures’ approach to game development. This influence is apparent from the initial concept, the team dynamic through to work ethic and how people wind down.

It’s interesting how there’s a real sense of team cooperation and interdependence within some of the Eastern teams whilst the Western teams seem to be much more individualist and independent. These attributes are undoubtedly contributing to the development of the game and time will tell whether it permeates into the gameplay and aesthetics.

As well as the exposure to peers from very different cultures we’ve also been mentored by various game specialists from industry big times to successful indies. Everyone we’ve met has given us lots of very constructive feedback and contributed many ideas and suggestions for ways to improve the overall quality of our game. An interesting observation is that the more programming-centric smaller developers have been pushing getting decent gameplay as the overarching goal.

In contrast the bigger studios seem to be endorsing a much fuller experience and are more interested in narratives, aesthetics, undertones and the experience as a whole, rather than just the core playability.

We’ve found these two themes, idealist and realist, to be the cause of some contradicting feedback from the industry. The idealist feedback is understandably a lot more appealing, taking into account the whole experience, whilst proving to slightly hinder the core development of the game. We’ve undergone several reality checks, especially in the last week, in which we’ve had to compromise some unnecessarily demanding qualities of the game.

Hopefully over the coming month, when we get ahead of schedule, we can start to reincorporate the niceties. Though again, perhaps I’m being idealist.

The defining experience of the competition is the opportunity to work in a professional environment with all the trials and tribulations of games development. It has brought out the best and the worst in us as individuals and we’ve learnt a great deal about each other, our strengths and our tolerances.

At week four, I can only anticipate that tensions will rise and friction will occur, but it’s all worth it for the feeling of satisfaction when things finally work, when we get positive feedback and when people play and enjoy our game.

Follow our progress at www.angrymangogames.com and our Twitter at https://twitter.com/angrymango.

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