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September 23, 2012 / marvinhawkins

The Summer of Marv

This summer has been all about personal and professional growth. During this time I led a team in an attempt to finish a prototype, worked with veterans to finish a game for iPad, and started a new project. During the summer, I learned a lot,  As summer is now done, I am now reflecting on the experiences I’ve learned, and how I will apply it going forward.

Trickshot Project

I guess this counts as a product announcement. In February of this year, I started working with two developers that I met via this blog. Working with veterans is definately a growth experience. These guys have been there before. With them I learned that discipline has to come from within. Both were still working in the industry at the time. This was a project that they were doing in their free time. The team of 3 worked/lived in different parts of the country. This meant that communication had to be tight. We use a heavy dose of Goggle Chat and Docs to stay on the same page. Meetings were used sparingly. They preferred to work, meetings were quick and centered around clarifying outstanding issues. The biggest lesson is don’t talk work. When in doubt, just do some more work. We are close to release, so I am sure I’ll learn more lessons in game marketing, polishing and testing. Speaking of which, be sure to give the Partly Crazy page a Facebook like?

Trick Shot Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Partly-Crazy/108604482556646

Max’s Nightmare

Last year I wrote about my experience running my first game jam. While we didn’t get the outcome that we were hoping for, but we did learn that we work well as a team. We took a long break after ‘Alien Smash’ and reconvened in January. We decided to attempt a longer form project. Instead of locking ourselves in a room all weekend, we thought it better to spread out. The energy was high for a new project, and the rapport from the previous project helped our momentum. Similar to Trickshot, we also increased our communication with Google. As the producer/designer/scripter, the challenge was managing my time, and the tasks of the group. I have a newfound respect for anyone that is a producer in the game industry. Game projects, no matter how small, have many moving parts. During ‘Max’s Nightmare’ we had many different gameplay concepts to implement. One of my biggest lessons was finish what you start. I would start to prototype many of our ideas, but I didn’t get them going in the main game build. With a tool like Unity, its easy to get things going in game quickly. In the future, I should make sure to keep a playable build going for everyone on the team to play. I think that was part what killed the momentum of Max. Right now, that game is sitting on my ‘Unfinished’ list, but I hope to go back to it one day.

Illustration by Ashleigh Wiatrowski

Sky Hawks

I shelved Sky Hawks at the start of 2012 to work on the previously mentioned projects. Although Max didn’t finish, I learned enough to make Sky Hawks a success. The biggest lesson of all is that the only way to ensure success is to do the work. My biggest issue is reading blogs for inspirations, tips, and best practices. While there is nothing wrong with this, at a certain point, you have to realize you have enough to perform. In indie development, there are no bosses, its just you. If I don’t do the work, it won’t get done. While working on Max, I found that it was helpful to use contests as a deadline. Although we didn’t submit to the Pax 10, that 2 week period was the most productive as a team. I also learned that tools like Facebook and blogs are perfect for game promotion. Sky Hawks will be the first game I attempt to release commercially. Social media will be a huge part of growing that audience. With that, here’s a few links to Sky Hawks/Bonus Stage Inc’s online platforms. I’ll do my best to keep them updated. Since I’m still learning, I’m not sure what the outcome of all this will be. Regardless, I’m excited for what the next few months will bring.

Bonus Stage Inc Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/BonusStageInc/218713654894051

Sky Hawks Indie DB Page:

http://www.indiedb.com/members/marvin-hawkins/images/crab-update-and-some-other-concepts3#imagebox

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