The Game Atelier Blog – Multi-tasking In An Indie Game Company

By Kappa - Founder . November 10, 2010 . 1:26pm

When I was asked by Siliconera’s Spencer to write a devblog my initial thought was that this was a great idea, but I couldn’t really figure out where I should start. Actually, this is my first time speaking publicly about my work so that’s quite unusual (even a bit awkward), especially after months of deep insane work to launch the Flying Hamster.

 

This exercise is made even harder as I have to use my average level in English (meaning very poor compared to Mike02, Jessica or Eugene). Anyway let’s give it a try and start with a proper introduction to The Game Atelier team and myself!

 

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First of all The Game Atelier is a fully independent game development company so forget everything you thought about indie game development: we don’t work in a basement or in a dirty garage and we don’t wear Hawaiian shirts. We work in Arcadio’s (our main developer, the other half of The Game Atelier) super clean apartment and have tea breaks twice a day and we’re always perfectly shaved.

 

However, one thing very true about indie game dev is that everybody has to be multi-tasking in their work. My initial job position in the video game industry was as a graphic designer or lead artist and I found that being a part of a small dev team (even in big companies) makes you often cross the line defined by your working contract. I personally experienced touching other areas of game development like Sound Design & music or even Game Design because for some reason the team was lacking the manpower in those positions. That’s how I started getting some experience in other domains other than my initial graphic designer job.

 

When Arcadio and myself decided to create The Game Atelier at the end of 2009 with the dream of making really great action games for digital distribution platforms we agreed that we would put all our effort into making the Flying Hamster a decent game with roughly nothing but our experience and a solid graphic foundation provided by Minanoop and Veroni-K, character and graphic designers who accompanied us with the development of the title.

 

So it was obvious that we would do a lot of other tasks other than just graphics and code with such a small team.

 

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My personal notebook

 

Now that the project development is completed here is a short list of ‘who did what’ on the Flying Hamster.

 

Kappa (me):

● Art direction, colors, sprite animation and background design

● Game Design basis

● Contributed to Level Design and enemy patterns/attacks

● Music composition for 50% of game tracks and sound effects

● Press releases and communication

● Legal and administrative tasks for The Game Atelier

 

Arcadio:

● Coding

● Tools development

● Game Design participation

● Character research and ideas

● Contributed to enemy patterns/attacks

● Text and menus Spanish translation

 

As you can see Arcadio also spread himself across to other tasks and became responsible for some very important elements of the Flying Hamster such as: the animal bar from the forest, the udder Gatling-gun cow or even the orca which lifts the top of the pyramid in Stage 2.

 

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Of course even if the idea itself is awesome the help of a graphic designer is compulsory to get a great looking result.

 

During the development of the Flying Hamster I was able to count hundreds of examples of our multi-tasking but each time I kept in mind that even though touching many other aspects of game development is very entertaining and could bring cool ideas, in the end it won’t replace someone who has the experience in that specific domain.

 

In conclusion the Flying Hamster wouldn’t be as polished as it is without the huge participation of two awesome graphic designers (Minanoop & Veroni-K), two advanced game-designers (Bobby & Aloïs), two music composers (Bouhic & Gordolex) and a guitar player (Pierre).

 

Arcadio and I are really proud to see the end result of this great team collaboration helped along by a bunch of translators (game text and menus are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and even Japanese) and one web-designer in charge of www.game-atelier.com.

 

Did I forgot to mention the participation of ten other dudes for QA and testing? We definitely couldn’t think of building a complete game nowadays with a team of only two people.

 

In the next entries I will try to go deeper into some specific aspects of game development (game/level design, graphic processes?) and of course I will answer your upcoming questions if you have any.

 

Flying Hamster minis for PSP and PS3 is already available on PSN Europe and will be launched on PSN North America this December.

 

Kappa from The Game Atelier


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  • http://twitter.com/blueduality blueduality

    This was really interesting; I’m looking forward to the next posts.

    As a computer science student, I’d love to see you delve into the programming aspect.

    • http://twitter.com/GameAtelier The Game Atelier

      Unfortunately our next Blog Entry topic will be about graphic production.
      But maybe later? ^-^’

  • http://shinleejin.deviantart.com/ ShinRekka

    Great read! I love reading any stuff about Indie games/development since I’ve always wanted to make my own. I’m a growing sprite artist and after knowing your a spriter too, I’m really looking forward to seeing your game design/art stuff!

    Can’t wait to seeing your future devblog posts here! I’m kinda blank on any questions….I’ll probably ask later if I can think of one.

  • JustaGenericUser

    I guess now’s a good time to ask fellow Siliconerans:

    What exactly is “Playstation Minis”? I’ve seen things called Minis when I go to the Playstation Store, but do you have to download/buy something in order to play Minis, or does it simply mean “a small game that doesn’t cost that much”?

    • PurpleDoom

      The Minis are pretty much what you said second – games under a certain filesize (I forget what specifically) that are cheaper than other games.

      • JustaGenericUser

        All righty, thank you.

        • http://twitter.com/GameAtelier The Game Atelier

          You can find a complete description of the minis here:
          http://uk.playstation.com/psp/services/detail/item242119/minis/
          The cool thing with minis is that the titles are usually both playable on PSP and PS3 systems.

          • JustaGenericUser

            Neat. So if I buy the game on PS3, but later want to play it on my PSP, I can just download it on PSP without having to buy it again? But wait, how do you move your saves around? Like from PS3 to PSP and vice versa.

          • http://twitter.com/GameAtelier The Game Atelier

            Yes, you just have to connect your PSP to your PS3 using a regular USB cable then you will be able to transfer a minis title and even the saved data from one to another.

  • Ereek

    Awesome article, it’s nice to see a different perspective. Thanks for taking the time to write it up for us.

    I like looking at the evolution between original image and the final sprite.

    The game looks interesting, I’ll check it out in December.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    I have a question: How long did it take The Game Atelier team from conceiving the idea of the Flying Hamster to completion and readying it for the download services (days, weeks, months, etc)?

    I haven’t had a bite of your game from the PSN yet, but I do look forward to reading more dev blogs from ya.

    • http://twitter.com/GameAtelier The Game Atelier

      It took the same time it usually takes for having a baby: around 9 months between the first idea and the release on PSN Europe.

  • joesz

    I’m not associated with this topic at all,but,I have something important that I must say.you sir have the best name tag.

    • http://twitter.com/GameAtelier The Game Atelier

      Thanks :)

  • Joanna

    I just want to say, everything I’ve seen of Flying Hamster is really charming and I can see that you and your partner have put forward a lot of effort. I shall be checking it out in December and looking forward to future projects. :)

    I’ve got a question: Currently this is only available on PSN, are there any plans to bring Flying Hamster to other digital download services like DSiWare, Steam, Xbox Live, and WiiWare?

    I’d love to see it on DSiWare in particular, since I love portable gaming and I don’t own a PSP.

    ps- Is your first/dominant language French? The words in the notebook, I recognize a few of them. I cannot read/write/speak French, but I did have to learn it until grade 9 (compulsory in Canada) so I do recall a few things. xD

  • Technology Tester

    This article and points are supportable for the designing.Thanks

  • Technology Tester

    I was just impressed to this blog .

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