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