2014 Year in Reviewposted by Jonathan Dec 31, 2014
As another year comes to a close we look back on this years progress as a company in an ever more turbulent industry. We had finished the previous year bringing a large amount of staff on to work on Screaming Eagles. We began the year ever more vigilant on releasing our first project into the market. Maniacal Mouth was previously entered into the Independent Games Festival, though it didn’t qualify for the semi-finals we were proud to finish our first project in the coming months. We had begun a Steam Greenlight campaign to better market the project and was met with mix concerns over our sanity. A dialogue was formed and we were happy to see differing opinions on what we were attempting to accomplish. At GDC 14, four members met for the first time for lunch. As a game developer that primarily operates online through file sharing, online communication programs, and emails, this meeting of myself, our other Producer Sarah Joynt-Borger, our Musical Composer David Neale and a Sound Designer Rick Ross was momentous, we should have taken a picture to mark the occasion. Next time we’ll remember to do so, but we look forward to a day when all of us can be in a single place and meet each other first hand.
The week prior to GDC 14 we released Maniacal Mouth for sale, other than friends and family purchasing it we were able to reach a few random people and we’re very happy that they enjoyed the craziness. The lack of sales wasn’t a deterrent for us, we always knew that the project was a for a niche audience, that it may never receive positive or even professional reviews. That completing the project was a success in of itself, as many indie developers struggle with that alone. We and personally I learned much from that project. That you must market your project almost immediately, that spreading the word is just as or even more important than finishing it. To never cc projects to friends, always bcc to them. To be humble in the face of all types of criticism, never take anything seriously from the internet.
We had changes in our membership numbers, they were constantly shifting as we were always finding new people and losing some while others stayed the course. We’re always looking for new members to be a part of our team as we’re always considerate of their personal and professional needs, currently we’re happy with who we have and thankful for them. At GDC I began the process of brainstorming for our third project, the gameplay designs and the story were initially created and we began the first conceptual art. Our goals for next year will be to create the entire adaptive screenplay for the story, with hopes to gain feedback at GDC 16.
Screaming Eagles received a large amount of asset development, we laid out the plans for a releasing of an alpha build to the public to generate funds and public response. As of today that version is finished and ready to release, however we are currently attempting to resolve a conflicting issue between tool kits, we won’t release it till that issue is resolved, and even when we do release it, it’ll be attached to an IndieGogo fundraising endeavor to help us cover the costs of licensing and taxes. Our plan after release is to update the alpha with additional content until the complete version of our visual design is met. It won’t have multiplayer mechanics, we’re reserving that for our beta release, but it will be for the most part, fully functional. We started a production note blog within our news feed to better inform readers on our designs for the game including concept art for varying assets and explanations on game mechanics. We hope to continue this blog with more information, please be patient as we want to have our first version of our alpha launched prior to giving more updates.
During the summer I was met with a difficult financial situation for the company for operating in the state of California. My stress was so compacted that I sought out counsel from friends and family and even outside sources as I blogged about my experiences with this developer, it was enlightening to have more varying opinions and suggestions to my predicament. After much reasoning and debate, with many unknown variables in the works, I decided to move the company and by close proximity myself to Nevada. It was either here or Washington state, and Nevada won because of sheer cost of move. All the legal work is solidified and we still operate online, so the only real change is that we won’t have to pay such steep state taxes, at least not after this year.
The last half of this year has been less than active, a mix of financial concerns, personal struggles and changes in taskings have both put us off course and kept us on track, in one way or another. It is our goal for this new year to regain the focus we lost while continuing the focus we still have. Reinvigorating the message we started this company on by helping people earn experience in the industry while remain focused on our development of Screaming Eagles and designing our third project. We want to bring more stable members into the company, it’s a slow and involved process but I welcome it.
2014 wasn’t easy, it was a year of hardships and lessons that were well learned. It’s my experience that once a mistake is made they are never made twice, so we’ll strive to be better. 2015 is a chance for us to be better, we’re going to take it.