It has been a long, eventful two months to begin 2011. I have not found the time to write much on the blog, but that will change as soon as Steve and I begin our new adventure in game development. I’m not sure the term “extra” time applies as I am sure we will be working our asses off, but not having to spend 25% of my time looking for new gigs will certainly give me a little “extra” time to devote to the blog even if it is early in the morning or late on a Saturday night.
While I have enjoyed some personal growth (as well as a little bit of cash) during the last 7 months of independent development, I have missed out on the daily camaraderie that goes along with working directly with other developers. Being able to work again with my brother day to day at a new game development gig certainly will go along way toward solving that problem. I have worked a little bit with my developer friends at Creative Bottle and Jet Morgan, but days that contain a healthy dose of developer give and take have been few and far between. While I use Tweet Deck to monitor many of your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds on a minute by minute basis, nothing replaces the day to day, face to face contact that I had as a developer at Mattel for the previous 14 years.
Over the last seven months I have spent the bulk of my time as the single lead developer, architect, and CTO for my projects. Most of my work has been with Producto Studios, a full service creative agency and animation studio located in Redondo Beach. I have had the opportunity to work on a nice set of Flash games and interactive applications with the professional, seasoned Producto team for host of different clients. Work has been fast-paced and I have been able to bang out application design and code pretty quickly as the Producto team is very good with change control and requirements finalization. I am by no means a stickler for water-fall, non-iterative development, but with a programming staff of one (me) and tight deadlines, combined with the feast or famine nature of contract development, projects with ever-changing, creepy scope kill both productivity and morale.
Business-wise, January started very slow. We had about 10 unsolicited gigs start and stop (and a couple start again) during that time, which was both encouraging and frustrating. I found myself deep into a couple independent iPhone and Flash game projects for lack of anything else to do, but those stopped as soon as the HTML5 Canvas chapters started to come back from both the tech and copy edit reviews. Starting in late January, Steve and I started a whirlwind courtship with a big gaming company that resulted in us both accepting full-time positions to work remotely (read from home) as game developers. We have been asked to not write up anything on the company until we officially start on March 14th, so I will abide by that and not mention the them by name. In the last two weeks though two of the projects with Producto Studios have started and I have been “feverishly working on them the to ensure they are in a good state before I start the new gig.
In the coming weeks, Steve and I will be focusing the blog on our day to day adventures with the new company, as well as re-starting up daily updates to the another blog that was stalled in 2006 when we started up 8bitrocket.com. The direction will hopefully be a Superficial.com style daily send up of big and small business and management practices that we feel need being made fun of. We also will highlight games, TV, movies, books and other media that focus on the same subject. We’ll see how much time we have to keep it going, but we would love to find some “extra” time in our schedules to devote to keeping it updated.
Also, Steve’s last day at Mattel was yesterday, so we now have the band back together, ready to take on new gaming adventures. Now that enough time has passed, I am ready to dive back into the early history of web development for Mattel. I will be posting a little tribute to the golden years (2001-2006) in the next few days. When Steve was still working there I didn’t want to write anything that might get him in trouble. I still don’t plan to write anything controversial, but I did make up a song about it a few years ago that will probably rear its ugly head in a Flash video of some sort…