Monday, September 21, 2009

What's in the works

As a recently formed independent games studio, we've been asked a number of times what our game plan is (pun intended). Starting the studio in Western Australia after working for some big name developers and publishers in Europe represents quite a change. Not only a simple change in geography but a huge change in proximity to the big market zeitgeist, talent pool and investment/funding opportunities.

Despite having some experience in the industry to fall back on we're under no illusions as to what we can realisticaly achieve in a given timeframe. Not to mention we're all a bit older now than when we first entered the industry. No midnight crunches for us while trying to support families and preserve relationships. Initially we're going to keep things simple.

For me that means the first and most import goal is publishing something. Set attainable goals and achieve them; get the dev cycles going and something on the table. Don't get me wrong, I want to create something special, but even Speilberg didn't create his finest films on his first foray out the door. So something special, but achievable.

We were thinking about how this studio might work months before we left our industry jobs and made the migration to Australia. Looking around at opportunities to achieve our goals we did find a path that we think is a good place to start.

It's always been my feeling that to create something worthwhile, it never hurts to understand what makes something worthwile. This thinking walks hand in hand with the ability to identify greatness in others or another's achievements. It was this thinking and a fortuitous meeting of minds with the developers from Data Realms that laid the path we would choose to take for an initial foray into Indie Game Development.

Data Realms have spent years crafting a beautiful indie game known as Cortex Command. The first time I played it was a hurried affair in a lunch break. My initial exploration didn't do it justice but my interest was perked. A few weeks later with more time on my hands (and with a freshly downloaded build) I was able to spend enough time playing Cortex Command to begin to truely appreciate it. I felt then and still feel now that Cortex Command is one of those creative products that has some sort of destiny. With an idea in mind and a fanboy's appreciation in my heart, that motivated me to bring Cortex Command to the Macintosh. Spiritually, the Macintosh version of Cortex Command is the first title for Kruger Heavy Industries. The fact that it was mostly completed by myself before the company was formed probably only matters to the record keepers on Moby Games.

Later in the piece we were very happy to have elected to be involved with Cortex Command. It did very well at the last Games Developers Conference 2009 in the Indie Games Festival, picking up two awards (Technical Excellence and the Audience Award) (some video coverage available here).

Cortex Command is still actively in development, but is largely code complete - at least as far as the Macintosh porting effort is concerned. It's bugfixing and build making for the most part until release. A day we look forward to greatly. Dan, Prom and the rest from Data Realms are doing a fantastic job.

So, what else is in the works for Kruger Heavy Industries? Fresh from our experience porting Cortex Command we picked up another great game we felt deserved some love on the Macintosh. Currently in active development is the Macintosh version of Eets: Hunger. It's Emotional. It was developed by our friends over at Klei Entertainment. One of their first titles, it's been lavished with much love and attention to detail by the Klei team. We won't tell you too much about Eets right at this moment as we're looking forward to that in a future post. For now we would like you to know we're really looking forward to having Eets playable on the Macintosh and putting that second building block into the foundation of our little studio here in Western Australia.

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