Saturday, April 13, 2013

Update Omnibus

Wow - Lots of things have happened in the past three months but I hadn't taken the time to update my blog. So here is a summary of all things big and small from the past few months.

1. Quit my day job 
I finally quit my day job in order to pursue independent game development full time! I had the following projects which I thought were good enough reason for me to quit. And also thanks to the financial support of my wife I can take some time off to figure out what I wanted to do with games (and also my US green card came in last year). So this has really just been all the right things coming together finally.

2. Babycastles
I  have been helping the Babycastles folks with a few things. First I made them a new website - This is a project which is important to me personally because I know I missed out knowing about Babycastles earlier because I couldn't find enough information about what they really were!

I have also been helping them with smaller things like arranging a Global Game Jam venue at Silent Barn - Silent Jam! We put together a toolbox of game making tools which some people outside the Silent Barn venue found useful -

I have been attending the Babycastles meetings more regularly. It's all coming together as Babycastles moves to it's next phase of finding a more permanent space from where it can continue it's awesomeness. This is going to be an exciting year!

3. OUYA Game Jam - Tossers with Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson of Babycastles and I collaborated on creating a game for the OUYA game jam - Tossers. It's a 2v2 local multiplayer game that is a cross between Curling and Marbles where instead of a rock/marble you throw your teammate into a ring of marbles. So far it's been fun working on the game and playing it. So I think we will take it to completion some time in the next few months.

The game didn't win anything in the OUYA contest but we showed it at the NY Gaming Meetup - The first OUYA game to be demo-ed there. By this time we added a powerup feature to add to the mayhem in the game and also added a puppy AI so that the game can be played 1v1 also with an AI teammate. People seemed to like the game play and we got some good feedback.

The meetup and our demo were covered in Alley Watch :P -

4. Ejecta WebGL talk at onGameStart NY
WebGL bindings on Ejecta allows you to port your WebGL apps/games to iOS. This has been a pure technology project as I want to keep a good mix of games and tech projects.

The work I did has been merged into Ejecta main branch! - A lot more interesting WebGL/three.js demos are now functional on iOS devices (Maybe a different post for this).

I presented the work I did with adding WebGL bindings to Ejecta in the first edition of onGameStart happening in the US. Here are the slides. I hope the videos never come out because I wasn't too happy with my presentation :) I really needed to cut it short in few places and maybe just gone to the demos earlier.

I met many of the HTML5 folks whom I had known only on Twitter. It was nice to meet them in person finally! 

5. GDC
I attended my first ever GDC! More than the talks I spent most of the time hanging out with really interesting people and helping out Babycastles curate/setup what was a really great installation of relaxing games at SFMOMA. Here is a cool review of it -

My highlight from the few sessions I attended was the Experimental Game Workshop. All the games in the lineup were amazing but the one game that blew me away in it's elegance was the Katamari-esque Kachina.

Of the parties the Wild Rumpus was by far the most enjoyable. It featured the amazingly fun party game by Keita Takahashi called Tenya Wanya Teens with it's own controller. We also arranged our own Babycastles party at the end of GDC and invited all our friends to it - It was a great way to end GDC.

There are more exciting things afoot - I can hopefully start talking about it in the next few months! This has been a very interesting journey and I really owe it to the amazing folks at Babycastles!! 

Games are only getting more interesting as different kinds of people are getting into it and Babycastles has been an amazing force in progressing the scene in this regard. Hopefully I can help them keep doing their awesome work in the coming years and we can spread this mission to many more places in the world!