A former drug addict, a priest and an investor walk into a games expo…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

INDIGO, the games expo put on by the Dutch Game Garden, was pretty intense this year. 32 local devs gathered on the spaceous ninth floor of music palace TivoliVredenburg for two days to showcase their games in development. I was there too with Black Feather Forest.

I saw some familiar faces, some fresh new ones, and talked to a ton of people. Seeing visitors take the time to play through the entire demo and most of them raving about it afterwards was a really great experience, and a much needed refreshment after the past few weeks. Thank you to everyone who came out and stopped by! My parents, uncle and some good friends included. Also dinner with my Game Oven friends was a good time, and my booth neighbours from Wolfdog Interactive kept me going through the long hours. And a special shout-out to Benjamin who came to help me out on friday evening after work when my legs had turned to jelly. You rock dude!

It’s hard to describe all the moments and conversations from those two days, but I wanted to highlight a few that really stood out.

As a kid I used to read Power Unlimited, the biggest games magazine in the Netherlands. Of course like any publication it’s run by normal people, but having looked up at these guys in my teens it felt pretty special to have them stand in front of my booth checking out my game and following me on twitter now. Check that off my bucket list.

Speaking of nostalgia, the memories left behind by the game Broken Sword are what compelled me to start making my own games, and then all of a sudden I run into a programmer from Revolution Software, and a dutch one at that, on the show floor. It was really cool to meet Joost and exchange adventure gaming stories.

Near the end of the VIP night on thursday an older man came up to me. He started on the demo as I explained what the game was about, then he turned to me and asked me why I cared so much about this particular true story. From there we got caught up in a passionate exchange of ideas, where he revealed that he was a recovered stock-broker-turned-drug-addict who just started learning about computers three days ago. After getting clean he had set out on a quest to learn about himself, and had become a very joie-de-vivre carpe-diem kind of guy. He wasn’t even on the guest list that night, he had just wandered in and was having a blast talking to people. We spoke for about half an hour and at the end shook each other’s hand with a well-meaning I haven’t experienced in a long time. Like we were both genuinely excited to see the other enjoying life, and wishing eachother well.

The second day of the expo was also punctuated by an unexpected meeting. 5 minutes before the end of the show a man dressed in a priest’s garb came up to me. I recognized him as Roderick Vonhögen, also known as the podcast priest. He hadn’t played the demo yet but had read all about the project on my website before coming here and went on to tell me how incredibly cool he thought it was. He was even familiar with The Walking Dead games, which was perhaps even more of a surprise. It was super cool to have had a chance to talk with him before packing up and heading off, and I took his encouragement to do a Kickstarter and get on Steam to heart.

I’d been on the fence about Kickstarter for a while, but after I left the hubbub of INDIGO behind that night and checked my email on the bus home I saw that perhaps a Kickstarter was not even going to be necessary…knock on wood. More info on that very exciting email soon.

All in all INDIGO was a great succes and I want to thank the Dutch Game Garden for letting me be a part of it.

Week 60

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

I hit a bit of a funk last week, which made me realize I haven’t quite gotten past the GamerGate thing yet. I was simply curating my game’s existing content like some kind of digital janitor instead of making new content. It somehow had me scared a little, which I realize is bullshit and I should get started on it again, but my mind was not ready yet. In fact it was actively distracting me whenever I tried to focus. To help ease myself back in I unfollowed a bunch of people on twitter who keep discussing it, and followed some new people who just talk about the cool things they are making. My feed is a safe place again.

Discontent with my malaise I decided to go work at Seats2Meet at Utrecht CS the next day, on everything that was not related to The Game. It was pretty amazing. I fired up Photoshop and worked on a new page of Off-Stage, which has been in limbo for far too long. Great designs flowed right out of my pen and I got excited. Expect that soon.

sdg

I also played through Lili Child of Geos. It is out now on PC, and is vastly improved over the iOS version which I never got into. It looks absolutely amazing and is a joy to play with lots of fun characters and things to collect and discover. Really looking forward to Bitmonster’s next game.

Over the weekend I helped my girlfriend sell some of her art on a market in Den Bosch. It reminded me that illustration is cool and I should do more of it.

Next week: who even knows.

Week 59

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

Last week started off right: I got a job offer the friday before (for a freelance project), and we went to have lunch and talk it over. It went well I think, we’ll see what comes of it when everything is sorted out.

On wednesday I showed Black Feather Forest at the Dutch Game Garden networking lunch, to positive reactions. The people that played loved how it looked and played the demo to the end, so that’s good. I also met the good people from Wispfire who are working on a cool narrative adventure game too.

2014-09-03 11.58.49

Following the lunch I fixed a few bugs I noticed (a restart button isn’t very useful if it doesn’t reset your progress on the map), and refined the cursor system based on an interesting observation made by Game Oven‘s Adriaan. Now I just need to hack Adventure Creator a bit so it actually works too.

On thursday I pulled out my ol’ Yeti mic to do a voiceacting test for the game a friend of mine on the AC forums is making. It was fun to do, especially because it’s a kind of Monkey Island comedy game so the voices can be very expressive.

I am planning to make a trailer for Black Feather Forest soon so this was a nice reminder that I could probably do the voiceover for that myself. Besides that I also did some illustrations for a calendar that’s coming out in a few months.

Then the week closed out with some good news: Black Feather Forest was selected to be part of the INDIGO showcase put on by the Dutch Game Garden during the Dutch Film Festival. It sounds like a complicated construction, but what it boils down to is that I’ll be showing the demo at the top floor of the new TivoliVredenburg music venue in the center of Utrecht at the end of this month. Exciting times! Another things I can cross off my bucket list. I’ve exhibited at game shows before but never with my own game.

Next week: how to cut a trailer for a game that’s only about 15% done.

Week 58

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

Not a lot happened in week 57. I think we were mostly recovering from the weird badness the week before. Waking up to a twitter stream filled with #welovegamedevs tweets was very nice. I set up a Patreon and sent out some emails for research and new business opportunities, but other than that it wasn’t super productive.

On Saturday Swordfish and Friend, a record store and art shop started by some friends of mine, opened its doors in downtown Utrecht. My girlfriend has some of her paintings up for sale there, I am super proud.

Last week I was a bit of a mix of all kinds of things. I redesigned the menus in Black Feather Forest, upgraded Adventure Creator to version 1.38 and dealt with the bugs resulting from that, wrote a bit about a very old adventure game I used to work on, set up an itch.io storefront and uploaded 15 Minutes to it, got some Kickstarter advice from Sam Farmer and continued to get worked up over #GamerGate.

On saturday I spent all day in town with my girlfriend, away from the internet. That was very nice.

Next week: a high-profile business offer!?