One Year Later
So for those of you who don’t know, we recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary back on June 1st. We’ve completed 3 games in the past year:
Destroy All Color for iOS (it’s Free!)
Worm Run for iOS
Hermit Crab in Space for PSM (not yet released)
It’s been a crazy time and I cannot believe that in just a year we managed to get an exclusive feature with Sony at E3 this year.
I just thought I’d write a few words on my first year as a game developer and my thoughts moving forward.
Teamwork is Important
The gaming industry is great because both the individual and the large TripleA companies have just as much of a chance for making it big (even though a lot of AAA companies have boatloads of advertising cash behind them). This being said, it is so much easier to gather the people you can work well with and trust. Half the battle for us was finding the right people for our titles.
I snagged Andy as soon as he graduated from Parsons. Without his expertise, our games would not be as solid as they are. Coding is key in this industry and you better have someone who does it right.
Don’t be afraid to spend money
Sometimes the best person or service comes with the higher price tag. By all means, shop around, do favors, get it on the cheap. But if you want the best sometimes you need to spend a good chunk of change.
Don’t Stop Working
One of the most terrifying/exciting things in the world is to come into work and have absolutely no idea what to do next. Not because you are stuck, but because you have so many opportunities. Ultimately, you get to make your favorite projects with no one telling you that you cannot do it. But you also have to trust you’re making the right decision. In the end a large portfolio is sometimes just as impressive as one highly polished title.
But regardless of how big or small your success is, you need to move on to the next thing with that same (if not more) passion.
Learn when to Concede
Sometimes that idea really doesn’t work out. Learn to trust your teammates (and testers) in giving honest advice. You should never stop learning and the first step in that is to admit that you don’t know everything.
I was going to end with “Have Fun” but that’s really a given, you should love what you do.
Starting this company was truly one of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel more accomplished in this past year than I have in a long time.
As for the future, I hope to learn the proper and most effective way to expand Golden Ruby beyond just me and Andy. Hopefully you’ll hear great things from us in the years to come and I’ll post tons of things while I’m at E3.
Making of Galaxy Life - Luck Norris
During a brainstorming we had a weird idea for a new unit : a Starling version of Chuck Norris, who would be invincible and really powerful. It was rejected because it would affect too much the game economy balance even if we thought it was cool.
This new type of special unit idea was moved -with some tweaks- for our next big game of the same genre, which would consider them from the start in order to fit properly with everything else.
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Grooveshark: Previously Broken!
We use two pieces of software on each of our webservers. One does all the hard work and runs all the backend code (Apache), the other efficiently servers up static content and caches code that rarely changes (Nginx).
The caching software has a set amount of space to store all the data it needs to serve up the cached content. Up until today 1GB was more than enough to keep things humming and we couldnt imagine ever filling it up. Now we can imagine filling it up easily. We are still trying to figure out what exactly caused it to suddenly fill up, but we increased it to four times the original size, and decreased how long we cache stuff for. In addition we are taking every step possible so that the machines will email us and text us threatening things if this ever starts to get full again.
Trust us, we know how much not having your playlists for a few hours can suck—we suffer along with you, since we don’t have any music to play while working hard to fix it! Sorry again about the hiccup, and serious thanks to Nate, Ed , Myke, and Travis for the help in getting it all fixed today.
tl;dr - Cache filled up, wont happen again.
Developer Interview - Toni CamachoHi Toni, please tell us about your career path.
In the games industry I started porting videogames for a few months at Microjocs. This is back in 2006, at that time mobile phones were nothing like the ones we have now, mobile phones like the Nokia N93 or Sony Ericsson W950. In seven years the changes both at hardware and software level have been spectacular.
After that I joined the development team as a programmer. I spent about a year programming in which I had time to participate in a couple of projects, special mention for ‘Diamond Island’.
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Making of Galaxy Life - Origins (part I)
It was in late 2011, specifically on November 11th, when one of our most anticipated games was released and prepared to get thousands of players to enjoy its adventures. Galaxy Life, became then, one of the greatest achievements of our studio.
The game revolves around a fictional galaxy populated by little orange aliens, our invaluable friends, the Starlings. Like many other multi-player strategy games, the main goal is to prevail and conquer new worlds.
A fourteen strong team comprised of programmers, artists, designers and management brought to life Galaxy Life for the Facebook platform. David Germade, one of our senior client programmers, is going to describe the early development life cycle behind the project, take it away David!
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A Word to the N00bish
A piece of advice I wish I could have given myself a couple months back:
In a prototyping or rapid-development setting, stay away from genre descriptors, like “a platformer where this happens…” or “an rpg where the player can do this…”; These descriptors come equipped with mechanic baggage (like buttons, doors, platforms, text bubbles, menus…) that you will waste tons of valuable time programming, just so you can set up the arena for your gameplay. Instead, just worry about the core gameplay idea, the mechanic at the center of your vision. When you’re finished, if you really like your prototype, you can go back and flesh it out with the conventions of the genre.
Check out Super Hexagon for a flawless example of cutting the bullshit in favor of showcasing your new idea.