Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas To All & To All A Good Night

     All of us at Game Crossing Studios want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and take a moment or two to reflect on the previous year. While traditionally New Years is the time to set future goals, I feel that Christmas is close enough to New Years that we can safely consider the past year, thereby giving pause to create more meaningful, realistic and hopefully successful goals.

     It was about this time last year that I contacted the members of our team and asked if they would be willing to work with me for free on a project that was pretty lofty. Given the challenge and invitation, many offered to help out when and where they could, which for free labor how can I expect anything better. The weeks and months that followed began to give shape to our current title.

     We set our sights on making a game that would probably have taken another year just to get a fraction of the model assets built. Upon the realization that we lacked the luxury of full work days and a staff free of other obligations, we scaled our ambition back and feel pretty good about the choice to use RPG Maker VX as our game engine of choice. (That's not saying that we don't hope to one day re-release our story in a more 3D modeled environment, just not yet.) Following the choice to use this engine, it seemed that production really picked up and we were moving at a good pace.

     We used both in-house resources as well as purchased some through the established RPG Maker Community. This helped us in achieving what I felt was a familiar look while focusing on our unique story. Shortly before our development system kicked the bucket, we were able to put together a short demo that can still be downloaded for FREE from our website. This may have been the biggest benefit to our current situation as we received thorough feedback to our demo. To be honest, I was a bit taken back by the responses at first. I felt like I had put a lot into it and that there was just so many limitations that I may not be able to give what people asked for in their feedback.

     Then the system crashed. I can still bypass a portion of the crash, enough to recover the files anyway, but this became one of those moments to consider all the options and really weigh in on what possibilities were available to me and my team. The question being, 'Do I start over and fix what players said they wanted, or do I press forward with a game that they weren't totally thrilled with?' And while the story and overall basis of the game is still very much the highlight of the project, we're going to make it better than it was.

     Why all the extra work? Because we believe that our players are worth the effort. That and we want this to be something that we can put our names on and be truly proud of it, not just some random and obscure reference on a list of titles that we've worked on.

     While it hasn't been an easy road, and we still don't have an actual product to show for the time spent, I believe that we did gain experience in the pursuit thus far. As we recover from a development system crash and try to pick up the pieces we are also in a prime opportunity to utilize the negative aspect to our advantage. We've learned some costly and valuable lessons and can now set our vision to the horizon and make our title even more than it would have been. The feedback that we've gained from you, our readers & players, has helped us see that we need to put a lot more spit & shine on our game if we truly want it to be as polished as we want and envision it to be.

     We know that the Holiday Season can be challenging and maybe even a bit discouraging to many people. Whether it is the commercial pressures to find the "perfect gift", or the loss of loved ones. We hope that you'll find a moment of your own to consider the last year. It may require changing a perspective to see some of lives trials as something other than a burden, but try to count what has been good in 2012. Personally, I know my family has had it's share of Emergency Room visits, surgeries, and hard times, but there are still good things all around us if we choose to find them. Sometimes it's the small nuggets of gold that when added up equal something good. But to follow that analogy, getting to the gold nuggets can be a good deal of work. The end result is worth the effort put into it.

     So Merry Christmas everyone! We hope that this season is peaceful and happy for each of you. We're going to take a little break to enjoy family & friends. But be watching, because we have some very cool stuff coming early on in the New Year.
-Live Life. Play Games.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hoping You Have a Happy Holiday Season

     It has been a bit off track for us here at Game Crossing Studios. A system crash just as we finished a demo leading into what often is a very busy time of year for so many people. I wish I could say that we are ready to present our game to you this Christmas season, but sadly it is not ready and given the current challenges it may be a while...

     Our demo is still available on our website, and it is still FREE! It does have some bugs and based on feedback there are a number of changes and alterations we hope to make as we retool and rebuild what was lost. Biggest lesson learned this year: BACK-UP EVERYTHING! LOL

     This does provide opportunity for us to really attack this with a fresh eye and with all the experience gained from the previous experiences. Sadly it was not a completed project, but we will be adding a LOT of extra style to our game, so luckily for you (the gamer), you will one day be able to get our very best, without all the DLC and patches to make it as polished as it should be from the beginning.

     Outside the realm of game making and looking at the real world, what are your thoughts and feelings about this time of year? Sometimes the pressures to find the "prefect gift" or the challenges placed on us to attend to matters dealing with the close of the year can make the time stressful and less than happy. What do you do to decompress?

     If I were to offer my thoughts and opinions (as I can being the writer), I think that one of the best ways to decompress is to take some personal time. It doesn't have to be much, which is good because I think many people would be hard pressed to find much time for a lot of personal time. The purpose is to quiet the world around you and really refocus and/or let go of whatever frustrations you may have. (preferably not on the road during your commute please.) Ultimately do something that will help you relax and enjoy life. Read a book, play a game, call a friend, go for a walk, even just taking a quick nap. Life is quick and life is short, make sure the journey isn't wasted the bottom line or some distant destination.

     For me games are a good way to de-stress, but we try not to lose sight of reality knowing that we all have real life challenges and responsibilities.

That's why we say: Live Life. Play Games.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Joyous and Prosperous New Year!