The Game Industry

sign-independent

As of the middle of April, I’ve left my job in AAA game development and started my own one-man video game company: Andrew Carroll Games.  I’m incredibly excited about this.  It was time for a change, and I realized that if I didn’t take a chance on doing my own thing now, I probably never would.   After years of saving and preparing, I can finally ensure I’ll have no regrets about this venture.

I have an idea in mind that I’m working on, but it’s not quite ready for prime time yet, so I’ll hold off on talking about it til a later date.  I have, however, thought long and hard about how I’m going to approach things.  These are the goals for my operation:

  • Make games that fill me with pride: games that I want to play.
  • Leverage the good parts of AAA development: processes, organization, communication.
  • Respect the players in terms of time and monetization  (thoughts on this in a later post).
  • Keep an eye on the future and try to go where the industry will be.
  • Be a part of the independent game development community and help out wherever I can.

The last 3 weeks of work have been, hands-down, the best weeks of game development I can remember.  It feels good to be doing something for myself.  I would normally feel selfish, but this move is well past due.  Here’s to hoping that feeling continues and I can make something that fulfills the goals above.

Please follow if you’re interested in my one-man journey. I’ll be posting thoughts, updates, and information semi-regularly over the next couple of months.

I want to write this while the Junction Point studio closure is still fresh to me.  I apologize to everyone reading as it’s mostly for myself.

mickey_sad

Yesterday was a strange day for me.  I can’t comment on a lot of things about Junction Point (there are PR people at Disney for that), but seeing the studio go away is a shame.  This group of  people was hands-down the most talented group of individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  They were to a man (or woman) committed, talented, professional, friendly, and teamwork-oriented.

My story with them wasn’t the longest.  3 years ago I walked in for my first day and, as one of my friends said, “The place is literally all puppies and rainbows compared to any other job I’ve had.”  The group I was placed in already had 4 and 1/2 amazing members (one guy was only in our group half the time) and every day was a joy.  Getting to work with Warren was an honor, and many of the others at the studio had worked on some of my favorite games as a teen: Wing Commander, Thief, Metroid Prime, Ultima, and Deus Ex. It was literally my dream come true.  There was so much to learn and just observing them taught me valuable lessons and made me a better developer.

The bottom line is that the time shipping Epic Mickey and starting Epic Mickey 2 will be the time I choose to remember from Junction Point.  I will fondly recall:

  • Warren’s inspirational speeches at company meetings
  • The smell of warm cookies from the break room table (Thank you Tiff’s Treats and everyone in HR!)
  • Beer/Burger Thursdays
  • Learning something new almost every day
  • Heated disagreements from very intelligent programmers about esoteric concepts (always ending amicably)
  • All the laughing/smiling/chatting between people of different disciplines
  • E-mails from “Uncle Beaver”
  • Tony’s Tiki
  • Going to see all the latest Marvel movies as a studio at the Alamo Drafthouse
  • The first time I saw Oswald’s in-game animations (specifically the one where he sticks his tongue out when Mickey turned his back)
  • Reading the heart-warming letters from fans (especially the kids)
  • Knowing that we were all playing a part in the history of one of the world’s most iconic characters

Now that it’s over, I could be really sad to see this studio go, but instead I’m choosing to be happy I was given a chance to be part of it.  Farewell Junction Point.  Thank you for the last 3 years.  I will never forget them.

Hello blog-fans!

This post may be more for my benefit than anyone else’s, but I’m gonna do it anyway.  Here is a short list of the things that one might expect from this blog in the future.

code_ninja

1. Hobby project updates and tutorials.  I like to work on little side projects, and I will post occasional updates on the games/demos/ideas that I’m working on in my spare time.  My first “project” is getting this website into shape.  I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks cracking into WordPress, HTML5, and CSS and see what can be done to make this a good-looking and functional blog.

JustMyOpinion

2. Thoughts on gaming related things: the industry, tips and tricks to be more productive, and opinions on programming/design.  Maybe someone out there can learn something from the mistakes and discoveries I make.  I think this is important to do because I don’t believe we can ever have too many people striving to make a positive impact on this industry.  I only hope that at some point I’ll say or do something that will help someone else along the path to their own game development dream.