Christmas Status

Merry Christmas everyone. So I've met with several people in person that have told me they're following this blog, so I'll try and do a better job keeping things updated and not ramble on about my cat or something.

So we've picked the big day--January 7th, 2012 for our first meeting. I've recruited about a dozen people so far and in about two weeks, everyone on the team will meet each other and we'll finally get started making this game. Strangely, I thought programmers would be the most difficult to recruit and 3d modelers the easiest. The opposite has been true. I've been unable so far to recruit a single 3d modeler. I'm not terribly worried about that at this point. I wouldn't have anything for the modelers to do for a month or so while we work out concepts. Still, it's nice to have all the bases covered before we get there. I've worked in a professional setting as a modeler--doing commercial 3D renderings for architectural concepts for a drafting company, so I could fill that roll if needed. However, we're going to need a lot more than just one person in that capacity, so I'll definitely need to recruit.

I'm pretty happy with the concept artists we have on the team. Officially, we have 2, but there's 2 others I've either met with or will meet with soon that are also really talented. Because we will be constantly rolling out new art assets through the pipeline, we'll always need concept artists, but if for some reason they get caught up or bored and want to try something else, I can move them to design. Dawnshine is going to need more level design than most MMOs and it's going to be a whole lot different than any other MMO, but I feel more comfortable getting the artists on the team doing that. Dawnshine instances are going to be a lot more story driven rather than boxes with monsters in them and text to read at the end that passes as a story. The instances are going to be a selling point for the game--what sets us apart. So level design is going to be a very important position. I realize level design is an entry level job. Anyone that can play the Sims can be a level designer for most games. But still, I like the idea of the artists taking a break from their main roles and doing something different, though related. So for now, I'm not recruiting any designers.

What else? So the Art Institute of Sacramento had their first Game Art and Design graduates. I met both of them at the AI's portfolio show. The portfolio show is sort of like a graduation party where the graduates set up a booth showing off their work. The employers go booth to booth in a sort of reverse job fair. The two graduates were showing off their building modeling skills through the Unity engine. I talked to them both quite a bit. I didn't really make a big push to recruit them since I won't have anything for them to do for a while, but I at least made some inroads there. We'll see. I also got to talk to the career counselors at AI a little more. They're good people. I'm glad I've been able to form a partnership with them. Good things will come from it.

Stigma Games is a good deal for them as well. The game industry is really hard to crack into. Most graduates won't get in. So for us to be able to bring in new grads and current students to give them real world experience might be just as important for them and their resumes as going to college itself. There are a lot of skilled and talented people in this town that aren't getting a chance otherwise. I have to admit, I have a lot of fun recruiting. I like the idea of finding hidden talent and giving people that shot no one else will. I just wish this was a funded project and I could also give people the earnings they deserve as well. But on the other side of things, if it was a funded project, then I'd probably only be recruiting experienced professionals because I'd be swamped with applicants.

I've had a few other interesting meetings, though it's still too early to say how those will pan out. I'm networking with the people from Loki's Planet. I'm going to one of their office meetings soon to talk more business. They seem like really good people too.

Oh, and I got an invitation by the president of Rocketeer Games to check out their studio. I met their president, John, years ago. He's a 3D Modeler that used to be a director of sorts at the Art Institute. He does absolutely fantastic modeling and texturing work. I'm definitely honored to check out his studio.

Several people have asked me when we're going to start needing testers. We can bring in testers when a character model is built, textured, rigged, and animated, the combat system is working, many of the attacks and spell abilities are working, the character creation system is working for Dawnshine characters(as opposed to the default system now that comes with the engine for making Hero's Journey characters), and there's at least once instance or zone people can run around in. Right now, none of that is done or even started. There's 4 classes and 4 factions. That's a total of 16 classes that should all play very different from each other. It's not going to be 4 classes in 4 different flavors each. They're not going to have equivalencies cross faction. Such variety is going to take a huge amount of balancing, so I'm going to want to bring in testers early.

Next post should be on Jan 7th.

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