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Locked Door Puzzle - Monthly Roundup #1 : July 2013

I’ve always been guilty of not talking enough about what I’m up to. During development of Kairo the supporters could be waiting months between any word from me on where things stood. This is largely because I tend to focus most of my time on my work, and telling everyone about it seems like a distraction. Now that there’s three of us I’d feel guilty if I didn’t keep you all informed of the great work they’ve been doing. So once a month I’m going to writing up what everyone’s been working on, and each report will even come with a free jam game.

Perrin (@perrinashcroft)

The romantic dream of indie development would be working on cool games all the time. Sadly that’s not always the case and this month I have essentially done zero work on our main project Journal. Instead I’ve spent a lot of time wrapping up contract work projects, which I’ll no longer be accepting. There’s also a very cool game project I’m working on that I can’t talk about yet.

What I can talk about is a big update to Kairo, that’s now available via Steam and Humble Store. This includes an FOV slider and resolves a major incompatibility with Avast virus scanner. However the main addition is Oculus Rift support. I’m still calling this experimental support as there’s some issues still to resolve however I know a lot of people wanted to try this out so here it is.



As of this week I should finally be back to Journal development, so expect to see some cool things about Journal in next month’s update.

Melissa (@naukhel)

While I’ve not had any time for Journal this month, that’s mostly what Melissa has been doing. She’s been doing amazing work on background and character art for Days 3 and 4, and has made great progress on the dialogue for Day 3. Even though the core engine hasn’t progressed this month the amount of content being produced is staggering.

She’s also been taking charge of answering your questions on the Steam Community Hub so I’m glad people are finally getting help with Kairo when they need it, as opposed to the previous situation where it was “when I could find time”.

Suze (@suzewithey)

Suze’s main job in her first month has been to do something that has been needed for a long time. She’s taken control of the studio’s finances and begun a process of getting it all into some kind of neat order. This is good as it ensures that the studio has a guaranteed future and that we all get paid.

However that’s not so fun to talk about finance in a blog post so thankfully she’s also been doing artwork for Kairo’s new Steam badges and trading cards. She brought her own style to these and they’re more than just recycled promo images like a lot of other Steam trading cards. Annoyingly we can’t even gift these to ourselves, as I really want a full set.



I originally announced Suze would be doing music for Journal, however after some work on this we agreed it wasn’t right. So we’re in the process of bringing another composer on board. Instead Suze has begun art and design work on a small game project to ease her into the company. If that goes well you’ll be hearing more in next month’s report.

Game Jam

We’ve decided to take two days off a month to work on a company game jam. This is a great chance for all three of us to put aside our current work load on do something new and cool together. I’ve always been a big supporter of game jams as a way to help people level up their game development skills, but also as a new team it helps us smooth out our working practices.

Our jam theme this month was local co-op. There’s been a huge push in the indie scene lately for local competitive games but I’m a bigger fan of co-op play so I wanted to see what we could do. We’ve made a game called Sandpit Empire, that’s for 1-4 players to work together to build a little beach resort. This involves building things like changing rooms, sun loungers, food stands, boats. Along with cleaning, maintaining and monetising your little beach space.

Sandpit Empire - Windows
Sandpit Empire - Mac OSX

In all honesty the project was too ambitious for two days and while Melissa and Suze completed all the artwork I had to spend another couple of days on all the mechanics. Lesson learned for next month. Also while I’m not convinced what we’ve made is particularly fun, it was a chance to play around with these concept of local co-op simulation/construction. It’s definitely something I’m keen to revisit with a bigger project based on what we learned from this.

Summary

So this month has not exactly been a single unifying vision of us all working towards the same thing, but it’s our first month and we’re still finding our feet and clearing off old responsibilities. We’re also using things like the game jam to try and getting into a good working groove together. We’ll be back next month with hopefully a lot more to share with you all and another new jam game.

Welcome to the home of Locked Door Puzzle, the independent game development studio of Richard Perrin located in Bristol.

My primary focus is on creating expressive games that explore different forms of interactive storytelling.

For contact details check the about page.