Most of my time has been spent preparing a game for submission into the Independent Games Festival at the Game Developer’s conference. It’s called Gravmari, a game about gravity and the universe, roughly described as “Katamari in space”. The submission deadline is Nov 1, so we are working pretty hard to get it in tip-top shape. A demo version will go on the website shortly after that date.
I am very happy with the game so far. It is very polished, but remains simple and elegant. We have a lot of patience with our features, introducing new dynamics, music, and art gradually throughout the whole game. I am occasionally hit with the haunting sense of grand scale we are going for, and I think it will be very effective on people who don’t know what’s coming.
The other developer, Max, and I have informally started a studio together (we will register soon) called Hubris. This is our first game, and we hope to make many more. I am excited about this game company for two reasons:
- We are rejecting the typical working of the game industry and moving more toward the film industry, in the sense that our games have a director with a unified vision in mind, and the rest of the crew is there to help the director achieve his vision. For exampe, the idea of a “team” of game designers is pretty absurd in this context. Gravmari doesn’t have a director, but the soul is there: the game is a work of art as its whole — the execution of a unified vision — not an idea and a list of features.
- We are both scientifically-minded, principled individuals. A couple of indications of my little joys: Most game developers know that you shouldn’t hard-code numbers, but abstract them out into named tweakable parameters. But you can do better than that: do some math and discover what the right answer is, so tweaking doesn’t make any sense. Eg. you could have a tweak parameter for the speed of an orbiting ring galaxy, but better is to write down an equation and find out at what speed a stable orbit forms. This approach has worked wonders throughout this game. Another joy is that we fully embrace our 2-dimensional environment, so much so even to change the equation of gravitational attraction. In 2 dimensions, gravity ought to follow an inverse law, rather than an inverse square law (I can explain why later if someone asks). This has the side effect of creating much more math for us to do, because everything you find online applies to the inverse square form.
All in all, I think the game and the studio will be great. I’ll make another announcement when you can try it out.