Once you decide to make a game, how do you put together a team? I guess the more interesting question for this project is: how do you put together a team without Tony Stark-like funds? Odds are that you, like me, know some very talented people, whom you then bring on using your Tony Stark-like charm. It certainly helps that I have worked in the industry and thus have collaborated with wonderful people whose skills I saw firsthand. But I also have met people at other jobs, remained close to childhood friends, and collaborated with others in art projects from different media who all had relevant skills. Note that I highly recommend actually being nice to people instead of manipulating them like Nick Fury. Ok I am seriously done with the Marvel stuff now.
I am not a programmer so coders were my first priority. I reached out early to Tom, who had worked with me at the now-defunct educational games company Twist Education. I knew Tom was a good generalist programmer who would give me the cold, hard feedback I needed. His crushing project cynicism combined with sparkling personality made him perfect. I also turned to Jerry, one of my oldest friends. We used to design games of the paper and board variety back when, and I knew he had made a number of small games on his own, and he did music, so he brought an incredible variety of skills to the table. We've managed to stay friends since being kids together so I figure we can tolerate each other through this. I got in touch with Brad, a coworker who I used to always talk about making games with, who I had also collaborated with on creative projects and who was a solid programmer when I worked with him. And finally I begged Sam to help, someone I have worked with at all my major jobs that weren't game design. I can't get rid of this guy. Thankfully he could spare some of his mad skills between making his own awesome games through While True Fork.
I am also not an artist, so that was priority number two. I first contacted Al and Anne, two incredible 2D artists I worked with at Twist. I loved their styles and their work ethic, and was not going to let them get away from me, even though Al was busy making awesome games with One and a Half Beards. I also tapped his partner there at 1.5 Beards, Nick, who was my cohort in game design at Twist, to help me with designing, both in terms of creative ideas and documentation and hands-on scripting and world building. I finally bugged Evan, another one of my oldest friends, to put his incredible animation skills to use, despite his busy work doing great freelance work and dabbling in games with Polakie. He did the badass trailer you see up front. I am in love with the work all of these artists do, so part of my mission is to show these amazing people to the world. You'll have to wait, but not long!
Music was also critical since it yet again an area where I have no skill (I promise I actually do contribute something). I knew Jerry would do some but I knew I needed full time music, and Will was my first choice. A good friend who had created some work for me and whose work I had seen in other friend's projects. He just finished whipping up some brilliant stuff for Super Avalanche. Thankfully Sam also introduced me to his brother in law Ian, whose skill and prolific game work was incredible. He did the music you hear in the trailer and has a ton of small games under his belt.
Ok, so where do I actually come in? As you might have guessed, I am producing this project. I have experience putting shows and movies together and unofficially acted as producer through most of my time at Twist. I am also heading up the writing and design. I have piles of experience at both. In addition to my work directly designing games, I have been an instructional designer for many years, creating interactive simulations and teaching materials. But my first love has always been writing, and interactive writing has always been my specialty. Even outside of game design and instructional design, nearly all of my plays have had an interactive element. You've Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery! was written exactly like a choose-your-own-adventure book, with the audience making decisions at every scene. It won awards in Madison and played at the Fringe Festival in New York. Open Sesame!, my Bollywood fairytale musical, had multiple levels of audience interactions with characters. I did a massive audience-interactive piece spanning the grounds of Luminaria, San Antonio's gigantic arts festival. So I am confidant (I'll be honest; cocky) about my writing abilities and my guarantee to deliver an incredible story that changes drastically based on the player's decisions. Still, i didn't want to do it alone so recruited Pat, who I have known for years and always been a fan of, even though he is suspiciously Canadian.
Rounding things out I had Tammy help with web design, Andrew with marketing and social presence (you'll hear much more form him later), and plenty of others who pop in and out to help, who you will meet as our journey continues.
As the blog develops and I take you further into our process, you will be hearing from all of these people and seeing examples of their work. Concept art, music, story outlines, and more will be posted here and to the Media page as progress.
That's how I put together a crack video-game-makin' team. Next time I will take you through the genesis of this idea and how Heroes Must Die came to be, how I wanted to combine my disparate role of playwright and game designer into some genetically modified Frankenstein's monster of creativity. As always, comment, or email us from the About page to ask questions, get press info, or learn more.