Friday, January 3, 2014

A Biennial (Triennial?) Update

Well, I suppose this is a good habit -- I last updated this blog back in December 2011, and now we're all in the future year of 2014, where I can turn on my television with my voice and binge-watch all seven seasons of 30 Rock from start to finish without moving. If I keep this up, I'll only have to update this blog at most one more time before I expire from repeatedly binge-watching 50 straight hours of television without moving.

The last few years have proven to be rather... interesting.

Dust: An Elysian Tail was successfully released on Xbox 360, PC, Mac, and Linux (available on both Steam and Good Old Games). Not only did it receive very positive reviews (with Metacritic scores of 83/100 on Xbox 360 and 85/100 on PC), but it also just surpassed half a million copies sold. If you use a game service like Steam or GoG, you might have also seen it on their recent holiday sale. Come to think of it, I think the game's been on sale more than it hasn't over the last few months.

I also made a transition to a brand new game development studio back in May of 2012.

At HitPoint Studios, I jumped right into the deep end of the pool, working on their Windows 8-exclusive episodic PC adventure game series ADERA as a puzzle and game designer. It was more than a bit of a culture shock to me, but it was a fun new challenge to work on first-person puzzle adventure titles, especially since I loved them growing up (MYST, Lighthouse, the Zork series, the Journeyman Project, etc).

The ADERA series wrapped up after five episodes. Challenging as the project was, it was a lot of fun to work on the design for it, and I also learned a lot in the process. Not just on the design side, of course, but in working with the large and talented HitPoint team and learning to work directly with publishers on day-to-day creative tasks (Microsoft had a very prominent role in the development of ADERA).

It's also the second game I've worked on that people did cosplay for.

Well, technically the third, I suppose -- but the Wee Ninja outfit that made its debut at E3 a few years ago wasn't really fan-made.

That picture up above with the Dust cosplay, by the way, is of Dean Dodrill (the creator of Dust: An Elysian Tail) and myself, along with an awesome fan who wore his Dust outfit to PAX East last year, when Dean and I did a panel on the making of the game. That was also where we announced the Steam version to the best audience I could possibly have imagined.

So, what else is new? Partway through 2013, I had the opportunity to help create the world, characters, and design for HitPoint's latest original IP: Fablewood

If you have a Facebook account and are a fan of hidden object games or isometric world builders, it's definitely worth a look! The goal was to create an easygoing Facebook game with memorable characters and a fairy tale vibe, so if any of that sounds appealing, it's right there on Facebook. Seriously, it's right there!

I've also been keeping up with the webcomic I mentioned last time I posted (wow, the amount of time between that last post and this one is almost staggering now) -- Beyond the Western Deep continues to be a fun project and a fun story with fun characters and a fun partner to do it all with, so I suppose there's little worry in that stopping anytime soon!

Rachel and I have also just confirmed our presence at the next Baltimore Comic Con, where we will have a table in Artist's Alley and be selling hardcover collections of the first collected Western Deep volume along with some manner of stickers and/or art prints. I may also be putting up an appearance at Boston Comic Con shortly before Baltimore -- though if I did go, it would be without the inimitable Rachel Bennett at my side. The trip from Ohio is a long one, after all, and if she's picking one convention to do between the two of them, Baltimore will be it!

Judging by the number of books we'll be printing, I imagine we'll be doing some manner of online selling, too. It's entirely possible that my next blog post may take considerably less than two years to produce, but we'll see.

The year ahead is filled with promise and myriad opportunities, so I may be tempted to swing back to this blog (since people still link to it even though it updates at a geologic timeframe). The best way to stay apprised of my activities would be to follow me on Twitter @tdcpresents.

Well, that wasn't too bad I suppose. Only took me two years to put that post together. Think I'll go take a nap.