Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Subject: Pickford Bros.
I've not got much to say this week. I'm kind of finished-for-now on the game we're working on, but still making tweaks and changes to some of the graphics as John implements the outstanding features, or we change our minds.
This period is a bit of a weird twilight-zone for a game artist. Programmers, or lead programmers at least, are increasingly busy until the delivery of the final master version, but for artists the pressure drops off just before the end, as all the content has to be created before the programming is finished. You still have to be 'on-call' for tweaks and changes, and there are little spikes of intense pressure when some long standing graphic or model has to be completely changed with half an hour's notice, but for the rest of the time you feel a bit like a spare part.
I can now get on with exciting jobs like updating the company accounts - collating invoices and filling in spreadsheets. Woot!
A great interview with the developers of the XBLA game N+ appeared on Gameasutra the other day. They say some very interesting things about XBLA and the competing services coming along, and the 'retailisation' of XBLA, that chime with the comments I made myself a few weeks back.
I must admit N+ didn't grab me at all. Perhaps years of playing Mario and similar games have trained me to expect a certain weight and gravity when playing 2D platformers, and the floatiness of the character in N+ felt unnecessarily wrong to me. I'm too old to un-learn my existing platforming instincts and don't want to try to relearn them again just for one game.
I admire what they've done though, and I'd love to see more stuff like N+ on XBLA (i.e. fewer licensed games and Robotron clones). I like the fact that they dare to speak out a bit about some of the problems they're facing. That's the beauty of being an indie, you're allowed to say anything you like, which isn't the case for most studio development staff. Here's a quote about the interview from somebody on the industry-only Chaos Engine private forum:
"You know, maybe you agree with them, maybe you don't, but at least they are out there saying what a lot of people can't."
The kids were off school yesterday, and the missus is off work this week, so it's a good job I don't have much proper work to do as I wouldn't be able to concentrate with a house full of screaming girls. I drew this yesterday, in between the constant distractions (no, it's not for the game!). It's copied from a photo in the newspaper on Saturday. Unfortunately it's come out like one of those awful drawings of footballers or pop stars they sell on the market, which wasn't my intention.
» N+ creators interview on Gamasutra