Sunday, 23 December 2012

It's a long time coming, but alas it's only the beginning...

First a lame title, now a long-ass one... Sheesh!

Anyhow, I've been persuaded by a friend of mine (http://www.dopplerinteractive.com/) to write up a blog article summing up what had happened to me during the past year. It's been a turbulent one to say the least as Sonic Punch Studio actually had a bumpy prologue before its recent conception in December 2012.

It'sa Me...!

To formally introduce myself, my name is Damien Tsui and I am the founder of Sonic Punch Studio. I created SPS for one thing and one thing only: to create games that my players and myself will be happy and proud of. Being a one-man development army, I am basically responsible for all of SPS's programming, game design, art and design, sound, PR, writing, and everything-you-can-think-of needs.

Oh yeah, although I did list programming as one of the things that I do, the fact is that I have ZERO programming skills and also dependent on nothing more than PlayMaker (Unity plugin; refer to previous blog post) and my meagre experiences in playing around with Q-Basic, learning software design at high school, as well as a mathematical itch.

Wait... I'm Having a Flashback!

January 2012 

The beginning of the year opens as I participated in my first ever Global Game Jam. Teaming up with a group of eight dudes, we sought to create an art-house action infinite runner based on the theme of the Ouroboros but failed to complete it due to over-ambitiousness (This is the game). Within the team I was in charge of creating visual concepts for the game and 3D modelling.

The art direction concept that eventually didn't get adopted in the game.
The 3D model of the protagonist that never got used in the game due to complexity.
The only thing I've done that got featured in the game.

April - May 2012

This time of the year marks my departure from my 2.5+ year tenure at a "game" company (note: sarcasm) as its artist-turned-game-designer working on a project that was on an eternal cycle of reiteration without progress. As soul-crushing as my time there was (a boss that knew nothing about game development, air conditioning that marvellously succeeded in breaking down during the hottest summer days, and a server rack conveniently positioned right next to my workstation...), I have gained enough industry experience to embolden myself to make the biggest position in my life: to go indie.

Along with a friend from my workplace, we formed an informal partnership where we initially worked on making an action game for a mobile device that incorporates an innovative control scheme. Progress was slow due to the scale of the game concept, on top of the fact that my partner was only moonlighting as the game's programmer while he still worked at the same company I left earlier. Nonetheless, everything was peachy up to the point where we almost signed contracts to seal our partnership; that is until...

The last concept image I made before the break up...

July 2012

On a fateful night, my partner had announced that he no longer wanted to continue working on our venture and wanted out. As a result of this falling out, all assets were handed over to me and I was left without a programmer to help me realize the action game concept. In the proceeding month after the split I spent the time picking up PlayMaker in the hopes of creating that dream game by myself.

After many futile attempts (at that time I had absolutely no idea what I was doing), I finally decided to shelf the game project (dubbed Project "Plan A") and move onto a simpler game concept.

August - Present 2012

This period of the year marked the birth of project "Bubble Virtuoso". I've spent most of this time period in learning, experimenting and making the most out of PlayMaker. In mid-November I've finally revealed my first playable prototype to the local game development workshop group. I am still working of refining the structure of the game up to this day.

December 2012

By early December, I've finally got around to registering my business and business name, design a business card and set up my Twitter account and my blog. Thus, Sonic Punch Studio was finally born!

Wrapping Up

So as you can see, it was pretty rocky for me before I have officially created and announced the existence of SPS. If there was a lesson to be learnt, it would be that for any venture that gets started, it will be best to start out small, especially if you happen to be suddenly working by yourself after splitting up with your business partner. Smaller projects are probably the best way to test things out, whether they be game concepts or shaky business relationships, lest valuable time has been wasted for nothing.

Through the Crystal Ball

While I do not have any definitive plans for 2013, what I can say is that I plan to finish development of Bubble Virtuoso within the first third of 2013 followed by a promotion campaign after I get back from a one week break at the end of April.

As far as future projects go, I do plan to start developing another small-ish game after Bubble Virtuoso. The idea for this game is still up in the air but I'm always thinking about it as I continue to work on BV.

As for project "Plan A", it will never be forgotten as it was supposed to be the dream game I want to make. I am still considering how I can continue where I left off with this project but the possibility of forming a new partnership/team is still on the table.

Final Words

To those who have supported me throughout this year and my decision to form this studio, I would like to send out my deepest thanks and appreciation. Although going indie has its risks, it is better to try it out rather than not try at all!

And for those who have just started checking out this blog, I would like to say thank you for even checking out Sonic Punch Studio in the first place! It gives me great pleasure to share my work and thoughts to you all and I will strive to continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

I hope you guys have a great and safe holiday season. I will be back with new stuff next week!

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