Past Present & Future
It is due time for an update about the goings on at OOMGames.
I made the classic newbie mistake with my first game. Mother Lode was too ambitious and took way longer than anticipated. A year of full-time development, not to mention many months of part time work before I quit my previous job. I became too attached to it and didn’t want to cancel it or move on. Every time I re-evaluated how much longer it would take, I would underestimate by at least 2x.
That said, I’m super proud with how the game turned out. It has some great tech, good ideas, and the potential for being a really fun board game.
It just took too darned long and didn’t sell near well enough to justify its development. I made a couple updates to address some initial usability complaints and add retina support, but neither helped sales. The game barely sells enough each month to pay for my AppFigures account!
After release, my wife and I were starting to feel the pinch of dwindling finances. I hurried to start my next project.
Splatapult is a physics-based action game where you fling objects across playfields, trying to satisfy the whims of your wacky king. The playfields are populated by grids of pegs of different types. The initial set of levels take place in a forest where the pegs are tree branches, flowers or other foliage.
Rather than launching projectiles individually, the game lets you fling formations of multiple objects. Additionally, you can pick and choose what type of projectile to put in each slot. Each type has its own powers and abilities to help you achieve your goals.
Learning from my past efforts, I decided to hire contractors to help with the art and sound. I brought on Patrick Tsao to handle the artwork and Jonathon Tree for sound design. I’m super happy with both and would definitely consider hiring them again.
Unfortunately, after several months work, I just wasn’t feeling the fun. The game seemed to have potential, but I wasn’t confident that my efforts would bear fruit.
If finances were tight before, they were ludicrously constricting now. I didn’t have time to design and complete a new game before our bank accounts went critical.
I actually did start development on a third game (I can’t help myself – it’s in my blood) and am feeling really good about it, but it was just too late to make a difference. I had the prototype playable in two days and find myself wanting to play test it much more than either my previous games.
I considered launching a Kickstarter campaign, but the question then becomes what game to attach to it. I wasn’t feeling good about Splatapult and wasn’t far enough along on game #3 to have enough to show. I actually have the KS campaign mostly created (based on Splatapult). I’m sad to have to abandon it. One of the rewards I was going to offer is this cute plushie of the OOMGames logo. This is the prototype and the only one in existence. I really wanted to get more of these little guys out in the wild.
Out of options, I started looking for a job. I have tried to break into the game industry multiple times over the years, but have had trouble because my professional background is in the hardware industry. I have created games as a hobby in my spare time for all my life, and am a capable software engineer, but couldn’t find a game company willing to take a chance.
This job hunt was different. This time I had real full-time game experience. I hoped my brief stint as an indie would reflect well and show my passion for the industry.
My dream was fulfilled when I got an offer. I start next week and am super excited!
What does this mean for Order of Magnitude Games? The company will switch to maintenance mode. More importantly, my new employer has asked that I cease work on my own games.
The past year and half was tons of fun. It cemented in my mind that this is the industry in which I belong. Now it is time to move on to the next phase of my professional development. I want to use the opportunity to learn a ton.