Indie Sixy Times

Last week was the sixth anniversary of the start of my journey into independent game development. Every year I like to write up a little recap of the past year, and this year is no different. And we’re off!

For me the past year has been quite different from previous years. Most of the year was spent not working on my own Streaming Colour projects, but instead working with Matt Rix on games for Milkbag Games, our new company.

I did manage to put out a few things by Streaming Colour: Finger Tied Jr. (July, 2013), and Baby’s Playful Hands (October, 2013). I was also lucky enough to have Apple ask me for a demo version of Finger Tied that they could put on iPads in actual, physical Apple stores. That was pretty exciting, and being able to see my game on iPads in Apple stores was extremely rewarding.

The rest of my year was spent working with Matt on games for Milkbag Games. At the start of my year six, Matt and I were in the middle of working on a game called Snow Siege. However, by the fall, we both needed a break from the game. We’d been working on it for a year and were still months away from it being finished. At that time I was working on a prototype for a bonus mini-game in Snow Siege. The game was a little scratch card where you tapped on squares to reveal shapes that rewarded you with prizes. The game was so much fun on its own that we started joking about taking the mini-game idea and making it about rescuing cute, pixelated animals. But the more we talked about it, the less it became a joke, and the more it became something we really wanted to make happen. This mini-game became the core of Disco Zoo.

Disco Zoo started as a three-week prototype to test the idea and see if it was fun. Once we were able to play the game, we were convinced that it was something worthwhile and we spent the next three months expanding the prototype into a finished game. We teamed up with our friends at NimbleBit to publish the game, and the game launched on iOS in late February, 2014 to an Editor’s Choice feature on the front page of the App Store. We brought the game to Google Play in April, and between the two platforms we’ve had nearly 3 million downloads so far.

Needless to say, we’ve been extremely pleased with the response to Disco Zoo. Matt and I had a great time making the game, and people seem to really enjoy playing it, so we couldn’t be happier. Some people buy things in the game, so that makes us happy too. 😉

On a personal note, Disco Zoo couldn’t have come at a better time for me, because if the game had flopped, I might have been at the point of having to decide between continuing with indie life or finding a full-time job again. I’m so lucky to be in a position where I can keep doing this. I have said this before, but none of us do this alone. I’m always aware of how much help and support I’ve received from family, friends, journalists, twitter acquaintances, players, and more. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me in a myriad of ways over the past six years. Because of you, I can continue to do what I love and keep making games for the future. And after all, that’s kind of the whole point.

Here’s to year seven!

Owen

P.S. The title of this post was blatantly borrowed from TOJam 6: “TOJam Sixy Times”. 🙂