Author: Lee Thomas

State of the Stallions: May
I'm going to interrupt our program about prototypes to give a quick State of the Stallions update. April and May have been absolutely crazy months and it's been difficult to keep up with blog posts! [caption id="attachment_1123" align="aligncenter" width="662"]Gallantry Gallop Gallantry Gallop[/caption] In late April, the entire Double Stallion team took a road trip to Toronto to attend TOJam. It marked the first time that our team participated in a jam together, and we had a lot of fun! We made a game called Gallantry Gallop: A politeness race where you must tip your hat to every gentleman or lady you encounter. We're planning to release the game for free as soon as we've touched it up a bit. We built Gallantry Gallop in Unity, which the team is still learning. Aside from some stomach trouble on the way there (to put it lightly), everything went without a hitch. We managed to create a decent game in 48 hours and learn the basics of Unity. We worked alongside some great indies from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. [caption id="attachment_1101" align="aligncenter" width="662"]A happy Double Stallion family poses at TOJam. A happy Double Stallion family poses at TOJam.[/caption]
BAMF! postmortem at OIGC 2014
Recently at the 2014 edition of the Ottawa International Game Conference, Dan and Stéphane discussed in front of a captive audience of game developers the lessons of Big Action Mega Fight! It was a really great opportunity for the whole team to take a moment and figure out the hard takeaways from the development and launch of the game. If you are interested, we have made available the presentation in both PPTX and PDF formats. The first version includes the complete speaking content of the talk in text format. It's like you didn't miss a beat!
Prototyping: Photosynthesis
We got a pretty good response to the prototyping post last February. A few people wanted us to actually delve into the details of each and discuss our thoughts on them. By now, we've settled on a good idea, but I think it would be worthwhile to take you through the prototypes one by one in a series of blog posts, ending with a more detailed explanation of Luna. After deciding to put our heads together and work as a team, the first game we prototyped was called Photosynthesis. The core concept of Photosynthesis has been in the back of our minds since before BAMF. Here is the elevator pitch: [blockquote]In Photosynthesis, you are a tree, and you must survive in harsh environments and produce offspring to conquer the biosphere.[/blockquote] In order to fulfill these objectives, you have to manage your resources. You must gather water through your roots, and sunlight in your leaves in order to make sugar, which is the resource that allows you to build out your tree. Think of it as a cross between plant biology and SimCity. We saw this as an opportunity to learn about the complexity of trees in the form of a game, and create a simulation that would actually teach players some biology. We started doing a lot of research about how plants and trees grow, and tried to capture the interesting processes in our game design.
GDC & Fifth Element
It's hard to believe it's already been over a month since our first State of the Stallions post. Things are moving very quickly at Double Stallion. Here is a quick update!

Team Growth

Allow me to introduce our very first employee, Nicolas Barrière.  He is bringing his game design experience to Double Stallion, and started prototyping with us when he joined us in February. He will also be helping with community management on future games. We're super excited to have him on the team. I'll let Nicolas say a few words:
[caption id="attachment_884" align="alignleft" width="266"]Nick says hi! Nick says hi![/caption] Hi everybody! I am Nick, the newest addition to the stable. The fifth element, if you will. I am super happy to join the team and help everyone produce some amazing things. After working in the mobile game industry for a few years to create games for a large audience, I found that my next step was to join an environment that would suit my creative needs better. Having known our artist Eric for years, the transition seemed all but natural. From this point onward, I'll be helping the team with anything ranging from game, level and narrative design for our games, on top of assuming roles as both public relations and community manager. It's going to be quite a challenge, but I am up to it to learn while on the job! In addition, I am extremely excited to join the independent game development community at such an exciting a time! I have a deep love of games culture as a passionate, diverse, respectful and inclusive community for years now. I cannot wait to make friends and interact online with such amazing creative people on a daily basis. If you want to chat, hit me up on @Soranomaru on Twitter.  
State of the Stallions: Prototyping
You haven't heard much from me yet. I'm Dan, one of the programmers at Double Stallion Games, and also the project lead (generally dealing with tasks, schedules and such). I wanted to kick off a series of blog posts, which I will aim to update every couple of weeks, discussing what we're working on and our current challenges. With BAMF! 1.7.1 finally out the door, we're taking our very first break in development to begin focusing on our next big thing. The big problem is that we don't have a clear idea of what that is yet! The team has discussed many designs internally, and last week was our first chance to test those ideas out with prototypes. This is the first time I tackle the prototyping process as a full-time game dev. It's definitely a different experience. When we started Big Action Mega Fight, I was on vacation after the development of Party of Sin, ready to move on from that project. We hadn't found an office yet and the team wasn't full time, so it was difficult to schedule meetings. We were exchanging emails about game concepts and having design meetings in our homes. When we got together for a game jam, it was a short and focused two-day affair. In the office, there seems to be more pressure to "be productive" and it changes the process quite a bit. We now have a live game that is also demanding attention, and we spend more time together. You'll find a lot of advice online about prototyping in games. How failing early and failing often is important, and how everyone should be prototyping before entering production. However, despite everyone discussing it, there is no specific methodology for prototyping. Do you just start building the first thing that comes to mind? Do you work as individuals or as a team? How do you gather feedback, and when do you decide to kill an idea which isn't working out? These are questions that few people answer, but they definitely came up last week.