Month: June 2014

A Game Studio’s Growing Pains – by Jamie Daruwala - June 23, 2014

Our postmortem on ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’ was well documented by the On The Level Game Studios team on a Gamasutra website blog and on our website in the News section. The ideas kept coming and we tried to implement many things we thought would make the game better, and we listened to outside input. We made additions and changes which ultimately caused us to rush parts of the game in order to finish on time. Technically, we were not experienced enough to do some of the things we tried to do, and that was plainly seen in our reviews. Lesson learned. But, we should not discount what the team got right.  Most reviews praised the company for creativity and effort on a first indie game. As we moved into the next phase with the second game, ‘Boo Bunny Plague’, we tried to simplify some of the gameplay and focus on our perceived strengths: concept creativity, art style, and in-house music.

When we were at a PAX conference, many people including the folks from the Nintendo booth were impressed with the early alpha demo of ‘Boo Bunny Plague’ that Rikki, Lead Artist and Director, had been working on. What was a side project for Rikki turned into the main focus for our second release. The first game was completed by the team in just under two years.  We are trying to get Boo Bunny Plague done with the full team in a year and three months, and our experience, plus process improvements and tough decisions to cut where needed, will hopefully take the company to another level.  Most game devs will tell you that this does not come without pain.  Trying to do things faster, while maintaining or improving quality, is a tough balancing act.

OTLGS: A Little History – by Jamie Daruwala - June 12, 2014

On The Level Game Studios (abbreviated OTLGS) started in May of 2011, and it was the dream of the ownership to create something different with their first game.  While golfing on the US coast, owner and founder Jeff Reimert asked the obvious question, “What would happen if Vikings jumped out of the water and attacked us?”  Thus was born ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’. I joined the company in April of 2013 as Director of Sales and Marketing when the ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’ was coming out, and I was impressed with the creativity of the core team. Rikki Knight, a tattoo artist with a deep passion for gaming and comics, was (and still is) the day-to-day director at the studio.  Bunny D.A.S.T was an audio pro with over 20 years of sound and recording experience.  I quickly realized that this was a team made up of programmers, artists, QA, and audio that ownership had given the opportunity to cut its teeth and improve its abilities in gaming.  Only programmer Jeff Frank came from a large established studio, Lucas Arts.  Since day one, owners Jeff and Carolyn have been committed to giving each team member the opportunity to succeed in the video game business.