Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Before Production, Pre-Production!

Welcome to the production blog for our new game, The Family Starr. We're really excited to be working on a new game, and wanted to show the process that we go through when developing the project.  Our last few games and animations have been made behind closed doors, aside from a few clips or pictures posted here and there, on our Pachinko Pictures twitter and facebook pages.

We kicked things off this week, and started by reorganising the studio to accommodate all our books and games that had arrived from the UK. When we moved to Melbourne from London in 2010 we deliberately moved with minimal stuff, in an effort to keep things simple while we found a place to live and set up a studio. Now that we're all set up in our new space, we thought it was a good time to have our books, games and films shipped over. After working for a couple of years without that stuff, I really started to appreciate how useful it is to have reference to hand when developing concepts.

The Family Starr is an action adventure game that will occupy us for the duration of 2013. I'm going to talk more about the concept over the weeks and months that we develop the game, but the idea came about after we created Lol-a-Coaster, a client game for iOS for Chupa Chups. When we got to the end of that production, Ian and I had a lot of ideas about how to do action gameplay in a new way. We let the idea simmer away for about 10 months, and the decided to put some time into developing a pitch for the Film Victoria game development fund -- a development grant available here in Australia.

We were successful in pitching for the 2012/13 Screen Development fund, which supports Australia-based game developers who are looking to create a new original title. As an indie studio, Pachinko spends most of the time working on client work to pay our studio overheads and personal expenses. We've been looking to work on our original game concepts, but needed to secure some principle funding to pay the baseline costs. The grant from Film Victoria frees us up to chase our crazy game idea.  

So today we had our first full day of pre-production development on Family Starr. We're going to take our time and really enjoy each stage of the process, and we're collaborating with some really excellent development talent that we'll introduce soon. We're not adopting any concrete conventional game production process, at least not explicitly. Instead we're approaching the production as we would an animated film -- immersing ourselves in the story and the concept and nutting out all the characterisation and logic. It feels really good to develop characters from the bare bones of a concept, and establish a world. We have a great core mechanic, and we want to match it with a great story.

You can expect us to put a whole bunch of different stuff here on the blog, and see everything take shape from the bottom up. If people are interested, we can also talk about the process of applying for public funding for game development here in Australia. You can ask us questions here in the comments, and also on our Family Starr facebook page and twitter.

We're so excited about 2013, our year dedicated to The Family Starr.

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