I'm excited to finally reveal that I've formed my own independent game company, Heart Shaped Games
. The two weeks or so I've been living the indie life have thus far resulted in incredible productivity and one joyous beard that is, perhaps, in need of grooming. Beard aside, I'm really looking forward to sharing more about the projects I'm working on soon. But before I get ahead of myself, I thought I'd share why I made the leap, and some of the goals I have for my new company.
I've always been somewhat of a Jack-of-all-Trades. My background is Computer Science, I live and breathe game design, and I have played the role of producer, designer, programmer, and 3D artist throughout my short career. I've found that I'm at my best when I can take this diverse background and apply it in a "creative hub"-type role that interprets between all disciplines.
As well, over the past four years I've had the great fortune to work closely with some of the world's top Indie game developers on the best platform for independent games out there (Xbox LIVE Arcade). That experience allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the business of games, and exposed me to the challenge and joy inherent in leading small teams.
Heart Shaped Games is my attempt at building a company culture that takes full advantage of my personality and professional experience. In practice I plan to build and source projects for online and mobile platforms, with the hope of partnering with talented, like-minded developers to bring those games to market. In many ways, the goal is to build an organization that excels at that type of creative leadership role I most enjoy.
From a design standpoint, Heart Shaped Games is about developing new IP born from personal visions that, in some small way, can speak to the human condition. In essence, I'd like to put the Truth in Game Design
process I've written about into practice. It's about putting care into the game systems I author, such that meaningful and memorable choices result. I want players to fall in love with my games.
I've summarized my goals for the company in a simple (and somewhat hokey) mantra: Healthy Casual Games.
Healthy is an odd word to use to describe a game, but I think it fits into what I want Heart Shaped Games to be known for. Healthy for me means offering meaningful choices that result in opportunity for growth in the player. It means offering real value instead of filler and leveling treadmills. It means building social in from the start; making relationships between people
a part of the core mechanic. And it means providing this experience in a way that fits into player's lives; in the time they have, in the places they already are.
Reach and Business Model
I'd also like to take the spirit many of my favorite game designers have in the flash/experimental space and marry it with a business model that can help these types of games find an audience. Though many of the current titles that represent Facebook, mobile, flash portals, etc. are the antithesis of the vision I've laid out, these platforms nonetheless represent one of the biggest business opportunities for independent games in history. The barrier to entry is at an all-time low, and the addressable audience is at an all-time high. Though I may not always succeed, my hope is that Heart Shaped Games can find a balance between creativity and business in order to harness these new platforms for good.
On a personal note, my goals for the company are secondary to a personal desire to live without regret. I've come to the conclusion that there is no reason to spend another minute not doing exactly what I love, if there is a way to manage. What I love is designing games and spending time with my family. There is much risk to the indie life, but the personal freedom it affords me is well worth the risk.
So here's to happiness, and to an exciting new venture! Time to get to work.
P.S. If you'd like to get in contact with me about anything regarding the new company, please drop me a line at email@example.com
. You can also follow along with me on twitter