Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You're making video games where?! (Part II)

As I said before, I get two reactions when I say we are making video games in Lexington, Kentucky.
  1. In Kentucky? Why Kentucky? There's nothing in Kentucky.
  2. I had no idea that we had that in Kentucky! My son/daughter/nephew/corgi would love to visit your studio!
I had no idea we had that in Kentucky!

Kentucky actually has a very active indie gaming scene. RunJumpDev serves as our indie studio organization where we come to share ideas, run events, and have amazing game jams. John Meister of Super Soul, another indie studio in the Lexington area, heads up all the organization and planning for our group on top of making games and drinking bourbon. We're a mix of all different levels and expertise in the gaming industry, and yep, we're doing it all in the heart of the Bluegrass.

Chillin' with Amumu at PAX
Moreover, we're doing this with the support of the local government, Commerce Lexington, the ICC, and the BBDP. This year, Shobu Games, Super Soul and my own company, Frogdice, went to PAX East for the very first time, and we went together as RunJumpDev with the support of our local government. That's right, Commerce Lexington helped us obtain our booth. We loved being a collection of indie developers in the Indie Mega Booth. (A booth within a booth of a collection of booths. Mind blown!) 

Why is this important? PAX East isn't cheap for any studio let alone an indie studio. It also happens in a city known for its expensive conventions, and it's so very, very easy for a studio to spend money in all the wrong places for something like PAX. Because Commerce Lexington helped us go financially and we all went together as a team, the risks involved in attending something like this were spread out pretty thin. We were able to go with minimal staff, and thus, we were able to put our funds towards swag, codes, and presentation. In addition, we now have a better idea how to prepare for these conventions. I absolutely can't wait to go again, and I'm glad to know that studios in Kentucky will always have the ability to do a "test run" before they decide to do something like this on their own. The experience we gained this year can only be described as invaluable.

So if you have a budding studio and spend a lot of time wondering how to get to the next step, make sure that you plan a trip to Lexington, Kentucky. We just might BE the next step you need to take to turn your hobby into a full-time job.

My son/daughter/nephew/corgi would love to visit your studio!

We get a LOT of visitors, so you'd be welcome. Players of our 17 year old game, Threshold RPG, have visited a total of 47 times since we opened our doors in May 2012, including players from as far away as England. 

I get tons of calls from friends and friends of friends asking to visit our studio. As long as I'm in, I'm happy to have them visit. We also have young artists who come in and learn what it is to create concept art and how we deal begin creating most of the art in our game. We also encourage Junior Girl Scout troops who are working on their Entertainment and Technology badges to contact us. We did this badge for the first time this year for my daughter's troop, and the girls had a blast making video games, playing with animation tools, and learning about the industry. (I'll tell you more about that event later!)

Last but not least, if you have a corgi who wants to visit the studio and learn how to be an awesome mascot for a gaming company, let me know. Our own resident mascot, Tehpig, a Welsh Pembroke corgi born in Paris, Kentucky, spends a great deal of time here, and she's a very patient teacher as long as we keep giving her treats.


Michael said...

We need more Corgis so I can use Vince Dooley's legendary quote when one of the Ugas got hurt and they had to use a substitute:

"We've very deep at dog."

PAX East was amazing and it is truly inspiring when I think about all the support we have from the local community.

It is very empowering to know an entire city, state, and region are rooting for you - even people who are just learning about video games (like Crash Nash).

Having that kind of support behind you is something that usually only pro sports teams know and experience. But our indie studios get to have that feeling and its pretty amazing.

Diane Carlisle said...

I've always been curious on how you guys went from Threshold into the graphical games and I really like your addition to the website as a client to connect to Threshold right away.

What platform and what development environment do your developers use to create and maintain games? There are so many different variety of software development tools out there anymore!

It is great to see you guys growing your company and maintaining a family unit around it. There have been too many negative things in the media about video gaming, it's refreshing for company's to get out there and represent in a positive way!

Good for you!

Pang said...

Thanks for your thoughtful posts as always, Diane.

We use Unity to develop our new games and Flash for all our current web-based clients and games. We hope to continue to expand the game world that Michael started 17 years ago and take all our awesome players along with us.

Diane Carlisle said...