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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:49 pm 
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Some concept art for Symphony of the Machine. I'm just going to leave this here. Questions and comments welcome.

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:15 pm 
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Wow, you look like a kind of person that would like to see a WIP screenshot or two.

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I think it looks pretty nifty.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:01 pm 
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And due to the way that Facebook tags things we have a Symphony. We have only done the basics but if you want to Like it, then that's a good way of seeing a bunch of content. :)

https://www.facebook.com/Symphony-Of-Th ... 999153875/

Also sometimes I feel like I am talking to myself on this thread so if you have any thoughts or first impressions of Symphony, questions about how VR works with motion controllers, comments etc. feel free to chip in.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Hello Westgamers,

I haven't posted for a bit, so here's the skinny on where I and Stirfire are at.

Approval Thing: So my approval thing with the Big S happened (and I am allowed to mention SONY). That was nice and a big weight off my mind. I won't be getting the next product out quite when I wanted to, but it will be soon.

iAwards: A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Melbourne with my lead creative/lead artist and we presented at the iAwards- national ICT business awards. We were the only creative entry to make it that far in a group of 600. They were mostly crunchy business products or for health and education across the 17 categories. We didn't merit, but they're now putting in a Gaming/Entertainment category in the comp next year partly because of us. I called one of the judges I know for some feedback and we came in the middle of our category (Consumer) and there were some wildly-differing entries in that category. This included a driver-safety app for a pizza chain, Choice's app for scanning free-range egg cartons to tell you how ethical the hatchery is and a thing assisting autistic kids. They're all great entries, but how do you judge a game against all that?

PAX AUS 2016: I will be exhibiting with my team down at PAX AUS 2016 in the PAX Rising section. If you're coming, come down and give me a high 5. If we have met before, I probably look a bit different than the last time you saw me but if you can play detective, win a prize (a crisp High 5).

Restructure and Life: I quit my day job. I'm gonna do this stuff full time as of the 1st of October. I have financed the company and although the next six months are going to be a thrill ride, I'm expecting big things. All of our team are gradually committing more hours and we will have four fulltime employees as of next month, plus casuals and contractors.

Perth Games Festival: It looks like I am talking on the night of the 28th about investment and structuring a business in the indiegame industry and we will be exhibiting on the 1st at Perth Town Hall. http://www.perthgamesfestival.com.au/

In other news, I actually walked into a GW store today. Felt the same after all these years but I recognise less of the plastic men.

Peace out y'all!

V

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:18 am 
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Thanks for the update Garth. Great to hear things are going well for you mate. Enjoy the ride!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:59 am 
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Thanks Troy. I'm on the countdown with the dayjob now. Four days this week, four next... Eight in total AKA roughly 64 hours. Not that I am counting. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:37 am 
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BOOM! And we have officially announced.

Symphony of the Machine- coming to Sony PSVR, HTC Vive and other VR platforms in Q1, 2017.

Here's the first teaser trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2J2GbFCvuE

And the press articles are rolling in now.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:53 am 
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Oh yeah, we have a new Symphony Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SymphonyOfTheMachine/

Like it, if that's your jam. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:16 pm 
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So we are two weeks out from PAX AUS 2016.

We are still polishing the game, working on features and bug-fixing.
We have another playtest session on Monday night.

The freight leaves Monday, we just got a pallet and filled that up, the posts and art are ready, some of the VR gear is shipping off. We are still scrambling to get a couple of monitors but you get that.

We are of course, all shipping out for the three days of developer conferences ahead of PAX, so nothing is going to get worked on that week, but that's not a bad thing.

I've spent my week adulting pretty hard with employment contracts, IP, lawers, accountants, finance people and the like. I'm looking forward to hanging with game peeps.

To everyone who's coming over, Stirfire will be in the Premium area of PAX Rising on booths PR05 and PR06. Come give us a high 5. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:26 am 
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I can't even begin to describe what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been.

Our team was on crunch time for the lead up to Melbourne International Games Week. We held a couple of playtests at our office to polish factors in the game and to get the team of developers used to getting people into and out of the game. Exhibiting a VR game on Vive holds a significant number of physical challenges, and our team are developers, not expo staff so getting them used to dealing with people is a thing in itself.

MIGW Round Up:

GCAP Loading: So we arrived on the Sunday and we pretty much went straight out to a student/industry consultation night at the end of the GCAP Loading conference. The "Loading" refers to the student focus to help boost them into the game industry. Oh yeah- Game Connect Asia Pacific... Hey, there was free booze and delicious cheese there, I spoke with numerous students and caught up with old friends. It was a good night and it started the love-in of MIGW.
UNITE/GCAP: UNITE is the Unity conference. Unity is the middleware we most commonly use for our products (including Symphony and D3BUG), so the artists, programmers and producer did their thing and I went and hung out and played games in the showcase. I played Damsel and this is definitely in my list of Indie games to watch in 2017 because it's %#&ing beautiful. I didn't get a chance to try American Dream and doubt I could because of my VR motion sickness thing, but it looks like a pretty amazing game too.

I met Innes McKendrick who is a programmer on No Man's Sky- a game that I enjoy most days and have played a ridiculous amount. I am perfectly aware of the controversy of it and it's foibles, but whatever. During my gaming time, I play whatever I want and I love this game. I might have fansploded in front of the very shy Innes.

GCAP was the usual swirl of panels, lectures, keynotes and emotion that it always is. This year was a record turn out of some 800+ attendees, most of which are developers, but there are a few students and industry types. I had my photo taken with a group of friends with Innes (we all shared something in common) and kinda apologised.

AGDAs: I went to the Australian Game Developer Awards night because it's fun and it's always great to see what the industry rates for the year. Gritfish and League of Geeks cleaned up. If you haven't played Killing Time at Light Speed or Armello, now's a good time to start. I was chatting with some random guy- as is the networky nature of the night and this compact, very well turned-out woman in her mid-thirties entered the conversation and introduced herself as "Brie." I recognised her as Brie Code, the lead programmer and AI person on the first three Assassins' Creed Games and Child of Light etc. Maybe I don't have as much personally invested in those games, but I held it together and she was really nice and we had a good chat.

PAX Setup Day/WIG Lunch: So this was the hardest setup we have ever had to do for a show. Ever. And we were as prepared as we could have been short of making our booth in our office and transporting the whole thing (expensive and stupid). The expo fixtures company tore our main signage and had to reprint it, our TVs did not arrive until 4pm and I got the call while in a JB Hifi about to spend $1200 on two more, we had colossal tracking problems with our HTC Vive headsets because of all the others interfering and the EM bouncing around the venue itself and then one of the headsets stopped working at 6pm during testing. Luckily HTC were there and came to our rescue with a spare headset. With the tracking issues, my business partner and lead tech was there until 10pm. I was still doing media stuff at 11pm.

I sat down at the WIG lunch, which is a networking event and a frumpy, middle-aged man sat down in front of me. I checked his name tag. It was Ron Gilbert. Internally I rolled my eyes- this week! Ron Gilbert is responsible for Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and so many classic Point and Click adventure games that I grew up on, I had an internal fansplosion but held it together. As he's a developer again, he's quiet and a little awkward but we got into a funny story session and he's also hilarious. Also I was telling Ron Gilbert,a Spielberg of our industry, funny stories. Thank god he was laughing.

PAX: PAX is an onslaught if you're exhibiting. There's no other way to describe it. From a media perspective, Risachantag (our artist lead and creative director) and I must have done so much media over the course of the weekend we could recite the answers in our sleep. The reception for Symphony was huge. Everyone loved it- I don't think I heard any negative feedback all weekend. The sets were constantly in use, the crowds were massive. On Day Two, Innes came by our booth and told us that our game is beautiful. I nearly floated away.

Our D3BUG alpha went off too and we now know precisely what to do with that game. I must have had so many hugs over that weekend, I was a mess by the end of it. And then on Day Three, I bumped into Katherine Cross, one of the most iconic journalists in gaming of whom I had met earlier in the week. She was telling me how many wonderful games she had played and I laughed and said "well, you haven't played mine!" She came to my booth shortly after and exclaimed she could not play it because she suffers motion sickness in VR. But so do I and we have extensively playtested to eliminate it, so with some convincing, she played the game. I'll leave the resulting Gamasutra articles here for your perusal (just bear with me and read them if you have time):

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2850 ... corner.php

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2850 ... s_Week.php

So much love.

PAX over with, I got my aching body to the Megadev post-PAX Indie developer afterparty and proceeded to get trashed. Huge week, so many emotions and then back on Tuesday and I have been struggling a bit since.

Now I am working on our major capital raise which is going to power Stirfire for the next three years.

Edit: Innes.

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Last edited by V on Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:00 am 
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Non- MIGW/PAX related post ahead. This one is a bit more about my personal journey, so skip past if you're more interested in game biz stuff.

So my New Year's Resolution this year was to love games again.

Last year saw the commencement of a very arduous personal undertaking for me for health reasons that I am not going to speak too much about here. Suffice to say, my life has changed significantly since making this decision. Last year was the first time I got to go to MIGW and PAX just to enjoy myself. Previously, we had gone in a professional capacity and exhibited at PAX AUS 2013 and 2014. By PAX last year, I had been hunting for funding for my company for around eighteen months, I was pretty down, I knew my career in telecommunications (my day jobs of some thirteen years or more) was pretty much over. My body was not in a good place because I did not feel I was in a position to start enacting the changes I needed to make to my lifestyle. I am someone who does not tend to shy away from a challenge or an arduous task, but it is fair to say I was in the grips of depression.

I painted nearly three miniature armies last year, but I only get to play around once a month because of my career and family commitments. I am time poor.

Whilst I existed in the videogame developer culture, I basically didn't play anything. Nothing much looked enticing enough to commit the time to it. So I watched a lot of TV when I was too tired to work or not doing family-related activities or simply the operational stuff that we all need to do to exist.

This year I am playing videogames again. I got a new weapons-grade laptop through my work, I bought myself a PS4. I had to play a tonne of games in rapid succession for a professional gig I was handed and I have played games I normally wouldn't have given a second thought to. One, I really loved and will keep playing it until it's done. I love games again. I've played a bunch this year. Videogames are easier because they're on-tap any time you need them. I wanted to spend my limited spare time playing and enjoying games rather than painting for that next game that might be in two month's time. Painting armies like I was always felt like I was trying to work towards and achievement and well, I do enough of that at work.

Finally, I saw a pathway to enact the changes I needed to make in my personal life because I secured the funding for Stirfire and was in a position to finally make the jump across at the end of September after working part-time on it for nearly six years. I am now a full-time managing director of a game company. I don't have a serious "day job" anymore. My job is to secure monies for development, supervise legals, marketing, PR etc., to manage my business. I fly around the country to talk to people about the games we are making. It's a pretty good gig. I have been able to make my role around me and I have around ten staff (eleven?). One of the really interesting things I am still getting used to is when people who were my friends now introduce me as "their boss." I have been able to make the adjustments in my personal life and I am a much happier person these days.

I love games again, I see the value in what I do and I am hyped about what is coming next year.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:49 pm 
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I'm just gonna leave this here! ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:24 am 
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Great interview Luke. So pleased to see this new initiative from you. You really are an asset to gaming in WA mate. Also stoked to see Vee doing so well. I'm really proud that I know you both. Thanks for your hard work Luke and Vee!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:01 pm 
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The Party Loaded/Channel Endgame team have been a bedrock for me over the past year or so and they have helped us out several times, especially when it comes to playtesting. That interview was recorded on Day Three of the expo and when I see myself in it, I am putting on a brave face, but I can see how tired I am. It's nice to know that when you are heading into an interview situation that the people on that side appreciate what you are going through (I had also had a really horrible night before for other reasons) and are going to help you out as much as possible. Lisa R just gets better and better in that interview environment- by now, she's a pro.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:38 pm 
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It does help when you have a sweet game to talk about too. ;) Always a pleasure!

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