February 2012 - Posts

30+ years in the making - The ZMan (in association with Exato Games) presents GunCraft

Almost 7 years ago I quit Microsoft mid career to go out on my own with the hope of writing games. Its been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid but once of those things that I never really got round to doing.

Since 2005 I've had many different projects - Microsoft timed the XNA release to coincide with my leaving which gave me several opportunities to work for them doing XNA Demos over the years. I've been awarded the MVP award for XNA for 7 years now and through that and the XNA forums I've just about managed to keep myself employed. There's been good years and there's been 'ok' years - I've probably averaged less $$ than I would have at Microsoft but most of my projects have been more satisfying than being a manager, writing reviews and going to meetings which is where my career was heading. I've paid my bills, I've been on vacations and life is good. But none of those projects were shipped games... and working between jobs hasn't lead to any games of my own (though many started!)... so one of my goals was still missing....

Then 18 months ago I spotted an XNA job in Seattle - XNA jobs are few and far between let alone local ones. Turns out it was a small local startup called Exato Games - who had been working for a while on a game they called Progenitor... by the time I joined them the game was about to undergo a major design change and they had decided to hire a full time experienced XNA guy to upgrade it to XNA 4, Sunburn 2 and hopefully finish it. After working on it for a solid year we have a very playable nice looking demo. Sadly the judges in several competitions and other publishers didn't seem to agree with us! We had a choice of ploughing on without additional funding and a small team or changing direction.

During a lunch time conversation last year we noted how well minecraft clones were doing and we joked about doing our own but realized that being 6 months late wouldn't add anything so we decided that clearly the game was missing one important thing - GUNS! You know how these conversations go and before long we had 100 great (ok not all great) ideas and a name - GunCraft. Then we promptly forgot about it and carried on with Progenitor

But the idea was mulling around in John's head and he decided to put Progenitor on hold and go for a much shorter project that we could do with a very small team.... I seriously went on vacation and when I came back the whole team had changed direction!

Today we have a very playable alpha that we've had a couple of 15 player games - though its still rough in places all of the basics are in place and the game crashes less than most AAA titles at release. A final release is in sight and at that point I can probably officially check off all the goals from 7 years ago - in fact it will be around 7 years since I handed in my notice and around 30 years since I told my parents I could write a video game if they bought me a computer

So today I present 2 things to you:

ONE - please visit our kick starter - the funding will help the final release process, get you some great swag and allow you to preorder the game.

TWO - check out our parody trailer - the MW3 fans will recognise it right away I am sure! A great job by our artist Stephen Scott

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