Cadence Kickstarter is live!

Uncategorized

I’ve been a pretty crappy blogger over the past month. My last proper post was on the January MGSA meetup. February’s meetup is tomorrow already; I’m looking at a solid month with only a single real blog post written over it.  Why did this happen? I blame Cadence.

This isn’t entirely true; it’s been a crazy busy time for Cool Your Jet’s, with a bunch of cool projects on the go. But that said, nothing has been as demanding or time intensive as Cadence. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, Cadence is an upcoming musical puzzle game from Cape Town studio, Made With Monster Love. The first time I saw this game, I freaked right out. Cadence combines so many of my loves in one, truly unique package. I was swept away by the game’s look and feel, a  gorgeous, meditative  creation, really the kind of game I dream of finding. Then there was the fact that Cadence revolved around creating and shaping music; allowing players to lay down and control music in a 3D environment, like nothing before it. And it was puzzle game! And it’s actually also a synthesizer! And it came from South Africa! There’s so much to like here, I could really go on and on, but in short, the impact of Cadence just blew me away.

make-music0

Understandably, I was over the moon when Cool Your Jets were commissioned by Made With Monster Love to assist with Cadence. We were asked to help make a video for the a Kickstarter campaign, to see the game expanded on and released. After a good year and a half of independent development, Cadence is looking phenomenal. But with ambitions as grand as creating something that reinvents how people engage with music, the team are raising funds and establishing a community to take things to the next level. Matt, Jason and I were understandably really stoked to help them make this a reality.

IMG_5704

The process of crafting a short video to try to concisely sum up something as expansive as Cadence was one of the most tough challenges we’ve taken on since forming Cool Your Jets. It’s been a grueling couple of weeks getting here, but right now, typing this at 5:40 AM, waiting for our baby to upload the Kickstarter page that goes live in a matter of hours, I’m feeling pretty on top of The World. I’m really proud of what we’ve put together, but past that, just absurdly excited to be able to help bring this brilliant game to light.

IMG_5701

So, without any further ado, let me direct you to The Cadence Kickstarter! If you’re able to, please consider helping this incredibly special creation blossom into the wonder I know it will be. Tell your friends, spread the love and join us in bringing The World one of the most exciting games South Africa has ever produced!

Advertisements

My favourite moment of 2014

Uncategorized

Heads up: this is a cop out post. Cool Your Jets has been keeping me crazy busy. This has left me with zero time to write about all the magic I’m dying to blog about. However, I realised that I’d already written a bunch of words about some of this magic. I’ll be recycling those words now.

10304974_629388813815983_8335687174104774311_n

Last year, my friends from Another Day sent me a set of questions. They sent the same set to another 29 people across South Africa, and over the course of a few weeks, released all the replies as a series called “30 people on 2014”. Each participant looked back on the year, commenting on movies and songs that had stood out to them, what they looked forward to in the year to come and what their favourite moments of the year had been.

My reflections on the year were (predictably) way, way, way more lengthy than anyone else’s. When asked about my favourite moment of the year, I got especially carried away and had to try really hard to reduce my enthusiasm down to a few paragraphs worth. Here’s what I had to say on the subject:
Your Best Moment of 2014:

While this fact is largely secret to much of South Africa, our country is home to this pretty phenomenal community of independent game developers. I discovered this in the most fantastic way possible on the 21st of February. Heading through to The Pit for an event called “Super Friendship Arcade – The Prototype”, I was unknowingly setting off to have my universe turned inside out. In the aftermath, this night would land up shifting the trajectory of my 2014.

The arcade was focused on local multiplayer games, presented with an aggressively all-inclusive attitude. That night the SFA transformed The Pit from a cold, indoor skatepark into some kind of flashing, bleeping, high-fiving utopia. In my 30 years on this planet, I’d not seen anything like it. I danced around a skatebowl, jousting with strangers. I stood alongside four other people as we worked together on piloting a rocket around with our feet. I got my first taste of the SA indie-sensation known as Broforce. I had the time of my life.

10260016_629390197149178_4473018849621760173_n10340163_629388540482677_7610172137189512037_n10336783_629391967149001_726405474913967466_n 10170753_629388447149353_4483969210684219549_n

That night I got home and dropped by the event page and must have said something along the lines of “this was the best night ever” and one of the organisers was like “thanks man, this is our gang and we make awesome stuff and you should hang out with us and make awesome stuff.” And that was that. The last nudge I needed into diving headfirst into game development, an adventure that, in a matter of months, has been one of the greatest of my life. And one that’s only starting.

For me, it’s not every year that a night like that first Super Friendship Arcade comes along. I’d mark my first exposure to The Secret Party in early 2005 as the last time I had that feeling of “I can’t believe this is happening and I’m here in this moment and nothing is going to be the same after this”. The knock-on effect of that night was that I’d start DJing, creating visuals, designing posters and throwing parties before the year was up.

SuperFriendshipJam1SFA_KITD3

Since that first SFA, I’ve worked with friends, completing five weird little games. Along with my new friends I combined this game world with the band scene I’ve been in for so many years. I’ve stood and watched as strangers have high-fived in reaction to something that’s come into this world from out of my head. It’s been righteous. It’s just the beginning and I owe it all to one Friday night in February 2014.

jkb3wteIMG_0193 IMG_0207

– You can read my entire 2014 article over at Another Day.

MGSA Meetup Jan 2015

Uncategorized

Last Wednesday, on what was possibly the hottest day of the year, I dropped by the first MGSA meeting of 2015.

The Make Games SA community was brought to my attention shortly after I stumbled into the first Super Friendship Arcade in February last year. Since then, I’ve gotten involved in the community’s forums as well as befriended and worked with a great selection of community members. Considering this, it felt odd that last Wednesday marked my first proper community meetup. Unfortunately the nights clash with a kung fu class I have, so breaking away is tricky. In March last year, I caught the tail end of a meetup where I awkwardly stood around for a while, too intimidated to talk to anyone. My girlfriend suggested I go home, make things, and come back to the community with a few small projects under my belt, so I wouldn’t feel like such a n00b.

Fast forward to last Wednesday,  and I’m heading through to meetup, squeezed into the backseat of a car packed with four game-maker friends, a selection of talent I once found too intimating to approach. I attempt to dish out in-car-high-fives to Raxter, Evan, Stu and Richard –  who sits with the Quadra-butt (see previous post) awkwardly perched on his lap. We snuggle in the scorching heat for a scenic drive to City Varsity –  which is already buzzing with people attending the meetup. As the first event of the year, everyone’s donning name tags.

Evan fires up the latest build of Broforce. I’m really excited to see the alien campaign that was recently completed for PAX. The taster is promising, but soon we are summoned to get the evening underway.
With Nic out of action, Danny’s leading proceedings.

Some great news is that Danny and Marc are speaking at GDC this year (woo!). But there is no mention that Cadence has been nominated for a Gaming Award at SXSW Interactive this year (boo!).

We head into a feedback session on the recent Global Game Jam. Apparently the Cape Town contingent of MGSA made no less than 14 games! After a few words from some of the teams involved, I am even more curious and excited to have a go at some of these offerings.

Francois takes to the stage, sharing the story of Clockwork Acorn‘s creation, their first year in business and the lesson’s learned over this time.  It’s inspiring to hear how the company came together, jammed their hearts out, re-evaluated their business model and found themselves on the other end of 2014 with a great collection of projects and prototypes beneath their collective belt.

Megan takes over, sharing the latest draft of the launch trailer of Retro Epic‘s Ginjah. Even without any sound design, it’s a great little trailer for an incredibly charming-looking game. The trailer loops on and on as Megan chats to community members who volunteer comments and suggestions.

After we escape the hall, my first instinct is to head outside to try cool down. When I head back in, the Quadra-Butt’s making its public debut and I get to join in on a few rounds of a bizzare circle-jerk game Richard has made for the cabinet. It’s weird and people are confused and amused and freaked out all at once. I catch a glimpse of someone playing Desktop Dungeons on an iPad, which is a nice sight. There’s some sort of platformer-shooter that I check out, but don’t get to play. I get to give Ginjah a spin, and become an instant fan (yet this exposure left me feeling like the trailer we had watched earlier doesn’t do justice to the insanely fun chaos contained in this game). Overall, I’m left very excited for Retro Epic and their upcoming release of the game – I think people are going to love it! Quadra-butt has been switched over to running Gung Ho Hippos, a Hungry Hippos mod I spoke about in my previous post. It’s great to see how happy it makes people.

From here I have my mind shattered, not once, but twice.

Beast Brawl is a two player augmented reality card game. Incredibly, it was put together in the space of 48 hours for Global Game Jam. I’m in total awe of the magnitude of this game:  going through the 40 card deck and seeing how they come to life through the lens of a phone, which runs a corresponding app. Getting this game done (within the timeframe they had) must have nearly killed the little team behind it, but Beast Brawl is incredible and surely well worth all the effort that went into it.

My next mind-blowing moment comes in the form of an VR experience that Raxter has been working on over his recent stay at The Free Lives house. I’m not sure what Raxter is calling this thing  but something along the lines of “Interstellar Mega-brain Trip 9000” would be apt. The Occulus Rift that the game should be running through is acting up, so I’m only half playing it, taking the game in via a normal screen. It’s still phenomenal. Endlessly intricate and utterly beautiful. The viewer is basically thrust through a never-ending stream of light and texture, passing through one little galaxy after another. For me, it’s a joy to see. A game like this doesn’t shift the goal-posts…it teleports them to a different dimension! Given that this concept has been designed for the emerging world of VR is even more of a thrill to witness.

I break away from the pixelated acid-trip and give Raxter a very well deserved atomic high-five. From there, Jem and I make our way through to Miao to join in on what’s left of the week’s Modern Alchemists meetup. I’m introduced to someone called Matt, actively working on a game that centers around a city modeled through procedural generation. More MGSA friends pull through. I have an impromptu meeting with my friend/client Ivo about a logo I’m making for his company Mexicanopiumdog. Beer is drunk. Fun is had.

At the end of the evening, Ivo gives me a lift back to my place. As I head home, I feel pretty damn stoked and greatful to be a part of a community as vibrant, active and welcoming as The Cape Town contingent of MGSA. Here’s hoping I can make the next meetup, and many more to follow!