If you’re a programmer who…
- Is passionate about renderers, shaders, post processing image effects and the art side of programming;
- Loves to collaborate with artists to create an in-game look we are all excited about, can can see the tiny details within a piece of art and concoct strategies and implementation plans to bring it to life in a 3D game engine, and will work with everyone on the art team and tell us what we could do to make the game look even more incredible;
- Has lots of experience thinking through and implementing content pipelines;
- Is champing at the bit to make a great game using Unity;
- Will ensure the game is optimized and provides a smooth experience for players when it ships;
- Is enthusiastic about everything else it takes to ship a game with a small team, from game design to basic implementation…
…we’d love to talk.
Most importantly, you’re ready to mold the overall culture of a new studio in its earliest days—someone who wants their responsibilities to grow and evolve into all sorts of engineering and design avenues is a great fit for us. Our studio is small and will remain small forever so know that coming in the door your work will have an impact on the game we ship, and your attitude, thoughts and philosophies will have a massive impact on the studio as a whole.
Please send a resume and a brief note about why you’d like to make a video game with us to email@example.com.
Hello, you probably don’t know me. I am the guy that makes sure you can point your reticule at the correct part of your intended target. I am the guy that makes it so that you can interrupt reloading your gun to punch the enemy in front of you. I write the code that tries very hard to read your mind. I was the player programmer on Bioshock 2 and The Bureau at 2K Marin, so hopefully you have seen my systems at work.
When I was working on upgrading the weapons in Bioshock 2, we were really serious about selling the fantasy of being a Big Daddy or, as Jordan Thomas once said “We need you to feel like an underwater robot sorcerer.” To that end, we decided that our version of the old crossbow, the Spear Gun, should pin guys to walls. Seemed like that would be fun, and easy enough. It took me maybe a week to get the basics sorted out. We would get the collision point of the spear, see if the target was dead, do a little ray-cast in the direction of motion to see if we were near a wall, stick the spear in the wall, and make a little constraint.
Joining Campo Santo with Sean, Jake and Olly was simultaneously the hardest and easiest decision I’ve ever made. I had been at Klei for over two and half years. I was the lead designer on Mark of the Ninja, which was critically well received, commercially successful and I personally was tremendously proud of it. If you’ve paid attention to video games at all, you realize all three of those things lining up is probably the least likely of all video game fates. And unlike some studios which achieve those things by paving the way with the shattered bodies of their developers, I really liked everyone I worked with at Klei and we worked in largely sane conditions.
But there’s always an “and yet …” When Jake mentioned to me at GDC that he and Sean were thinking of starting up their own studio and (I’m pretty sure, nearly 100% jokingly) asked if I wanted to join up and make a weird video game together, I said “We should talk more.” Then he introduced the giant Englishman standing behind me at the bar as Olly (as in Moss), who was also probably on board for this mad voyage.
Deciding to found and then actually CREATE a video game studio has felt like a mix of buying a winning lottery ticket and taking a brash detour that results in a near miss with a pedestrian. Impulse followed by action followed by sitting in your car hyperventilating. The outcome is thrilling at best and disastrous at worst.
There are so many reasons to NOT make games; but in the interest of focus, here are two.
Firstly, games hate to be made. They really would rather not be made and once they catch wind that they might be in the process of being made they break, stall, and use all of their static inertia to produce something that’s really not fun to work on, let alone play.
Secondly, the video game business — the thing that ostensibly allows a band of quixotic programmers, artists and designers to try to wrangle the stubborn monster mentioned in my previous point — is insane. It doesn’t have a very clear understanding of its (readily apparent) nature of risk-taking the way most risk-taking lines of business do. Beyond the risk, and the way it shapes the industry ecosystem, there are very few business oriented end-games that appeal to the types of people who like making interactive experiences. Sell the company? But we’re just now successful enough to make what we want! Create a hit franchise with multi-million-dollar sequels? Come on, can’t we make something new? The Venn diagram of why businesspeople start businesses and why developers choose to make games has a strange middle, indeed.
So why are we doing this? To be honest, it’s because we think we’ve found the right group of people to make the first reason not just worth enduring but actually thrilling. As we talk to our friends and industry colleagues about “doing something indie” with us, there’s a shared pragmatism informed by years in the industry that melds with the lingering youthful enthusiasm that got us into games to begin with. Some of us want to tell stories, some of us want to build systems, and some of us want to create beautiful looking worlds, but we all want to make something. The stultifying difficulty of making a good game is instantly tempered and then squashed.
Furthermore, we believe we’ve found the right partner to make the second reason — the insanity of the game business — moot (or at least insane in a new and unexpected way).
Our first game is being both backed by and made in collaboration with the stupendous, stupidly-successful Mac utility software-cum-design studio slash app/t-shirt/engineering company Panic Inc. from Portland, Oregon. Jake will probably get into it more in a forthcoming post, but, essentially, a long-standing friendship between Jake and Panic founders Cabel and Steve, along with a mutual admiration for not just what stuff we make but HOW we make stuff, lead us to the realization that we all had to work together.
It’s an unlikely partnership that means we get to conceive of, make, and distribute a video game the way we want to and the way we know how, with no pre-prescribed set of rules or formula for how it’s done.
So off we go. Check back often and see what we’re up to. Follow us on twitter, perhaps. If you know Jake and me from the Idle Thumbs Podcast then you already know we’ll have a hard time not talking about how things are going. We’re lucky enough to set off with the artists and programmers and designers we’ve fawned over and been friends with for years but we’re also striking out with you; someone, presumably on the internet, who has enough interest to pay attention to an announcement like this and has enough excitement to pay attention to what comes next. We will work very hard to not disappoint.
Did we win the lottery? (It feels like it) Are we about to hit an old lady with our car? (I hope not). The shock is the same either way.