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  • Spilt Milk Studios: 2020 Retrospective

    [02.09.21]
    - Andrew Smith

  • KING OF CRABS

    It all started at a Christmas party in our London office, in 2019. And what began as a 'what if' conversation only slightly influenced by alcohol turned into a fully-fledged project! Helping Robot Squid to launch King of Crabs on Steam Early Access was a complete pleasure.

    Such a great game, already a massive success on mobile, and their team were trusting and motivated in taking our advice on what to do (and what not to do) ahead of bringing the game to PC gamers. Having just recently passed 750,000 players on Steam, we could not be more proud of the game to be even a small part of such a big success is an honour. It helps that we genuinely think the game is hilarious and really good fun to play... which may or may not be reflected in our twice-weekly streams!

    SUPER DOOM WALL 

    The game-we-built-inside-another-game, and then launched that on Stadia, came out in 2020 despite development finishing in the Winter of 2019. Super Doom Wall is a madcap PvP arena battler, and we got to work on this with the wonderful Juju who is a bit of a smashing chap, all things considered. The game was a total blast to work on, playtesting was always a joy, and when it came out we saw plenty of people enjoying it, which was just lovely. Plus we'd been allowed to play with brand new tech, which always tickles us pink.

    So when EA announced Rocket League we were... gently frustrated. Then kinda vindicated/honoured as it sunk in that someone like EA thinks the game's basic concept is worth pouring millions into, then a tiny bit gutted as Rocket Arena didn't do the biggest numbers. Sad times. It's doing alright just not world-smashingly brilliantly. 

    While it's widely accepted that almost no idea is ever wholly original the Gods do like to occasionally make things really weird, nudging the strands of fate so that the same idea gets executed on by more than one group at roughly the same time. It's happened in our past (Bro Force to our Tango Fiesta... let's not talk about that), it happens in Hollywood (Armageddon vs Deep Impact, etc), and so while it was a momentary surprise, it soon became an amusing anecdote.

    STUDENT PROJECTS  

    We've not spoken much about this, but we've been working with teams at the University of Abertay, as well as Anglia Ruskin, on industry briefs. We supply a project design and scope, teams pitch on their take, and then we help guide them over the course of, well, their course. We always commit to taking the prototypes they build and at the very least launching them - fully credited of course - under our Spilt Milk Shake label over on itch. We've got 2 projects which we've lined up for that treatment already, and another brewing... but annoyingly we've just not had the opportunity to release them yet. It's a definite high priority for 2021, and as soon as we can you'll be getting your mitts on them! We want to make sure the students' work is released, they get credits, and hopefully by doing so we legitimise their efforts.

    Of course we hope they spark interest from publishers and players too, and each of the projects was carefully chosen to try to test out a theory or two. It's exciting to be able to stretch ourselves with work outside our internal capability, but it's important to make sure we value that work and make good on promises!

    INTERNSHIPS

    We've long been keen to be open about making games, and to do what we can to help people who want to make games achieve their dream! This is hopefully obvious in how we talk and how we act. But what isn't obvious - because we've not been talking about it much - is how we handle internships. We've been incredibly lucky to welcome two cohorts of Interns to the family over the course of 2020, and are already looking to bring in another this year!

    The first cohort - Lina, Ashley, and Joan - helped us build the first Project Mercenary prototype from scratch, defining the look and feel as well as gameplay of the game. Crucial, invaluable work that meant they worked with us every day, on a Real GameTM. The second cohort was made up of Mason (UX/UI & scripting) and Chris (code & scripting) - though sadly we have no cartoony portraits of them yet! They helped us in converting the existing prototype into a new form (from Playmaker to BOLT) and expand upon the functionality and gameplay. Completely brilliant work from them too, addressing a real 'problem' that in tackling together, both sides learned from each other immensely.  I can't wait to start our next raft of interns!

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