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  • Spilt Milk Studios: 2020 Retrospective

    [02.09.21]
    - Andrew Smith

  • PROJECT MERCENARY  

    A natural segue! We started our next game project as an experiment, but one with a very specific question to answer: can we build a fun game that works to our strengths as a new(ish) team (the new additions change the dynamic and our scope up our abilities!) that we believe we can self-fund to completion?  

    Those strengths: 

    - action gameplay
    - worldbuilding, story & character
    - art style/aesthetic  

    A lot of what we can do is defined by the team of course, and that also means there's a limit   - a list of things we should not try to do. With Steve on board, we can absolutely undertake 3D art, but predominantly environments as opposed to characters, which gives us some interesting ways to think about what we want to achieve. You can always turn a weakness into a strength by reframing the challenge or the goals - what success looks like. We also looked to break free of a restriction of sorts - having one pure programmer in Andrew R - by learning to use Playmaker and Bolt, meaning we could work on gameplay at a faster pace.  We hope to be able to show our progress on this soon, but until then, you'll have to make do with this tease!

    BIG SECRET PROJECT  

    Yup! We've made a bunch of hires around a significant project that we've landed some funding for! It's all a bit hush-hush as we want to make sure to announce it only when we're sure you'll fall in love with it. Suffice to say it's a dream project, it's technically challenging, and allows us to stretch ourselves creatively. We see it as the project that we can build the company around, and it even shares a lot with Project Mercenary Landing the funding was a big surprise for many reasons, but doing so really does build the confidence we have in our methods. We have a great reputation, and by doing business the way we do (honesty, integrity, quality) we find ourselves in the fortunate position of being able to... well. You'll see!

    OTHER COOL STUFF

    - We managed to do some Peck N Run exploration in terms of art style and polish with the wonderful artist Courtney Millman on character duties, Jake on Concept and Steve on Environment.

    The concept:

    In-engine:

    The adorable star of the game!


    - We joined the Games London Accelerator which has brought us a business mentor, as well as a raft of amazing experience, talks and resources. Already our pitches are stronger for it!

    - Virtual pitches and meetings were the new normal, and while it means we are definitely going to be spending less time travelling in the future, looking back it was interesting to note that at least one third of Andrew S' working time is spent on business dev - meetings and the like - and in 202 Spilt Milk pitched various projects in more than 50 pitch meetings. Kinda mad!

    - We had our 10th Birthday right as the UK went into Lockdown the first time, so we replaced it with a really fun Birthday Stream where we played 10 games from our 10 years of releases!

    2021

    So what can we expect to happen over the next 12 months? Hopefully, even more success, growth, and community fun. We've already got plans for a new set of interns to join us starting in February, we'll likely get to announce the Big Secret Project, and I can pretty much guarantee that we'll be releasing a bunch of prototypes on our Spilt Milk Shake label... so watch this space! We should also be making more hires, and generally just smashing it. Still... best-laid plans and all that.

    Until next time, Happy New Year!

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