Tag Archives: concept

Dev Armada – A Proposal

UPDATE: This post has turned into an actual event: www.pirate-jam.com

Seeking feedback on an idea I’m brainstorming: Hackathon + Sailing + YouTube

A rough draft PDF overview can be found here: Pirate GamesV2 (Updated Mar 10, 2015)

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Here’s the request for feedback I’m posting to Reddit’s /r/gamedev

Seeking Feedback: Hackathon/Jam + Sailboats + Reality Show

tl;dr: Game dev wants your feedback on “sailboat-based hackathon + video series” concept.

For the last 23 years I’ve been making games with non-traditional themes, in unusual development environments, and with interesting financial/legal structures. For instance, 9 years ago I started a studio in China which went on to make the first AAA Western console game 100% developed by a China-based team. Spicy Horse continues making games to this day, but with a focus on F2P mobile games.

Always seeking a new challenge, I’ve been brainstorming a way to combine some of my favorite pastimes: game development, sailing, and YouTube content (creation and consumption).

I’m here today seeking feedback and advice on what’s tentatively called “Dev Armada” AKA “Pirate Games” AKA “Will it Float?”

The idea:

Create a 10-day hackathon/game-jam; put it aboard sailing vessels in the Andaman Sea (Thailand’s most beautiful place to sail); insert competing teams of 3 devs per boat; allow for 7AM-12PM development; fill the remaining day with “pirate games,” sailing, diving, and fishing; film the whole thing; and release 30 minute episodes to promote the brand and finished apps. Finally, release the apps for free and generate revenue via YouTube, ads, Patreon, branded merchandise, sponsors, and other sources. Participants share in the financial success of each adventure. Repeat this 6 times per year.

Thematically, the video series explores a “fish out of water” narrative as participants overcome various challenges related to life at sea and development in remote locations.

The pilot episode will feature two sailboats (one mine, one belonging to and captain’d by friends who are sailing couple). Two teams of 3 devs will be flown to Thailand to participate in 10 days of development and fun. The resulting media content (video, apps) will be used to verify the concept and pitch the idea to potential sponsors, financiers, and future participants.

I’m looking for feedback in general. I have some specific questions in mind, but will wait to see the general feedback before posting those.

So, what’s wrong with the idea? What’s great about it? Why would you participate (or not)? Would you watch the videos? What’s your pirate name?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Change Log
Updated the PDF. Adjusted goals related to content type and theme. Old version of the PDF can be found here: Pirate GamesV1

BaiJiu Racer Concept Announcement

Widescreen BaiJiu Race

Bai Jiu Racing

Today we’re going to try something a little different: Pitching a video game concept!

Traditionally when I’ve pitched game concepts the process involved face-to-face meetings with potential publishers, use of our agents (CAA) back in Los Angeles, and lots of traveling. Well, I’m getting old, China is FAR from the rest of the world, and the Internet can do a lot of amazing things, so here’s a game pitch for the next generation:

Announcing “BaiJiu Racer” – An MMO-lite racing game concept with China as the core theme. The concept has been in focused pre-production for the past three months here at Spicy Horse. Working with our Chinese publishing partner ICEE we’ve crafted a solid Game Design Document, Technical Design Document, Art Bible, Visual Target Demo, and Development Plan. Together these materials constitute a compelling pitch for a title we think will be a strong competitor in the worldwide, lite-MMO, online racing category (think “Kart Racer”).

A lot of teams dream of a “Mario Cart” or “KartRider” killer – and we think our concept goes a long ways towards being a viable contender. For one, it’s the first Chinese cart racing game developed with an authentic and original Chinese art style, set in real-world locations, and featuring some of the funkiest racing vehicle designs the world has ever seen (inspiration coming from actual Chinese vehicles). We’re focusing on semi-realistic (and fun) physics-based racing dynamic, going light on the power-ups, and throwing in a lot of visual action. Check out the art and video to see the result.

A few key features and differentiators:
* Distinctive art style featuring a timeless portrayal of everyday Chinese people and locations
* A clean and clear graphic style for UI
* Core gameplay focused on skill-based racing, avoiding fun-killing power-ups
* Strong narrative backbone and emotional drama – “everyone can be a hero”
* Unique and interesting vehicle designs based on real-life Chinese vehicles
* Track locations that reveal a China few foreigners have seen
* Risk reduction in production through use of 3rd-party tools and engine (UE3)
* A fast and efficient project schedule built on Spicy’s proven development processes

Our Chinese publishing partner ICEE has a lock on the publishing rights in China. What we’re looking for now is a publisher interested in the remaining world-wide rights. We might also be open to territory specific deals with the right partners.

To learn more about BaiJiu Racer and what’s on offer, you can do the following:

Visit my Flickr Account to view a collection of concept artwork related to the project.

Visit my YouTube Channel to watch a video of sample game play, primarily intended to show the art style working in-engine.

Finally, email me to request information (GDD, TDD, budget, schedule, etc) relevant to deciding if the publishing rights are a fit for you.

Spicy Horse has established itself as one of the strongest independent game developers in China. Following the success of Grimm we’re growing and expanding to leverage our core talents, process oriented development methods, and inspirational location. If you’re interested in learning more about the studio, our capabilities, and our ideas, let me know!