Tag Archives: gamasutra

Off the Map in China

Off The Map in China

Off the Map in China

Gamasutra has posted an interview by Christian Nutt with your truly. It begins with…

Famous for his work with id Software and on EA-published cult classic Alice, American McGee set up shop in Shanghai, China, in 2007 with his new studio, Spicy Horse. Though the company’s first game, Grimm, for the GameTap digital service didn’t make a big splash, McGee maintains that developing the game was instrumental in setting up a tightly-run and efficient organization in China, one which has helped him reexamine the very process of developing games.

In fact, McGee suggests that most of what developers know about working in China is wrong. He suggests that process can lead to a crunch-free environment and great quality games — his team is currently working on a sequel to Alice for EA, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Says McGee, “EA has talked about trying to figure out how it is we’re doing what we’re doing, because clearly they’re looking at what we’re doing and they’re seeing us hit all the milestones and come in ahead of time, and come in high quality, and everything that they could ask for from a development team. [But] I don’t know if you could export it.”

Christian and I go on to talk about life and work in China, cultural and development impacts on starting and running a studio in Shanghai, and more. You can read the full article here.

Also, if you’re interested in some of the thinking that originally inspired me to move to China, I suggest you check out “Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic” The book examines how American culture has become obsessed with consumption – and how it’s destroying people’s ability to be happy with themselves and what they have.

Grimm Postmortem

Models & Animations Pipeline

Models & Animation Pipeline

Gamasutra is featuring a lengthy postmortem of “Grimm”. The article was primarily written by Grimm’s producer Wim Coveliers with contributions by all of the Spicy Horse team. It does a good job in detailing the high-level things that went right and wrong during the production of Grimm. From the article:

Going into production, we knew we had a lot on our hands: we were going to develop the world’s first weekly episodic game, and we had exactly one year before the first episodes were scheduled to air.

Since nobody had done a project with these variables, we had to create most of our scheduling and pipelines from scratch, based on the team’s instincts and varied experience.

Now, a year and a half after starting development of our prototype, eight episodes of Grimm have been released; sixteen more episodes will be distributed in the next several months.

The game has been very well received: it has become the best-selling game on the GameTap service, and with plans to bring it to other digital distribution platforms, the future looks very bright for Grimm (however much he hates bright things himself!)

And while the article provides some interesting insights, it barely scratches the surface of the story – the energy, ideas, pain, and joy that went into building a new studio in China while developing a first-of-kind episodic game. One thing that always amazes me are the personal stories carried by the individuals in our team – the backgrounds, travels, adventures, loves, losses, and other unique elements that make the people, and in turn the team, what they are… A really beautiful thing.

I’m proud to have been a part of it all. And hopeful for what the future holds in store for Spicy Horse. As we head into the New Year (Chinese!), I’m wishing everyone prosperity, health, and happiness.

Bring on the Year of the Cow! Moo!

Gamasutra Talks to Rick Sanchez

The Cow Grinder

Mmmm… burgers…

Gamasutra has a great line in their description of Grimm, and it’s one I wish I’d written myself (it’s so cute):

“… In between those tellings is an unexpectedly gameplay-driven experience that is reminiscent of Katamari Damacy in its dynamic – except, instead of rolling a ball around, you are (apparently) peeing on things and filling the world with filth. In an adorable sort of way.”

That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? As warped and twisted and disturbing as we’re getting with each story, it’s all in “an adorable sort of way”. I’m not sure if that’s more or less disturbing…