Closure of Shanghai Studio, Start of New Adventures

10 years, 10 games, tons of wonderful memories. The Shanghai studio of Spicy Horse Games is closing its doors. The company itself will remain intact, and we’ll continue to operate existing games online. At our peak, during development of Alice: Madness Returns, the studio contained 85+ people. These days we’re down to just 6, and it feels like a good time for a radical shift.

I’m going to turn my focus to indie development and will continue to publish small titles under the Spicy Horse brand. Much of this work will be done in a challenging new environment – aboard my sailboat, bobbing around the S.E. Asia region. This is also where I’ll bring to life Pirate Jam – the game jam on a flotilla of sailboats. I plan to document this new adventure online and in video. If you want to support these new creations, check out my Patreon page.

The past 12 years in China have been incredible. I owe so much to the people who helped build Spicy Horse into a happy place to explore and create. To the hundreds of developers who called Spicy Horse home over the years, Thank You. And to the fans and supporters who enjoyed our efforts, Thank You.

Now, to the next adventure! I hope you’ll all join me along the way 🙂

Comment on this announcement on my Facebook page.

“BigHead BASH” Open Beta on Kongregate

Everyone at Spicy Horse is very excited to announce BigHead BASH is now in Open Beta on Kongregate!

Who’s up for some free-to-play BASHING action?

Time to get of the farm, stop counting cows and start collecting exclusive toys and weapons! This is the first of three new titles Spicy will release in 2012 – all of them designed to push online gaming to new heights of quality and fun.

Like collecting things? You can get Mr. Destructoid and his Rooster Launcher, or if you’re in a more gentle mood, Nurse Tacky and a Chainsaw. Monkeys, lasers, robots, pirates and more! BigHead BASH is where your toys go to play!

New toys and weapons will be launched every two weeks, with exclusive posters and wallpapers on our website and Facebook page.

Check out www.bigheadbash.com and join the fun!

UPDATE: The kind folks over at Destructoid have covered the Open Beta story here.

Spicy Horse Gallops in a New Direction

Really Spicy Horse

Christian Nutt over at Gamasutra covered the initial announcement of Spicy Horse Games’ new business and development direction. From the article:

Today, the Shanghai-based studio Spicy Horse, which has completed work on Alice 2 for EA, is announcing that it has secured $3 million in investment from Singapore and Shanghai-based Vickers Venture Partners.

The company, from this point forward, will focus on developing 3D social, online games for a global audience. Spicy Horse is working on its first post-Alice 2 project alongside PopCap’s Shanghai studio — a 3D online version of one of the casual titan’s games, to be launched initially in the Asia/Pacific region.

There’s a tremendous amount of excitement around these studio these days. We’ve just finished “Alice: Madness Returns”, which has turned out beautifully and marks a historic occasion in game development, the first-ever AAA console game developed entirely in China. Having finished with Alice, we’re returning to our roots, online games (like “American McGee’s Grimm“, on which we founded the studio). Best yet, we’re joined in this adventure by two great partners, PopCap (who’ve given us a really cool development deal) and Vickers Capital Group (who’ve given us a really cool investment deal).

Going forward the focus is going to Free to Play, Online, Multi-player games built using high quality 3D assets and distributed via mobile platforms and F2P operating partners world-wide. This strategy effectively combines two things Spicy has proven it’s great at – casual online games (Grimm) and AAA console games (Alice). My belief is that this combination will be the next big wave in the casual online space. Where audiences have had their fun with great 2D Facebook games, the market demands evolution, and we hope we’ve got the secret formula.

Over the coming weeks and months we expect to announce more details about a range of exciting projects, including the collaboration with PopCap. For the “Alice” fans, we’ve got some twisted fairy tales being adapted into F2P format – very dark stuff. And the creative minds at the studio are also stretching out, building a diverse offering of IPs which we hope will capture audiences around the world.

Stay tuned here and via our other media feeds like Facebook and Twitter for more info.

DexIQ for iPad Released

DexIQ Poster #2

DexIQ Split-Screen Multiplayer Action

Spicy Pony is proud to announce the release of DexIQ for iPad. The original DexIQ on iPhone was the Pony’s first game release – and in the months since its release found lots of fans around the world. Its unique split-screen dexterity and IQ tests established a cool new model for touch-driven games. But no point stopping there…

DexIQ on iPad takes split-screen action to a whole new multiplayer level. Four simultaneous games on one screen, for two-player head-to-head action. If you thought playing two games against yourself was fun – wait till you’re in a four-way gaming battle with your friend! Take a head-to-head DexIQ challenge or choose your own combos from dozens of cool games.

Brain not able to imagine four simultaneous games? Check out the trailer:

Don’t just sit there freaking out! Get DexIQ for iPad and iPhone NOW!

iPad version with 2 Player split-screen madness
iPhone version with 1 Player split-screen fun

“Peasant Da Vincis” at Shanghai Rockbund

Chinese Farmer Sub

Chinese Farmer Built Submarine

From ArtObserved:

On May 4, the exhibition titled “Peasant da Vincis” curated by the renowned American-Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang opened in Shanghai. “Peasant da Vincis,” featuring a combination of inventions by Chinese peasants and works by the artist that explore the subject of human creativity. It is also the inaugural show for Rockbund Art Museum, the first contemporary art museum in the historic riverfront area of Shanghai, known as the Bund.

Read the full article on ArtObserved.

Over the weekend I visited the new Rockbund Museum to see “Peasant Da Vincis” – a exhibit featuring an array of awesome hand-made inventions created by peasant/farmers from around China. I’d previously read with great interest of home-built inventions like the walking, talking rickshaw-pulling robot, fully functional submarine, homemade airplane and helicopter – but I never thought I’d get a chance to see them up close… much less RIDE ON THEM!

The exhibit allows direct interaction with some of the devices – you can actually ride the robot rickshaw. Other inventions like submarines and airplanes are on display inside an open-air atrium filled with birds. The ingenuity and creativity exhibited in the design, construction and function of these devices is truly inspiring.

If you’re interested in checking it out visit the Rockbund Museum website for more details.

EAVB_DGLOPWCAMS

Wind Power to Blow Strongly

From Shanghai Daily: Wind power to blow strongly

CHINA is expected to increase its total offshore wind-power capacity from 5,000 megawatts in 2015 to 30,000MW by 2020, a senior official at a hydropower institute said.

“Shanghai as well as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and Fujian provinces have already submitted their offshore wind-power blueprints. Their combined off-shore wind power capacity could reach 22,800 megawatts by 2020,” said Wang Minghao, vice president of Hydropower Planning Research Institute, who spoke at the Offshore Wind China Conference yesterday.

Read more on Shanghai Daily.

Every time I read a story like this about energy in China it gives me a little bit of hope. While the world reels from oil-related catastrophes (see Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore) China continues to push aggressively towards meaningful renewable energy goals:

China is aggressively expanding its renewable energy consumption to reduce reliance on polluting fuels like coal and oil, and plans to increase the proportion of renewable energy to 15 percent of the country’s overall energy mix.

That, combined with Chinese consumer/manufacture awareness of energy efficiency and resource scarcity, means China could become a beacon for sustainability – that is if they aren’t pushed to consume the world first.