Category Archives: Shanghai

CNY 2008 – Fireworks Fun

So far this year no one I know has been blown up by fireworks in Shanghai, but perhaps not for lack of trying. Check out this video taken on my balcony a few days ago:  

 This was recorded during the height of the “fireworks attack” on Shanghai. At this point in the evening, every square inch of city sky was filled with some form of fire, smoke, explosion, or pyrotechnic. It literally looked like Baghdad during the invasion. I’ll post more stuff once I’ve had a chance to grab it from my camera. 

Something New, Something Wicked

Over the past 12+ months my partners and I have been working diligently to build Spicy Horse into a premier game studio – our goal is to make it one of the best in China, and in the world. So far we’ve had tremendous success in finding people from all around the world to bring creativity and passion to the “Grimm” project.

This month marks the half-way point in episode production for Grimm – we’re 12 episodes in, with another 12 to go. The production process has gone so smoothly that I feel the need to knock on wood when talking about it – Especially considering we’ve moved 3 times, grown from 2 people to over 50, and had to deal with the “novelty” of running a business in China.

So it is with a mixture of pride and awe that I get to “announce” our 2nd project. At the moment this is purely for recruiting purposes – an official announcement will come when the time is right. What I can say about the project is this: “UE3 based, big publisher, multi-platform, twisted tale project” – pre-production is starting soon – and we’re seeking applicants for the following roles:

  • Producer
  • Project Assistant
  • Game Designer
  • Senior Programmer
  • Junior Programmer
  • Senior Artist
  • Tech Artist
  • Level Artist
  • Concept Artist
  • Level Designer

This is going to be a world-class product, and we’re hoping to attract world-class talent to the team. If you’ve liked what you’ve seen/heard about “Grimm”, or were a fan of “Alice” – then you’ll not want to miss a chance to work on this project.

Qualified and interested in joining our Shanghai-based team? Send a note to careers [at] spicyhorse [dot] com or post a note in the comments here (comments are moderated and won’t be seen by the public).

Rainy Taxi Ride

My friends gave me a Canon TX1 video camera for my birthday. So nice of them! And maybe for you… because now I can record and post videos. My hope is to capture some of what’s going on inside the studio, in Shanghai, and with my adventures around China. Here’s the first (crappy) test:

[youtube: 400 400]

Me taking a taxi ride to work this morning. Extremely interesting huh? Usually I ride my bike to work, but not on cold and rainy days. And today was especially cold! Winter has definitely come to Shanghai.

I’ll mount this thing to my bike one morning. Then you’ll have something interesting to watch!

Grimm on GameSpot UK

Emma Boyes over at GameSpot UK has put together a nice interview piece where we talk about Grimm, digital distribution, and life in Shanghai. From the article:

In 2006, McGee moved lock, stock, and barrel to Hong Kong and then on to Shanghai, where he set up his development studio Spicy Horse. From there, he and his team have been working on Grimm, a retelling of some of the best-known children’s fairy tales. Action adventure Grimm will be coming in 24 episodes, initially released for the PC on the GameTap digital distribution service and follow an episodic, TV-style format, complete with cliffhangers to keep gamers downloading. Fairy tales getting the McGee treatment will include Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White. The first episode is due in spring 2008.

To read the full article and see a bit of exclusive Grimm art, head over to GameSpot UK.

One Year On…

My head spins to think about everything that’s happened in the last year. On this date 1 year ago I left Lamma Island, Hong Kong and moved to Shanghai. The intent was to help my buddy Xin start his outsourcing company Vykarian, and to launch a new game studio of my own called Spicy Horse.

Both goals have been achieved, and many more. Looking back, I’m impressed by how much has been accomplished in such little time. Spicy’s core development team is now at 26 people, being supported by 19 artists from Vykarian. The Grimm project has gone from fuzzy concept to solid reality at an amazing rate – thanks to a great team and good technology. And most importantly, the people involved in these ventures and projects are happy and full of excitement for the future. It is truly a good time to be in China.

For this next year it’s my hope that the studio will pick up another production. Ideally, we’ll continue using UE3. And this time around, I wouldn’t mind working on a larger-scale console project. Episodic production is challenging and uniquely satisfying, but playing titles like Bioshock gets me excited about the possibilities for a large-scale dark fairy tale action/adventure on 360. We have some concepts out there, and I’m hopeful… besides, it’s a beautiful morning in Shanghai…

Shanghai Morning, November 8th 2007

UE3 Level Designer Incubation

My entrance into the game industry was a bit of pure luck.

In 1993, John Carmack plucked me from an illustrious job as auto mechanic and dropped me into the role of tech support/tester at id Software. I was a high school drop-out with few prospects, a passion for games, and a strong desire to make something better of myself. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.

15 years later, I am acutely aware of how much I owe John for giving me that chance to prove myself. And I’ve always believed that a story like mine is the ultimate proof that anyone can make anything of themselves as long as they’re able to see beyond the present and apply themselves to the future they want.

Today, as I look around the Spicy Horse offices in Shanghai I see new versions of this same story being written. I’ve “paid it forward” for several of our team members, and they’re shining in the roles that have been handed them. Really wonderful.

Only, I want to do more.

I want to expand on and formalize the idea of extending opportunity to people who have the desire and ability to move beyond their current, limited stations in life.

With that in mind, we’re launching a program where we accept applications from people who want to break into the game industry. To start, I’m looking for 3 individuals who would be willing to accept trial intern Level Designer positions at our Shanghai office.

This isn’t an unqualified invitation. Just as Carmack must have seen something “more” in me, we’re looking for unique individuals who fit this template:

-Gamer experience
-Artistic eye
-Strong core computer skills
-Devoted and passionate
-Self motivated
-Inquisitive, curious
-Strong spatial sense

If you’re in Shanghai, looking for a unique opportunity to create interesting games, and ready to challenge yourself, then please contact me.