Welcome to Show and Tell, a regular feature where we speak to indie devs about what they're working on and what they're releasing soon. Today we speak with Flash developer Terry Paton, who has made a living through making indie games for himself and others.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio? My name is Terry Paton and I’m a Flash Game Developer. I work for myself, earning my living partly from my games and partly from client work. I have made over 100 personal Flash games (and I’ve made around 50 for clients, too).
I’ve worked with Flash making games for around eight years, working alone with my personal games, though recently I’ve started collaborating with others.
I have games out for the iPad, Android Phones, BlackBerry Playbook, and pretty much all my games are also online, free to play in a browser.
What game are you working on at the moment? I’ve actively been working on three games recently and a few other side projects. My major work has been using the GPU accelerated Flash Player coming soon (called ‘Stage3D’ or ‘Molehill’), via a framework called ‘Flare3D’.
To put some perspective into why I’m working with this, I’ll backtrack a little. About a year and a half ago I started reaching a frustration point with Flash: performance bottlenecks were really becoming an issue, limiting the games I could make. I began looking at some alternatives, specifically tools that allowed multiple platform publishing. I experimented quite a bit and still felt a little frustrated that if I left Flash all the nuances of the platform that I’d learned to deal with would be gone, and I’d be starting from scratch learning how to deal with new problems. It’s around this time that while I was attending the annual Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles last year, they announced GPU acceleration in the form of Stage3D.
This led me to experiment with various frameworks that tapped in to this new acceleration available to Flash, finally settling on using the Flare3D framework to test out making a game with. This game is Robot Arena, a simple game, pulling inspiration from a classic game on orisinal.com. I’ve designed the game with the intent of it being played on a touch screen device, as well as on the web and I feel it plays well in both formats.
I made Robot Arena as a 2D game, faking 3D effects, as the shift into using Stage3D and Flare3D was quite a learning curve. I wanted to keep things as close to what I knew with my first steps into this area. Robot Arena is ready, but not yet released. Here’s a video showing how it’s come out.
My next game is Meteor Storm 2 — a sequel to my fairly popular missile command style game. The original game was a fairly straight forward Flash game and I saw a great opportunity with the new rendering power of Stage3D to enhance the game. The sequel is now in full 3D and is looking great. I’m currently beta testing the game, fixing bugs and I hope to have it finished off shortly.
Jumping into a complete 3D environment for a game has been another huge learning curve, but has really opened up what I can now render in my games. There have been times while making this game that I’ve let out loud yells in surprise at how things have turned out. It’s been awesome fun to make.
The third major game I’m working on is a collaboration project, with someone who’s offered to code. The game is called Space Burn (or ‘Burn’ for short). The setting lands a player on a space craft near planet Mercury, as the sun begins to super nova, expanding at increasing speed. A player’s goal is to survive and escape the solar system, dodging asteroids, obstacles etc. You can check out my development blog here.
Where and when can we play? For Meteor Storm 2 and Robot Arena … Once public release Flash Player 11 is launched it could be anytime, though I haven’t set a specific date yet. Space Burn may take a while ;)
What’s next for your studio — any big plans? My intention is to work with more people and eventually step away from a coding role. I love coding but I think I’d prefer to make more games by designing and producing them — as the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’. I’ve got a lot more games left in me and I’d like to make as many as I can.
Financial success would be nice eventually, but until then I’ll keep balancing the client work with the ‘soul’ work.
Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry? If you really want to do something, just start doing it. Do it in your spare time, do it late at night if you have to. The majority of my games were made while I worked in full-time employment, so they were made at night after work and on the weekends. There is a large array of tools to make games out there, many of them cross platform, meaning someone sitting in their spare bedroom, like me, can reach millions and millions of people. There’s no excuse to not be making games if actually you want to.
If you’re an indie developer, or a student working on a cool project, get in contact with us here if you want to be featured in an upcoming Show and Tell!