SXSW: Tom Fulp Keynote

newgrounds.com
Started in 1995, while in high school.
Now web's largest archive of flash content.

Nov of 2002, Dan Paladin
did original web version of AH
500K file, one level
"Metal Slug" and "Gun Star" shooters inspired
people liked it, seemed cool for a flash game

Dan, working at Gratuitous Games
ported games to other consoles
company closed down
Dan and a co-worker wanted to make a console version of AH
Next thing, "John took out a mortgage on his house in San Diego"

Original schedule, done by Sept, release Xmas 2003
Small team, about a half dozen.

Development was non-conventional.
Not a lot of planning, no storyboards.
Would just get ideas and implement them on a daily basis.
It was hard to make it feel like a console game, it felt empty.
Kept making bosses until it was full enough.

There was a lot of doubt on the Internet.
But also a lot of fans and supporters, kept them going.

Sony has an industry reputation for not allowing 2D games.
Nobody thought Sony would approve it.
Accepted into Nintendo and Microsoft unsigned developer program.
Got able to dev kits.
Brought in former owner of Gratuitous Games, got access to Sony dev kit.

Eventually had finished game.
Started shopping it around to publishers.
In some companies, the gatekeeper wouldn't even look at the game.
A lot of big companies wouldn't do 2D.

Favorite rejection letter (won't say who from). Included review.
Got a "D" on the first review, need at least a "B".
Overall quality: 5
Game play: 5
Quality off graphics, music, sounds effects: 4.5
Fun factor: 5
Replayability: 4
Marketability: 3.5
Qualitative comparison to competition: 4

2004 was the year of sequels and movie titles.
Little original characters, which is what people want.

Considered self-publishing.
Major console companies were not willing to offer that opportunity.
Experimented with merchandising.
Had figurines made.
Thinking of a distributor.
You only get half as much, but maybe you can more than twice as many.

Started to get offers.
The more they offered, the more control they wanted.
Rights to characters, sequels.
Wanted to stay independent.
"Didn't have to go up the food chain to put ideas into the game."
"We were actually drunk when some of the ideas were put into the game."

It's difficult to find in some locations.
Some stores will get in a few copies. sell out, and never order them again.

It's being pitched all the way through.
It's initially pitched to the gatekeepers.
Pitch to marketing, to get marketing support.
Pitch to distributors, to get it onto shelves.
Pitch it to reviewers.

Web version was rated "mature".
Could bite off enemy heads.
Wanted a "teen" reading for the console.
Thought it would be a struggle, but it turned not to be.

Thought there would be magazine advertising.
Turned out there wasn't any.
Keep it on the front of newgrounds.com, other authors hate that.

Announced at Comic Con.

Showed at Slamdance independent game festival.
Raised eyebrows, a lot of people defined indy games as free web downloads.
Very few indy console developers.
Would like to see the model change where indy games become a possibility.
Instead of an indy record store or indy movie store, how about an indie game store?

Independent Games Festival this past week, part of game developer's conference.
Won awards for Tech Excellence and Audience Choice.

Has a publisher in Europe.
In America, on PS2 and Gamecube.
In Europe, on PS2 and X-Box.
Gamecube has a small market share in Europe.
Thinking about self-publishing there. An opportunity to experiment.
Not released in America on X-Box because they have the highest pre-sale number
(35,000 units at $8 apiece).

Currently talking about next game.
Not sure what it is.
Want to do a sequel of AH, but not as the next game.
Don't want to be a sequel house.
Sometimes a company doesn't do a sequel just to cash in, sometimes a lot of good ideas come up at the end of development.
Thinking about PSP development.

Technorati tag: