Spitfire Sheep now available on Android!

Spitfire Sheep was released late last night for Android devices! Now that you’re, presumably, refreshed, go ahead and download it on the Google Play Store! We’ll be preparing an iOS build for the App Store this year.

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Introducing…Flow Wing Studios!

As of December 2017, my company, Flow Wing Studios, has officially been registered as an LLC.

FLOW-GREEN
Flow Wing Studios logo.

The bird in the Flow Wing Studios logo is based on the resplendent quetzal.

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Resplendent quetzal in flight.

You may also be wondering what the origin of the name is. There are actually multiple reasons that I chose it!

First of all, as a game developer, it’s important to have a sense of what supports good flow in a game. The term “flow” as a psychological concept was conceived by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi back in the 1970s. He interviewed artists who would lose track of time as they created art and felt as if they were being carried along by water.

In a 1996 interview with Wired, when asked about the what he means by “flow,” Csikszentmihalyi replies:

“Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

A game with flow will cause a person to become so immersed that they enter “the zone,” though as with the aforementioned artists that Csikszentmihalyi spoke to, this can also apply to other activities that evoke a meditative state.

Csikszentmihalyi posits that in order to reach the state of flow, there must be a well-defined task or goal, immediate feedback delivered by the task, minimal distractions that could disrupt focus, and proper balance between an individual’s skill and the task’s difficulty.

If you’re interested in reading more about the topic, please check out these articles:

https://www.cnet.com/news/be-one-with-flappy-bird-the-science-of-flow-in-game-design/

https://www.wired.com/1996/09/czik/

https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/166972/cognitive_flow_the_psychology_of_.php

Why “Flow Wing” and not just “Flowing,” though? Well, I played around with the words a bit. “Flow Wing” still sounds like the gerund form “flowing” when spoken, yet it takes on an extra meaning when separated.

Flying is magical, inspiring, and ethereal. Birds flow through the skies with their wings. I wanted to become a pilot at age 5 or 6, and although it didn’t become my career, my fascination with flight is still intact.

Recently, I learned about the theory of Laminar Flow. The Aviation History Online Museum defines it as:

“The smooth, uninterrupted flow of air over the contour of the wings, fuselage, or other parts of an aircraft in flight. Laminar flow is most often found at the front of a streamlined body and is an important factor in flight. If the smooth flow of air is interrupted over a wing section, turbulence is created which results in a loss of lift and a high degree of drag. An airfoil designed for minimum drag and uninterrupted flow of the boundary layer is called a laminar airfoil.”

Obviously, I like to play with words.

My 2017 had a lot of ups and downs, and I hope that Flow Wing Studios and my wonderful team will soar in 2018!

Hold the Xylophone; Here’s an Upbeat Update

A new teammate has joined the project as a composer. Give a warm welcome to Oliver O’Neill! We’re banding together to jazz up the game with some catchy music.

During MAGFest‘s Q&A panel for renowned game composer Manami Matsumae, I asked how I could ensure that players would like my game’s music. I haven’t even played an instrument since I was in elementary school, so I’m not at all knowledgeable in music theory or composition. Although my question was too general (I wish I had thought of something more specific), she confirmed and emphasized the overall importance of sound design for games. Afterward, Oliver approached me and expressed interest in lending his aural talents to my project.

As for the game itself, while it has been progressing more slowly than intended, I’m planning to start releasing some teasers in the near future. I’ve purposely been secretive to protect the project from being shown to the public before it’s ready, but I’m eager to stop harping on about delays and start drumming up interest.

A New Game Begins…

In the past, I worked as a freelance game designer and QA tester. I enjoyed assisting my team and working toward the goal of releasing a digital experience for people to enjoy. However, a new phase of my life is beginning.

Here’s the official public reveal from yours truly: I’m starting my own game studio. Although I can’t reveal the name or logo yet, I’ll divulge more information when the time is right.

I will be managing the project and juggling other tasks, including design, art, animation, and marketing.

My company’s first project will be a mobile game for iOS and Android. The game will focus on providing an accessible, quirky, and compelling experience with gameplay inspired by classic arcade titles.

Stay tuned for more details.

Game Career Guide Contest Entry Winner: Tag Troop

tagtrooplogoEvery month, Game Career Guide has a contest called Game Design Challenge, which asks game developers to explain a game design concept in 500 words or fewer and with a maximum of three images. August’s challenge, titled “Fun for the Whole Family,” was themed around redesigning an M-rated game to make it suitable for all ages. “M” stands for “Mature” in the ESRB ratings system and indicates that a game has content unsuitable for children.

My first step was to make a mental list of M-rated games, which included notorious and popular series like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat. Ultimately, I settled on the Assassin’s Creed series. Since I had played and immensely enjoyed Assassin’s Creed II earlier this year, it was still fairly fresh in my mind.

Assassin’s Creed has a compelling story about two present-day organizations with opposing ideologies who battle each other across real-world historical time periods. Of course, even though some of the content can be educational, the series is not intended for children. True to its title, the game has some missions that require players to perform assassinations.

To repackage the material into something more appropriate for kids, I redesigned the story, items, and missions. Instead of hunting down and killing a target, players need to chase and tag a wrongdoer to encourage them to make moral choices. Smoke bombs and throwing knives are replaced with paper airplanes and marbles, which distract and trip up targets, respectively. Missions involve bullies, cheating on tests, and shoplifting.

From the beginning, I was very confident and enthusiastic about my idea, and I had a very strong feeling that designing the concept would be worth it. So I wrote and rewrote the game pitch document until I was pleased with the quality, and I even included three images to accompany the text. Thankfully, my effort paid off; my entry was one of the top picks!

If you’d like to check out my entry, you can view it here.