Revisiting Random Encounters

Publishing from Recreation Jam to Atari: How Two Indie Builders Printed Their First Titles

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Publishing from Recreation Jam to Atari:
How Two Indie Builders Printed Their First Titles

To anybody exterior the online game business, the prospects for achievement throughout the business can appear overwhelming. Rattling, even folks on this business will typically discover it tough to succeed or stay profitable. Because of this, I feel my story may be extremely inspiring. Particularly for solo indie builders who’re questioning whether or not they can publish their video games with recognized publishers like Atari.

humble beginnings

Just a little over a yr in the past, I used to be requested if I wished to go to medical faculty after graduating with a level in Conservation and Ecological Biology from Saint Louis College. It was my ardour for inventive retailers that was holding again my medical pursuits. I like composing, storytelling, creating philosophy, every little thing. My greatest good friend and main online game accomplice, Phil Snowbarger, earned an interactive design diploma a yr earlier than me and labored for a number of years as an artist at native online game studio Graphite Lab. He is already labored on just a few video games within the Graphite Lab, however we have at all times wished to make our personal, and the continued growth of the accessible recreation engine Unity felt the time had come for us to take action. Throughout our final semester at SLU we enrolled in a recreation jam referred to as Brackeys Recreation Jam. I’ve no recreation growth expertise and Phil has largely artwork expertise with just a few Unity tutorials beneath his belt. Our purpose was to achieve expertise and full the mission.


make an effort

The sport jam lasted per week, so we took an method that allowed us to create a playable, stable recreation prototype freed from all lint. We targeted on making the sport distinctive and having a extremely stable gameplay loop and mechanics that match the theme of the sport jam. The theme was ‘Be Stronger Collectively’, so we got here up with the idea of a puzzle platformer the place characters develop into “stronger” or develop extra succesful when they’re put collectively. Our ‘lint-free’ method has been interpreted because the protagonist being a ball, dodging triangular spikes and navigating the geometric surroundings.


The distinctive mechanism that units us other than the gang is that there are a number of ball characters in a given stage, every managed by the participant concurrently.


After some fast geometric form making, many YouTube tutorials and lots of extra errors, we have been capable of transfer the balls concurrently via the geometric surroundings, keep away from lethal obstacles and merge the balls. I’ve created a sequence of ranges that problem gamers to mix balls of various impediment immunity for particular spells whereas being attentive to each ball. The complete prototype took till the final night time of the sport jam (or the early morning hours earlier than last submission). We shortly constructed the web page, gave it our first foolish identify (comBallnations later renamed it Kombinera) and submitted our recreation. We then instantly fainted.

optimistic response

As Recreation Jam entered the voting section, many members performed our recreation and voted for its high quality. We shared our video games throughout the jam and others performed and voted for his or her video games. On the finish of the voting section, our recreation made it into the highest 40 out of hundreds of submissions. Phil and I have been ecstatic in our first recreation. We confirmed a bunch of mates, Phil handed it on at work and we began speaking about what to do subsequent. This was a recreation we wished to be taught and it was a completely completed recreation, so we knew we wished to maintain engaged on it past the sport jam. Understanding that folks love prototypes, we set fireplace to shifting ahead. We began tinkering and tidying up some and contacted some publishers to debate whether or not they want to assist good and launch the sport, or publish their very own. That is when Phil’s boss, Matt Raithel, the proprietor of the Graphite Lab, approached us. He requested us what we have been planning on doing with the sport and supplied to point out the sport to some publishers he got here involved with.


Publishing Deal!

After Matt confirmed the sport to a number of writer contacts he had created through the years, Atari responded with enthusiasm. After spending a while shifting forwards and backwards between contracts and schedules, we signed contracts with us and the crew behind us to show the prototype right into a full-fledged recreation. Joystick, made up of me and Phil, joined Graphite Lab to unlock the total potential of the sport. Brendan Chapman took on the function of lead programmer and Phil accomplished all of the artwork. I did the sport design/stage design with 2 different folks Brad Austrin and Abram Donovan. After many iterations, we have been capable of showcase the merchandise we see as we speak.


After about six months of growth, we’ve a recreation that Joystick, Graphite Lab, and Atari are all pleased with. After a big funding in organising a retailer web page and porting the sport to every platform, Kombinera was lastly launched.



launched product


the place i’m now


We have now had a number of experiences that stunned us, comparable to asserting our video games in an unique article with IGN. We then tweeted about our recreation on our Ps Twitter account after launch. A small occasion like this feels unrealistic and stunning. Phil and I’ve been avid gamers collectively for a very long time and it is intoxicating to see them discuss our personal video games within the very group we have been protecting for years.



Catching up with Kombinera, our Joystick kicked off the prototyping of the following recreation we received excited and able to push the momentum ahead.


It is a humble expertise to have the ability to break into the business with critically acclaimed video games on each platform I’ve made.

Typically, we refuse to pursue a purpose or dream due to the worry that solely “extra certified” folks can succeed, until we strive. If there’s something I’ve realized from this expertise, it is this.

First, do not hand over considering you possibly can’t. Give it an opportunity and pursue it as a lot as you possibly can.

Second, Recreation Jams are an effective way to make a bit effort to make a recreation, and it may even result in publishing offers.

Third, discover different individuals who may help you obtain your targets. With out Phil, we might not have been in a position to connect with the Graphite Lab. With out Graphite Lab, there could be no Atari Connection. There’s a idea that we’re as much as six levels away from anybody. Do your greatest to make use of these connections and make extra.

We hope you have got an opportunity to take a look at Kombinera and wish to offer you extra info!


Up to date, written and printed by Truscinski