I've been developing this idea for a while, and I think it's something we really need for the Amiga community. My idea is for a new Amiga games company/developer/producer/publisher made up of anyone who wants to join. At first it will most likely be non-profit, but there's always the potential to earn money down the track if we manage to put out some good games.
I'll call it a team rather than a company from now on. So the team will be run through a website and forum where Amiga games coders, artists, musicians, playtesters and anyone else interested in developing games can come to discuss the games they're working on and help each other out. There are plenty of Amiga users out there with talents in a certain field but who don't know how or where to apply their skills. There's no use being an artist if you can't think of anything to draw, or a good coder whose game may go unrecognised because they couldn't find someone to draw some good graphics for his game. And I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who may not have the time or skills to make games at all, but who have lots of ideas for cool new games or just like to play and test them out.
The forum would be a part of the site itself, and themed the same way. It wouldn't be a part of EAB or any other Amiga forum. I think it's best this way because it allows the group to be a little bit more private, but isn't biased towards or against any Amiga sites (because there are too many wars and rivalries going on in the Amiga community now). The forum will be private, so people can only read it if they've signed up, but anyone who is genuinely interested in helping out is welcome to join. The main site will have a main page with news and updates on upcoming games, as well as separate pages for each game in progress, complete with screenshots, demos and any other downloads we want to share. As well as a page for each game, we could have a profile page for each member of the team, listing their skills, talents, and other portfolio information for any team member wanting to advertise themselves. And also we would have a guest book, for people to comment on the games or whatever.
Underground Arcade is the name we've chosen. We'll have our own logo and intro screens, as well as a set of standards that games must require to be published under the Underground Arcade label. It's just a way of keeping some quality control in the games, and making sure nothing is released until it's finished and nicely polished. Hopefully with all the help from a large, international team of Amiga enthusiasts, the developers of the game will have the backup and support to push them forward and finish their games properly, rather than releasing them half-finished. We will need lots of playtesters to sign up!
If anyone out there has a game they're already developing, we're very interested in bringing you onboard. I myself have been trying to help out with a few games for a few different people, and find it sometimes hard to come up with new ideas (I've been pixelling graphics, but can't always come up with ideas for characters to draw) and can't draw fast enough to keep up with the demand, and I know other people are trying to get their games made but really just need a bit more help and support before they can go any further with their games. The more people we have onboard, the faster we can get these games out there.
Ultimately we would be releasing full commercial quality games with an assortment of payment and delivery options, including printed, boxed games with extras as well as immediate downloads. We'll have PayPal payment options as well, and people can donate towards games in development if they want to encourage us to finish them (we could even offer discounts to people who prepaid or donated towards games). We would also offer freeware games as well.
Here is an idea of the kind of people we need to join the team:
- Coders (Any language, as long as you can make an Amiga game with it)
- Pixel Artists (For sprites, blocks and anything else in pixels)
- 3D Artists (Game intros, rendered graphics, or 3D polygonal games)
- Real Artists (Box artwork, backgrounds, character designs)
- Mod Musicians (For most ingame music)
- Other Musicians (For CD32 versions of the games)
- Dreamers (For some good ideas of what to put in a game)
- Gamers (To test our games and tell us how crap they are)
- Designers (If anyone can help out with designing a website, for example)
- Wealthy Investors (Why not?)
- Amiga Games That Weren't (And someone to finish them so we can release them)
We hope to have our first game demo available by the end of this month. It will be a simple, freeware platform game, and a Halloween present to the Amiga community.