2015, 2016 : Out with the Old, In with the New

AAB Here. A year or so ago, I wrote that I had been asked to take on some more direct control of the company. It was 256’s turn for a break. I had just had some pat leave before that, so fair is fair.

Anyway, at the time I set some clear goals for 2015. I shared some of those with you at the time. We had to grow income. We had to create a new flagship game. Then promote it, and crosspromote the portfolio. We had to maintain existing games, and improve them if possible. We had to test out new technologies, new approaches, new theories. We had to grow the team. We had to move offices. We had to pay for all of this.

I put a plan into place. It was aggressive but attainable.

Income > Financially we hit our year goals within 5 months. Much of that was due to winning competitive government supports. These are kind of like VC investments, but with different goals than only maxing profit. We gained $135,000 for building World War Mobile and  $500,000 for building Star Pirates : Infinity (SPI). We also had others including Export Fund for travel, hiring supports, and more. Players will never see the results of this as directly as a new feature; but new features would not exist without these. We are very grateful for the trust the organisations have shown in us. We will ensure we deliver well. The net result of this is we can pay our bills until at least end of 2016, even with a much expanded team.

World War Mobile > We soft launched World War Mobile in the fall of 2015. The game worked, and hit all the criteria that government asked of us. We could see the game was ok, but we could do better. Plus the world was changing too. We had started the game in 2014, and a new type of Mobile JRPG was hitting the market. So we pulled WWM, and adapted.

Wasteland Heroes : Boss War > We’re really excited about this. This is what WWM evolved into — a Mobile Platformer JRPG. It will soft launch Feb 2nd, 2016 in Canada on Android. It’ll roll out to other locations, and other platforms. At that time, we’ll start sharing game play visuals, and even a form of preregistration. We may even ask some of the existing Mods to pretest in late Jan. From what we can see, WH will be a new flagship game. At least that is the plan. We have the funds to promote it right, although we may make a deal with someone for that as well. It depends on initial response. We’ll know soon enough.

Tentative Rollout Roadmap of Wasteland Heroes: We had committed to a rollout roadmap by Jan 5th. Surprise here it is already. Further Android rollouts are likely Australia, NZ week of Feb 19th, and in March UK, USA, and remainder of majority native English speaking locales. iOS rollout is contingent on a bug free version of the Game on Android — Apple’s 2 week delays for updates mean we cannot advance before we can trust a build 100%.  We, again, apologize their problems become your problems. Localisation into other languages for Android will occur in parallel with the iOS dev. All of this, of course, assumes Wasteland Heroes is moderately successful. Times will change if it performs better or worse, or if we get some additional funding.

Star Pirates : Infinity > Production has already started on this Card Collecting Game based in the Star Crash Universe. It will roll out as a Beta in 2016, and continue to develop. It has some really neat game tech that we’re not discussing yet, but it really adds to the fun.

There are other plans for new games, and furthering existing projects, but that depends upon how these games do, and hearing back about additional government supports – we’ll know more in late January.

 

Existing Games > So what about the existing games? With a growing team led by Christian Latour, most are getting support and some get good love! Read more here: http://www.shgstudios.com/were-growing-again/
The exception is Guts and Glory. GnG was a stepping stone on the path to Wasteland Heroes. While we thank you for your support, GnG simply didn’t take. So GnG will likely be officially sunset soon.  That means it will now officially be no longer supported with new development, but still be live for the foreseeable near future. Those who spent in the 3 months leading up to sunset will get some additional benefit from SHG, likely in Wasteland Heroes. We don’t have to do this but we try hard to be moral, and respect those who support us.

New Things > We tried out a lot of new things this year. I think we should ask Tom Brown, our Tech Lead for WH to write that up one day. We also rebranded as SHG Studios. That’s been a good move. Oh and we got some press, and won some awards. Small Business of the Year for Hamilton, and the 1Awards. Both very cool signs of a well run business. And super exciting for us!

Bigger Better Team & Office > Our team has doubled in size this year, including adding Bret Measor as SHG Production Manager. We may stay this level, we may grow, we may shrink. We’ll know in the next month or two. We’re at 16 people for now including contractors (really!). Growing past 20 people changes company culture dramatically; so if we do that, we’d have to reorganise into clearer functional groups. It may be better to have a strong core team, and contractors. We will see. Oh and we moved to twice the space in Feb 2015, then held a kickass party in April 2015. We’ll do another one this year, at about the same time. Bigger and Better. We just got new furniture, a gaming couch, and will look to add decoration and cool stuff in the new year.

What does 2016 hold? Well I’m certainly not the company lead anymore. That ended spring of 2015. But we have a really awesome management team, with efficient cross communication. I’m super happy with those hires, and how it’s come together. The owners/admins are not the day to day leads of everything anymore. We expect that trend to continue as we grow into other spaces. We do need to solidify the Art Director position for new (existing?) games. Maybe a Stats/Live Ops person. Pay our team more, we hope. Always more team members in all spots are welcome if the budget allows.

I think we have clear plans for a lot of things for 2016 already. Having the money to know we’ll pay staff is huge. It does mean we’re committed to some things over others, but that’s cool. These are good and important projects. As for our plans, we’ll know better in Feb after hearing back from the funding applications, and WH’s level of success.

2015 was our best year yet. The company grew in great ways; so did I personally. 2016 looks to be awesome as well.

Happy Saturnalia, Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and whatever other holidays you may hold dear.
AAB – Colin Ferguson, Dec, 2015

A New Member Joins SHG Studios…

Hello, SHG Community.

My name is Bret Measor. This is the first of many dev blogs by me, and I want to start off my first entry by introducing myself and my video game industry history to the SHG Studio community.

My work in the video game industry started shortly after completing a 2 year video game & design course at the International Academy of Design located in Toronto, Ontario. I had a very hard time getting any work as a student fresh out of school; I was too “green” for any local studio to take me on. I decided to make my own experience and started my own company called Hard-Circle, Inc. and we focused primarily on free to play browser based games made with Adobe Flash and 2D pixel art. I ran that studio for 5 years and we created around 30+ games for some of the biggest clients in the free to play space.  I wore many hats ranging from CEO, designer, producer, and artist.

After my run with Hard-Circle, Inc. I decided it was time to pack my things up (I was worn out), and head out to Ottawa to work for an educational video game studio called VINCI Education. I spent a year and a half there honing my skills in game design, production, and team management. Together with my small dedicated team we created 6 fun educational games, and 1 educational MMO (still in development). It was a great experience for me, the change of scenery, and working with really talented people helped hone my skills.

During my time in Ottawa, SHG Studios was undergoing a transformation and looking to expand their already talented roster with dedicated leadership. I returned to Hamilton and was brought on board in May as the Product Manager/Game Designer responsible for their newest mobile IP called World War Mobile (title pending) due for release on Android devices in the fall/winter of 2015.

I hope you enjoyed my first dev blog post about myself. The next dev blog I write will be more focused on the new IP World War Mobile (title pending). Check back regularly to the SHG Studio blog to see more dev blogs by myself and the rest of the team at SHG. If you wish to follow me on my adventures you can @BretMeasor on twitter.

An updated look

We hope you enjoy the freshened up look for the Snakehead Games Inc. blog!  We took the opportunity to do so during a recent server move.  We were not happy with the slowing response of the prior host of our blog and so, here we are on our new “home”.   With care we have also relocated the wiki although that ended up being a little harder than we thought, we value and respect the community’s efforts and so it too should now be snappier in response.

Gates of Camelot are Open!

Gates of Camelot
Here at Snakehead Games we’ve been cooking up a new game for you all to play.
http://www.gatesofcamelot.com/

It’s called Gates of Camelot. It’s a new MMORPG based on Arthurian legend and is currently in open beta. So come try it out! If you sign up soon you’ll get all these awesome bonuses!

• 1 week free Honoured Days from point of sign-up

• 25 points

• 500 Silver

These bonuses are only hear for a short time though. The last day you can receive the bonus will be on May 27th after that its back to normal. Better hurry!

Want to see what other people are saying about Gates of Camelot? http://www.snakeheadgames.com/gates-camelot-quotes-players/

Year of the Snake

So according to our calender 2013 is the Year of the Snake which means big plans are in store for both you and us. Take a look.
http://www.snakeheadgames.com/year-snake-2012-achievements-2013-plans-shg/

So there you have it. Camelot is up and free to explore, quest, battle and sing through. Check it out now!

Snakehead Games

Gates of Camelot : Quotes by Players

On May 16th, we opened the Gates of Camelot to another round of testers. As an open beta they get to stay and play on! So far it’s seems quite the success (small bugs aside), and we’re happy to share some player quotes.

“Another highly playable game out of SHG. Fast paced. Fun to learn new gear. Quests and training galore. I recommend this game a lot to my friends. Come join us and try it out!” — Shannon

“A perfect game for the medieval enthusiast; fast paced and fun with a great community of players. Huzzah!” — Yosef Alaric
197

“Fast paced, action packed. I even get to ride a pony! Still waiting on my harp though, it will help with composing the great ballad that I plan to write. There’s a good storyline, and the potential for it to become a rich tapestry, interwoven with the stories of each adventurer, creating something vast, complex, and inherently beautiful.” — Mahray

“The game is fast paced, always keeps you on your toes, and its a departure from the rest of the SHG, yet still keeping the same theme behind it.” — Syphonz

“Love the game. I’ve always enjoyed a fantasy/medieval sort of theme, so when SHG decided to make Camelot, I was squealing in anticipation!!! … Well, not really, but super excited. Thanks again for your great work SHG!” — Jarek

www.gatesofcamelot.com

Year of the Snake : 2012 Achievements and 2013 Plans for SHG

Welcome to the Year of the Snake!

What a difference a year makes. This time last year Snakehead Games was just 3 friends working from their basements. Now we have grown into a thriving 12-person team, tackling all sorts of exciting projects.

MOBILE
While most of the expanded team works on StarCrash games, “Division 2” has a team of 4 building awesome mobile games. These games are mostly based in the expanded StarCrash universe. These are designed to be easy to play, while cross-promoting all SHG games. While each game will have individual TLC, we’ve laid the groundwork for “13 in 13”. That’s 13 new mobile games in 2013.

Look for hints and clues about how Jewels Star Legends and the rest of our new mobile games fit into the StarCrash universe, and watch out for the hungry androids!

Not that we’re obsessed by Androids, but most games will come out on Google Play / Android first, followed a few weeks later on all other major platforms.

One more thing about mobile. We’re researching how to put the StarCrash games directly onto an App in each of the mobile stores. It’s early days, but keep your eyes peeled for updates.

GATES OF CAMELOT
Snakehead has also been working on a game called Gates of Camelot with Canadian Celtic musician star Heather Dale. It’s built with the StarCrash game engine but is set in the mystical land of Albion, where brave knights and wily bards struggle for the crown and the Round Table. Join the beta test by May 1st and get a signup bonus!

2165 SPY BATTLE: ASCENSION 2
We have been working on Ascension 2 for 2165 SpyBattle! We have the story and images ready, and we are just fine tuning the details. Assuming all goes well, get ready to Ascend in late May.

GROWTH OF EXISTING GAMES
Everything we do is about helping our existing community have more fun. As BSG’s Sharon says, “You’re first in my heart”.

This includes evolving CSRs into Gamemasters. Their job is to grow the content, through writing, & the community through promotion and deal-making. Maybe a bit of improving new player tutorials as well. After all, what’s a social game without new friends?

There have also been a LOT of updates on the existing games. We’ve gone from talking about stuff we want to do, to ensuring the pace of upgrade is not too fast for players to absorb. That’s a good thing!

So there you have it. 2013 looks like it will be the biggest year yet for Snakehead Games. We can’t wait to show you all the new cool stuff! Now, back to finding cool rares…

SHG Job: Game Graphic Production. 6 Month Contract. Hire Date: Jan 28, 2013

We’re looking for someone to help create great looking mobile games, as well as supporting our existing games. This means knowing games fairly well and producing game imagery & graphics really well. As there will be a lot of posing existing 3D models to create 2D images, the role requires a mix of graphic design & animation skills.

We’re looking for someone with 3 to 5 years related experience. Additional useful skills include being a master at: drawing webcomics, creating 3D models from scratch & logo/icon design for mobile games.

Game Graphic Production (Junior)
Location: 195 James St. North, Hamilton, ON
Start Date: Jan 28, 2013.
Duration: 6 month contract.

Apply with your resume, portfolio and a cover letter to info (at) snakeheadgames.com .

Please note this to participate in this Career Focus project, candidates must be:
• between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive) at the time of intake/selection; (as in this case we must ask proof of age)
• a post-secondary graduate;
• out of school;
• a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person who has been granted refugee status in Canada;
• legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations;
• not in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits; and
• able to commute to James St. North in downtown Hamilton.

The range for the job is $32,000 to $36,000 prorated annual salary depending upon the skills provided.

For further information about Jobs with Snakehead Games, please check out our SHG Jobs Page.

Star Pirates Ascension 2: One Month On

It’s the one month launch anniversary of Ascension 2. A2 is the much loved, but demanding, expansion of StarPirates.net, Snakehead Games’ flagship text-based browser RPG.

Ascension 2 allows advanced players to reboot their character in a standalone mission. While in the mission they aren’t able to use some of the social features of the game, so it’s much more of a “hell mode” than the normal game. Once completed though, all the experience and loot make their way back to the main character.

Speaking of loot, Ascension 2 introduces Neural Interfaces. NIs (as Free Captains quickly called them), are a new type of item, with their own slot. Named after constellations they can only be found in Ascension 2.
Neural Interface : SP Image

As long-time players of Star Pirates will attest, Ascension mission combine the best of traditions of book-based “select a path” missions with SP game play. The Expansion is demanding, but players love it for that:

“Ascension 2 is a rather neat experience with a great story that expands the lore of SP.” – Zayden
“IT IS AWESOME” – Kalel
“I had a blast” – PappaDrakon (20th Pirate to Complete A2

So whether you’re an experienced player looking to play A2, or someone looking for a community & a free game, take the tour of Starpirates.net here, then log in to take a ship for a test drive!