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

SHG is Small Biz of the Year!

Ham-Cham-Awards

 

 

 

 

 

SHG Studios is the Small Business of the Year in our city!

There are a lot of great businesses in the area, who both create jobs and build the community. We happen to be one, and we’re really pleased — very, very happy — to be picked as the Small Business of the Year by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

It was part of a large award show, with maybe 1000 in attendance. Quite the who’s who of the city. Very fun event — except for the nerves. I hadn’t been that nervous in a long time – I guess childhood dreams and all the come into play.
SHG-Ham-Chamber Award

The award is cool all on its own!  But perhaps this will help others (government funding, and distributors) believe in us that bit more.

@snakeheadgames if you follow us on twitter for the community chatter 🙂

And if you want to read more, check out an article or two:

http://www.900chml.com/2015/03/10/31564/

www.thespec.com/news-story/5469806-rapscallion-owner-wins-two-hamilton-business-achievement-awards/

 

Quotely Quotes about SHG

Howdy All,

We realised that we got a tonne of reviewes from players – and we don’t share them! Vast majority are really positive, some are questions, and yeah, the occasional troll stretching their legs, but in general the amount of joy they are talking about…that makes for a good start of a long weekend.

So below are some of the quotes we’ve received in the past few months.  Certainly not all, and only the ones in English (sorry, de rien, lo siento, ขอโทษ, извините, anteeksi, آسف,  遗憾, ソーリー), but hey a cool collection of positive vibes nonetheless

 

★★★★★ John LaLone
Love it – Great game

★★★★★ DonnaKay Smith
Mind numbing joy –  Just what I need to veg out some days. Classic game I can play for hours.

★★★★★ Karen Shelton
Fun fun – This is a island of enjoyment and concentration

★★★★★ Jun Reyes
Luv this game

★★★★★ Christine Villanueva
This game rocks out loud.

★★★★★ Kymani Wyat
Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it
Yeeeeeaaaaaa boooooyy

★★★★★ Ginger Harris on May 17, 2014 at 5:54 PM
Awesome fun

★★★★★ Wendy Kurtz
Jewels and gems – Love it. The music is so soothing, not annoying and the game sounds subtle. Perfect job!!!

★★★★★ Starnac
SHG Games – We come for the game, and we stay for the community.

★★★★★ Verma Samrat
Excellent! It is very good game – It is an family game very good game I am like it very much

★★★★★ Denny Peterson
Very enjoyable game. This game is loads of fun.

★★★★★ Renata Naffa
Food and amusing game lots of fun…addicting too.

★★★★★ Deyanna Denise
Great game.

★★★★★ Zach Booth
Love it.

★★★★★ BALJINDER BALJINDER
Top game in the world  (ok, this one is a little older, but really appreciate the vibe).

Cheers, and enjoy the weekend — AAB

Ominouser And Ominouser

The Oort cloud is abuzz with…curious readings.

The spy rings of 2165 are quietly reeling from the implications of the so-called “Canberra Incident”. (Which didn’t TECHNICALLY happen IN Canberra, but you know how it is…)

And in the real world, Twitter feeds are also abuzz.

What can it all mean? Why, dear reader, I couldn’t POSSIBLY comment. Well, I could, but not on any of those. I COULD comment on some of our players, mind you…

Spybattle 2165
Level 50: MrOrange
Level 60: makeinu
Level 100: Laoch

Star Pirates
Level 60: Cptn Darling, ChaosLogan
Level 80: Warslord

Snakehead Games in Hamilton Spectator

We just had a great write up of Snakehead Games in the Hamilton Spectator. It’s the big but local paper we had growing up. Pretty cool for the Admins. To be sure though, the real story as always is the the amazing community that makes what we do work and worthwhile. Thanks to everyone who makes our games and days better. And yes, feel free to share the story with others 🙂
Link: http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/553694–ferguson-brothers-living-the-virtual-dream