Hello, I’m Andrew Dayton, Co-Founder of Steel Wool Games. Getting the green light to make our first game doesn’t seem that long ago. And now, we’re living the dream and exhibiting Flyhunter Origins on PS Vita this year at E3!
Steel Wool Games was started by five animated film veterans (including myself) with a shared love for games, a desire to create something fun together and a combined 60 years of film animation experience. Sounds simple, probably makes for a good story. How hard could it be?
Well, hard… exceptionally hard in fact. But it was also an absolutely amazing experience.
We knew what we were good at and were well aware of what we lacked in experience. Being a gamer makes you no more fit to design a game than an avid movie watcher would be directing a film. Joshua (one of our other Co-Founders) had experience building game rules for his table top gaming company Zombiesmith, so we had a good grounding in game mechanics. Building a game that we wanted to play ourselves was daunting but we were determined. We did our research, studied games of the genre and we took advantage of the experience in game craft from our publisher Ripstone. But what were the speed bumps?
Since we were learning the art of game design as we went, we wanted to stick to a genre that had a great history for inspiration. We knew Flyhunter Origins was going to be a 3D platformer/3D chase game but where on the spectrum should we aim? We wanted to make it accessible to kids aged six and up but also fun and challenging for all ages.
We had to first and foremost create a fun gaming experience and pepper it with the qualities that were part of our pedigree. Fun, compelling story, great animation performances, a character that you learn to care about and some really pretty visuals. Our mantra is “This has to be fun to play”.
We leveraged our publisher’s experience and suggestions and held our ground on certain things we were passionate about, but we really took what Ripstone said to heart. They have been great partners on this adventure.
Nothing about the process of making Flyhunter Origins was what you would call traditional. Our publisher is in Liverpool, we are all in California – so setting up meetings or conference calls was always tricky! It was difficult, stressful and exhausting but we are all proud of what we have made. We always keep coming back to the same thought – imagine what we could do if we all were in the same building full time. It would either be a nerdy version of Andy Warhol’s Factory or fight to the death Thunderdome style ;-)
Flyhunter Origins (PS Vita) will be on the Sony Booth in the West Hall at E3 this year. If you’re lucky enough to be attending, come check it out and if you’re not – follow us @SteelWoolGames and Ripstone @RipstoneGames on Twitter for show updates.