I was born into a creative family:
‘But daddy, I want to be a businessman!’
‘No, you’re doing Music or Art and that’s the end of it!’.
My father is a musician and my mother was an actress. My older brother has taken on the family trade and is playing in the same high profile band as my dad, my younger brother has had a career as a guitar teacher, my younger sister is part of the cool indie music scene in London, and it doesn’t stop at my immediate family. Everyone in my family has some kind of creative talent. Me? Well, I was pretty damn good at Super Mario.
In London I did a 3D animation course straight after my A-levels and worked freelance as an editor, whilst usually keeping a day job. I’m not a bad editor (see our trailers and judge for yourself), I’m way below average as an animator. I never quite found my groove in this career. Mainly, I think, due to not quite having enough passion and not getting well with the London artistic crowd. Actors and directors would invite me to have beers, but once the work was done I wanted nothing more than to go and play Tekken with my non-filmy friends.
As I approached my 30s, I felt unfulfilled and honestly was not making nearly enough money to live in that city.
So, I moved to Madrid, Spain, where a friend of mine was teaching English. It could have been anywhere really, I interviewed for jobs in Japan, but Madrid seemed the most likely place for me to find work. In my mind, I preferred having a stable income as an English teacher than pursuing my ‘passion’ on projects which I cared nothing for.
And so what did I do in Spain after I finished teaching? Games, games and more games. I made my first attempt at a ball rolling tutorial (Thankyou Brackeys! You are amazing!), but gave it up soon after as I was having enough trouble learning Spanish, let alone CSharp. The game of that year, without a doubt, was Metal Gear Solid V. Most of that time being anticipation for the Phantom Pain, which in the end turned out to be a bit of a phantom. It’s all part of the experience I guess. Please don’t leave me stranded next time Kojima-sama.
Teach, play games, see my mate, chat up Spanish girls, it was a good life.
Then I met Maly. I was teaching in Freshfields and there was this very cute girl who would occasionally offer me baked goods and seemed extra nice to me. Of course, I was never so arrogant as to think that she liked me, she’s probably like that with everyone. Little did I know that she would become the love of my life and my saviour.
Fast forward a few months and Maly and I are living together with cats, a regular supply of ice cream, video games and other luxuries, doing jobs we were quite satisfied with and getting on with it. This is where the story begins.
It was a new years resolution to have another go at the game development thing, purely as a hobby. I had conquered my demons of narcissism and laziness, and could engage in creative work with no promise of reward or even an audience. It was, in my opinion, completely pure. And this time, I have the most important ingredient: love.
Fast forward again, and Blacksmith is in its early stages. Through curiosity, we did some research and compared our game to what we felt were similar games, and thought about whether selling the game was viable or not. It appeared so. Piece by piece, I devoted more and more of my time to the game, to the detriment of my classes.
We certainly jumped into the deep end of the pool with both feet. Off to Tenerife we went, where Maly’s brother and his family live. Off to Tenerife to finish Blacksmith.
The amount of things we learnt since this story began is incredible. We made so many mistakes that we will never make again. We gained experience that money can’t buy. In January 2019, Blacksmith was finally released.
Was Blacksmith a success? I won’t lie, I did have the slight suspicion that Blacksmith might have been our get rich quick scheme. It almost could have been. It currently has around 39000 key activations, with more than 99% of those being from the Humble Bundle Christmas Jingle Jam. Those are impressive numbers for a first title with 0 investment, but we did not earn a penny from that bundle. We did enter February 2019 feeling a little bit deflated as our actual income was not enough for us to justify continuing work on the game.
February 2019, we begin the next game! Just like a Dark Souls boss; you fail, you fail again, you learn the boss’ attack patterns, you overcome your fear, you fail again, you play ‘Holy Diver’ by Dio on Spotify, and you fail again, and then, eventually, you win… and you unlock the second phase of the bossfight…
So, what is Human Factory all about? What the hell have we been doing since Blacksmith came out? Why ‘Fire Cycle”? When is the next patch for Blacksmith? Find out next time on… the blog.