For the past 6 months or so, I've been working at 2 jobs. My day job is all things Hooby Groovy but at night, I've been working as a game artist for Games for Gummie, developing an iOS game titled Matchmaker Millie. And exciting news: Matchmaker Millie will be coming out on the 23rd Jan!! :)
It's been a really fun and rewarding, albeit extremely busy, experience. I've worked on 2 previous titles with Games for Gummie prior to Matchmaker Millie: Shuriken Chicken and Cow Abduct (both available for free on the App Store!). However, Matchmaker Millie by far was a much more complex and asset-heavy project.
In terms of technical skills, through Matchmaker Millie, I got the chance to have a go at pixel art and vector art. Ultimately, we went with vector art for Matchmaker Millie. I learnt how to use Adobe Illustrator, which has since been invaluable with my own Hooby Groovy work, its made creating patterns and drafting designs so much easier!
Analysing how I work, Matchmaker Millie has really made me realise that I tend to underestimate the time I need to do work. Funnily enough, when I used to work in Project Management at a game development studio, I noticed a pattern occurring when asking developers to estimate the time they would need for their tasks. Programmers would tend to overestimate the time they need. I would say things like "It'd be great to have this in by so-and-so, is that possible? How long would something like this take?" and they would complain and rant and tell me that it's so much work and say the most annoying thing that could ever be said to someone trying to do task management "How long is a piece of string?" Which in retrospect, I really should have replied "One day"! Well, it almost always ended up that they would finish that task a whole lot faster than they estimated. Sometimes, they probably spent more time arguing about how we're not allocating enough time for them, than they spent getting the task done.
On the other hand, the artists tended to be more optimistic and quoted much shorter times than they would actually need. I wonder why that happened but in developing Matchmaker Millie, I noticed the same thing happening. We have weekly project meetings at Melbourne Central Community Kitchen Garden where we would figure out what things needed to get done and allocate times and due dates and set up our work list for the week. I would always jump in enthusiastically and say "yeah this week, I'll get all these levels done, and all those characters, and I'll make a start on the cutscenes, bla bla bla!" while Mr. Programmer Chen-Po will say "okay, I should be able to get this 1 task done". Of course by the end of the week, he's the one that's powered through his one task plus about 15 others while I'm still stuck on half a character. :p
It's kind of weird, I always thought that by working 2 jobs, I would be really, really drained and tired but it really wasn't so. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I did miss the TV and couch sessions that we used to have for many hours every night. But other than that, I actually found working on both Hooby Groovy and Games for Gummie to be perfectly complementary to each other. The daily switch of pace where I could turn my brain off from working on fulfilling orders to creating game assets and vice versa was actually really refreshing and kept me creatively and mentally stimulated. Much as I love Hooby Groovy, I think its healthy to be able to turn the switch off and focus on other things too.
Well, my work on Matchmaker Millie is essentially done now that the game is about to launch on the App Store next week on the 23rd Jan! I've only had time to play it in short snippets through development, so I'm really excited to finally have time to sit down and play it properly as a gamer and not have to think "okay, I need to do this-and-that to so-and-so level".
In the meantime, check out our latest trailer! It's been updated to include split-screen multiplayer footage, which is super fun to play though I always lose!!