In May of 2010 I started work as an engineer at HitPoint Studios in Hatfield, MA. I’ve had a great time working there and have learned quite a few new skills that I wouldn’t otherwise have learned in academia. We’re a fast-growing company and a great place to work. When I started as a part-time employee I did a few odd scripting tasks for the hidden object adventure games Marooned 2 and The Secrets of Arcelia Island, which were a fun introduction to the game development business for me.
World’s Manliest Rituals
The first game I engineered on my own was a port of a Flash advergame for Axe called World’s Manliest Rituals to iOS. I had never coded for a mobile platform before, nor did I know Objective C when I started, so it was a challenge, but a great experience. The game turned out well and is still available in the iOS App Store.
Mighty Dog Adventures
My second project was another advergame for Purina call Mighty Dog Adventures, which is still in the iOS App Store. A simple, but cute game with some cool art, I had fun engineering it and got to hone my skills developing mobile games for iOS. The game got a very positive response from those that played it.
Words in Space Classic
My third project was my favorite for a few reasons. First and foremost I got to play a strong role in design, which I enjoyed immensely. The project was a rework of a Flash game HitPoint had previously made called Words in Space. Originally designed by Christopher Gendron, the fast-paced word game was a cross between Scrabble and Tetris with a cute space theme. It was fun to play and HitPoint decided to make it our first foray into the mobile market using our own IP.
I took Christopher’s game and redesigned some of it, making the space theme more prominent and giving it an even faster-paced arcade feel. Christopher handled the art and I the engineering as we both went through a few iterations of the new design. The game turned out really well and everyone who’s played it has said that they love it. Because of this response, HitPoint decided to make a “sequel” with many more features (including multiplayer), and so the version I worked on is now in the iOS App Store under the name Words in Space Classic. The newer version will be available in the coming months after some final testing and player feedback.
My next and current project is by far the largest endeavor I have ever undertaken, and I think the same goes for everyone at HitPoint. In mid-2011 HitPoint was approached by Microsoft Game Studios to develop a new series of casual games for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. The series was to be a hidden object adventure game, a genre with which HitPoint had a lot of experience developing well. Over the next year or so, we put incredibly long hours into making the game as fun and accessible to a general audience as we could, and had a great time doing it.
Stylistically, Adera is a cross between Myst and Lost, with hints of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider tossed into the mix. The series is episodic, with several episodes in production for its first season (of hopefully many). The first episode was released along with the launch of Windows 8, a flagship game for the newly branded Xbox Games for Windows lineup.
Developing Adera was an enormous challenge both for myself and the entire team at HitPoint. We had never taken on a project of this size before, and all of us had to make big changes to our prior process and team coordination. As lead engineer, I also had to learn a host of new management skills I had never needed to exercise before, which was great learning experience. Engineering for Windows 8, which had been redesigned by Microsoft from the ground up, before its release presented several challenges in itself to the engineering team, but it was a great experience for us as developers.
We’re very proud of how the first episode has turned out and are working hard to make the subsequent ones even better. We hope the world shares our enthusiasm for the series and enjoys playing it as much as we enjoyed developing it.