Reaching People

So that silly garden playground videogame, Shu’s Garden, is a thing which Mr. Colin D. Sanders, creator of dancing bears, and I did. For better or worse.

Shu's Garden — Grow Grow Grow

Ultimately, it consumed far more time and amounted to far less than either of us planned. Many things went wrong — I’ll spare you the postmortem — and needless to say it has not been a financial success. Perhaps what makes the spent time & effort sting most of all is that it’s not really in the vein of games we’d like to be making: Building a reputation around a cutesy platformer when you want to be making interactive stories for a more adult audience seems like misdirected effort, you know?

Shu's Garden — Timelapse 1

But every now and then I’m reminded that the game actually resonates with some people. Amongst the drone of “it’s cute, but I don’t see the point of it”, and “that’s a nice start; you should add lots of objectives”, there are those odd moments when it just clicks with a person and you hear something really rewarding: This game makes me so happy.

Shu's Garden — Giant Kura

Last Friday, Nathan Grayson of Kotaku was kind enough to share his experience with the game and how it affected him at time in his life when he needed a little bit of happiness. His story is deeply personal and that Shu could be a positive part of it is surprising and heartwarming.

Shu's Garden — Timelapse 2

The same day saw the final part in a Let’s Play series featuring a man and his son playing Shu together. Shu was semi-targetted at children and it’s always great to see it hit the mark. Special thanks to HamShanksCraft for sharing this.

Shu's Garden — Watering

Shu will almost definitely never cover the costs which went into it, and it may not be the ideal exemplar of our work. But little stories like these remind me that it amounted to more than nothing.


Links:

Shu’s Garden Helped Me When I Was Feeling Shitty (Nathan Grayson, Kotaku)
http://kotaku.com/shus-garden-helped-me-when-i-was-feeling-shitty-1727117936

Gaming with a Toddler — Let’s Play Shu’s Garden (HamShanksCraft)

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Steam Greenlight: Because Why Not

Shu’s Garden for PC/Mac is out there in the wild and you can totally buy it for $5 or name-your-price at www.shusgarden.ca. But did you also know that we submitted the game to Steam Greenlight?

Yes, the premiere digital store for PC games has an interesting community-voting system through which small indie titles like ours can gain admission to the store. Steam has an enormous customer base, so that could potentially translate into a Very Big Boost in exposure and sales for us. You can help us out, too — all it takes is for you to have a Steam account and click “yes” or “no” on our Greenlight page.

Can Shu’s Garden, a weird cutesy non-game space-garden playground thing, get voted onto one of the most hardcore gaming stores out there? Well, no, probably not. But there didn’t seem to be too much harm in trying 🙂

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Virtual Reality Time Travel in Toronto

Recently I had the pleasure of helping realise a neat virtual reality project with AWE Company in Toronto. Users visiting the Fort York National Historical Site will be able to “see through time” across the entire fort grounds using a VR headset. Virtual recreations of historical events are matched with real-world locations using Google’s Project Tango, AWE Company’s proprietary tech, and the Unity engine.

The project should be available to the public this summer (2015).

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