Yeah, I’ve been a little busy. 🙂
For a while, I got completely out of game development – I spent 100% of my time doing things like trying to get Gamer Zone, a Wichita, Kansas based LAN gaming center going like crazy. Running a one person indie game company takes a lot of time. You start dealing with a business that has a real world location, and things get even more insane 🙂
And in the middle of doing all that, I did something insane. I started a TV show. On video games. Really. I’m not kidding you at all.
So far we’ve done 11 episodes of “World of Gamer Zone” which currently broadcast locally in Wichita, Kansas on KTQW channel 49. The way I did things, I kept the rights to the show – I don’t make jack doing it, but, it allowed me the flexibility of doing the next logical thing with a show about video games – put it online. You can find all the current episodes of the show on YouTube, and at the show’s website, WorldOfGamerZone.com.
The other beauty about owning the show – we decide what goes on the show, not a station manager or program director for a network or local station. Since I’m an indie developer, that means part of the show is on, well, game development usually with a skew towards Indie stuff. Cooooool 🙂
The first thing you should know about TV. TV is evil. No, I’m not talking about watching TV being evil, I mean making a TV show is evil. The first episode was an amount of work you wouldn’t have expected. Two cameras, a director, two camera people, two co-hosts, and lights. Should be simple, right?
BBBZZZZZZZZZT!! Wrong answer. Anything that could go wrong did. A couple of hours before the episode had to air, the editing machine died, but not before spitting out a really really really bad version of the first episode (the audio lost it’s sync, so the episode was like kung-fu theater.) I’m one of the hosts for the show, the other host being a 6′ 2″ female friend of mine named Meredith – uh, luckly we set for all of the shooting of an episode, or my 5′ 8″ self would look REALLY short. Neither one of us had done something like this, so along with the tech problems, we had serious issues finding our footing both on what the show should sound like and getting our conversational style down. (Heck, if you want to see the evolution of the show more closely, on the website below each episode is a section with the credits for the episode along with notes from the Executive Producer (that’s me too) about what changed that episode and what hurdles we overcame.)
Episode 2 was a bit better. Episode 3 rocked (erm, mainly because we reviewed Guitar Hero ;-). As you keep going, the thing slowly gets more refined, Meredith and I get more polished at it, etc. Episode 10 & 11 look closer to professional. It’s cool to see it evolve.
Now, I mentioned that we’re doing stuff on game development. One of the things added to the show was “Work In Progress” where I’ve been giving weekly updates on a game currently in development by myself (I picked on one of my old standbys – I’m doing Boulder Panic! 3) Of course, I had to pick my favorite engine to do it in – Torque2D (I almost refuse to refer to it as Torque Game Builder. Sounds like it should have a big “Make My Game Now” button in the upper right hand corner. Why must marketing people screw with a perfectly good name? Torque X – ok, that’s a cool name that represents it’s functionality when you find out it’s for the X Box 360 setup. But Torque Game Builder? Give me a bloody break. It’s still Melv’s Torque2D work to me 😉 Anyway, rant aside, it’s going to be cool to watch the game evolve on a weekly basis, all the way into the marketing portion.
Now for the bad news – my co-host works at a job that ends up being 6 or 7 days a week towards the end of the year all the way until April. Ug. So now I’m digging for more co-hosts and stuff like that. David “RM” Michael of PaintBall Net & “The Indie Game Development Survival Guide” fame (along with him and I co-speaking at IGC ’02, ’03, & ’04) is planning on coming up and doing two episodes of the show. Cool 🙂 I’ve talked to David a number of times since IGC, but, haven’t seen him in person for a while (ICQ and phones are nice, but, setting down and chatting with someone in person is still completely different.)
But needless to say the co-host situation has slowed things down a bit, though I’ve got the next episode planned and go back to taping next weekend. Woohoo! This got me to thinking a little more about stuff like interviews using webcams (or if they are close enough, stopping by the studio in person for an episode as a one-episode co-host), stuff like that. So, if you’re an indie game dev, drop me a line ([email protected]) if your interested in possibly showing up on the show sometime – I’ve got the format for some panel style discussions about the market, etc. that I’d like to try out one of these days, along with just a regular ol’ interview type thing 🙂
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
World of Gamer Zone / Midnight Ryder Technologies
Lobo the Duck (Nov 12, 2006 at 06:09)
I gotta agree with you on Torque 2d and congrats on the TV show. I cant get enough of your blogs. Even though they are few and far between they are easily the most interesting blogs I read 🙂
Lobo the Duck
Stefan Lundmark (Nov 12, 2006 at 06:57)
I was browsing random profiles yesterday and wondered where you had gone. I remember some plan of yours way back with Gamer Zone or a bunch of kids playing some game or something, and the reactions. It was a pretty cool read.
Looking forward to seeing that show when I get home.
Tom Bampton (Nov 12, 2006 at 11:53)
Dude! Welcome Back 😉
Eric C. Tomlinson (Nov 12, 2006 at 19:51)
Watched the first episode and noticed a few things. Meridith’s hair keeps blowing around and looks like either a fan is too high or someone keeps opening a door. Probably fan since the lighting for a 30 minutes show can get very hot. Secondly, I would get a seperate teleprompter and poition it so Meridith does have to keep looking at lower stage left.
But on a good note, you took the first steps and made a show. I wish you all good luck and I’ll keep checking for new episodes.
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr (Nov 12, 2006 at 23:03)
Eric: Episode 1 was a “everything that can go wrong did” situation. I mean, really bad 🙂 In the later episodes you can also see that we spent a lot less time looking at the laptops (the teleprompters 🙂 than we did for the first couple o’ episodes. Ye gods – pretty much everything improved after a couple of episodes 🙂 And if ya didn’t see ’em – there’s 10 more episodes after the first one already online 🙂
Lobo: Always remember to obey the signs – “Don’t feed the Ego” 🙂
Stefan: GZ isn’t dead really, just in hybernation at the moment (and, well, I don’t own it anymore. But that’s a story for another day 🙂 Implementation of the plan has always been a problem – in the end, things have to make money. But what do you do with such a system that it results on a return on investment? That’s been the biggest problem with it, and one that gets addressed when the shop gets re-opened. When everything is arranged, I’ll be making one of my volumous posts on the plan 🙂
Tom: Hey ya lazy git! I hadn’t dug through people’s .plans to see who all was still hangin’ around here these days, but was plannin’ on seein’ if you were still around 🙂