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Chubby Floating Islands was a game Prototype that was developed by CipSoft starting 2013. The game revolved around pirates on a world fully covered by water. You could sail around, hunt for loot, fight pirates, become pirate all while trying to make it home again without trying. Featuring rogue-lite mechanics and funny pirate based lore it really was a dream project. The multiplayer part revolved around a clever PvP/PvE Risk versus reward mechanic.

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The Game was published for public alpha testing in January 2014. This was my first real game project where I wasn't responsible only for the art and design, but was also game director. After pitching an original concept to the CEO's we got approved for starting development with a team of three and a small budget for freelance contractors. We decided to use Unity and Smartfox X2 in order to gather experience on working with the software. Game Content Design and a bit of client side programing was done by Sascha Lorenz. Server side programming and client interface programming was done by Ralf Mock. I did most of the client programming, art,sound effects and project management. @Chipzolic was responsible for the soundtrack and ambient pieces, @matwekpixel and @tandemar were responsible for additional pixel art (environment tile-sets, characters, cannons). We chose a deliberately retro styled design with a low number of animation frames per animation, both because we liked it and because it kept production costs low. Feel free to download the GIF animations for optimum viewing pleasure!

The experience was absolutely fantastic and a bit extreme at the same time. Not knowing the software and having a huge game design document to work through was quite a feat. In the end we managed to get pretty far for a rough 5 month period of game development. Although we had about 9 Months to do all, we had to factor in vacations and learning the new technology. All in all this allowed me to gain a lot of experience with managing small teams and contracting external work in projects with an ultra small time-frame and super tight budgets. The  freelancers were contracted via twitter, which also was an experiment. But it really turned out wonderfully. The guys mentioned above did deliver really fantastic assets and I am more than glad and honored to have worked with them. Check them out if you didn't already! I did end up doing a lot of art myself though. This can be attributed to the low budget available. A selection of assets can be seen in the gallery below.

The game ran a few months in a state that could be called public alpha. After release I was the only one that remained on the project (part time!) to maintain the project and get community feedback. We weren't allowed to produce new content although we were in a high productivity phase at release time. The code-base was stable, the server ran reliably and without error (thx Smartfox!) and we had lot's of positive feedback from users from around the world. But well.. the game was alpha. So what was there was played through very quickly. Players started to leave the game and look elsewhere. But that was expected. Instead of pushing the momentum, the company decided to close down the project, as the initial data they collected wasn't good enough supposedly. So the game was closed down in late may 2014. There were so many lessons to be learned during the course of the project. From that perspective the project was not only fun as hell to work on but also so valuable for my personal development. I took away a ton of do's and don'ts that already helped and will help me a great deal in the future.

I'll revisit that game concept again some time in the future from an indies perspective. I'll have to change the name and do new art, but i'll definitely want to try again without the restrictions i had to go by before.

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