Moving on…

I’m leaving Traveller’s Tales to do a new thing which I’ll post about later. This piece is about saying goodbye to a studio I’ve worked at for over 15 years.

It’s a strange thought that I will no longer be working within the familiar (and sometimes orange) walls of TT Knutsford. But it’s only just sinking in that I will no longer be surrounded by a horde of supremely talented friends. When I started at TT, I had four or five years experience, but it feels like it was here that I really learned my craft – sometimes from my own mistakes, but chiefly from the wisdom of colleagues. It has been an absolute privilege to work with so many expert developers.

TT has been a huge part of my life, and I’ll never be able to look at LEGO again without a wistful smile. I wish the many teams at TT towers every success in the future – and I’ll be watching with interest to see what my old friends get up to…

Wrapping up LEGO Clone Wars

The big crunch to finish LEGO Star Wars III: the Clone Wars is almost over. All the critical stuff seems good and solid, and we’re down to mopping up occasional glitches in what has turned out to be Traveller’s Tales’ biggest game ever. I’m told it takes the QA team about 26 hours to complete a 100% playthrough, and these are guys who’ve been playing it full-time for months already. There is a LOT of cool content. I’ll post a reminder when it’s in the shops…

And with that, I have a little spare time again…most of which I plan to spend with my sorely neglected family – but once my little girl is in bed and my wife is roaming the Mojave Wasteland picking off Fiends with her sniper rifle, I can spare some time for my own little side projects.

I’ve spent a few pleasant evenings getting to grips with Blender and Unity3D recently, and it feels good to be creating stuff of my own again. I’ve got a couple of little web projects I’m developing just for practice, and a handful of more ambitious ideas that tie in with the world of Voidships. Looking forward to a very creative year…

LEGO Indiana Jones 2 released today

This is the latest game that I worked on, in a limited capacity – I did some of the boss levels, which we haven’t done before in a LEGO game…not on this scale, anyway. This game is the first outing for our new split-screen tech, which I think is brilliant. It’s also got vastly improved vehicle physics, and a nifty level editor. One of the early reviews criticises the editor for not allowing you to make levels that look like the ones ingame, which made me laugh…and grind my teeth, metaphorically speaking. Some people still seem to think game development is a breeze and we spend all our time just playing around.

See what the press think overall at MetaCritic. Not many reviews up yet but that will change. The Guardian gave it 5 stars, so I hope that one gets included. I suspect we’ll get the usual mixture of “Meh” from the hardcore gamers and “Woot!” from the casual sector.

I’m certainly enjoying it, perhaps because I wasn’t on the project from the very beginning. There’s loads of levels I didn’t play myself during development, and the cutscenes keep making me laugh out loud. Definitely one to be proud of.