What's up everybody! I know it's been a while since we last posted on the site, almost three months now, but we've been busy doing a lot of things. Since Seamus and I started this company in June, we've talked a lot about what we hope to do, and I thought as this year is drawing to a close, it'd be a good time to send out an update on what we have been doing just so you guys know what to expect (and, personally, to keep me motivated to follow through on the projects I have been working on); so without further a do, let's dive into what you have to look forward to in the next year.
When we started this all, we knew we wanted to make games. From the get go we had a few project planned out, and that's what we've been primarily focused on over the last several months. As of now, there are two games in the pipework that we are hoping to see out within the next year; as of now, these dates which I'm going to set down aren't finalized, they are just the goals we are trying to hit, and I hope we are able to.
The first game which I am going to talk about is Amhran. Amhran is a first person, story rich role-playing game. It's been a pet project of mine on and off for almost three years now, and we hope that it will be near completion by May 2016. I've been working on it now with a small team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in a group called Gamebuilders. It is a very ambitious project that I dreamed of several years before college and is heavily inspired by Tolkien's works, specifically the Silmarillion.
Like Tolkien, I first made this map, then I began filling this map with lore, and history, and peoples, and languages, and making it feel like a real place. This world has it's own gods, languages, races, and draws from a number of different influences, both from books and games. Like I said, I made the story before I sat down with my team and attempted to make it into a game, so it is a very story driven game, but it also has many role-playing elements (since I always have an always will be a huge fan of role-playing).
Currently, we are developing Amhran in Unreal Engine. We originally were developing this in the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), but when Unreal Engine 5 was made free to the general public, we moved to developing in UE5. Unreal has been an excellent tool for us, and has allowed us to do a lot of really cool things, especially in terms of game mechanics, something we are really excited to show off when the game is complete. thanks to Unreal's Blueprints, we've been able to put together some very complex systems relatively quickly, something we hope will set this game apart from other indie games in the genre.
The next game which we are working on is The Silmarillion. So I am just doing this one as an exercise in design, as well as a game I want to make free for those Tolkien fans who have not taken the time to read the Silmarillion , but would like to experience it none the less. Because the Tolkien Estate still has rights over the Silmarillion, I will not be selling this game at all, but I will be working on it and making it free to download from the website.
I' making this in RPG Maker by myself, it's a nifty engine which i wanted to test its capabilities. Plus, since I am doing all of this by myself, it allows me a wide range of resources and pre-made frameworks to allow me to tell the story I want in fun, experimental way. Right now I am deciding if I want to split this project into three separate games (to mirror the three separate books in the Silmarillion) and make them like episodes? I still haven't decided yet, but I', looking forward to fleshing it out more soon.
Something which occurred to Seamus and I more as an afterthought when we first started was what this website would be for and what we wanted to do with the company once we got off of the ground. We eventually decided that we wanted to use Six06 as a way of helping Midwest gamers and developers create a distinct, vibrant community. When I first began applying to work in the video game industry, it became apparent to me that all major developers (with a few exceptions) were either on the east coast or the west coast, yet not a ton of attention was ever really being brought to the Midwest.
Being from the Chicago-land area, I know of the proud history Chicago has with great gaming tradition and great game franchises; Mortal Combat and Halo, two huge franchise, had their humble beginnings in Chicago, and after my exposure to the IGDA at the Game Developer's Conference and through the IGDA Chapter in Chicago, I saw tons of excellent indie games that were not getting a whole lot of attention for what they were doing.
So with these reasons, we hope to put some of these games on pedestals and talk about them more, bring more attention to them, as well as make the games we love to play. To do this, the website was a great first step, but we want to keep creating, keep building, and see what else we can do, which leads me to our last point.
3. Expansion & The Future
This one is kind of open ended, but we are hoping that we can grow a community around Six06, the games we make, and the gamers who share our enthusiasm. To start this, we understand that not everyone is going to want to come to our site or, potentially, sign up for a forum on our site to talk about their games or games they are playing, we get that. Eventually, would we like to see that? Definitely. But right now we neither have the time or resources to run something like that, so the next best option we saw was to make a subreddit; so we made r/Six06.
Reddit has been very kind to use; more than 85% of our traffic on the site on many of our articles came from r/gaming, so thank you to everyone who read our articles, reviews, and musings, we really appreciate it! We will continue posting in r/gaming, but we wanted to create our own community and our own group for the company.
One thing which really inspired me to do this was being a Best Friend in the Kinda Funny Community, a group of like minded gamers and nerds who came together to support Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty, Nick Scarpino, Tim Gettys and, of course, Kevin, as they started Kinda Funny, the greatest gaming community that I've had the privileged of being a part of. If Six06 can be half as incredible as Kinda Funny is to the Best Friends, I'll consider this company to be an incredible success.
So this has been our second community post and probably the longest, so thank you for sticking with us this far! I hope to be a lot more active from here on out on the website and post more frequently on what we are up to and updates on both of the games I mentioned. Until next time, you stay classy internet :)