Fighting Dinosaurs

Another week’s gone by and the wolves are back clawing at the door: ‘What’s new for Ghost Town Games?!’ their bristly wolf lips ask? To which I reply: Who’s going to pay for that? That door is ruined. You realise that’s coming out of my deposit don’t you? You big hairy idiots. And then I start throwing apples at them.

Ghost Town Games is based in Cambridge in the UK. What most people don’t realise is that Cambridge is home to a raft of different independent developers all beavering quietly away on their various trendy indie projects. When we started working on Overcooked we were keen to meet as many of these developers as possible, not just because we wanted to eat their brains to gain their knowledge but because a sense of community was something we felt was necessary to keep a hold of.

Working for a big company like Frontier allows you to mingle with some of the brightest and best developers in the industry. If you have a problem which you don’t know how to solve, chances are someone in the company could help you solve it. If you were having a bad day, you could probably find someone with just the right animated gif to take your mind off it. You’re surrounded by other developers all day (and sometimes all night), but when you’re an independent developer, it can seem a little bit like that network of people is suddenly taken away from you.

Being on the inside looking out, there was a definite impression that the indie scene could be a bit prickly, I’d seen Indie Game: The Movie and I was definitely guilty of mistaking the outspoken minority for the majority opinion of these wild un-tethered beasts. So it was with some trepidation that I cast out my net, emailing every local indie developer I could find to see whether they wanted to meet, share a beer or just some words of advise as we took our first baby steps as a company.

What happened next (as the best click-bait ads will tell you) shocked me.

Every single person I reached out to responded. Every single reply was kind, welcoming and helpful, they shared war stories, gave us advice on setting up the business, gave us feedback on the game, hell one of them even serenaded me with an old lute while I sank into the lavender bath he had drawn for me himself… not that bit… though they might have if I’d asked them to…

We discovered CB2, a cafe/bar where local indie developers meet up every week to work together. We talked to students who are themselves taking their first steps towards careers in making games. In short we learned that there is a huge community of people out there hungry to make and talk about games, and that far from being alone we were surrounded by people.

It’s not easy speaking to new people. Even the most confident person will tell you that they occasionally feel that feint tremble in their stomach when they introduce themselves to someone new, but if I’ve learnt anything over the past few weeks it’s that most people are crying out to be spoken to. They want to help and they want to communicate with you. Someone much smarter than I can probably explain why that is, something to do with our ancestors fighting dinosaurs together or something.

In fact let’s run with that bit, this stream of consciousness has gone on long enough… our aim now is to find as many people as we can who shares our passion for killing dinosaurs. We believe the more people we can get to come out of the wood work and share their dinosaur-killing tips the better our combined killing force will be until eventually we’ll end up with something like this: