Welcome to the Somerwolff Games Substack!
Hello and a very big hearty welcome to my new Substack and this - my first post!
To reintroduce myself, my name’s Murray Somerwolff (he/him), I’m an indie game dev who’s worked on games such as Spitkiss, Welcome to Elk, Dead Pets Unleashed and The Lump.
I’ve been lucky enough to work on these games and be in the industry for nearly 6 years - and now I’m very excited to announce my next chapter, getting to make my own games as a fellow in the Astra Games Fellowship Program for 2023.
(To understand what Astra are about, in their own words; “We are a philanthropic fund that aims to elevate the thinking game genre. Our mission is to support the development of great thinking games and to broadly advocate for the value in playing them”).
I can’t tell you how humbled I am to be included among this cohort!
Ok - but what does this all mean and why am I choosing to do monthly newsletters about it?
So I think this is a unique opportunity to document my journey, capturing the warts and all of me making games.
Part of the purpose of becoming a member of the Astra fellowship, is to develop skills and grow as a gamedev, meaning there will be a lot (and a lot) of interesting learning experiences.
And personally, putting these experiences into words helps me process the chaos that is my brain (for reference of such chaos, look at my art or twitter feed).
My selfish wish is by being transparent and open about my creative workings on this substack, that it can be interesting for others to read, not just myself.
So - what are you gonna make?
What am I gonna make? A question that both excites and scares me in equal measure. I certainly have a lot of ideas, some of which people may have seen me allude to on social media, such as Wax Heads seen above. That ones certainly on the docket.
Well I said at the start of this newsletter I would be honest, so in the interest of transparency, and to give you an idea of where I’m starting from, here is the pitch deck I sent along with my written application for my placement on the Astra Fellowship: here.
But first, starting next week I will be doing a Game jam a week for one month, before then doing another two games, one each over 2 weeks.
The good news, as hopefully seen, I have a bunch of ideas I want to explore - but the first roadblock is how efficiently I can bring these ideas to life with my inadequate programming skills. (I’m more of an artist than coder…).
I have a couple of different solutions that were recommended to me that I’m going to explore, the first is trying out the game engine Construct which looks really intutitive and visually pleasing for an artist-non-programmer like me.
Next is Adventure Creator a plug-in for Unity, which relies on visual scripting. I have some experience with Unity, with a little coding in C#, but I think finding a solution with visual scripting is going to be the best place to start.
The other big task is getting my work life balance together, especially since as a parent of soon-to-be 2 year old twins and also working part time at Cloth Cat Games (who are awesome) - it’s imperative I don’t fall foul of crunching or bad life habits.
I have a weekly schedule planned, although I usually buck against routine, so let’s see how that goes…
So that’s where we are!
I start on the game jams next week and so in a month I’ll update you with how the four games went, if whether I stick to the schedule I set myself and most importantly - whether my games function enough for me to actually share the builds with you!
Thanks for reading and sticking around, I’m excited for this new journey and if you are too, then subscribe and follow along.
See you next month <3