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Guest blog from James Mintram Director Lemon Moose Games
Lemon Moose Games was founded during my, and my business partner Tomasz Kandziora’s, first semester of our second year at Northumbria University. Northumbria University offers a great enterprise development department which helped us register as a Limited Company, offered us mentoring and provided us with office space and we joined Microsoft BizSpark.
From there we developed a prototype game which we would show off at all of the local networking events. This garnered enough interest in us to land our first piece of contract work; we were tasked with porting an iOS only game written in Objective-C to Android and Blackberry Playbook.
This, like all first projects, turned out to be an eye opener; this was our first experience with a publisher and we learnt a great deal! (the game is called Pinch SE and can be found here: http://coatsink.com/games/pinch-2-special-edition).
After that, we managed to get enough contract work to keep us running through the year. The point we realised we had enough contract work to take ourselves and our partners on holiday was certainly a highlight. Wow, our little company was making enough money to take 4 people on holiday AND put food on the table!
We had decided earlier on in the year that there wasn’t a game 2D engine that we really wanted to work with, so during this long period of contract work we developed our own 2D engine. We built the engine on Marmalade and in the beginning it’s structure resembled that of cocos. Over time the Squirrel scripting language was embedded, the structure changed a lot as we built more games with and we found a great IDE called Sublime text.
The first game we developed with this engine was a simple puzzle game called Logix. This was a game that had been out on Android for a while and the author was looking to release the game on iOS. This was an interesting project as it was the first time I had to put a proposal together for the client.
Around early December last year I met up with a friend I had made at an earlier networking event that year (networking is SUPER important!) He has been working on Buddha Finger for iOS and knew that we ported apps between platforms. He asked if we were interested in porting Buddha Finger to Android and made the appropriate introductions to Anna Marsh from Lady Shotgun Games. This was our first WP8 and Windows 8 project, we managed to deliver this project to these platforms.
We managed all of this while still studying at Uni and it has been one hell of a ride! I have now graduated and Tom is looking at starting his final year in September. We have just moved into the Gateshead International Business Centre located at the centre of Gateshead, this is a great place to be; new developments going on locally and Newcastle just a stones throw away.
As a graduate business in the games industry we are looking forward to taking advantage of this growing market and resources such as Microsoft Bizspark and Nokia/Microsoft AppCampus programme.
Our future plans include the development of our own IP and we are certainly looking at Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 as primary platforms for distribution.
The prospect of releasing a game across as many platforms at the same time with virtually the same codebase is something that we would jump onto in a heartbeat!
Thanks James for a great insight into the world of the indie gamer and we wish you best of luck for the future. If you have a great story to share please get in touch.