often ask us: “How did Naked Sky, a small, independent game development
studio, get into the business of making such an ambitious game for Xbox
360 Live Arcade?”
Well, it all started with a
technology demo for the Intel dual-core processor. Developed in eight
weeks and showcased at the 2005 IDF and GDC, the RoboBlitz Tech Demo (aka RoboHordes) was an Unreal Engine 3-based, single-level game that featured entirely physics-driven game play.
people approached us at GDC, asking questions like, "Who is publishing
this?" and "When is it coming out," we realized we needed to develop it
into a full-fledged game. Unfortunately, the original game was built
purely as a tech demo, so in order to develop a robust and engaging
commercial product, we had to rip out and re-implement pretty much all
the code, art, and design.
When it came to the question of how to go about distributing the
game, we were confronted with several challenges. We wanted to keep
control of the intellectual property while staying independent, which
steered us away from the traditional publishing route. Thankfully, we
met with the Live Arcade group at Microsoft when they were in the early
stages of forming their plans for the upcoming Xbox 360. It was the
perfect platform for RoboBlitz, as long as we could keep our title under 50MB.
Microsoft (Xbox 360)
Naked Sky Entertainment (PC)
Naked Sky Entertainment
Xbox 360 Live Arcade, PC
Number of Developers:
Length of Development:
November, 2006 (PC)
December, 2006 (Xbox 360)
Because we decided to go the self-funding route, we didn’t enter
full production until November 2005, after raising private funding and
getting an office. The game was finished eleven months later. As an
indie developer, we pretty much encountered every obstacle imaginable
in the process. Fortunately, we pulled through and are now the proud
parents of RoboBlitz!
What Went Right
Our biggest asset at Naked Sky is the people. We believe you can achieve anything
as long as you work with the right people. This doesn’t necessarily
mean the smartest or most experienced people, but passionate, talented,
dedicated, hard-working, and good people. In short, people with great
potential. Everyone on the Naked Sky team possesses these qualities,
and a whole lot more.
About half of our team is composed of recent college graduates that
majored in game art or programming. This works in our favor
financially, because as a small indie, we can’t yet afford competitive
wages for industry veterans. Of course, you can’t have a half-green
team without capable leaders to guide them, and we’re very fortunate to
have smart and savvy leaders spearheading our team. They’re very
hands-on in training the new hires—not just when demonstrating new
tools and techniques, but also when illustrating different problem
solving methodologies. Through their training, everyone has become
self-sufficient and is capable of taking up any urgent or unexpected
responsibilities from their team lead.
Our team is very tight—we’re not just a company, but a family, or famiglia
as we call it. We look after each other and we help each other out.
We’ve always believed in and trusted each other, and we’ve built up a
sense of camaraderie through both hard work and hard play. We have ping
pong and Street Fighter 2 matches daily, and outings to
celebrate our major milestone completions. We also load up on healthy
Costco snacks for our “growing boys.”
Together, we laughed through the good times and jumped over the
challenging hurdles. Because our team was treated well and everyone was
happy working together, magic happened.