Hey there, Andrew McCluskey/”NAL” here.
“Wait a second”, you say with baited breath. “You’re not Dan Johnston!”
And you’d be right. I’m joining forces with him, however, bringing my brand of insane game design and my fontography to Chequered Ink.
I’ve been a game developer for over 12 years at this point, using GameMaker all the way since version 5.0 of the program and upgrading along the way up to GameMaker: Studio. My experience with the program landed me a job at YoYo Games in July 2010, a job I kept for over five years until my final day… today.
It was an incredible experience, I met a host of new friends (including Dan!) and improved immeasurably. I got to work with some of my game making idols – the co-creators of Grand Theft Auto (the first 18+ game I ever played… at age 10), the lead developer of TimeSplitters 2 and 3 (two of my all-time favourite FPSes and favourite games in general), and the producer that previously worked on Worms (the first PS1 game I ever played, a system that shaped my desire to create the games I could play).
Eventually, I had to move on. It had always been my dream to become an independent developer. But in 2010, my design and programming skills were average at best, and the indie scene was a lot smaller than it is today. Now, I feel I’m ready to pursue the dream.
So why Chequered Ink? It came to my attention in May that my colleague, Dan Johnston, was leaving to do the same thing I wanted to. My design to team up with him (and vice versa) is a simple one – twice the productivity, twice the chance that we survive in a world of fierce competition for store screen space. But alongside that, we have slightly different interests in what we make – Dan makes games for mobile phones, I like making PC games. He is good with websites and videos, I have a thing for fonts. He can do art, I can do design.
It makes sense in our heads that, with the same end goals, we can spend 90% of the time working on separate content that we can fire out at (hopefully) a good quality level, but also have that 10% complementing each other’s weak points in the grander scheme of things.
So what’s coming up from Chequered Ink that I have created? I have 15-20 fonts between the “started” and “nearly finished” mark. I also have Innoquous 5, the fifth game in the seven-year-old Innoquous series, in beta phase and just requiring some bug fixing and polish. I will be getting the fonts out one by one as soon as I can while also bringing Innoquous 5 up to a complete level, firing out as much marketing as I can muster, and then sticking it on sites like itch.io before hopefully getting the game up on Steam.
After Innoquous 5, I have several other games at varying levels. Tick Tick Pass is a quiz game with a list. Won’t You Be My Laser is an ’80s-themed puzzle game with all the cheese that decade deserves. Ridicule is a revival of an eight-year-old game which mixes pinball with Breakout. And there are several other games in the horizon – some reboots of my NALGames free releases, some brand new games, and hopefully lots of awesomeness.
My MO is to get quality content out, relatively fast. All the games mentioned and most if not all future ones (although I’ll be entering as many jams as I can inbetween) will be commercial, but will be inexpensive and hopefully worth every penny. Fonts will be donationware with ad support on the websites I upload them to.
The journey is going to be an interesting one. It might be bumpy, it might be smooth. But my god, it’s going to be fun. I’m pleased as punch about the past, but I’m fully excited for the future.
Arrivederci and alliteration.