Who we are and what we do: Batholith Entertainment
Posted on February 03, 2017 by Chris McAulay
Who we are and what we do: Batholith Entertainment
Well let's start with the “We”... Currently it is just me in house, and I contract out the art and music for the games to a few wonderful artistically inclined people (who don't know I am writing this so I won't put their names in until I have their approval). Who am I? I am Chris McAulay, and I have been messing around with game programming for about 12 years, and been working solely in games for 2 years. Before making a carrier out of it (well at least the start of one), I owned a company doing all sorts of programming including, but not limited to: websites, networking, backend efficiency and scaling work, Database management, animations for workout equipment, Print on Demand work (think a smaller version of vistaprint), Contact Management Systems (CMS), and much more.
Why did I give that up?
Well the whole reason I started that company was to make enough money to fund video games. Fact of the matter is that just wasn't happening fast enough. I had been at it quite a while and only funded some small apps and games on Windows phone. The only one that is still around is:
Delenar TD: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/delenartd-remastered/9nblggh07zvm
And where as I loved making that game (it was my first “Finished” game), and it will always hold a very special place in my heart, it only made about $1000 in its lifetime. So where as it was a personally success, it was a massive financial failure. That being said it was a great learning experience and it stoked the already burning desire for me to make games full time…
Fast forward a few years, and even more experience gained, I finally decided to just go for it...
What do I use to make the games?
I have a custom game engine that is built on Monogame (the continuation of XNA), that can deal with both 2d and 3d. I use GitHub for version control and as an offsite backup, and I use Visual Studios as my IDE. For server work I use PHP for the scripting, MySQL for the database, Notepad++ as an IDE, and FileZilla for the FTP protocols. Lastly I use Photoshop for any programmer art that I may make for temporary purposes.
Why a Custom Game Engine?
In college my Game Design classes were done in XNA. Because of that I got use to working there (I actually started with C++ and DirectX), also the ability to program in C# was MASSIVELY faster. I would say that it is 2-3 times faster than doing the same code in C++ for me (your results may vary). Because of that I started slowing building up a library of code that eventually led to me creating a whole engine. I wanted to be able to write a game pretty much from scratch, I felt that that was important, many may argue against that and they will probably have some great points as to why it is not a good idea. That being said for me it meant that I had no limitations, and no reason that I “just couldn’t add that one feature”. There was a point where I almost gave up on it and went to Unity, but then Xamarin and MonoGame came along and the 2 things kept me in it.
Have you ever tried Unity or other Game Engines?
In short, Yes. I found Unity to be very geared to artists making games without programmers. As a programmer I found it to be to limiting (no access to the main game loop, etc), and though some of those issues may now be dealt with (I have not tried it in a few years), at the time I felt this was the correct decision for me. I have briefly looked into others but back in the day they were very expensive, which put me off (I know that has changed but it is too late now)…
What Kinds of games do I want to make?
Just about all kinds of games interest me, so in the future almost anything is on the table. That being said, games that are highly focused on strategy will be more likely candidates. RPG’s, RTS, TBS, builders/sims, and Tower Defense (which really are just a sub-genre of RTS games ) games are the most near and dear to my heart. So far we have done a Tower Defense game: Hydraulic Empire. Although it got pretty low ratings (mostly for its being complicated) it was the first time I finished a game in 3D, and was the beginnings of this company. 2nd we did an old school cRPG called Zavix Tower. Zavix Tower has done much better, and overall I am happy with it. Sure there are things I would do differently, but it has been received much better. My next game is a builder game (more on that soon!), and after that there are tons of ideas that are bouncing around in my head…
As I stated above we are working on a new game, that I will announce soon (Hopefully the next week or 2). I also plan to blog about something company/game/game industry related every Friday (or at least most) for the foreseeable future. Most of which will be about my experiences in the development process and progress on our game(s). I plan to detail the good and the bad (no matter how bad), and to try to give a realistic view of what it is like to be an Indie Dev. Next week (provided I am allowed to by Steam), I will go over how Zavix Tower did Financially and what I think that that means for Small Indie Devs...
I hope you all enjoyed the read! If you want to follow the blog, our progress, or just want to chat from time to time please feel free to like us on Facebook, Follow us on twitter, or chat with us in the comments :)
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