We’ve reached a milestone. This past Saturday, with little paper party hats and a room full of imaginary monsters, Untold Entertainment celebrated its two-year anniversary as a Toronto game studio start-up. Let me tell you, running your first start-up in the midst of a global economic collapse is like …. well, it’s like running your first start-up in the midst of a global economic collapse. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve survived. i thought it might be nice, for posterity, to look back at how our last fiscal year played out:
Stuff We Did
- July – July was our busiest month evar. Still a one-man shop, we were spinning out three game projects simultaneously, through a complex process of outsourcing and human cloning.
- August – We expanded from 1 to 2 people, and secured office space in Yorkville, one of Toronto’s most expensive neighbourhoods. (Read: The Unboxing of Untold Entertainment) We went with a serviced office space provider, who nickel-and-dimed us for a year. This proved to be a bad business decision, but with a packed July, a second baby on the way, and no time to look at property (AND with brokers hanging up the phone because we were looking for a small space), getting an office close to home and on the subway line made a lot of sense. But if i could go back in time and assassinate myself, i would.
- September – We redesigned our site to make it teh awesome
untoldentertainment.com versions 1 and 2
- November – The Ontario Media Development Corporation rejected our funding application for the Screen-Based Content Initiative
- December – Business was booming! We expanded from 2 to 3 people. Our office space provider was full of money-gouging shenanigans, so we had to cram all three of our hot, writhing bodies into our 110 sq foot closet of an office.
i hope my coffin is more spacious than this
- January – The economy went down the toilet. Uncertainty surrounding Canada’s Telefilm fund spooked many of our clients. Service projects took a nosedive. With nothing left to do but twiddle our thumbs, we started work on our first significant original property.
- March – We downsized from 3 to 2 people. :(
- April – Disheartened, i clung to satire for warmth and comfort (read: Embattled Game Developer Makes Impassioned Plea for Government Assistance)
- May – Some folks don’t appreciate satire.
- June – The Ontario Media Development Corporation rejected our application for the Interactive Digital Media Fund
- July – Still hanging in there, we began to expand our client base. We signed a new lease for an office space in Toronto’s downtown core. New office is five times the size of our current joint, and costs less per month. And it offers us a lovely, panoramic view of the corner of Dodgy and McStabs-a-lot.
Stuff We Made for Other People
Our service workload was lighter in year two, but we still managed to complete a variety of great fee-for-service projects:
- A selection of games for a kids’ travel show, Are We There Yet? World Adventure : Flag Tag, Train Track, Viking Ship, Eye in the Sky. These were tricky because we had to work within the show site’s established look. As you can see, we departed from the look considerably with Eye in the Sky. (Great work, Mark!)
- Various on-camera digital props, mock-ups, storyboards and proposals for kids’ teevee production companies (those are seeeecret! Shhh!)
- Game design and development for a kids’ online collecting/trading game called The Nara Tree for eco-site Earth Rangers, which unfortunately had its plug pulled. (i think they were just trying to save energy :) Don’t worry – the Earth Rangers have a lot of exciting stuff in the queue.
- Two great games for Best Ed, a great new kids’ cartoon show by 9 Story (Peep and the Big Wide World) in the spirit of Eek! The Cat. We’ve been dying to show these games off, but the broadcasters haven’t launched them yet. Stay tuned!
- Ok, this one’s weird: a comedy script for a corporate West 49 awards show, hosted by reknowned skateboarder and troublemaker Bam Marghera, host of his own reality show Viva La Bam. Honestly.
i’m really not joking. i’ll post video of the event once i get my mitts on it.
- A Flash video-intensive project for BMO Bank of Montreal extolling the virtues of retirement planning – Take Charge of Your Retirement
- A SUPER COOL movie creation tool for pre-schoolers which, due to contractual obligations, we can’t actually show on the website. Bummer. (Anyway – great work, Jeff!)
Stuff We Made for Us
- Bloat., a testament to what you can do in twenty-two hours with only a dream in your heart, a dabble of child-like optimism, and a film canister full of uppers
- a global high scores system for all our games, none of which use high scores … a realization i made AFTER the system was completed. Ha!
- Message boards, where you can talk about our stuff or your stuff, or just stuff in general. Participation is dismal at the moment, but we expect it to pick up once we start launching more games
- a neat-o Twitter Flash widget (the blue bird in our global nav bar – look up!). Learn how to build your own with our tutorials (Read: Pull Twitter Updates into Flash Part 1 and Part 2)
Stuff We Started
- Kahoots™, a fun crime-themed puzzle game modeled entirely in clay
- Interrupting Cow Trivia, a real-time multiplayer game that hMOOOO!!
- Balloon Shooter (working title), a simple but fun shooting gallery game to showcase our global high scores system
- Sp… Oops! Almost spilled the beans on that one.
As you can see, we pack a lot into a year. Consider Untold Entertainment Inc. for your next rich media application, advergame, show support site, or Bar Mitzvah!