Extraordinary Facility is one year old! Phew. That flew in. Let’s have a quick look back over the last twelve months while I remember what happened…
The Tune Zoo was the studio’s launch project, coming out just in time for Christmas 2016. It had some great reviews, got featured on the App Store, and even helped keep the lights on.
I won’t be living solely off app sales any time soon – I doubt many people are – but as a way of setting out the stall and attracting clients, The Tune Zoo has more than paid for itself, once again proving that You Get The Work You Do.
January and February saw some stealthy collaborations with new friends over at Chapter. They’re a great bunch of guys, doing great work, and I thank Gareth in particular for teaching me the zen of post-presentation grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Proto Party #1 helped kick off March…
…as did a move into a first studio space! I even treated myself to a nice chair and some pegboard.
In April I did a couple of talks in the UK, at BelTech 2017 and Google London, largely centering around studio inspirations Minsky, Chomsky and Normski, and later receiving a shout out from Normski himself! A career highlight for sure.
June and July saw me back in a heatwave-addled London for a project with the mighty Primo Toys, helping out with new product development and prototyping. Primo have a really lovely family vibe in their workplace, and it shines through in their product thinking. I can’t wait to see what emerges from the work.
September through December took me to Google, where I was embedded in the Assistant Personality team, prototyping new product ideas. Ryan and crew are a unique combination – a mix of everyone from ex-Pixar scriptwriters, ex-Zynga game designers, Doodlers and more – doing fascinating work.
Involving equal parts hardware tinkering, playtesting game mechanics and interactions, sound design, music and storytelling, working on Assistant felt closer to choreography than design sometimes – and brought back some fond memories of Little Printer…
And, in between all that, work on Untitled Color Game has continued! It’s getting close to a point where I can start playtesting, so keep an eye out for invites. I’ve been investing heavily in learning Unity this year, and it’s starting to pay off in both client and self-directed work.
In short – I’ve made new friends, learned a lot, and (hopefully) helped people get some playful, purposeful ideas into the world. The lights are still on, the rent is paid, and I haven’t starved. A steady start!