Our journey to San Francisco: GDC 2014


In the first of a trio of posts, we want to take you through what made us decide to make the journey to GDC this year (our first time ever at the conference) and what we’ll be showing.

Continuing our tradition of own-IP development

The reason Coatsink was started was so that we could enjoy full creative control of our work. Several of us had been working at larger, more established studios beforehand (with the steady wage and ‘security’ that brings) but had always felt a bit too restricted and undervalued. That’s not to say that it can’t be amazing to work on big projects with a ton of other people, but it certainly didn’t suit us.

As such, we’ve spent at least 50% of our time at Coatsink developing our own IP. These have been relatively tiny projects (Pinch, Fatty, etc), but we seem to be finding our stride now with our larger ideas. With luck, you’ll see most of these upcoming projects on PC and next-gen consoles (and possibly mobile too – we haven’t forgotten our roots yet).

Despite our focus on development of our own IP, it can still be fun, rewarding and wise (from a business perspective) to do work-for-hire. We’ve been bootstrapping our finances with contract work for some time now, and had great outcomes in every sense (including generating the cash to go to GDC). But you definitely need to find the right partners to make it work!

Transitioning from mobile to PC and console

From a programming and general development perspective, we tried to re-invent the wheel when we started up; partly because we wanted to learn as much as possible and partly because we had no idea what we were doing. This meant that, for mobile, we went from building our own 2D engine to using/blending in Cocos2D, all the while limiting our deployment platform potential and really making things more difficult than they needed to be.

Thanks to Unity, we now have far fewer limitations. Developmentally, we’re focusing all of our own-IP and most of our WFH resources (besides certain app projects) on Unity, and demand for our services seems to be ever-increasing as a result. We’re probably singing to the choir here, but we really can’t recommend Unity enough regardless of your goals as a developer. It’s been key to us stepping up to the bigger platforms.

What we’re bringing to the show

It’s been a huge confidence boost to get the recognition and praise (and support) needed to develop our first couple of PC and console games. This confidence is the main reason we decided to make the trip to GDC this year, and we’re delighted to say that we’ll have new demos of Shu and Superglad, and a near-gold build of Chip (on PC, mobile and tablet) for all to see. You can visit us at the UKIE stand (#814) in the South Hall expo between 19th-21st March. For now, here’s a couple of little teasers for what we’ll be showing: