Lair of pixies
Based in Berlin, Germany
September 1, 2013
Press / Business Contact:
Indie games from Berlin.
Making your own games seemed an impossible dream not too long ago. Back in the times when I was an engineering student, it looked like the only possible route was through an industry with a reputation of a high burnout rate, getting hired by a big software house where the programmer's role is that of a cog in a machine, working overtime as part of a team of more than 50 people where the chances of making any sort of impact on the final design of a game were close to zero. My own interest was rather in the creative side of programming, and I started a career on a different field, focused on research.
Around 2007 "Indie games" started to become popular. Little pieces of software made by small teams where the focus is on the love of their creators for the medium, instead of an obsession for financial outcome. Making games was fun again, and even possible, thanks to digital distribution and better, simpler tools. This reignited my interest in videogames. I started playing them again. Moreover, I already had more than a decade of experience as a C++ developer, half of it professionally. I did have the skills, now I had the chance.
But I didn't have the time. Already busy with a day job in a different industry, my free time was insufficient. I lacked practical experience on this particular task, since being able to start and finish such a project on your own is very different to working as part of a team in a big company. The programmer in me was getting sidetracked by the temptation to write complex, generic systems which we call "engines", instead of focusing on the "game" part of games. My creative side would dream ambitious, sprawling game concepts that are not doable in a reasonable time by a one-man team working in his free time from his bedroom. Several failed attempts lead me to abandon the idea of making games, once again.BIGjam
On summer 2009 I moved to Berlin. This coincided with the BIGjam. It was a meet-up of indie game developers from around Europe. Without knowing anyone, not even participating in the forum where they had met each other, TIGsource, I still decided to show up and ask them if it was ok for me to sit in a corner and watch them work. They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel part of their community since the moment I stepped in. The jam was 3 days long, composed of several mini-projects where you would make a game in 3 hours. The second day I brought my laptop and started making games with them.
I made 3 games that weekend. Those were not very good games, but it was the first time I was able to finish something outside of my workplace. A wonderful experience.
This inspired me so much that I started a new game that I finished roughly a month later, called "GunFu Deadlands". My first "real" game. I posted it online, and it caught the interest of some people. At the time of this writing it's been downloaded more than 10,000 times, I have received mails from fans praising the game, and it was featured on several websites, "let's play" videos and even a book: "250 Indie Games you must play" by Mike Rose.
I started a new job, still not in the games industry, and I also started a new game project on the side. It was more ambitious than GunFu Deadlands. GunFu had some performance problems, so the first task would be to write a proper game engine that would solve that. Since I was doing it on my free time this meant that I couldn't put much time on it, and the project slugged through weeks and months without any progress. Another big failure, I had repeated the same mistake from former years, one more time.Berlin Mini Jam
The next BIGjam took place on summer 2010. Another inspiring meetup, another couple of games made. I was getting so much from this event, but then the rest of the year I wasn't able to do anything productive, when it comes to games. I wanted it to happen more often.I had the luck to meet Tobias Wehrum at the BIGjam. He lives in Berlin. I also knew Iwan Gabovitch, another Berliner, from the BIGjam the year before. I pitched the idea of more regular jams to Tobias. He liked it, and we organized our first own jam on September that year. This is how the Berlin Minijam was born. The "not-BIG" jam. Iwan joined as the third member shortly after.
In 2014, we've already organized more than 40 jams, some of them as part of bigger events.We've coorganized other meetups and events in collaboration with other groups. We have a nice and healthy local community of people interested in the process of making games, including students, freelancers, employees of local game companies, and other contacts from the start-up scene in Berlin. One thousand members in our Facebook group. There's even an indie games festival taking place in Berlin, the Amaze. Though not organized by us, we feel that we're part of it as well.Lair of pixies
Through the various game jams I've attended or organized, I've been able to make a lot of games myself. Small, non-ambitious, but something I am still proud of. More than 20 finished jam games are on display in my blog, "Just for fun", all free to download and play. It's been a great learning experience. I can say that jams have changed my life.
The idea behind Lair of pixies is to take some of the games I make in jams, the little 5-minute-gameplay experiments, and add a bit of polishing. Transform them into marketable products that can be enjoyed for larger sessions. Some of them will be remakes of games I've already published in my blog, others will be taken from the pool of unfinished projects that never escaped my hard disk.
I resist to call Lair of pixies it a "game studio" or a "game company", but I guess that's what it is. It's the name under which I will publish the polished versions of some of my games. "Just for Fun" will remain a place for jam-games only, a portfolio of the "unpolished" and "discarded" versions. For a day job, I am still working as a freelance software developer for other clients, which lets me work part-time and bring in some cash to pay my bills, while at the same leaving enough free time so that I can work on growing a Lair of pixies portfolio.
"Because" trailer YouTube
O---> trailer YouTube
There are far more images available for Lair of pixies, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!
Logo & Icon
Just for fun
jam games http://chrisjangames.wordpress.com.
Berlin Mini Jam
game jams http://berlinminijam.de.
Team & Repeating Collaborators
Collaborator: Graphics ("Because", "O--->")