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GDC Day 1: Scrap Metal: Pushing the Envelope with a Team of Two

The dynamic duo that make up Slick Entertainment, Kees Rijnen and Nick Waanders, gave a presentation on their journey to their first indie game launch.

Slick Entertainment's Scrap Metal

The dynamic duo that make up Slick Entertainment, Kees Rijnen and Nick Waanders, gave a presentation on their journey to their first indie game launch.  Their first title built under Slick Entertainment is titled “Scrap Metal” and will be released tomorrow, March 10th on XBOX Live Arcade.  The fast paced racing combat game was built completely on internal proprietary tools by only two people.

Slick Entertainment was founded in February of 2007 by the pair, who formally worked with Metanet on smash-hit N+.   When they set off on their own, they only had two goals: the first to self-fund their own IP, and secondly, to stay small – the latter being considered a fundamental dynamic of their development.

 A main focus of their presentation was on scalability and a vertical slice approach.  What is the “vertical slice approach” you may ask?  At the start of development Slick Entertainment built only one track, one car, and a couple physics objects and FX.  The rest of the dev stemmed from constant testing and iteration on the original “slice.”

They also talked about creating a set of specific tools for their game.  They built snappy tools that suited their needs, and allowed for real-time editing.  This meaning any changes made in their tools would be seen instantaneously in their engine – this included assets, lighting, and game-play elements.

Their tools allow for iterative creation of the following items:

  • Deferred Shading
  • Pathfinding
  • Dynamic Objects (physics, particleFX, sounds, etc.)
  • Car Physics
  • Mission Settings (gameplay)

They displayed videos of each of these toolsets, and their simplicity was amazing.  For something so simple, each allowed them to accomplish so much in terms of design.

In summary, the decided that creating their own tools paid off, vertical slice methodology saved them tons of time, and real-time feedback increased iteration, which in turn led to higher polish.

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