Number on Dev Team: 3 full time, 6-12 freelancers
Time in Development: 2 years, 4 months
Game Development Experience: New team, with experienced and new developers
About The Ball: First-person, single player physics, puzzle, action extravaganza
The Ball: Released Fall 2010! You can buy it on Steam.
Teotl Studios (formerly Toltec Studios), the people behind The Ball, is a Sweden-based developer. The team is comprised of three now full time (they were part time for most of the project) developers and a fluctuating freelance crew of six to 12 from all over the world. While this is not the first time some of Teotl’s crew have created a game, these guys are a new studio.
“The majority of our team consists of students and enthusiasts who are trying to break into the games industry,” says The Ball dev team member Sjoerd De Jong.
How does a team of such varying background and skill meet? The internet, of course; people either went to the studio’s website, following a trail of articles, or they found each other through resources like the Unreal Developer Network, and the Epic Forums full of others looking to create something grand.
“About half the team got involved because someone knew someone, and the other half noticed our game online and got in touch with us,” explains De Jong. The Ball, it seems, is a project that’s had its own inertia from the very early stages. “At first, our game was just a hobby project, something we worked on in our free time, but for half a year a number of us are working on the game full-time.”
Despite the multi-national nature and differing experience levels of the team, The Ball will have taken about two and a half years to create upon its fall 2010 release. In addition to recognizing the hard work and careful planning put in by the team, De Jong attributes some of the speed of development to UDK.
“We are definitely having a much easier time creating what we have in mind with the UDK than with other engines we have used,” said De Jong. “The UDK is very What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get and that greatly speeds up development. In other engines you often need to edit text files, get help of a programmer for even the simplest things, or continuously boot up the game to find out whether or not something works. Not so in the UDK!”
Further surprising to De Jong about UDK is that such a big and powerful engine is available for free.
“The opportunities this creates, not just for game development, but also for education and simulation, are endless,” he states. For others considering a new project, De Jong advises, “Start small! Be realistic about your expectations and goals, and first and foremost just have fun exploring and mastering the Unreal Development Kit.”