"Puns, not guns."
Radial Games started out as a simple legal entity required to do business making indie games. Now it's an old company with employees, IP, and contracts with many other companies. That feels weird! Radial isn't my first company but it is my most successful.
I try to make things that challenge myself; I don't like the easy-way-out, which (usually) means I don't use violence or guns as game mechanics. Not necessarily because I don't enjoy that content (I do), but because I enjoy the puzzle of trying to solve game design without using those tools. Constraints are fun!
That means games I work on can be weird and quirky, and are very susceptible to missing the mark completely. It's a risk, but when we manage to release something that resonates, it's very satisfying.
I founded Radial Games with this risky design ethos in mind. I already know how to make a buck selling software; I actively chose to make video games because it is fun, exciting, and very hard.
Why "Radial?" I'm an aviation enthusiast and my favourite planes all tend to have big, beefy, radial engines. I decided to name my company after the engine type, though the flexibility of the term (to mean branching out in different ways, or having multiple connected products, or being all about math or what have you) did sound nice as well.
Ten years later, I recognize that "Radial" is often mis-heard as "Radio" when spoken, or "Radical" when written, and it doesn't roll off the tongue nicely. Maybe I'll get around to changing the name some day?
I can proudly say that Radial Games is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2018, and in our entire history, we have never gone into debt, taken investment, or had donations or personal savings provided to the company. Sometimes we work on revshare. Sometimes we work on salary. We're scrappy, and we have always managed to keep ourselves afloat with game sales alone. Achievement Unlocked?
However, that means we've been living game-to-game and in a perpetual danger of running out of money. Standard "indie life" I suppose, and we've been supplementing our income with contract work throughout this ten year span. I often worry that it makes our company too reluctant to take big enough risks or chase our hearts; we might be a bit too conservative, in an attempt to guarantee our next months rent. It's a tough problem, I'm working on it!
Here's a complete list of my games, most (but not all) of which are officially Radial titles.
I try to say "we" and "the team" a lot these days, because Radial is so much more than myself now, but that wasn't always the case. Here's a timeline for context:
- 2008: I use the day I started working on video games as an indie as the "birthday" of Radial Games. This was July 1st, 2008 -- Canada Day. I was broke AF.
- 2008: I started working on Colin Northway's Fantastic Contraption (browser edition).
- 2009: I launched my first entirely-made-by-myself commercial game, Space Squid.
- 2010: Radial Games was officially made a legal Canadian Corporation, and I stopped working my previous jobs. Pedants are correct in saying "_well actually_ Radial Games was officially born in 2010 then." Radial acquired all of Andy Moore's intellectual property, so we could do that thing where we hang a wooden sign and say "since 1802!" or something and can probably pull that off. It's complicated!
- 2010: My first independent hit game, SteamBirds, was released.
- 2011: SteamBirds: Survival released. This game did rather well!
- 2012: Lots of contract work, collaborations, and jam games. I hit 50 games released in 2012.
- 2012: Ice Burgers launched. Commercially a flop but I'm still really proud of that little gem.
- 2013: One of my most profitable games ever, Monster Loves You!, was released.
- 2014: Though going it alone was fun and freeing, I wanted to try taking things to the next level - hiring, employees, making a proper studio, making larger and more ambitious games. Lindsay Jorgensen joined me as co-founder/owner of the New Radial Games in early 2014.
- 2014: Our hit party game ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS launched.
- 2015: Radial Games became a VR focused studio, after Valve announced the HTC Vive. Many people write me for VR advice.
- 2016: Our best selling game ever, Fantastic Contraption, was launched on several VR platforms as a flagship/launch title.
- 2018: Ten years in business? What the?