Hello there fellow game-a-vores –

My, my what a frosty day. Saw a squirrel at the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens yesterday; it had a huge stash of peanuts in a tree trunk. Don’t remember peanuts growing wild in Scotland, but there you go – that’s progress for you. Next it’ll have a stash of cappuccinos still warm in the paper cups. Busy little fella’ or fell-ette (hard to tell which – didn’t want to stare).

Talking of busy…

We’ve been beating the business plan into shape and developing our business strategy with our good friend Jude. We need that wicked piece of paper to sort out all things finance, and it’s sorely needed if I’m going to get my beloved decaf in the morning. Ever seen a bear deprived of its herbal infusions of a morning? Not pretty. Doing the business plan has led to some interesting discussions about exactly what we think the company is about and how to summarise that into one clear sentence; the kind of sentence that doesn’t need one of us stapled to each copy of the business plan to describe what we mean by the phrase ‘world domination’ while waving our arms around. Ach. Turns out, Blazing Griffin has evolved, despite our being hardly out of diapers (metaphorically speaking). Our sentence is: “Blazing Griffin uses games to quickly identify the popularity of intellectual properties and develop them into media franchises.”

DECODED: we want to make lots of games in the same cool settings.

Now why didn’t we just say that?

Design work for Distant Star progresses. We’ve been busy building a paper prototype which is all kinds of fun. Distant Star the boardgame anyone? Cuttin’ an’ stickin’ and having my girlfriend’s cat wander across it, and having flashbacks to primary school where I tried not to colour over the lines and had to be careful not to cut my fingers off with round-ended scissors. Paper prototypes are a great way of iterating on the game and getting everyone involved – design democracy and all that – and describing a board game can be a really good way of getting decisions made. We’ll be iterating on (‘spilling pizza sauce on’) that for a while and, thanks to more round-ended scissors, my fingers are intact.

Continuing with the money theme, and where it comes from, we’re working on server back-end stuff for our games – magical ‘1’s and ‘0’s that will allow us to handle digital purchases and a variety of payment models. The back-up plan is to plant lots of pound coins behind the library and hope they grow… that, and the other business planning we’ve been doing, of course. Mental note: remind Jude about the ‘money tree’ thing.

In the meantime, we’ve also gotten a rather professional artist working on concepting new characters and environments for Full Steam Ahead. How cool is that? More to follow, strictly hush-hush and all that (you won’t tell anyone will you? No? Good), but needless to say we have lots of standy-up boards in the office with pictures on them. We’ll be showing you what Richard’s been up to in a while, if we can shift all that concept goodness from the door.

This fragment of a phone call just occurred in the office:

Unknown caller: ”?”

Peter: “Just slaying dragons. That kind of thing.”

There you go – that’s how much we love you.

The Griffin.

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