Secrets of the Game Industry

Here at Spoiled Dog Games we believe in the power of data driven decision making.  Yeah, we know -- you assumed that the game business was all, well, fun and games.  Not true.  We're hardcore scientists and dedicated professionals.  In fact, Dr. Usual and Duke Miguel each worked for years in various professions involving business intelligence, chemical and environmental science, and data analysis before turning to the real challenge of entertainment.

Today we're going to share a key technique for maximizing your enjoyment of Film Tycoons.  That's right, we're revealing one of our super double secret behind the scenes processes.  That's how much we love you.

It was very important to us that the Film Tycoons cards be funny without being either mean or "rated R."  But there are hundreds of cards.  Over 300, in fact.  How can we possibly check that each of these meets the funny/not mean/not offensive criteria? 

It's a matter of finding just the right scientific instrument.  In this case, a nun.

We had our nun read each card, one by one.  A laughing response indicated success.  However, there were many other output signals which, variously, destined that card for a re-write.  Possibly multiple times. 

We did have to calibrate our nun carefully.  The Film Tycoons base set covers a movie era from the early 2000's through about 2015,  and of course, using an outdated nun configuration would have really skewed the results. 

So, rest assured, game enthusiasts!  Careful scientific measurement has vetted the humor value in Film Tycoons and you're sure to be entertained.  We (and our nun) guarantee it!

And don't forget, the Film Tycoons launch is scheduled for the beginning of May.  Join our mailing list to be notified of the Kickstarter campaign!

Movie Mastiff's Film Review: Collateral Beauty

Movie Mastiff Rating: A+

  • Drama: 10
  • Tear-Wrenching Story Lines: 9
  • Amazing Supporting Performances: 10
  • Notable Appearances by Dogs: 10

Collateral Beauty might be the best movie you see this year.  Or last year, if you saw it in December.  Doesn't matter.  If you haven't seen it yet, you should.  Unless reality TV is your idea of deep drama.  In that case, go see Collateral Beauty twice. 

The main story revolves around Howard, played by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  He's struggling to deal with the death of his very young daughter.  Business at his marketing firm has suffered as he's been unable to focus on work, which has severe implications for his employees.  In particular, Whit (Scout Master Ward), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Pena) each have problems of their own and can't resolve them while the Fresh Prince and his firm are in limbo.

(Bonus trivia!  Michael Pena will be in the My Little Pony movie.  That's right.  Officer Navidad is going to voice a part in MLP.  Go figure!)

Howard has written letters to Death, Love, and Time while trying to deal with the loss of his daughter.  And they respond.  And things get really complicated from there. 

It's a sad story.  No, it's more sad stories than a cat has lives.  They're all very believable and very sad.  (But it does end on a number of happy notes.  It's not Titanic II.) 

And let's not forget the dog bonuses!  First, a few pivotal scenes take place at an off-leash dog park.  Savvy movie-goers undoubtedly know that if a scene is shot at a dog park, it's probably fundamental to the story.  But even better, the pre-movie trailers included A Dog's Purpose.  Obviously, the entire staff here at Spoiled Dog can't wait for that one.  (Lasse Hallstrom, I'm still waiting for my invitation to the premier; just address Movie Mastiff c/o Spoiled Dog Productions.)


Movie Mastiff's Film Review: Rogue One

Movie Mastiff Rating: A-

  • Action and Adventure: 9
  • Perfect Fit To Established Story: 10
  • Resisting The Urge To Include Unnecessary Characters For Cuteness: 9
  • Notable Appearances By Dogs: 1

From a galaxy far, far away I've finally made it back to post my review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  In short, Rogue One is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. 

The time span for this story is just a few days, ending just minutes before Episode 4: A New Hope begins.  Remember the line from Episode 4 regarding a lot of good people who died obtaining the plans for the Death Star?  Rogue One is the story of those people. 

I think there are three really important things to cover in this review, starting with the film's only notable weakness: a lack of dogs.  Sadly, even this awesome bit of cinematography barely registers on the Notable Dogs scale.  I'm probably being generous in even granting a 1, but there ARE some dog-like creatures among the milieu of otherworldly beings.  Most important, of course, are the Wookies.  There is a Wookie sighting in the film, and those familiar with Sir Brendan McEwan's excellent monograph, "Evolution of Star Wars Species" will undoubtedly agree that Wookies are a very highly evolved race originated from Earth canines.  

Second thing: Lord Vader is a bad ass.  Yes, you knew he was a bad ass already from episodes 4 through 6, but mainly because you were told he's a bad ass.  Show, don't tell, right?  In Rogue One Vader's bad-assery is fully shown.  It's almost like a bonus scene.  During the great space melee Vader and a squadron of storm troopers assault a Rebel frigate -- except that Vader decides to go it alone.  You can easily imagine James Earl Jones telling the storm troopers, "I'll handle this one myself; you men make sure my pizza is on its way and put the beer in the fridge."  Slaughter ensues.

Finally, the Star Wars universe runs on pens.  That's right.  We suspected it from earlier movies, but there's no denying it after seeing Rogue One.  Practically everyone carries at least one pen.  He who controls the most pens wins.  Doesn't matter if your occupation is rebel leader, Imperial death machine builder, TIE Fighter pilot, or bartender.  Everyone has a pen.  It makes one wonder if George Lucas had stock in the Bic corporation and Disney has carried on the tradition.




Closer Every Day!

We're definitely into the fun final stages of development now!  No more of this math, modelling, and heavy lifting -- it's graphic design, color schemes, and 3D printing from here on out.  Of course, we've got a little more writing to do.  While Miguel works on the final tweaks for the game board Usual is chained to the desk and not allowed to eat, sleep or pee until the cards are truly funny. 

Once these last bits of layout work are done we'll launch a Kickstarter campaign with some very unique rewards and maybe even opportunities for some prizes.  That's right, our Kickstarter won't just be about supporting stuff and getting stuff, it could also be about winning stuff!  Stay tuned here for more details.  Or better yet, click on the Twitter or Facebook links below and follow us to get regular updates! 

Sample scripts from the final prototype!

Sample scripts from the final prototype!

Movie Mastiff's Film Review: Assassin's Creed

Movie Mastiff Rating: C+

  • Action and Adventure: 7
  • Piercing Looks and Telling Gazes: 8
  • Safe for the Pups: 7
  • Notable Appearances by Dogs: 0

Howdy folks!  Yesterday I had a break from my usual afternoon schedule when two squirrels called in sick and I took the opportunity to see Assassin's Creed.  This movie is an adaptation from one of those irritating games the kids play when they should be out throwing things for me to chase.  It stars two of my favorite actors, Magneto and Chalky White. 

Callum Lynch (Magneto) is a grown up Man who's kinda-not-really-sorta sent back in time via a machine called the Animus.  He doesn't really travel in time.  He synchs up with memories of his ancestor, Aguilar, who was an Assassin.  The Assassins were dedicated to keeping the Apple of Eden out of the hands of the Knights Templar, who wanted to use the Apple to erase free will from the minds of men.  Since Aguilar was the last man known to have possessed the Apple, some current days Knights Templar want Callum to relive Aguilar's memories and find it. 

Let's stop right there.  I'm sure you've already noticed the philosophical red flag here: this film reeks of CAT.  If this talk of past lives raises your hackles, you're not alone.  Read on. 

Apparently the Knights Templar have already connected other present day people with their Assassin ancestors.  One of these is Moussa (Chalky White.)  They warn Callum not to give up the location of the Apple to the evil Knights, and when Callum does discover the location, things really heat up.  The modern day Assassins are forced to team up and break out of the Animus facility to prevent the Knights from locating the Apple.  For one exciting moment it looks like Moussa is going to start playing ball, but he's actually just throwing some round ball-like things which explode into smoke.  Then all the people start fighting.

The film is pretty much a non-stop series of fights, which involve a lot of running through the streets (fun!) and jumping from catwalks and rooftops.  (Not fun.)  Most of the fighting involves stabbing, but there isn't much in the way of Bad Words and none of the people ever take off the ridiculous clothes they wear for lack of proper fur.  Hence, I've given the movie a medium-high Safe for the Pups rating.

But let's get back to this cat issue.  If the subtle "I've got former lives and can get in touch with them" theme wasn't enough, there are far more overt cat references throughout the movie.  During the fight sequences the main characters are constantly leaping and bounding up buildings, from roof to roof, windowsill to windowsill, etc.  If you don't see cat influence here, you've clearly put on blinders.  And not a single dog appearance to be had.  Come on, Hollywood.  Diversity is the name of the game these days.  I'm giving Assassin's Creed a passing grade, but I hope the producers raise their social awareness a bit and include some dogs in Assassin's Creed II.



Christmas is Coming...

...and so is Film Tycoons!  We're working hard on the final layout and graphics work and getting ready for production.  We're also going to finalize our Kickstarter campaign rewards in short time.  Always wanted to be cast in a Hollywood movie or become a character in a game?  Your chance for both is coming soon!

Okay, so you won't REALLY be in a Hollywood movie.  But Film Tycoons is all about redesigning films, and as a character in the game you'll be "cast" in more movies than Nicholas Cage.

Hello, World!

It's December and we've officially been working on Film Tycoons for just over a year!  (Well, just over a decade, but that's a different story.)  It's been a fun process: brainstorm, prototype, test, discuss, change, iterate.  The game we're finishing up today has some major differences from the one we had in mind at the outset, but that's okay.  Our mission on Day 1 was to create a great game and now, on Day 1 + Many, I think we've accomplished that.  How often have you walked out of the movie theater and said, "If I'd made that movie, I would have...?"  When you entertain your friends with a game of Film Tycoons, you'll put the movies together the way YOU would do it!

We're very excited to be in the end stages of development.  Miguel has been working hard on the final look and feel of the board while Usual has focused on finding the best printer and most reliable shipping company.  We're hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign in January, which likely means broad availability of the game sometime in March. 

If you'd like to stay updated on the Kickstarter campaign and the release of Film Tycoons, follow us on Twitter and join the Spoiled Dog Games Facebook group!