Hello from pillow castle HQ! It’s officially 2014 for both the american and the chinese members of pillow castle. The year of the horse! And of the pillow castle! So say we all!

This newsletter is coming to you all a day late because of a few factors, none of which are good for the team. A) We pushed really hard for global game jam, and it the cracks started to show around Tuesday. Zhengyi has a shoulder injury due to repetitive stress (re: he draws too much without breaks) and had to take a whole day off. Allen has been in a fog all week (just look at him!) Xiao won’t stop yelling. And Albert got attacked by a bat! A FREAKIN BAT! We learned a lot from Global Game Jam, but it would have been good for the team to get some rest somewhere in between. Now we’re faced with pushing through the weekend to complete something for the week and will have little time to recover. Lesson learned.

okay so maybe attacked isn’t the right word. encroached upon by a freakin bat?

B) The team is a little unsure of it’s direction. This is due to a number of factors, which I’m going to attempt to enumerate below:



  1. We had no idea what we were getting into, and we didn’t have a plan to deal with success.
  2. We don’t have a clear vision for the next six months of the project, in some ways due to
  3. The next six months of the project are very uncertain. we have GDC as a target and then?
  4. We were going to try and use this semester as quasi-preproduction. That work has to now be condensed down to 5 weeks.

C) Chinese New Year was a much-needed respite for the team, and they took advantage of it.

D) Allen is lazy.

So we’re stuck being a little behind where we need to be. But we didn’t even know where we needed to be until yesterday. And tomorrow we’ll need to be somewhere else. It’s an interesting design challenge to construct a production around a moving target: the secret, we think, is to start making decisions and kind of give the finger to projecting too far out.

That’s a little simplistic, but what we need right now as a team is a series of strong decisions,  not another week of listless confusion about whether or not GDC is an important event for us.

Speaking of GDC being important, we had the opportunity to talk to Kyle Gray of the Tomorrow Corporation (Little Inferno), an ETC Alum, and he had a lot of great advice for the team moving forward. Mostly, that we should be trying to make every moment of GDC count, and that it could be a great opportunity for us. We left his meeting wondering how to scope for maximum impact at GDC – what are goals even should be to attract whatever it was we were trying to attract while we attended our very first Game Developers Conference.

Confidence reigns supreme among our team.

The good news is we are buckling down this weekend and hoping to gold spike a new design path. That’s a big moment for us, and it will be exciting to see it come together. No concept art this week, as Zhengyi has been busy working on our branding materials for the ETC and for the team. The logo is a getting a refresh, as well as a half-sheet write-up and a poster designed to inspire wonder.

Xiao and Albert are working on new modes of interaction in the game world. Currently we’re playing with ideas of transferable momentum. I threw a space shuttle into the moon. Smashy Smashy.

fanYuxi and Zhengyi are close to finishing the first rebuilt level and the art looks fantastic. Forget the game – I was to just wander around inside of their world for a while. We hope other people feel the same way. I stole a screenshot from Zhengyi’s computer because he isn’t here and he left unity open. Don’t tell him. This is a lighting pass on some blocking…

Our Global Game Jam post mortem is available here, and you can download a copy of our game Medusa Goes to the Grocery Store for your reading troubles. The game looks beautiful, and the interaction is really fun, but we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to tweak the core player experience, so it’s a bit good with the bad and all that.


Next week we’ll be looking at building out another section of the world in another new style to speed up our production pipeline. We’ll also be finalizing all the branding materials and ordering some sweet team t-shirts.  Swaaaag.

We’ll also be setting up a permanent demo station in our room here at the ETC, so if you wanted to get your hands of a playable version of the demo that was on the internets, the one and only place to do it will be here amongst our prying eyes. this serves many purposes, most of which you’ll be unaware of until years later when you receive a strange knock at your door.

Okay, that about does it from team pillow castle for the week. Too many words. Keep an eye on our blog for leaks of our gold spike this weekend, and for more information about what we’ll be presenting at GDC in the coming weeks. Also, everyone pray for Albert’s pet beta fish Mr. Teddybear Brumblekiss. It’s floating at the top of the tank. Albert is pretty bummed about it but he won’t talk to anyone. I’m not sure what to do. Poor guy.