SophSoft Relaunch

SophSoft, Incorporated jumps back into the fray.

SophSoft, Incorporated - custom game developmentAfter a respectful (and necessary) period of readjustment, while SophSoft, Incorporated and Digital Gamecraft™ added a second office on the west coast, we are making our public reappearance.

It has, admittedly, been a while since I have made any concerted effort to market our development services or published games, or to comment on industry events.  Instead, I have retrenched to focus on our core concerns: key clients, business organization, and (of course) financial stability.  Having made significant progress on all fronts, it was time for us to again perform those functions that go beyond simple maintenance to actually growing the company.  To that end, I am not only committing time to this effort but getting more assistance in areas that I can efficiently delegate.

Here is a quick roundup of the news (past and upcoming):

SophSoft, Incorporated

Over the past year, we have continued our previous development work, most notably for Goodsol Development, with whom we have been working for 15 years (later this month); there have been several releases in that time, and many more are still scheduled to be shipped (for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS) during the rest of 2016.

We have added to our collection of mobile devices (iOS, Android, and Windows) for development and testing, as we have continued to improve our knowledge and experience on all three platforms.  (I can neither confirm nor deny reports that Apple Watch, Android Wear, Apple TV, and Android TV are included in our forthcoming lineup.)

As a departure from games, development is underway on a new line of productivity tools that aim not only to enhance our bottom line, but also (actually, primarily) to significantly increase our internal efficiency and organization.

Digital Gamecraft

We have continued to support (albeit not promote) Demolish! Pairs for iOS, while we have been making progress on an Android edition.  This progress on a new platform for Demolish! Pairs has gone from fitful to steady, and it is now increasing in velocity.  We have some new marketing prepared, including an online playable version (in HTML5).  Expect new features and new platform announcements fairly soon.

In addition to that title, our next game is already under development.  This one will be the first of our “Gamecraft Classics™” series of classic board and card games, and it represents an early step along our roadmap of upcoming titles in five major genres, as well as a few experimental (‘one off’) titles.  All of these games feed into our SophPlay™ System for robust game development, strengthening its foundation.

Finally, plans are in place for renewing and enhancing our presence on social media, expanding from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ into more places for community.  Follow us via these links now and experience the resurgence as it happens.

Still More…

As noted, we now have offices in both East Lansing, MI and Los Angeles, CA, and it has been a chore getting our infrastructure working (together) in both places.  Now that we have stability, we are enhancing our capabilities with new, faster servers.  Although the switch-over and retirement of older hardware is still in progress, users should experience more responsiveness and better reliability (if not now, then within a couple of weeks).

As ‘no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy‘ (in this case, the challenges of limited resources and product discoverability, primarily), there is no doubt that our goals are ambitious and our priorities will change.  However, as an entrepreneur, I find that merely maintaining the status quo is more stressful than risking failure.

IGDA Detroit: September Meeting!

IGDA Detroit returns to East Lansing on Thursday.

September SocialFor the first time in a few years, IGDA Detroit, the Michigan chapter of the International Game Developers Association, will be having its monthly meeting in East Lansing (our home town). The September meeting will be this Thursday [September 22].

This month’s meeting details:

Thursday, September 22, 2011
7:00pm to 9:30pm [or later]
East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC)
325 E. Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, MI 48823
[click here for map/directions]

Note that the TIC is immediately above the Barnes and Noble, and there is direct access from the second level of the parking garage in back, as well as access to the elevators from street level off Grand River (M-43).

Unlike last month’s (social) gathering, this IGDA Detroit meeting has an agenda including short presentations on the current state of Michigan Tax Incentives, the outcome of a meeting with the Oakland County Film Board, and a survey of the groundbreaking educational opportunities in games at Michigan State University.  Additionally, our friends at Adventure Club Games will be discussing the upcoming “GDC Road Trip“; we got a taste of the plans at the last meeting, but we are very excited to see how we may be able to participate in something that has never been attempted before (to my knowledge).  I would describe the basics here, but it is not my cat to let out of the bag, so you will just need to come hear for yourself, and maybe even start preparing to take part.

After the main meeting, of course, there will be an opportunity for networking at any number of bars within easy walking distance of the TIC.  Digital Gamecraft may even pick up the first round…

IGDA Detroit: August Meeting

An IGDA Detroit social gathering will be on Monday.

April SocialIGDA Detroit, the Michigan chapter of the International Game Developers Association, will be having its August meeting on Monday [August 22].  Every other chapter meeting (even months) is a social event, or “pure networking” if you prefer, at an area establishment.

This month’s meeting details:

Monday, August 22, 2011
6:30pm to 9:30pm [or later]
Dick O’Dow’s
160 West Maple Road
Birmingham, MI 48009
[click here for map/directions]

 

For the first time in memory, this IGDA Detroit meeting is on a Monday (which, thankfully, means that I have no time conflicts, as I have for the last few meetings).  I look forward to seeing a good turnout.  Find me or Sherry and mention this blog entry and Digital Gamecraft will buy you a drink.  As always, one can also follow IGDA Detroit on Facebook.

IGDA Detroit: April Meeting

An IGDA Detroit gathering is scheduled for Thursday.

April SocialIGDA Detroit, the Michigan chapter of the International Game Developers Association, will be having its April meeting tomorrow.  As per the recently established custom, every other chapter meeting (even months) is a social event, or “pure networking” if you prefer, at an area establishment.

This month’s meeting details:

Thursday, April 21, 2011
7:30pm to 10:30pm [editor: or so]
Lucky Strike at Twelve Mile Crossings
44325 W. Twelve Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48377
[click here for map/directions]

 

Attendance has been on the rise for every IGDA Detroit meeting so far in 2011, and I hope for that trend to continue.  The newly elected Board of Directors is introducing door prizes for such things as traveling distance (to the meeting) and new members, so it could pay off in more ways than just the camaraderie, business contacts, and practical game development information.  Come join us!

To keep apprised of the happenings, you can follow IGDA Detroit on Facebook, too.

One topic of conversation is certainly going to be the IGDA stance against Amazon’s new Appstore Distribution Terms (and, specifically, how said terms are potentially very detrimental to game developers).  More about that soon…

Welcome to 2011!

Happy New Year!

Even though the New Year is ultimately an arbitrary construct, it is nevertheless customary to take the opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the next one.  More practically, of course, there are certain business related items (especially concerning taxes) that need to be handled in a certain calendar year, so getting those tasks completed before the end of the year is important.

In our case, we officially take two weeks off around the holidays, especially since very little work tends to get done anyway, other businesses are often running with skeleton crews (or closed entirely), and most of us would rather focus on family during this time, anyway.  However, we still have things to get completed by year end, so leading up to the break, we have a major project meeting (before two weeks without any) and determine which items have to be finished before the break, or during it in the worst case.  Last year (i.e., a couple weeks ago) we were able to determine that certain “capital improvements” were better deferred until 2011, so this year will begin with some disruptions targeted toward better efficiency in the near future.

For my personal task management, I added to the list all of my recurring items (some of which include general categories, such as ‘development’ or ‘marketing’) and methodically eliminated each item by assuring that everything necessary was finished before taking my break.  Alas, one particular (and important) item on my task list actually became two separate items with 2010 deadlines, so my break only encompassed hours, rather than days, of last year.

As the new year begins, on this first business day, I repeated the same process of starting my task list with all of my recurring items (plus deferred tasks), except this time I review each one to make certain that the foundational aspects are handled and to consider any procedural changes for the upcoming year (including delegating or completely eliminating a task).  I am still officially on a break for another week, so I am (personally) using that time to prepare my work environment physically, organizationally, and mentally, for substantially increased development efficiency when I return.

Of course, these are just the tasks that are performed to pursue our ultimate goals.  We also have planned and established a set of goals for 2011, which these tasks are designed to serve, but that will be the subject of my next post.