Game Connect 2011: Creating a Brand From Scratch


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Neil Rennison and Ben Britten Smith -- Tin Man Games

A detailed account of how Tin Man Games brought alive Gamebook Adventures and the reasons taken as to why we decided to look at a long-term approach (the long-tail) over one-off individual game developments. How important was creating a brand in this decision?

Details as to how GA was inspired by 80s gamebook series such as Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy, and how GA is now mentioned alongside those brands whenever digital versions of such series are mentioned in the press.

Why did we name the series Gamebook Adventures? Keeping the title simple and memorable, as well as describing exactly what the series was within the name was very important. Designing the logo. How was this important for merchandising?
Where do we see GA moving forward? What happens when we start working on licensed IPs and how we aim to continue using the GA brand. How valuable is GA?

A quick look at the perception of made-up characters. How we used the imagery of "The Tin Man" to help us reach over 2000 twitter followers in just over a year.

Neil comes from a background in product design. He first started out as a 3D modeler and got his first games industry break working with Razorworks in the UK on a series of racing games. Working as a freelancer for a number of years, Neil then started Fraction Studios, a game art contracting outsourcing company specialising in handheld and low-end console art asset modeling and texturing, with aimed at designing robust art pipelines for developers. Neil has worked on over 20 published games including high profile titles such as the Need For Speed series, Nascar series, Sims series and the Tiger Woods series for a variety of platforms including iPhone, DS, PSP, and Wii. In 2008, Neil moved to Melbourne and started Tin Man Games, an independent game developer and has released 10 titles on the App Store including the highly acclaimed Gamebook Adventures series. Neil has spoken many times on games industry related subjects, including 18 months part-time lecturing on an animation degree in the UK as well as partaking in numerous presentations and panels for IGDA (Midlands UK and Melbourne) and Freeplay.

Ben has been developing software for over 20 years, and developing apps using Cocoa on the Mac platform for over 15 years. He was the senior programmer and architect for Spydercam Aerial Camera Rigging for 8 years and won an Academy Award for technical achievement in 1995 for his work on 3d volumetric motion control. His software was used in over 40 feature films including films such as Spiderman and IronMan. He has been developing applications on the iPhone since the SDK became available. Due to the similarities between Cocoa and CocoaTouch, Ben was able to bring his 15 years of application experience in Cocoa to bear in his iPhone projects. Ben has been the senior or sole developer for over ten applications for the iPhone. In late 2009, Ben joined Tin Man Games and has since become the Technical Director, developing the Gamebook Adventures series. Ben has given many industry based presentations over the last few years to Australian education institutions as well as Freeplay in Melbourne. He is well known for his technical talks on the subject of developing using Unity.