From Bali with Love - The BaliFied game development story part 1
It’s finally time. After more than a year of planning, living, breathing, obsessing, LOVING BaliFied.... it's time to introduce our upcoming word game to the world! Even though the actual game production started in September 2012, the real story started long before that. To make you understand why we decided to build a game with a theme like this, I have to get a bit personal and start from the beginning:
It's May 2011. My wife Joan (born in the Netherlands, with Indonesian roots) and I just held our dream wedding in Uluwatu, Bali. This was my third time visiting Bali, the wonderful Island of the Gods. I knew since the very first time I visited Bali, that this place would be forever special to us. The first time we visited I proposed to Joan at a beach in Seminyak (May 2010). The second time we came back to plan our wedding (January 2011). The third time, exactly one year after my proposal, I said ‘I do’ to the love of my life Joan, at our beautiful cliff-side wedding in Uluwatu. (May 2011).
Before getting married my wife and I had been playing with the idea of buying property in Bali. We had seen the most amazing villas online, costing a fraction of what it would in Europe. After our marriage we had some free time on our hands and we were curious to see if the places actually looked as good in real life as they did on the photos, so we contacted a few real estate agencies. What started as something we did "just for fun" turned into an almost unhealthy obsession to find our dream villa. After three months and viewing more than 40 different villas, going multiple times back and forth between Europe and Bali, dealing with all kinds of people, from the kindest to the sleaziest, we finally found it: our dream villa! Since we were fortunate enough to have somewhat of a financial security, we bought it and started to plan our move from Europe to Bali, Indonesia. In October 2011 it was time. Our great life adventure was about to begin. Bali here we come!
As soon as we arrived in Bali I planned to start up some kind of business. I didn't know exactly what, but I knew that being my own boss is what I desired to continue with. I’ve been running my own business since 1997 and it’s like second nature to me. Even though starting a business in Bali is a quite the different process than what it is in Europe, it turned out to be the right choice. After reading various "How to build an App" books I was sure that this was what I wanted to do. Developing apps, more specifically: games. Playing computer & video games has always been a great passion of mine, and still is. These days I tend to play more games on my iPhone and iPad for obvious reasons, but I still love to fire up the PS3 or Xbox360 for some more intense gaming sessions whenever I have the time. Anyway, the idea was there, time to put it in motion!
I had an idea what I wanted to do, but it was still a long way to go. Everything had to be taken care of, from coming up with a name for the company, to take care of all the practical BS that comes with setting up a business. Luckily I had my loving wife by my side to support and help me whenever I needed it. Without her nothing of this would have been possible and I thank my lucky star that she is just as spontaneous and "crazy" as I am. So there we were, my wife and I, trying to come up with a name for our future business. After a whole lot of name ideas back and forth, we finally decided to go with the name Dragon Game Studio. Partly because my wife is a Dragon, her Chinese zodiac that is, and 2012 was going to be the year of the Dragon. And of course also simply because Dragons are totally awesome
Now when we had the name of our company decided it was time to move on to the next step. What kind of game should we make? And how? None of us had any previous game development experience what-so-ever. All we had was our dreams and passion to accomplish something great, something out of the ordinary... and of course our gaming experiences from all the countless hours we spent playing games against each other. With that in mind we knew that it would be a very, very hard task, but we still had our mind set on doing it, and doing it right.
Both my wife and I are HUGE word game fans. It started with Bookworm from PopCap and grew into something much bigger. We became hooked on games such as Words with Friends, Wordfeud & Ruzzle etc. Looking at the success of these games and our love for them, it was obvious that it was a social word game we had to make!
After doing a lot of research about word games, both board games & digital, I came across an old board game with the name "Bali". What are the odds?! Finding out there's an old word / card game from the 1950's, with the same name as the island that you are so connected to, the mysterious island of the Gods that you love, the island that you just moved to start your new life at! Let’s just say that I don't believe in coincidences....
And as if that wasn't enough, the reviews on boardgamegeek.com showed that people actually really liked the game, and were sad to see it being taken out of production somewhat 20 years ago. They referred to it as a game for word connoisseurs, a game that's more challenging and more fun than Scrabble. That sounded good to me! I managed to track down an old copy from the 1970’s edition (actually new, still in plastic) and bought it.
How the story continues, how we found our Dragon Dream team of super talents, and how we succeeded to build a completely new type of word game, you can read about in my next post coming soon: From Bali with Love - The BaliFied game development story part 2.
Below you'll meet our wonderful mascot named Ulu (from Uluwatu). He will guide the player through the game, encourage them if they do something good and tease them if their opponent does something to hurt their game such as stealing a word.
Stay tuned, and please check us out on Facebook. Like us to keep up to date with the development process & communicate with the team behind BaliFied - Word Game of the Gods. We'll keep posting screenshots, updates & news about the upcoming beta testing.
BaliFied - Word game of the Gods will be released spring 2013.
Thanks for reading, please write a comment or two if you feel like it
And don't forget: Life is wonderful.
Keep loving, cheers!
Dragon Game Studio
Founder & Creative Director