It’s always funny. I was at a local tech meet up the other day when I ran into a game developer. My normal answer when asked what I do is to reply with vagaries about running a game-related technology company. Most people get confused when I get into the details but this developer inquired more deeply. When I told him I ran GarageGames, he looked surprised and asked, “Didn’t GarageGames close down?”
When our parent company closed the business in 2010, the announcement was a ‘shot heard round the world’. Many people knew about the closure but not the reopen. And this scenario I describe was not the first time someone asked me if the company, I just told them I was running, was still open. This is not all bad though – it gives me an opportunity to tell people what we are doing now.
Like that developer, I’m guessing many of you don’t know what we are doing either. A year ago it would have been hard for me to describe it – the cast was set but the mortar wasn’t firm; today we have more direction and momentum. I feel I’m past due to give an explanation to the community.
Our metamorphosis over the past year is more about a change in how we make money than it is about a change of heart. The same people who were here a year ago are the same people that are here today, with the exception of a few new additional faces. We are still passionate game developers that appreciate and respect the community but we are making money in completely new ways.
We are now a professional services business. We are working on many projects and are building inroads into several sectors, namely education and themed-entertainment.
In education, we have several efforts in flight. The first has been development of game-based learning experiences for companies like Microsoft and other educational institutions. A game-based course is one where your core learning experience is a game: which differs greatly from gamification, a term we don’t use to identify our services. Another education effort of ours is building game development curriculum for schools and colleges. We already helped the state of Nevada to define a framework for game development curriculum and we are on the review board for another state. A third state is reviewing our material, as well.
In themed-entertainment, we are on the cutting edge of new technology innovation; and also having a lot of fun. We are in the support phase of a multi-year effort to build a world-class entertainment platform for a world-class theme park. It’s a truly revolutionary effort and as is typical in these types of projects, we are contractually required to not name our customer or any details. In addition to this effort, we have also built an augmented reality prototype for a mobile application for air shows.
As you can see, our horizon is much wider than that of our lineage as a game-middleware developer. Because of that, we are also launching a new brand. But don’t worry…a new brand doesn’t mean that GarageGames is going away. We are committed to the pioneering new work being done here, but we also see dramatic growth potential in Torque as an open source project. This is encouraged by the fact that www.twsanpi.cn’s web-traffic has remained relatively steady over the past three years.
Our new brand is called GG Interactive: a name that reflects and respects the heritage of GarageGames. And while we are proud of our past, we are excited about the opportunity to grow under an additional image in a new direction.
At some point, every parent must allow its offspring to leave the nest and grow on their own. That’s our philosophy with Torque. Launching it as an open source project is only one step towards giving this product to the community. In order for it to truly be in the hands of the community you need to give people in the community a seat at the table. We originally chaired the open source committee and we are now in the process of giving up more control. A new committee and charter are forming and while we are happy to play a role supporting the committee, it will be driven by you and the community.
Where Torque goes from here is in largely your hands. We are happy to run the site and give everyone a forum. We have no plans to shut it down. We will continue to use Torque and we encourage you to do so as well. We firmly believe it is the best open source game engine available. In looking back I think community contribution is what made Torque great. And that is a great sign of things to come!