2012 in game dev
: : Sophie Houlden : :
Gamedev extraordinaire

by Grungi

Oh boy… With the (seemingly endless) Christmas celebrations, I haven’t had the time to keep up with my posting schedule. So, please, pretend like it is still the 25th, and allow me to wish you a very merry Christmas.

And because this was a special day, this posts is dedicated to a special person. Special because if you would have come to me with a gun in your hand, and forced me to reduce the list of 12 posts I am working through down to a single one, it would have been this one. So here is to you, Sophie Houlden.

Rose and Time, a clever time-travelling stealth game where you have to avoid past copies of yourselves.

Rose and Time, a clever time-travelling stealth game where you have to avoid past copies of yourselves.

Sophie Houlden is, like Jasper Byrne or Christer Kaitila, one of these indie game developers that inspire me on a day-to-day basis. She is one of the most enthusiastic ones I know too. When not busy taking part in a game jam or making progress on an array of games, she can be found on Twitter offering her thoughts on the various happenings of the indie scene, like when Steam announced its Greenlight project, for example. That, or simply reminding herself and others that making video games is awesome, and that we should all be sitting down and kicking ass doing it.

She is also one of the Indie Buskers, a collective of indies that twice – for now – decided to livestream themselves making games for a weekend, accepting donations. This resulted in very cool games, of a high quality standard for a game jam, while being really neat to watch being made. I, for one, hope the Buskers will get together again soon!

Even when the going got though, Ms Houlden kept her chin up and soldiered on, going as far as pulling the purchase links for her games for a while because she did not want people buying copies just to “donate” to her. She also contacted people who ordered her game, SWIFT ☆ STITCH, during the day in her Pay-When-You-Want sale when the game was at more than $70 just to make sure there was not a mistake.

Swift*Stitch, a frenetic and amazing one-button game.

SWIFT ☆ STITCH, a frenetic and amazing one-button game.

Respect for her customers, enthusiasm for her craft, spreading positive energy towards her peers, Sophie Houlden has it all. She made few great games already, and submitted one of them, Leaper★, to the IGF this year, with more to come. She is outspoken, honest, yet open to debate. She really is one of the people I respect most and whose opinion I value the most amongst the indie developers I follow. She also kicks my ass in SSX, where I do not seem to catch up at all with her records.

Please, keep on being awesome, Ms Houlden, and thanks for all your mental strength and the inspiration you are!

(Once again, if you want to follow Sophie Houlden, you can do so on Twitter, Google+, or drop by her website. And check out her games – and her wonderful Pixexix – while you are at it, you will not be disappointed!)