Yo Nick, Where Have You Been?: an explanation

It's kind of a long story.  I'll spare you the details and just dive into it.

The Past

First, the bad news: After a whole lot of iteration, permutation, and agonizing, Trash Kings is on indefinite hiatus. I still love the concept, but to do this game up properly, I'd really have to invest an amount of time and money into it (like, this game demands a solid illustrator and animator to bring it to life) and I just don't think this is the time. I'd love to come back to it someday, maybe under a different context, but for now, it's time to hang this one up.


But here's the good news: I've got a couple of games in development right now, and I am jazzed as heck (new phrase I'm trying out, plz let me know if it works for y'all) about them.

The first is a text-based adventure game that I'm working on with a couple of cohorts. I can't really delve into much about it just yet, but it already features a pretty rich narrative (thanks to my teammates, who can actually write good fiction) and some meaningful player choices that affect the flavor, if not every consequence, of your playthrough. We're building it in Twine and hoping to have the first chapter released by the end of October.

The second is an old game I've long wanted to revisit, and I think the time may be right to re-engage with it fully. I really hope so. It passes Derek Yu's test for whether you should take the time to make a specific game:

  1. Is it a game you want to make? 
  2. Is it a game you're good at making? 
  3. Is it a game you'll wish you had made? 

The answer to all three is emphatically yes. This is exactly the kind of game I can make, want to make, and should make.

Finally, I've got a new podcast project in the planning stages that I'm super excited about. I'm not ready to announce anything yet, but once I get a few external dependencies nailed down, I'll be ready to hit the ground running.

The Future

Truth be told, I'm dying to give professional game development another shot. (Seriously. "Dying" is only barely an exaggeration; I feel an existential pull toward this thing that's always been there, and ignoring it only makes it worse.) And I think this is the rare sort of game that I could whip up into shape within 3-6 months before either releasing it as a tiny, cheap game, or—if it shows promise—putting together a pitch for a Kickstarter to avoid going broke while I take the time to really polish this thing up into the best game it possibly can be.

So that's where my head's at.

In the meantime...If you have freelance game development work of any kind, please reach out to me!  I'm great at a lot of things that are necessary for getting a game out the door in the best-possible condition, and I want to get more experience under my belt helping others out. Some things I'm particularly strong at:

  • Production: prioritizing tasks; managing sprints;  solving big problems; finding a way through or making one if none exists
  • Design: prototyping and structured testing; developing and integrating mechanics; massaging disparate systems until they click
  • Development: I'm a full-stack web developer by day, and I've been programming games for the last 21 years of my life; strongest in Unity (C#/JavaScript) and modern JS frameworks
  • Communication & Promotion: Social media management; blog posts and podcasting (editing, writing, production, hosting; seriously, I do it all); managing press lists and ginning up press releases at the drop of a hat
  • Build-breaking and bug-fixing: I'm great at determining the boundaries of player input possibility within a game and developing a thorough testing plan to dredge up all the weird stuff that can go wrong, and I do a great job of identifying repro steps (with detailed notes, stack traces, videos, and annotated screenshots as relevant). If you work in Unity, GameMaker Studio, or modern web technologies, good news: I've broken and fixed tons of stuff in those frameworks over the years
  • Art/Music Asset Creation/Manipulation: I'm not the strongest creative visual artist, but I'm very capable in Adobe Creative Suite and pretty handy with Blender and Wings3D. I've also been playing music my entire life, so if you need some help mixing or coming up with new music for a game, I can likely help

About me: I've spent the last 7+ years in tech, working for companies like Facebook, Nintendo, Squarespace, and Quora. I'm recognized for my strategic problem-solving approach, my eagerness to learn new skills quickly, my empathy-driven design philosophy, and my ability to synthesize a completed, shipped product out of disparate parts. I work hard, I care a lot, and I'll do my damnedest to make you proud of your final product.

I've also been making games since I was ten years old. I love working across genre and medium, and I'm a huge fan of game jams—check out my portfolio at whymog.net  and play some of my games at whymog.itch.io. And of course, I've got a resume and a LinkedIn profile for your perusal.

If you'd like to chat, please reach out to nick@nickcummings.com or DM me on Twitter—I'm @nickcummings.  I look forward to talking with you soon!

Nick Cummings