Hello. We’ve got a new and simplified look to our website. It’s a vague attempt to make it look and feel easy to use. I want to spend more time making things and not tweaking websites.

Where shall we begin? Let’s take a quick look back in our Sparkwood and 21 2018 Review and then I can look at where I want to take Sparkwood and 21 in the future.

Games

Last year we sold a significant amount of Cyvasse boards. Which is lovely. And I managed to get around to making one unique for myself. Which was also lovely.

Cyvasse: Game of thrones board game

Plus, we sold a whole bunch of other games, mostly being our minimal Chess Sets through our manufacturer the Bristol Design Forge.

One of the troubles with having physical products is that they take a little while to make, to source the materials, post them out–all of which costs money and time. I found myself a lot of the time over the last 12 months making and building things that I had already created whilst not having the time to create new things.

This is what has led me to a big decision: the transference from analogue games into the digital realm.

We’re not turning our backs on board games and RPGs, just letting them take a back seat for a little while. There’s still a couple that are going to fall out of the system, but they will happen when they happen. Watch this space.

Video Games

So, going forward we are concentrating more on digital games, in one guise or another. In fact, the first two have already been given the codenames of Laura and Donna.

As you might be aware I do not have much of a background in Digital Game Dev (discounting creating adventure games and weird side scrollers about 20-30 years ago), but I’ve had some experience in programming and so initially I’m going back through my experience and topping up my programming knowledge. And these are the two games that will help me. Better to do than to read about how.

More importantly, our mission of making small, beautiful games is essential going forward as I believe that’s what Sparkwood and 21 stands for. There’s no reason why video games cannot be small and beautiful. Look at Monument Valley.

Expansion

2018 also showed very little expansion in the way of products and staff. We had a range of about five games that we manufactured and sold through a local bespoke manufacturing business. And that was about it. Occasionally, I would hire other people to help complete, polish and tidy up products as and when necessary.

Going forward we shall be looking at either expanding the team down here in Bath or hiring developers and artists and musicians across Europe to become part of the Sparkwood and 21 family. I’d like it to be a little larger, and friendlier. I’m looking at this becoming a thing right at the end of 2019, so don’t expect any exciting announcements just yet.

And don’t send us any CVs until we start asking for them.

Bath

Oh, we also moved to Bath. It’s lovely. Both Bath and Bristol are tech hubs so there’s a lot of talent knocking about.

Securing Finance

Finally, we’ve spent the last 12 months hanging on by our bootstraps and it would be great if I could change that. So this is something that I’m looking at with some importance.

2019 is most likely the year that Sparkwood and 21 becomes an official limited company, locate premises and secure ongoing funding one way or another. It’s early stages yet whether we’re going to go the more traditional route of funding (game sales), something a little more investmenty (i.e. via local, national, European) or via Patreon / Kickstarter / Something Weirder. This is currently a work in progress and I’m sure I’ll talk about it in the future.

 

So in summary: change of tack, officialising, expanding, solidifying, digitising.