Artist and designer in Georgia. Studied game design and manga in Japan. Working on Cafe Murder, a game for iOS devices.

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I love playing games, and have spent many late nights- and even entire days- playing them, but now that I'm trying to start a game development studio and make them full-time, I probably shouldn't sit around playing games too much any more.

I often can't resist, however, and end up squeezing in some time to play games here and there (sometimes for a few hours too long), jokingly calling it "research" to write it off or explain it away to others.

A lot of it really is just for fun and stress relief, but I think some parts are useful to me as a game developer, and it's not too far off the mark to call it "research."

Take Harvest Moon: Animal Parade for the Wii. I played this for the first few months of Cafe Murder development, right after our Kickstarter project (I'm the artist and designer for Cafe Murder, just so you know).

Now, I love Harvest Moon games, and this one was a real delight to play. Eventually (after way too many hours) I did start to grow bored with some of the flaws and never actually finished, but you can see HM:Animal Parade's direct influence on Cafe Murder.

For example, it was a joy in HM: Animal Parade to try to find villagers' favorite gifts, and then to see the hearts explode out of their head upon reception. I had that in mind when I created the heart burst animation in Cafe Murder when you serve a customer a perfect sandwich, and the Customer Feedback screen was also inspired by the heart ratings menu in HM: Animal Parade.

Other games I've been playing, like Skyrim, don't have any clear connection to Cafe Murder. But, they've given me plenty of ideas for future games, and I think it's helpful to play currently popular games to get a sense of what's "out there" right now.

So, to all you indie game devs out there- don't feel bad about taking off a few hours for good old fashioned research! It might just pay off with a creative breakthrough.

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Beaver Toad Software

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A developer of simple yet engaging, quirky yet inviting, one-of-a-kind games for mobile devices and beyond. We make games you can love.

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Latest tweets from @cafe_murder

@SiriouslySusan OMG We've just been followed by Siri! I wonder what kind of sandwiches she likes, or if she thinks Chef Stabby is cute!?

Jun 16 2015

RT @newmuseum: Next Sat @IDEASCITY: taste the city! Taste smog meringues from diff places & eras: @centgg T.c

May 23 2015

"I don't care about value you can't taste!"

May 21 2015

RT @williamzwood: #trimera animation reel #AMaze2015 @amaze2015 #GameJam

Apr 28 2015

one of the best (and still regularly updated) Quora discussions:

Apr 25 2015

@kalibagames Intriguing sparse website with world-riding octopus! What kind of game is it?

Apr 6 2015

we actually have potentially reasonably large news comin up - keep a lookout! and keep bazooka shootin!

Mar 10 2015

RT @kezamacdonald: Let a world torn asunder by the colour of a dress be reunited by TINY FELT POKEMON

Feb 27 2015

@TheBestyChefs Hey, I just emailed you! Thanks for contacting me. ;) Stabby is happy... (which is good for the customers' safety)

Feb 26 2015

RT @TheBestyChefs: @Cafe_Murder We know you are a game and that's awesome, we need insane chefs like you! lol

Feb 26 2015

TheMic609 friends since Jan 1, 2013