Boston Festival of Indie Games

CloudKid HQ is abuzz with excitement over the Festival of Indie Games happening locally this weekend. We’ll be there exhibiting Negative Nimbus, and we are pumped to finally get the game into the hands of the masses!

If you’re going to be in the Boston area and are looking for a cool way to spend your Saturday, be sure to register for the free event. We’ll be giving away Nimbus and CloudKid branded swag, so stop by if you’re in the market for buttons and/or a cool t-shirt! Festival attendees will be amongst the first to play the app, so you’ll also gain some bragging rights. We look forward to hopefully seeing many of you there!

Be sure to check back here next week for photos from the event!

Remembering Jerry Nelson

Those of us at CloudKid HQ were extremely sad to hear of the passing of Jerry Nelson, the voice and original puppeteer of Sesame Street’s Count Von Count. We all grew up learning to count with the help of Jerry, and we were honored that he was able to provide the voice-over for the Count Me to Sheep game that we produced earlier this year. We know that Jerry’s legacy will live on for future generations, and we hope you all take a moment to think of your favorite Count memory today, in honor of Jerry.

Aaron Stewart at CloudKid HQ

Last Friday, our friend Aaron Stewart took a field trip from Brooklyn up to Boston to hang out at CloudKid for the day. He gave a talk about his work, process, and artistic influences. Needless to say, we were all inspired. Aaron is a super awesome animation director and illustrator who has directed projects for companies such as Chipotle, VH1, MTV, Wendys, Orbitz, and more. Be sure to check out Aaron’s photo blog, Plaid Orangeswhen you get a sec. It’s brilliant.

Lunch Lab Recipe Potluck

Like most lifeforms, CloudKids subsist primarily on oxygen, water and food.  Which is why it makes sense that a few weeks ago, we hosted our first ever CloudKid Potluck!  Everyone loves a good theme, so we thought it’d be extra fun to base the event around our favorite CloudKid project, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab.  Why not try some of the recipes featured on our website?  What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, nothing!  Each CloudKid picked out a recipe that tickled his or her fancy, and prepared it for all to enjoy: Caprese Salad, Almond Butter and Blackberry Jam Sandwiches, Cheesy Quesadillas, Potato Gnocchi, Guacamole and Baked Pita Chips — the list goes on!  With the exception of a rather charred Apple Frisbee (which admittedly still tasted good, minus the blackened crust), we all delighted in trying Fizzy’s recipes, and of course comparing the final products to the food illustrations on the website.  Did they measure up?  You be the judge … check out the final results in our Facebook album.

We Be Jammin’

Game Jam  [game-jam] noun: 1. A gathering of developers, artists, and other creatives over a short period of time in which a collective effort is made to make one or more games.

A few weeks back, the creative minds at CloudKid came together to formulate and pitch ideas for our next potential game(s). The goal of each game jam (yes, we had 2!) was to produce several concepts for possible games and present them to our peers.

We met early in the morning and, after a yummy breakfast, broke into small teams of 3 or 4 (each with an artist, an animator, and a programmer). Each game jam started with a theme and some rough parameters on which our teams based their ideas. After brainstorming and discussing concepts, each team settled on an idea to flesh out and present to the larger group. We sketched, wrote, wireframed, and, in some cases, even programmed rough mock-ups of our projects. At the end of the day, the whole CloudKid crew met to view and discuss all the game jam presentations.

Results: a success! For the second year in a row, we had some great concepts come out of the game jams and had a lot of fun in the process. In fact, one of our current productions–our first iOS title–was a result of our very first jam last year.  More on that game’s launch to come very soon…

In the meantime, check out our Facebook album of some of the CloudKids jammin’ away.

Emmy Nomination!

Last week the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the 2012 Daytime Emmy Awards, and we’re proud to announce that for the third straight year, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab was nominated in the Children’s New Approaches category!

This nomination is the result of our awesome artists and engineers that take many creative risks and work long hours to ensure that the Lunch Lab is always entertaining, informative (and looks great). Fizzy’s success couldn’t be possible without the tireless effort from the team and our advisors.

A big shout out the PBS Kids Interactive staff and the other nominees in our category, (which all happen to be PBS projects): Cyberchase, Design Squad, and Oh Noah.

The Daytime Emmys take place on Sunday, June 17th in Los Angeles. Hopefully, the third time’s a charm, and we’ll have some good news to report.  Our fingers, toes, legs, and eyes are crossed.

Sup Dawg

Guess what? Dave turned into a dog. You need proof?

  • Exhibit A: The Dinghy and the lemon seltzer water.
  • Exhibit B: Matt’s bemused face, undoubtedly getting a kick out of something Dave the Dog just said.
  • Exhibit C: Kim’s hand on the right, positioned as if to say “Oh God, please stop!” which is how she usually reacts to Dave the Human’s awkward jokes.

…But for real, this is Maggie, our temporary CloudKid Canine in Residence (CCR?). She visited recently when her owner was out of town and brought tons of love to the office. There’s nothing like an adorable pup to boost morale!

School’s in Session

The brainpower at CloudKid, we humbly say, is quite impressive. Between our artists, programmers, and producers, there isn’t a program, technique, or task that can’t be mastered. Nevertheless, we are always yearnin’ for some learnin’. Which is why the past few Wednesday evenings, the office has been abuzz with activity. Yep, CloudKid Academy – the name we’ve given our internal education forum – has officially launched!

We created CloudKid Academy to fill a void that we felt had been cramping our style. As the days, weeks, months (and now even years!) fly by, it’s all too easy to get into a routine. In that routine, sometimes it’s difficult to hone skills that don’t pertain to your specific job, and you might grow rusty with other skills you once used all the time. And, while we’re big supporters of online courses and local night classes, we also understand the challenge of fitting them into busy schedules.

CloudKid Academy is our prescription for an unfed thirst for knowledge. Every other week, CKA hosts skill-share sessions highlighting a specific artistic concept, program, or technical skill. And because every CloudKid has so much to offer, the sessions are taught by us, for us. So far, skill-shares have been a big hit. We’re a huge proponent of continuing education, and what better way to support our artists than by facilitating growth under our own roof? In time, we’re going to spread the love even further… check back in the future for CKA updates and insider tips on tools, ideas, and other expertise that’s being passed around the studio!

Something’s different…

Notice anything different around here? Yup, that’s right… you’re looking at our brand spankin’ new blog page. Over the past month, CloudKid brains and brawn have been working like crazy in our computer lab and… voila! We are proud to present to you the new CloudKid website!

Now, now. There’s no need to get all nervous. Even though we’re suddenly really, really, really ridiculously good looking, we’re still the same old CloudKid at heart. Don’t believe us? Take a look and see for yourself! We’ve taken all the content from the old site, snazzed it up, and added tons more fun stuff. Seriously, so fun.

One of the reasons we went the extra mile with the new site is to attract talented folks.  The better the artists and programmers we work with are, the better CloudKid will be.  And since Boston is a pretty small town, we’re hoping the new site will help attract the best talent from our area and beyond.

Let us know what you think – we love feedback! You could even be like this lady and make your very own YouTube video about it.

CloudKid Mural

Earlier this winter, CloudKid friend and collaborator Brian Butler flew up from the sunny beaches of Miami to add some warmth to the CloudKid HQ. We asked Brian to paint a variety of odd, yet welcoming characters in the studio’s entryway, and, as always, he exceeded our expectations.  It’s hard to pick which character is our favorite, so we’ll let you decide for yourself.  Image courtesy of the artist.