Making of Super Mega Baseball No.2 - Start-Up

In post number 2 of the Making of Super Mega Baseball series, I ask Christian and Scott about how the project came to be. What they were doing before starting a business, how they came up with the idea for a game, and what their vision was at the time.

With our intro post taken care of, let's get started... It’s 2008, and Super Mega Baseball doesn't exist, nor does the company that would make it. Here are Scott and Christian back then:


Scott - circa 2009 Christian - circa 2009
Scott circa 2008 Christian circa 2008

I’m sitting down with them today to talk about the very beginning – what it took to start, what their vision was, and why they made the choices they did.


Liane: What were you doing before starting Metalhead?

Scott: I was doing freelance software work. Prior to that Chris and I had worked together at a company called ShipConstructor that does AutoCAD-based software - for design and creation of manufacturing instructions for boats, of all things. Turns out that has some degree of overlap with video game software.

Christian: I had a promising career. I was a Development Manager. I decided to curb that, and give this thing a go.


Liane: When did you first decide to start a business and leave your jobs?

Scott: We were sitting upstairs together in our local Irish pub, and I just said "hey, maybe it’s time to have a shot at our own thing". We didn’t even know what our own thing was going to be.

Christian: And it’s weird, because we didn’t even go into that with the intention of talking about it. But we talked about it, and we were both like "yeah, let’s do it".

Scott: I think we went from not having discussed it to "we’re gonna quit our jobs and do a start-up" in one sitting.


Liane: What were those first few months like?

Christian: They were pretty chill at first. There wasn’t really a sense of urgency. At first we didn’t even know really what it was we were going to do.

Scott: We were exploring and learning things and there was some definite meandering around trying to figure out what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. We kept doing contract work for quite a while, which was our way of feeding ourselves while we were getting started.


A few months after deciding to start a business together, they both had to make some big changes in order to make it work. The first was Christian and his girlfriend moving in with Scott…here’s what they said about that:


Christian: We did it because it was a massive cost-saving measure. We had an expensive apartment before. This was going to be a fraction of the cost. Originally, we didn’t think it was going to be quite as long term of an arrangement as it turned out to be. Um…yeah.

Scott: There is like a 10 by 12 foot second bedroom in my place, and you know, that was pretty small for a couple to move into. But they moved in and by doing that, plus working out of the basement of the place, meant that we weren’t spending that much money. It also meant that we saw each other for basically the entirety of every single day.


Uh oh, trouble in paradise? Christian and Scott don’t live together anymore, but we’ll reach that milestone in a later blog post. In the meantime, rest assured that their friendship remained intact. 


Scott: I think they moved in like a full 8 months before we started. We were purely saving money.

Christian: Yeah, the latter part of 2008 was spent kind of setting things up, unraveling our existing careers and life set-up, to make this happen.


But we’re still missing a big cost-saving measure in the story…something that hasn’t been brought up yet. Let’s ask about it:


Liane: Christian, I heard you used to drive a Corvette? Where’d it go?

Christian: It had to be gotten rid of. That was an artifact of the prior career which allowed me to drive a Corvette. Trying to start a business…that is not a compatible option, so it needed to go.

Scott: For the first few years of Metalhead we lived off of less money per-month than that Corvette had been costing.

Christian: That’s a totally true assessment.


Liane: Tell me about the conversation where you decided to make a video game?

Christian: One of the things we did a lot when we moved in was the three of us would sit and have long dinners, and drink a lot of wine.

Scott: Mhmm.

Christian: And during one of those conversations it came up that we could make a video game. We kind of tossed this idea around. And Scott even brought up the idea of a baseball game.


That same night, the first sketches of the game were drawn. We dug the originals out of a dusty box at the office and Scott and Christian took a look in this video.




And then scanned the sketches in so you can actually see them...

Scott's Original Hammer Longballo Sketch

Scott's original rendition of Hammer Longballo. His face was modified multiple times, as you can see by all the smudges on the face. Born to be a slugger.

Christian's Hammer Longballo Sketch

Christian's version of Hammer Longballo. Keep in mind that these drawings were to form the conceptual basis of an actual business...

Julio Phillipe Sketch

Julio didn't last long as a concept. Pretty much everything about this image got cut, including his name and his team.

Beefcake McStevens Sketch

Christian's vision of Beefcake McStevens - he's now batting 4th for the Platypi.

Player Sketch by Christian

Can you tell what's wrong with this picture? This is what happens when a Swiss guy draws a batter. Also, chins have been a theme from the beginning. Chins are good.

City Stadium Sketch (now Apple Field)

Scott's first draft of City Stadium, which later turned into Apple Field, which of course looks nothing like this, thank goodness.

Scott's 3D Reference Art for Hammer Longballo

Hammer Longballo reference art, to help turn him into a 3D mesh.

Scott's 3D Hurley Bender Reference Art

Hurley Bender reference art. Hurley gained some weight over the years...


Christian: Those sketches, Hammer Longballo and my equivalent, got drawn on the night that we decided to make this game. So Hammer was conceived the night that we decided to make the game.

Scott: Man, Beefcake McStevens had great chest hair and it's unfortunate we couldn't deliver on that.


Liane: Why baseball?

Scott: I grew up with it. I played it since I was six years old. My Dad coached it all the way along, and many of my best childhood friendships were through baseball. But I wrecked my arm when I was 17. So we were talking about making a game and it was like "well, what do we know something about?" and one thing I knew lots about was baseball.

Christian: I knew baseball so little that Scotty could easily convince me that it might be an easy sport to do. I’m the guy from Switzerland that has literally never watched a baseball game ever at this point. Ever. I knew roughly what the sport was in terms of, like, there’s a ball and a bat, people try to hit it. And that’s the extent of it. And we had convinced ourselves that as far as video games go, baseball must be one of the not super hard ones to make. We were like "well, at least it’s not soccer, or football or something like that."

Scott: **Laughs** And this was before we fell into the trap of continually increasing the scope. At this point in time, we were still talking about a more simple, very crude arcade game relative to what we ended up doing.


Liane: So what was your vision for the game?

Scott: Super simple, really fun and couch co-op. Easy to get into and easy to play with your buddies, which I guess survived. I think our plan for the production values changed a ton, but our plan for the audience stuck.

Christian: Right from the get-go we identified that it was gonna be a console game where, just like Scotty said, you sit down with your friends, in front of the TV, play the game, have a good time. That was the goal. Let’s make this as fun of a console game as we can.


Fans of Super Mega Baseball will probably agree that they succeeded in making a fun game. But the road to get to there was a little bumpier than expected! In the next installment of #MakingOfSMB I’m going to ask them about how naïve they really were…


This post was copied over from our blog. See a timeline of all the posts in this series here

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