Making of Super Mega Baseball No.7 – Foot in the Door

Embarrassing shirts, the first pitch, and trips to GDC and PAX are covered in the 7th post of our making of Super Mega Baseball series.

This is the 7th post in a series about the making of Super Mega Baseball. It was copied over from our blog.


In our last post, Tobyn swooped in and started to make Super Mega Baseball look a lot better. With some artistic direction established, it was time for the guys to pitch the game.


Liane: You guys had no industry connections, how did you go about creating a relationship with the platform holders?

Scott: Well we kind of just decided “it’s time to start talking to people,” and one of the first items there was me signing up to go down to GDC (Game Developers Conference) to start to line-up some contacts. Probably my favorite part of that story was the ridiculous t-shirt we decided was a good idea to make for that trip. It was just so sad and desperate. I actually wore that thing at GDC which is totally embarrassing to me at this point, but it wouldn’t be a good blog post if we didn’t mention it.

The t-shirts in question, here...Scott wore the yellow one at GDC:


Christian: So there was my crappy android tablet loaded with our “promo video” (which yes, I am putting in air quotes), the bright yellow awesome t-shirt, and a lot of optimism.

Scott: Yeah, it was something. That’s for sure. That trip, I did meet some people, learned a bunch about how things work and who is who, though I wouldn’t say anything super interesting materialized directly out of it.

Christian: In hindsight, not too shocking.


Here's the promo video they brought with them:


Liane: What was next?

Scott: We decided “okay, let’s send a more formal pitch of the game to Microsoft and Sony.”  We actually sat down and drafted a PDF of what we wanted to do with the game, what it was about, what the target audience was, and all this kind of stuff.

Christian: We still didn’t really have any close contacts in the industry, so we were just sending this pitch to the public facing addresses of the big platform holders like “here’s what we’re trying to make, are you interested?”

Scott: Yeah and reading this thing again, a ton of it actually survived to the final game. It was a pretty concise description of what SMB ultimately became.


Here's the front page of that first pitch they sent out:


And here are a few excerpts describing the game mechanics:

"Unique handicap system blends AI assistance with player input to create a continuous difficultly ramp; minimizes soul-crushing embarrassment of newbies" - on the difficulty mechanic that would eventually be known as the Ego system

"Composite scoring system rewards performance on individual plays; adds up to leaderboard-friendly overall game score" - on the mechanic that became the Starpoints scoring system

"Pacing and use of time – cut out time between pitches/batters/innings to increase speed of play, use slow motion for more precise interaction in batting, sliding, especially fielding" - time dilation was in the plan from the beginning, including the use of slow motion to create more meaningful infield play


Liane: And so how'd the pitch go?

Scott: Intentional silence, here.

Christian: **Laughs** It was quickly becoming apparent that contacts are super important. And we were doing the equivalent of cold call selling.

Scott: Yeah, I knew that cold calling was going to suck.

Christian: Unknown studio, unknown project, trying to take on sports games. Not surprisingly the response was crickets.

Scott: We did hear back eventually, but let's just say the ball was rolling very slowly.


Liane: So no one was super keen on the pitch, where did you go from there?

Scott: Later that year, I decided to go down to PAX (a gaming festival) and just see if I could find anybody. I managed to track down one of the Sony fellows (who wound up becoming our account manager) and just asked him if I could show him something really quick. I met up with him a little later and that ended up being our foot in the door. We met some other people through that, and so on.

Christian: And I think we can give him a little bit of props here in the sense that he took a big chance, like we said before we were nobody in the industry, never made a game before, he kind of took a chance on us.

Scott: Yeah Sony was doing a good job of opening up to indies at that point, but I think that our project was still a risk given our complete lack of a resume.


So contact was established and there appeared to be a future for SMB on consoles. But the game wasn't finished yet! We'll continue on that journey in our next post. 


This post was copied over from our blog, here.

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