The Blockland prototype was so popular that I made it into a real game!
Blockland is a non-linear sandbox game with no set goals, giving players the freedom to design and construct elaborate structures. Styled as a tiny minifigure, players build inside of the virtual world using bricks reminiscent of toy blocks. These structures can be built in either a single-player or multiplayer (either online or through a local area network) setting.
Blockland pays the bills and lets me call myself a game developer.
Around February 2005, the Blockland prototype became hit it big via something awful and G4 TV. Eventually something like with something like 500k downloads. At this point it seemed like I should try to make something out of it, but what? And how?
My first thought was that I could leverage game to get a job at LEGO. My step mother knew some people in Denmark who knew some people at LEGO, info about the game filtered up through them and some people from LEGO contacted me. They wanted to meet with me, so we set up a time to meet at BrickFest (an AFOL
convention in Arlington, within driving distance for me at the time).
So I hauled my computer - CRT monitor and all - up to Arlington and demoed the game for them. Their first priority was to adamantly insist that I couldn't use LEGO intellectual property to make money and that I shouldn't put their red square logo anywhere on my site - fine by me. Not sure if that was a threat or if they were just trying to make sure I didn't run afoul of their lawyers.
Other than that, they were genuinely very impressed with Blockland - particularly the progress on the character customization. Keep in mind this was before youtube and certainly before the indie game renaissance we're currently living in. Torque was still pretty much alone as the only widely accesible 3D game engine - so for the uninitiated executive, the idea that one person could make a 3D multiplayer game by themselves was a bit surprising.
We talked about the
Here's some stuff from the retail development period (2005-2007).