“I started out in high school teaching myself programming and spent a huge amount of time making some really awful games by myself,” says Trinket Studios’ Tom Eastman, launching enthusiastically into the story of how the 100% Indie-submitted blast-’em-up Color Sheep came to be. “I made educational games briefly during high school and then interned at Wideload Games while finishing my computer science degree at Dartmouth. I headed to Wideload after graduation, which was soon bought by Disney, and worked on some really fun projects like Guilty Party and Avengers Initiative. That was where I met Eric and Ben.”
Programmer Ben Perez and artist Eric Huang make up the other two thirds of the Trinket triumvirate, and the collective that would lead to color-changing heroic sheep.
“My career started off with doing freelance concept art for Wideload Games,” Eric Huang explains, “and after several months of helping them develop characters for Guilty Party, they liked me enough to bring me on board and I was whisked away to Chicago.”
Ben Perez’s story also passed through the hallowed halls of Wideload Games, and out the other side. “I started in game development by attending DePaul University for a B.S. in Game Development. Many of the emerging indies in Chicago were classmates of mine while there, so that was a great experience. After graduating I worked for Wideload Games and was a developer on Disney Guilty Party and Avengers Initiative alongside Tom and Eric. It was after cutting our teeth on these projects that the three of us started talking about going indie, and in August of 2012, we made the leap.”
Working out of the dining room at the apartment Eric Huang and Tom Eastman share, newly formed Trinket Studios kicked into action. “It’s got pink walls,” says Eastman, “which may have influenced Color Sheep’s vibrant palette a bit, but for me the big shift from a larger studio is spending hours each day answering emails and monitoring twitter instead of programming.”
“We have a good work-life balance at Trinket,” Huang continues. “The biggest hurdles and times I have had to crunch have been in the marketing and game convention area, not actually on game development. Making trailers, promotional artwork, and all the print materials needed for shows for two games back to back has been a large undertaking for just one artist!”
Perez is in full agreement about the bohemian atmosphere the trio managed to cultivate from day one. “It’s pretty relaxed, all things considering. I can work from home with ease too, which I take advantage of occasionally. Nothing beats being in the same room with someone while developing though. We haven’t had to crunch or stress too much about deadlines, because we don’t really have them.” At least, not until Sir Woolson arrived on the scene.