When we last posted about MunkyFun, the San Francisco mobile game developer founded by LucasArts veterans, longtime Telltale (and former LucasArts) art director Mai Nguyen had replaced Bill Tiller in that role at MunkyFun. She left MunkyFun last year to start her own company, Le Heart Design, which creates collectible mouse taxidermy. MunkyFun's LucasArts and Telltale alumni ranks continue to be replenished however, as earlier this month, Mike Stemmle has joined MunkyFun as a project leader.

It will be interesting to see what Mike Stemmle comes up with in that role, as the team is known for creating fun games for mobile platforms, such as last year's League of War, but they're not known for creating narrative experiences like we are used to from Mike Stemmle's projects. We'll keep an eye on them for sure, though. With Mike Stemmle at the helm, they might surprise us just yet.

Source: AlfredJ

Gree, a Japan based game company focusing on free-to-play games for mobile devices, made an investment in MunkyFun, a mobile game developer that was founded by and still mostly consists of ex-LucasArts employees.

While Bill Tiller was still at MunkyFun, he was the art director for the horse care simulator My Horse and the cartoon-styled first person shooter Bounty Bots. In 2012, former LucasArts and Telltale Games art director Mai Nguyen took his place. Since then, MunkyFun has released the medieval combat game Knight Storm, and the giant robot augmented reality game Droid Combat, all free-to-play games for iOS and/or Android. They also created the customized Panda3D engine for Autumn Moon's adventure games A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island.

Gree's investment is part of a $10 million fund that is set aside for equity investments of $1 million or more for its partners program. The aim of these partnerships is to create high-quality titles that last for a long time in the market.

Source: VentureBeat


Adventure Gamers has published a new interview with Bill as his A Vampyre Story: Year One Kickstarter hobbles past $32k. It's a satisfyingly massive article covering, if I'm not mistaken, every single moment of Bill's life, including the explanation for why over twelve months separated his initial tweet about the Kickstarter and its launch last weekend. There's some art in there, too.

Go read it. Then check out the latest updates for the Kickstarter to discover that there are some new tiers available at $20 and $40. A $20 dollar pledge gets you a free copy of A Vampyre Story and its splendid soundtrack. You'd be a fool to not be all over that. And you can tell you I said so.

Source: Adventure Gamers

Want the absolute latest on what Bill Tiller's been up to? Well, don't check his Twitter, the Autumn Moon web site, either of his blogs or Facebook - Bill knows that if you want maximum exposure, you want the Adventure Gamers forums. There he contributed to a thread rightfully exalting his well-known SCUMM Bar painting and went on to share some updates on the A Vampyre Story situation.

Cliff Notes: the Kickstarter video is 80% done, the campaign will launch "after New Year," and Bill is semi-hopeful that A Vampyre Story 2 could be his next project after Year One. He is also apparently full-on freelance again, having completed his stint as staff art director at MunkyFun.

Source: AG forums

No doubt in response to relentless pestering by us that he was too polite to identify as such, Bill Tiller has used the A Vampyre Story Facebook page to deliver a status update on the A Vampyre Story series. Let's read the whole thing, won't we?

Hi All, Got a request for an update on all things AVS.

AVS2- on Hold. Waiting for funding. There is some progress in this area, but nothing final nor confirmed. That is all I can say without violating any NDAs. Crimson Cow owns the development and distribution rights for AVS2. So it out of AME’s hands.

AVS Year 1: When Mona Met Froderick- On tentative hold. The idea was to do this game back a year ago when I was free to focus on it, but in order to pay my bills I have started working on a really fun first person shooter for the iPhone and iPad with Munky Fun, the old Force Unleashed team who worked on AME’s game engine. So the project isn’t abandoned, it just not getting 100% of our time. But much progress has been made on it. We just need to script it, animate it, paint the backgrounds, and model the props. The game is designed, written, all backgrounds are drawn, and all character models are all built. There is some interest by Munky Fun in possibly developing it with me, but discussion on that won’t conclude till after the current game I am working on is complete. The game will get done regardless of whether MF doe it or not, but it will get done a lot faster and better with MF involvement.

AVS1 on Steam- Steam wants some major bugs to be fixed before they will put it on. Crimson Cow nor AME has enough money to go in and rewrite major sections of the engine to make Valve happy. So this will most likely never happen.

AVS1 on iOS- Crimson Cow and AME would like to see this happen, but we can’t agree on major aspects of the conversion process, so we are at an impasse. My guess this will happen eventually.

All these problems would be solved with venture capital money, but with the very sluggish economy and adventure games have a small profit margin, it’s hard to find a potential investor. So things progress slowly. Sorry, I am sure if I were a better businessman things would work out a lot better, but that is not where my talents lie, obviously. I hope you will forgive this shortcoming of mine, and I do very much appreciate you interest and patience.

Sincerely, Bill Tiller

So, not a wealth of information we didn't know or couldn't glean, but it's still nice to get the straight dope from Bill, and hopefully there are happy endings in the destiny of all these various AVS related efforts.

The Steam hurdle they've experienced surprises and fascinates me. I know AVS had a showstopping bug that got corrected in a patch, but what else could be causing it to fail Valve's screening process that is predicated on "rewriting major sections of the engine?" Is the same thing keeping Ghost Pirates off the service as well? Paging that guy who funded Costume Quest PC...

Update: Bill shortly followed up with a brief Ghost Pirates status report as well:

All things Ghost Pirates- No interest from DTP (I think it was a break even game for them) in the sequel but AME owns the IP and distribution rights to Ghost Pirates and the Galley of Doom, so this may well get made if I find an interested publisher or investor.

Source: A Vampyre Story Facebook page

Halloween came and went with nary a hint of news on A Vampyre Story: Year least, not for anyone who doesn't follow Bill Tiller on Twitter. Apparently, Bill has joined up with Munky Fun, another one of those ex-LEC startups, to lend his talents to an iOS5 FPS that he describes as "free, cartoony, fun, and silly."

Bill taking this gig means that production on the AVS prequel is "pretty much on hold till December at the soonest," but it may also translate into quid pro quo. Bill speculates that he and Munky Fun (who assisted Autumn Moon with creating their proprietary engine) may end up collaborating on the completion of Year One after this project is done.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest delay of A Vampyre Story: Year One!

Source: Bill Tiller's Twitter

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