Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bloom wins Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2011!

I've never been more proud of working in a team environment than I have been when working with the Bloom crew. Every step that we've taken has been to achieve the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. Having been granted 1st place in Microsoft's Imagine Cup under the Game Design for Windows | X-Box (XNA) has been a real humbling experience. During the event, we were surrounded by such talented and inspiring people who shared their thoughts and ideas on how they could help change and shape the world.

The icing on the cake was winning the People's Choice Award. Not only were we acknowledged for having such a great and inspirational idea from the judges and Microsoft, the people of the nation supported our project as well. This year was the highest amount of votes received for the People's Choice Award, and Bloom is very happy to be taking it home.

If winning these two great awards was simply not enough, Andrew Parsons informed Bloom that we will be joining the next round of contestants in the Worldwide competition as well. I am personally elated wit the decision, and driven to continue to work on this project.

So I was asked quite a bit; what plans do I have for the future? It's always a hard thing to answer for me. I don't have plans for the future; I just want to make a difference in this world. I want to make sure that my future means something. I know the rest of the team feels the same way, and we hope that you continue to encourage us on our journey moving forward.

No matter what the future holds, Bloom is going to continue to inspire change.

- Andrew N. Zurek

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spero gets completed!

As I posted on Facebook no more than seconds ago, Spero has been completed! It's been an amazing experience creating this game, and it's one I hope we can revisit if given the time. Being able to work with some very talented and passionate people has been a pleasure for all of us.

Throughout the project, we've always talked about the importance of passion coming through in a product, and I have to say that all of my passion is in this project. For better or worse; it doesn't matter. Our team knows that we put all of our effort into making Spero what it is as of today.

I remember when we visited Aspen Elementary's 3rd grade class and showed them one of our early iterations of the game. If smiles were currency, we'd be the richest people on earth! I can accept smiles as payment. Like I mentioned, passion is so important from our team, but to see the kids play with that same passion really ignited a spark. We knew that the involvement of community was important from the very beginning, and being able to give back has been wonderful.

We look forward to Seattle tomorrow, and want to thank everyone who made it possible for us to get to where we are! We've found our alternative energy - your support!

Thank you!

-Andrew N. Zurek

Monday, March 21, 2011

Advancing to the finals

Ladies and gentlemen, I am more than proud to announce that Bloom Studios will be advancing to the next round in the Imagine Cup competition! This round determines the winner of the US competition, and we're going to need all of the support we can get! Be sure to visit our website, which I know I've plugged on countless occasions... but just in case here it is again - - so go there and check us out! We've updated quite a bit of content!

One of the things I wanted to let everyone know is that we will be once again visiting a grade school to conduct and educational playtesting session. We will be spending an entire day with a 6th grade class of over 100 students! Yes... I'm nervous, but most of the nerves are excitement nerves! 6th graders are very smart, and they are the high cap of our audience. Our game should be in full Beta on April 4th, the day of the visit. That's just 2 short weeks away! Even crazier is our April 8th appearance for the finals!

At this point, I couldn't be happier with progression. The team has been working hard every day to get to where we are. We're going to keep pushing and keep working hard. We owe it to the environment and all our supporters to work our hardest and do our best!

Thanks again!

-Andrew N. Zurek

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spero reaches half-way mark

Today, I'm happy to report that our game Spero reaches a very exciting milestone. We're at the half-way mark in the project, and we at Bloom Studios couldn't be happier with the progress that's been made. After tireless efforts from our art, programming, and design team, we've found ourselves with a very early version of the game. 

Next week is the long-anticipated game developers conference in San Fransisco. Bloom will be sending two members of the team to showcase its work. Myself and Nathan Moore will be attending the main conference, and we're very excited to show off the teams hard work.

This week, we're working on level design, more animations, environmental detail, and some additional models. I can tell you right now that this week is going to be a very tightly orchestrated one. We have a lot of work that needs to be done even before the weekend which includes an updated demo level.

Throughout this week, I'll do my best to update you with progression. I'm sure some frustrations will work their ways into my updates, but I can also promise a lot of excitement as well.

Thank you!

- Andrew N. Zurek

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bloom Studios wins the MTC submission event in Chicago

Bloom Studios is proud to announce that we are the proud winners of this prestigious event!

The team was worked hard day-in and day-out to make this project everything that we want it to be. The social aspect of our work has been very rewarding so far. Engaging people to act has been our greatest accomplishment, and we want to further instill this into our game Spero.

Social networking is much more than a trend nowadays; it's a new way of life and a great way to express and share ideas. Our goal is to bring this element to the island of Spero, and truly add a social aspect. In the upcoming days, the development team will be sitting down to further discuss how we can add this social element to the game. How can we connect players with one another? It's truly a big challenge, but it's one that we're ready to face.

We already have several ideas we want to grow upon, and much that we'll discuss and share with you in due time.

My team and I would like to personally thank Microsoft for giving us this opportunity. In the short time that we've been engaged with this project, our lives have changed in big ways. As I always say, and truly believe, want want to inspire you to make those changes in your life as well. Together, we really can accomplish something great. We would also like to reach out and congratulate TeamS72 from University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola. They are the winners of the MTC Software Design challenge. We encourage all of you to look them up and support them as they continue to work on their product.

I also want to thank you all for your support once again. It's been our own personal renewable energy we've been able to use to keep us going!

Keep in touch with us, as we have big plans for a big future!

-Andrew N. Zurek

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dedicated to a clean world!

Our mission at Bloom Studios is simple. We're dedicated to making great games and a healthy planet! What better way than to combine the two ideas, and make a fun and compelling game about our world. Our current project deals with just that.

The game is called "Spero" and is a Latin word used for "hope". This speaks volumes for what we wanted to do with our game.

The story begins, partakes, and ends on an island known as Spero. Spero harbors a society of people who manage to get along with their day to day lives on the energies that are being provided by the island, and distributed by a large company called Inceptum. Inceptum owns a large factory that is commissioned at the origin of Spero. For decades, the factory has been using the capital bound to the island to provide, what it feels is, efficient energy to the citizens of Spero. Unfortunately for Inceptum and the people of Spero, resources are fading away. Time is of the essence, and cleaner and more efficient methods must be discovered before the islands life source runs out.

We're a truly dedicated group of guys, and we want what's best for the environment. This project appealed to us for dozens of reasons, none falling short of the other. 

Make sure to follow us for the latest updates, developer commentaries, and video updates!

Thanks for all your support!

-Andrew N. Zurek