The global build team reaching for the skies!
Ever heard the phrase ‘too many cooks spoil the broth?’ I always thought it was a reasonable suggestion that you shouldn’t be putting cooks in your broth, you nasty cannibal - but it’s actually a warning that throwing too many people with different talents at a project doesn’t always result in something better.
Anyway, Will Loader, Ushio Tokura, and Marceau Nakayama, haven’t heeded that warning. They, along with founding partner Vanessa Pearson, are the multi-talented masterminds behind Cyclone Designs, a global team of talented Minecraft cooks dedicated to creating great Minecraft content, including for the Minecraft Marketplace.
Their results? Excellent! So I guess ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is a load of lies. I’m hiring ten dozen chefs to make me a bowl of cereal, stat!
Will Loader played Minecraft casually for years before stumbling into the “professional” side of Minecraft by accident. His entry into a PlanetMinecraft competition caught the attention of Blockworks, a professional build team. While working there, he met Marceau and Vanessa and together the three struck out on their own venture, Cyclone Designs.
“We each decided we reached a point where we wanted to do something for ourselves,” Will explains.
“Our group is focused on building interactive environments for Minecraft,” Marceau explains. Cyclone’s team is so diverse in its talents, they have the tools and the people power meet their goals. “We’re able to bring each of our skills from other mediums: game design, level design, 3D modeling, concept art, illustration, and pixel art into our work so we always love what we do.”
You can see these talents have come together in their Marketplace creation, Cloud Jumper.
I wondered how Cyclone is able to keep a consistent vision for its projects with so many inputs. Are they not afraid of too many cooks spoiling the broth? This is Minecraft, not cooking (which is too bad, I’m kinda hungry) but the idea still applies.
The secret lies with the specialists, according to Marceau, and how leadership break down tasks for the team.
“Once we agree on a theme for a project,” he says, “Our writers establish the story and character concepts while our digital artists create visual references with sketches and concept art.”
With that solid foundation, the rest of the project can follow. Each specialist takes on the part that suits them best.
“Some of our artists work better with architecture, organics, or more conceptual based stuff.” Ushio adds. “Subdividing our group to work on specific tasks keeps the themes clear while incorporating our own individual styles.”
When creating their content, Cyclone Designs works a lot like a mini-game developer with a Minecraft game engine. And having so many talented builders able to do everything from concept art to marketing is one thing Ushio and his partners can’t stop raving about. It's the key to Cyclone’s success.
“What’s interesting is that so many of our members are from all over the world, so we have different understandings of how to build. We really treasure and value this diversity,” Ushio says proudly. “It adds to our work in all kinds of different ways. For example if one person is stuck on something, another person with a different point of view can share their advice. This makes Cyclone what it is, and it shows in our projects.”
See, having so many cooks might not be so bad. It keeps things spicy! But having so many different people on the same team does have its drawbacks, like putting too much sriracha on your burrito is a drawback (albeit a tasty, spicy drawback).
Ushio says it’s timezones that cause the most headaches. “They can be a logistical problem when we have people working from all around the world on projects. It usually means someone has to do the night shift if there is an upcoming deadline.”
For being such a young company, Cyclone Designs has already celebrated some major successes and Ushio is excited to share; “We started Cyclone in October of 2017, and just recently we’ve joined the partnership program with Minecraft Marketplace.”
Marceau has a success story to share too: “Ushio and I had the chance to present our work to the Chinese community of creators in Hangzhou! That was a really exciting moment, to be able to meet Mojang, Microsoft, and NetEase teams in the same place!”
I once played a board game with Kanye West so I can totally relate.
Official partnerships and conferences in China are not the be all and end all for Cyclone Designs. Will tells me there’s even more exciting things coming soon.
Ushio doesn’t spoil anything either but he also paints a good picture of Cyclone’s future.
“A future project of ours would be something we could all contribute to,” he says, “something that really incorporates the Cyclone culture of diversity. We want to be able to reach a large audience and be impactful through education, atmosphere, and experience. That way, we would inspire other creators, or even younger children to pursue their own dream projects.”
Cloud Jumper by Cyclone Designs is available on the Minecraft Marketplace now.