Michael VanOverbeek

An aspiring game developer.

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Renaming Watercolor Games

As the title suggests, I’m renaming Watercolor Games. In case you’re wondering what I’m babbling on about, Watercolor Games is the name of my little game development group, I guess. Okay, well, maybe I’m a little more enthusiastic about it than that. We’re the developers of The Peacenet, and we used to be the devs of a game called ShiftOS (more on that later). First, some backstory.

When was Watercolor formed?

We were formed in August of 2017. Before then, I had been working on a game called ShiftOS, porting it to MonoGame. The game had, for the most part, poor reception. However, there were some people that stuck by despite the countless times we were trolled, hacked, spammed, or otherwise messed with. But, eventually, it had to give. The first week of August 2017, ShiftOS was officially killed off and the team behind it seemingly died as well.

…For a week. In that week, I was repurposing the code we had written for the MonoGAme port into a project codenamed Project: Plex, soon to be called The Plexnet, and later on, The Peacenet. In its early form, it used the Plex Engine, a rebranded ShiftOS engine. This became the Peace Engine. While we had codenames for the things we were working on and eventually came up with permanent names for them, there was one slight issue pertaining to names…and it was the one we, as a team, went by. Watercolor Games.

The problem

The problem is really this: What do you think of when I say “Watercolor Games” to you? If I hadn’t told you anything about it, you didn’t have a search engine to go research it, you just had your imagination, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Watercolor Games” to you?

Well, I can’t tell you what you imagine but I can tell you what I was thinking of when I chose the name. I was thinking of, and, in fact, listening to, this song by Australian drum-and-bass band “Pendulum” titled “Watercolour.” Needless to say…. That name really has nothing to do with who we are, it’s just a shallow reference to a song. And over time I started to prefer to identify with The Peacenet more than Watercolor itself, and today, I decided it was time to change our name.

The idea behind it

When thinking of a new name, I thought about the following factors:

  1. Is it memorable?
  2. Does it roll off the tongue?
  3. Does it symbolize our history and what we’re all about?

When addressing idea 3, I thought back to our history and looked toward Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, the Phoenix rises from the ashes of its predecessor, being revived. This reminded me of how we, Watercolor Games, rose from the ashes of the fallen ShiftOS development team, and were subsequently revived as a team. So, I found a keyword that symbolizes our history. Phoenix.

I wasn’t done there. First of all, I didn’t want us just to be named “Phoenix,” for two reasons.

  1. My favorite TV show, MacGyver (the 2016 reboot) took that with the Phoenix Foundation, which, by the way, was the inspiration behind the naming of The Peacenet’s in-game “The Peace Foundation.”
  2. Too many existing software companies named “Phoenix (insert company word here).”

So, I needed to come up with something that symbolized that we program games as well. Immediately, three words came to mind. “Code,” “Bit,” and “Byte.” I started combining them with the word “Phoenix” in my head, saying them both out loud and in my head to see how well they sounded. “Code Phoenix,” “Bit Phoenix,” and “Byte Phoenix.” I decided that “Bit Phoenix” rolled off my tongue the easiest. So, it won. I had our new name.

Finally, the rename.

Watercolor Games was formed in August of 2017. It rose from the ashes of the ShiftOS development team. It gave new life to both itself as a team, and its projects, The Peacenet and Peace Engine. Its identity died peacefully in November of 2018, just over a year later. Rising from the ashes of its old identity, forms Bit Phoenix Software. And just like Watercolor, we will continue to fulfill our mission to make amazing free, open-source games, proving that even something as simple as sheer determination can accomplish anything. And we, together, look forward to doing it for many years to come.