One of the great things about PAX is that gamers are face to face with the developers that create the games they love. I spent a chunk of my PAX-time doing brief interviews with indie developers for a quick series called “Mini Indie Interviews.” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn some things you can never unlearn. Enjoy.
Dejobaan games had a lot to show off at PAX East. I spoke briefly with Jono Forbes, co-founder of Defective Studios, a group of dedicated game devs working with Dejobaan on 1…2…3…KICK IT! I always feel odd sticking my recording device (see: my cell phone) into the faces of random developers, but Forbes helped me feel a little more comfortable by bringing out his cell and holding it up to me. It was like a dual interview. We bonded.
The recently released Aaaa! F=MA was originally developed by Owlchemy Labs, another group of indie good guys Dejobaan is working with. Forbes handed me an iPad to give the recently released Aaaa! title a try, and I commented on what a bold move it was, porting a title that makes me want to throw my laptop onto something that is more easily tossed. The gyroscope controls took a little getting used to, but Aaaa! worked well on the mobile device. And I was about as terrible as I normally am at the game.
I asked Forbes about whether Android users could look forward to some Dejobaan titles, and although he didn’t deny a future with Ice Cream Sandwich and Froyo, he did explain the difficulty small studios face when trying to make a game compatible for all devices. Yes, iOS is limiting and sometimes a pain, but it’s the same across the board.
We also talked about the vicious cycle that is Android development. Forbes boiled down the problem as simply, Android users don’t buy games, so developers don’t port to Android operating systems. And it’s true. The majority of games on my Droid have been free.
It’s unfortunate, because Google makes publishing apps incredibly easy. You finish a game, and put it right on the marketplace for general consumption. With Apple, you have to apply, submit your title for review, fill out a few forms, sign on the dotted line about twenty times, and then your game will be available on the App Store. And forget about mass beta testing your game on iOS devices, Apple will not allow the release of partially completed games.
Getting back into PC titles, Dejobaan had a playable demo of their new title, Drunken Robot Pornography, which should sell you on the name alone. Players build their own boss and then fight against it in an arena while using a jetpack to move from platform to platform. Although Drunken Robot Pornography is still early in development, with Dejobaan employee Elliot Borenstein as the only person actively on the project, the playable demo was already looking like a finished product. I pressed Forbes about leaderboards, level editors, and the ability to share boss builds, and he imparted that all of those things would be great and that Dejobaan is looking into all of them. DRP is still a few months away from a full release, but you can expect the title to drop by the end of 2012.
As if that wasn’t enough, Forbes informed me that 1…2…3…KICK IT! would be receiving a shiny new update, making the game bigger and better. The title wasn’t at PAX East, but since Defective Studios is spearheading this project, Forbes had a lot of information to divulge. It was a title I had almost forgotten I owned as a result of the Potato Sack, a bundle of indie games put on sale last year in conjunction with the Portal 2 ARG. Defective Studios’ art director andIchiro Lambe (founder of Dejobaan Games) are giving the visuals a thrice over and although Forbes didn’t impart any solid deadlines, they are hoping to get the update on Steam within the next month.
Dejobaan came to PAX East 2012 ready to party. They had a large chunk of the Mega Booth, fifteen percent, I believe, and they utilized every square inch for the duration of the convention. Dejobaan is working well with Defective Studios and Owlchemy Labs and I expect a lot out of these studios. If you haven’t heard of these rag-tag group of devs, it’s time you educate yourself.