Indie Dev Podcast

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Livid-Interactive

Melissa Pennock, Jacob Pennock, and Mike Schaiman

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Joining me today are Game Designer / Leader Developer Jacob Pennock, Executive Producer Mike Schaiman, & Art Director Melissa Pennock of Livid Interactive.

We talk diversifying a studio, making money in the middleware marketplace, how to stay afloat as an indie, and how they use Intel’s RealSense technology and Unity to create their gesture based first person combat game, Head of the Order.

In 2010, the husband/wife team of Jacob and Melissa Pennock founded a small studio in North Carolina called Unicorn Forest Games. Unicorn Forest was mainly focused on providing outsourcing services, for games on facebook and mobile devices.

Soon after arriving in California, Jacob was introduced to Mike Schaiman, and joined the team at Helios Interactive. Helios uses a variety of technologies to build interactive experiences for consumers in retail and at large events.

In 2013, Head of the Order, a tech demo,  was entered into Intel’s Perceptual Computing Challenge, and took the first place prize in the games category.

Early in 2014, Helios took notice of the potential of the game, and the saw an opportunity for the company to open a new games division. So Livid Interactive was created, under the wing of its parent company, Helios. Their latest title, Head of the Order, is a magical fantasy game played entirely with gestural spell casts. It’s format is similar to a tournament style fighting game but with magic instead of martial arts.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Illyriad-Games

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Illyriad (ih-lih-re-ad) Games is an independent studio based across three continents. Realizing that WebGL isn’t just a pipe dream, they’ve built their latest game on it. Their lcurrent title, Age of Ascent, is built on a custom WebGL engine, and is using Azure as a backend, with the ability to scale to 50k+ concurrent users.

Joining me tonight are CTO, Ben Adams, and CEO, James Niesewand. We discuss what it’s like to manage a small team of developers across 3 continents, the importance of managing every last bit of processing power, when it comes to a game that scales to this size, and performance implications across browsers.

 

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Wimbus

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Founded in 2011, and based out of Wilmington DE, Wimbus Studios is the culmination of a few friends wanting to get together and make video games! Fueled by the passion to make awesome games that they would love to play themselves, Wimbus Studios is dedicated to making games that don’t suck! Their first title, The Island of Eternal Struggle, is a turn based RPG adventure.

Joining me today is Steve Sefchick,  and Mike Williams. Becky Mount is also part of the team, but not able to make it on that evening. Join us as we talk about how they got started, why game development can often take so long, and their decision to stick with XNA and MonoGame at this time.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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michael Hicks

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Designer and musician on Pillar, a collection  of minigames, each with unique personalities and challenges, which his headed to PS4.

Previously, Michael and I had coordinated the third Indie Games Summer Uprising in 2012, which  was a showcase for XNA developers on Xbox 360. Additionally, Michael had created Sententia and released it at the time as well.

As though that’s not enough, Michael finished college this summer, and earned a BA in Computer Science.

We talk about going from C++ to XNA, writing your own engines, the current pricing structure of indie games, and what his experience was like at Full Sail University.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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erik umenhofer

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.NET Developer by day, and game dev by night, Bay Area resident Erik Umenhofer has been quietly working on games for several years, from the comfort of his own home. First he started with XNA, before making the transition to Construct 2, and has finally settled on Unity.

Listen in as we talk about the good old days of the Commodore 64, solving problems through technology, and the way Construct 2 handles wrapping games for each platform. Going by the studio name Firebellys, their upcoming release, Temporus, a 2D sci-fi sidescrolling platformer is aiming for a release in 2015.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

 

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Listen to the podcast here.

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Total Monkery is an independent game development company and family business with a healthy fixation on mockery, puns and primates. Created in 2012 by game development veteran Richard Weeks (LucasArts, Psygnosis), Total Monkery aims not only to produce high-quality products, but also to foster new talents, collaborate with passionate indies and contribute value to the industry we love.

We talk the FM Towns Marty, his experiences at Psygnosis and LucasArts, and the necessary skills for establishing and maintaining a studio of his own. Furthermore, we conclude the discussion with the importance of keeping in touch with your audience during development, either by use of Twitch.TV, blogging, and attending industry events.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Russ Clark

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West London Games is a British independent game studio founded by Russ Clarke to develop the ultimate exploration and combat game, TerraTech.  Russ has previously worked at London’s Ideaworks mobile studio until 2012. He developed the first prototype for TerraTech by himself shortly afterwards, pulling in his experience from working on beloved franchises like Metal Gear, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Fable. After spending some time working as a consultant he returned to the TerraTech prototype to turn his vision into a full blown indie project.

Join us as we discuss the radical growth of “Let’s Plays” and how they can be beneficial to the developer. Moreover, we start with his first machine, the BBC Micro, and how the experiences for gamers in the UK contrasted those of gamers in the US in the 80s and early 90s.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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James Parker

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We’re joined this week by James Parker, of Opposable Games. 

Founded out of the UK in 2011, the studio is comprised of veteran console and mobile developers.
Their first iOS release was Clockwork Racers – a throwback to 90s local multiplayer games such as Micro Machines. Their current project, Salvaged, is the culmination of their ambitions in multi-screen game development, and does a phenomenal job of illustrating novel ways of using a second screen. You can find it currently on Kickstarter, too.

If you enjoyed what you heard here today, or found this show to be helpful, please consider donating to Gamer’s Outreach Foundation, which is organized by fellow Xbox MVP, Zach Wigal.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Collective_Team

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This week I’m joined by seven gentlemen from the PHL Collective. Nick Madonna, Terry dee-fel-ee-cee-an-toe-nee-oh, Ryan Reed, Bren King, Brian Gitlin, Vincent Erhard, John Sepa, all of whom  are based out of Philadelphia.

Their first title, Knight Strike is an old-school arcade style game where you will battle endless hordes of enemies which get harder to beat the further into the game you get. It is also currently available on Steam Greenlight.

Noodle Arm Royale was built in two days as part of a rapid prototype/internal game jam. The game was specifically built to sit in an art gallery space and be the most ridiculous and irreverent installation in the place.

If you enjoyed what you heard here today, or found this show to be helpful, please consider donating to Gamer’s Outreach Foundation, which is organized by fellow Xbox MVP, Zach Wigal.

 

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
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Nick Gravelyn

 

Nick Gravelyn has experience making games and apps for Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Windows, and even the Zune HD. He  worked for Microsoft on XNA and Xbox LIVE Indie Games, enabling independent game developers on Xbox 360. He also built technology for interactive television with Microsoft Studios including the interactive 2012 US Election coverage.

Nick now runs his own studio, Brushfire Games, which has recently released their first title, Shipwreck on the PC.

In addition, we also cover indie-friendly tools such as Maya LT, a stripped down version of the 3D modeling tool with an attractive price point for smaller development teams. Nick also covers the process of establishing a small business and some of the related costs associated with it. Unreal Engine 4 was recently released and has a new set of tools and licensing costs, so we discuss that as well, before wrapping up with what makes a platform attractive for indies.
If you enjoyed what you heard here today, or found this show to be helpful, please consider donating to Gamer’s Outreach Foundation, which is organized by fellow Xbox MVP, Zach Wigal.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs
-----------------------


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