Show And Tell: Walk Through The Clock

Welcome to Show and Tell, a Kotaku regular where we speak to indie developers about what they're working on and what they've just released. Today we have Walk Through The Clock — a Melbourne studio that consists of two people who took an instant dislike to each other upon their first meeting.

Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio? Walk Through The Clock (WTTC) is a two man team — programmer (Shaun) and artist (Greg) — based in Melbourne, Australia. We met at university through a game development course, took an instant dislike to each other yet somehow ended up making games together. We officially called a truce in June 2010, formed WTTC, and have been making games part-time — nights and weekends — ever since. After completing a few small prototypes and being commissioned to develop a game for a university, we released our first commercial title: Call Connect.

We’re particularly interested in making games that are compelling and fun to play; we’re not too concerned about the story elements. That’s not to say we don’t like stories in games — we do — but gameplay is our priority. We do enjoy emergent, ambient narratives though.

What game are you working on at the moment? Our first release is Call Connect for the iPhone. It’s an arcade style game based on the old telephony switchboard systems used in the 1950s. The player has to manage a barrage of calls by connecting to and disconnecting from colour coded regions. If you take too long to connect and disconnect or connect to the wrong regions the board will start to overload and your career as a switchboard operator will be cut short.

The gameplay starts out in a relaxed fashion but pretty soon your multi-tasking skills will be put to the test as more and more calls come flooding in at once. Call Connect’s roots are in classic high score gameplay experiences, like Tetris, but the setting, style of play, and the fact that it could only effectively exist on a modern touch screen device creates a unique gaming experience.

Having released Call Connect in late September 2011, we recently completed a series of updates that included a new difficulty mode and a graphical overhaul to bring it up to iPhone 4 retina display resolution. It’s effectively Call Connect 2 and we’ve gotten some very positive feedback about the changes.

Now that we’re satisfied with Call Connect we’ve begun the early stages of our new project. Where and when can we play? Call Connect is currently available on the AppStore specifically for the iPhone but it also looks and plays brilliantly on the iPad (if we do say so ourselves).

What’s next for your studio — any big plans? We’re currently prototyping and creating concept art for our next title which will be a Raiden-esque scrolling shooter, but with our own unique spin on the genre. We aim to have a “glass house” style of development with this next game so we will be posting to our website, blog and Twitter regularly with updates on development, as it happens, warts and all.

We hope to release it as a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad.

Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry? Anyone with a passion and desire for making games can get into game development. It depends on what you want to aim for, but the indie community always has its doors open for newcomers. Get in contact with your local community (like the IGDA in Melbourne) and you’ll find a wealth of useful information and people of a like mind who are willing to offer a helping hand.

The advent of new platforms, such as the iPhone, have lowered the bar in terms of development costs and it’s perfectly feasible for a small, enthusiastic team (like us!) to develop and release a commercial title.

You need to figure out where your skill base lies (eg. programming, art, audio) and try to draw from as many game development resources as possible in order to improve those skills. Come up with an idea you’re passionate about, acquire some tools (Unity, Multimedia Fusion for example), a couple of tutorials and start creating. Make sure to start small, something that will only take a weekend or a week, otherwise you may lose interest. The first games will probably be a bit rough but practice makes perfect. Importantly, always get people to play your games and get as much feedback on them as you can; your next game will benefit enormously as a result.

If your dream is to work for a big games company, then getting a degree is a good start. You’ll also want to complete your own projects so that you have a portfolio to show to your prospective employers.

Are you an indie developer with a cool project to show off? Whether you're only half-way finish or your game has already been released, we want to hear from you! Email us with the subject line "SHOW AND TELL" and tell us a bit about your game!

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