Welcome to Show and Tell, a semi-regular feature where we talk to local indie developers and give them the chance to show off what they've been working on. Today we're talking to Doppler Interactive, a two person team who have just released their new mobile game, Ball of Woe, on iOS!
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio/team? We are Doppler Interactive - a two-person development team working out of an apartment in the commuter suburbs of Sydney. The glamorous lifestyle of the free-range game developer!
We’re a kind-of ‘Yin/Yang’ affair; Jessica Ellis is the artist, bringing the color, the shape - the ‘joyful’ graphical style, while Joshua McGrath is the developer, writer and sound designer, bringing the darker themes, the character back-stories and generally trying to build those layers of depth that we think (and hope) people will get a kick out of exploring.
What game are you working on at the moment? Exciting news on that front - we have just released - “Ball of Woe”, a physics-based game for mobile (iPhone, iPad and soon Android) devices. It’s our first big, personal project - something that stands there (figuratively) and boldly proclaims “This is the sort of thing we do” - after which it vaguely begs “Love me?”.
“Ball of Woe” is a dark tale of prayers gone awry. You play as a tired, dusty God - annoyed by repeated, whining prayers from the citizens of Nicetown.
“Free us from sadness!” they say.
“End our suffering!” they plead.
And so, eventually - you oblige, rolling their sadness up into a ball and pushing it away from Nicetown. Along the way you meet more characters, you pull their skin clean off, you read their mail - and you gradually learn more and more about the world and the deal-with-the-devil that they have made.
We’re pretty excited about it. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out, and we hope it sets in motion a strange little game-world that we can continue to expand and evolve.
Where and when can we play? You can play “Ball of Woe” right now, if you’re an Apple enthusiast. It’s live right now for iPhone and iPad. And we’re currently (right at this moment, minimized in the other window) working on our Android release - so expect that release soon!
What’s next for your studio/team — any big plans? We’ve got an enormous 2013 on the cards. Ball of Woe is actually an introduction/prequel to a larger game - Welcome to Nicetown - which will be a “Harvest Moon joins Andy Warhol for dinner at Ed Gein’s House” scenario. Same cute characters, same surreal feel - but a fully-realised game-world in which you can... watch the flowers grow and die, bake a cake, enslave the world, and time pending; catch some fish.
We’re not sure on the platform front yet - Ball of Woe has been a huge exploration not only from a gameworld perspective, but from a market and distribution perspective.
So it’s a very exciting time to be alive for us. Everyday learning, everyday a little wiser.
As well as making games, we also develop game toolkits for the Unity engine - so far we have released Tidy Tile Mapper (build tile-based game maps) and Tidy Text Adventures (create text-based adventure games) on the Unity Asset Store, and plan to keep up the momentum in 2013.
Because the wolf is perpetually at the door!
Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry? Work hard. Work so hard you think you’re going to throw up. And when you’re done? Put down some newspaper and keep working. It’s not a rockstar lifestyle, but it’s small moments of immense satisfaction. If you really love what you do, and you have that weird, vaguely psychotic drive to make something - then the hard work and obstacles will all become just part of the ride.