Developers! Developers! Developers! Steve Ballmer’s favourite sweat-laden catchcry is a reminder that all those great apps we spend so much time using on our phones and PCs are made by someone, somewhere. Developers Cubed looks to get a behind the scenes look at some of Australia’s up and coming development scene. This week, we speak to Alistair Doulin from Bane Games, the Brisbane-based studio behind Flick Buddies.
Who are you and where do you work?
I’m Alistair Doulin and I run Bane Games, a start-up indie game developer based in Brisbane. I handle the programming, business and some design on our games. We’re a small 4 man studio working out of our homes part-time.
Why do we know you? What have you created?
We've just released "Flick Buddies" for iPhone and iPad. I also worked at Auran many years ago when it still existed. While there I worked on Battlestar Galactica for XBLA and MyVirtualHome.
What platforms do you develop for?
I used to be a PC and Xbox360 programmer but now we've moved to iOS and web as they suit a small start-up indie team. We're also looking at moving onto Android and Windows Mobile 7 in the future.
What are you working on right now?
We're working on our second free update for Flick Buddies and two new unannounced titles for iOS, Android and web. One is a user-generated platformer and the other is a navy themed take on Missile Command.
How did you get into development?
I started making games in high school when I was bored in my I.T. classes. I wrote little Visual Basic applications and shared them around the class to distract my peers. I then studied a bachelor of I.T in software development specialising in artificial intelligence. From there I worked high payed contract work for some businesses around Brisbane. I soon became bored and got back into games where I landed a job at Auran.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles?
I think App stores are an amazing opportunity for small developers. We can reach a global audience for little to no cost, something that was extremely difficult even just a few years ago. The lower cost of games allows smaller developers to compete with the big players. This has heavily influenced our game design bringing a focus down on the core experience that players encounter in only a few minutes of play per session. This lets us focus on making fun experiences while trying to deepen the gameplay on these casual devices.
What's your favourite app that you didn't create?
At the moment I'm obsessed with Tiny Wings. I enjoy turning up to appointments early so I can squeeze a few minutes of play and complete a few more objectives. I have a real soft spot for indie titles, particularly made by extremely small teams.
What phone do you use? Why?
I live on my iPhone 4 when not in the office. Whether checking my email, organising meetings, consuming RSS feeds or playing games. I love its simplicity and the rich list of games available to suit my mood and the amount of time I have. I prefer it to the alternatives at the moment as it's highly responsive and stupidly simple for me to interact with. I'm excited about the options for my next phone as it could be anything from iPhone to Android or Windows Phone 7, they're all great contenders at the moment.
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there?
Now is the perfect time to be a developer in Australia. With the rise of app stores we can hit the global market without the need for funding or lots of contacts. Even a single developer can put together something like Tiny Wings and make millions. I highly recommend getting along to local gatherings for whatever field you're in and finding like minded Australians to get together with and make something new. If you're a game developer, now's the perfect time to "go indie" and make something small that millions of people can play.