In our bid to get to you good people, good ideas and good projects we spoke to a gamer, programmer and geek. He’s been making games since the age of 17, dreaming of making games since junior high school. The guy behind 11:11 Studios – Denver Coulson!
“I always imagined myself as working for a large game-development company like Bungie. I don’t know, I never imagined making games on my own.” But then he learned of Jonathan Blow who created the game Braid and realized he could develop games of his own, all by himself. That’s when 11:11 Studios was born. Well, informally. “I’ve always been doing something else for the last 6 years along with 11:11”. High school when he started off, followed by undergrad studies. Currently, he works as a consultant at his day job. “How many hours do you have in a day?”, we ask. “It isn’t as bad as you’d imagine. I do have fun. Yes, I do go out and do stuff. It isn’t all that bad, seriously”, Denver laughs. (Well, we’ve got a picture that says he does have fun!)
He’s developed popular games on iOS and Android like UDLR:SWIPE, Warp Tunnel and the most recent – SuperTrip which is very ambitious. He’s currently working on an upcoming game Devil’s Bluff as developer and it looks really neat. They did recently raise over $24k on kickstarter but couldn’t meet their target and the campaign had to be dropped. However, they’re coming out with a self-funded playable demo soon. One of the vert interesting things he’s done was with his friend Ben Sironko (@BenSironko). “RainboDisko” was a dynamic board game that interacts with the players – made with a record player! Inspired by the concept of folk games – it has an open rule-set and people adapt the game in different ways when playing it. Xaby and Black Hole Party are a couple of other games he’s worked on.
THE IMAGINATION GAME
How does one imagine new games? “These are mostly ideas that just occur to you. Sometimes I’m working out and I think, ‘Wait! This could be an interesting game idea’ and I pause and write it down. I sit on some ideas for a long time till I find a breakthrough. I used to love swiping the screen on my iPhone all the time and I thought, there should be a game that let’s people just swipe all the time. But what would they swipe for? I’ve done a lot of reading on Synesthesia and I find it very interesting. I felt if the game associated four directions to something, in time people would develop a connection. It could be addictive! UDLR:SWIPE was born – and Up/Down/Left/Right were associated with a color each”
Denver just raised over $6000 on kickstarter for his latest game, SuperTrip. “This was the first time I raised funds on KickStarter. It was going to be crazy and I knew it from the day I began work on it because it was something very difficult to implement.” SuperTrip is an Augmented Reality based game where you can create SuperTrips or FoodTrips with friends and you see the world through your phone. You follow green strobing waypoints and start a trip to discover new places or restaurants in your city. You can practically so a SuperTrip from anywhere to anywhere on the planet.
What has been your most interesting experience? “Well, I loved working on UDLR because it allowed me to focus on the design and the aesthetics. But SuperTrip has been the most technically challenging so far.”
GIVING BACK TO THE GAMING COMMUNITY
What do you see ahead for yourself? “I want to be able to generate enough funds from one game to fund my next game, without a day job. I hope to give back to the gaming community some day. The developer community is generally very open and willing to help and support each other. Most developers generally get back to you if you reach out to them and are willing to help out on almost anything possible. Indie Fund supports a lot of games and helps them get funded but they are mostly the big games that promise to go huge. I want to give more voice to the smaller, simpler games. Most indie developers have other jobs to support their passion and they work absurd hours to balance the two. I’ve been through this myself and I want to help people so they don’t have to do this. Help them get to the finish line, you know. If they need a place to live or a development kit – I want to be able to provide that.”
“It is mostly the big promising games that get funding. I want to give more voice to the smaller, simpler games!” – Denver #indiegamedev
— OK, Intrnt (@OkIntrnt) February 17, 2015
SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Has there been an incident with the developer community that you particularly remember fondly? “Alexander Bruce once tried a prototype of one of my games and wrote to me a very detailed critique about it. It was a very profound moment- to think that someone you admire can see something you created and reach out to you” he smiles at the thought.
What advice would you give to the 17 – year old Denver who started off as a game developer? “I would say… start small Make something you can finish. Don’t try to build something with two million planets and 3 million characters. Enjoy what you do and finish it. It is the last 10% that takes 90% of the effort and it is monumental. It’s always easy to give up… So start small!”
Check out his games at 11:11 Studios & tweet to Denver and wish him luck:
[Tweet “Good Luck @DenverCoulson, keep up the great work! #OKIntrnt”]
Check out the upcoming game Devil’s Bluff that Denver is working on.
As part of our efforts to connect people, we asked Denver if he would like to speak to some of our readers directly and he happily agreed! Write to us and we will contact you within a week and tell you how you can reach him!
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