Hi there! I’m Jay Griffin, designer, developer and all-purpose digital dogsbody at Far From Sleep. You might know the name from GemHEX or Snowbrawl in Hell, but most likely it’ll be because of Rubble N Strafe, but that’s cool as that’s probably the best one :). As you can probably guess from three released titles with more on the way, I’m a bit of a convert to the cause.
OUYA came along at a great time for me. After years of dabbling in development to little real effect (from SEUCK and BASIC on my c64, all the way to GameMaker Studio in recent years), I’d finally managed to release my first title on PC to little fanfare. An Android release proved even worse, as I learned firsthand quite how little a splash a developer could make. You might think the worst thing to get is a crappy review, but nah. I think any dev will tell you that the worst is no review at all.
The indie explosion of recent years has been amazing, but it can be tough to be a little fish in that particular pond. Few devs come out the gate fully formed, and it might take one or two titles before you begin to find your groove. Games that might have garnered attention in the past are being superceded by Bright New Things at an alarming rate, and even becoming a blip on that radar seemed daunting. OUYA gave me the support I needed to really find my feet, with an environment where I could release titles and get a strong reaction, and that was invaluable.
Yeah, there’s been a lot of naysaying about the system lately, but I think they’re missing a crucial element. It’s easy to discount a smaller platform when you’re thinking in terms of “name” developers with formidable overheads, forgetting about how they got where they are in the first place: by getting eyeballs on their projects, by getting support. OUYA might have ended up as another place where major developers threw their weight around, or some kind of Freemium dead zone. Instead it’s become a developer-nurturing environment in a field where those are dying fast, and that’s much more interesting to me.
RnS isn’t some runaway success, but it’s been my most successful game so far. It’s landed great reviews from some cool places and LPs on YouTube. I regularly get positive feedback and suggestions for new versions, which never fails to brighten my day. Despite most coverage favouring the PC and Android versions, it’s been downloaded more on OUYA than any other format, with a vastly higher rate of sales. And people are starting to take notice. Hardware manufacturers are starting to send me devkits on spec, people want to know when the next update or new game is coming out. More often than not, these people are aware of it from the version on our little chrome box.
It’s not rags to riches. I’ve gone from feeling like an outsider to feeling like a chancer with one foot in the door. But this time last year, even that seemed far away.This time twelve months from now, who knows? All I know for sure is that I’ll have a blast getting there, and I hope you all can share in that. And if you feel like joining the fray and making something, now’s the perfect time to give it a shot. The first time you see your own game flash up on the big screen, you’ll be glad you did.
Ten to check out:
- My Nuclear Octopus
- War Daddy
- Super Grid Run
- Twin Tiger Shark
- Groundskeeper 2
- Jumping Jack
- Platdude in Space