Hi! my name is Pascal and I’m sort of the guy behind Orangepixel (link: www.orangepixel.net). Orangepixel is a one man company and I started it back in 2004 when mobile gaming was only just happening (yes, that’s a 10-year anniversary this year!)
The phones back then ran a trimmed down, and often very buggy, version of Java in which games could be written and created but it required a lot of testing to make sure games actually ran on as many devices as possible. In the early days, screen sizes ranged from the awesome 128×128 to an even more awesome 128×160. Which was actually a perfect fit for me and my games: pixel-art works awesome at those small resolutions.
Music and audio was barely available, playing a simple midi tune in the background could already prove difficult for some phones (still amazes me that a phone had problems with audio). Luckily this all changed and these days we can do a lot of awesome stuff with music and that’s where I often call upon the talented Gavin Harrison (link:www.gavinharrisonsounds.com) for the acclaimed music in Orangepixel games.
As you can imagine, back then, most big game companies laughed at mobile. They didn’t take it serious and didn’t see it as an interesting platform to bring their games to. They rather throw polygons around on Playstations and Xboxes and not cram a lot of stuff into a 128×128 display.
But skip ahead only ten brief years and we arrive at something new and awesome. All big game companies are jumping onto mobile and bringing their games to phones and tablets in some shape or form. This mobile game economy has grown big thanks to a lot of small companies doing the things they couldn’t do on any other gaming platform: create awesome games without having to buy developer licenses and without paying up-front for expensive developer kits.
Now the main problem for small companies to get games on consoles has always been the business side of things. The closed doors at companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Getting your game on there requires a lot of money upfront (buying devkits, buying licenses, proving that you actually are a business and can keep all the devkits safe in an office-like environment, etc, etc).
With Ouya this all changed. Here is a small little cube that allows developers like me to get their games onto the TV and into the living room in a simple, open, and inexpensive way. The development tools are all free, there is no licensing required to upload your games to Ouya. That’s really why I jumped on-board as soon as I read about it.
I was working on a game called Gunslugs when the Ouya kickstarter happened. The game was already playable on Android devices, and I also had controller support working because of some cool bluetooth controllers that have since come and gone. It was really a no-brainer to bring the game to Ouya, and there was one big advantage the Ouya would offer: local multi-player.
When I was a kid I loved playing games with or against my brother, cramped around a small TV often even on the same keyboard, having a lot of fun.
I now had the opportunity to turn Gunslugs into a fun 2 player game, where you can grab a buddy and play alongside each other fighting the bad guys. It took some days figuring out how to get all that working, I never had to design or build my games for two players moving around the screen at once, and then it took a few more weeks to test it, which was the most fun obviously and could have been done in far less time ;)
Gunslugs launched on Android, iOS and Ouya and even got a release a few months ago on PS Vita. I’m also working on bringing it to a few other platforms like PC,Mac and ChromeOS. But the best version, at least if you have a buddy, is still the Ouya version. Nothing beats a co-operative ass-kicking party!
As a bonus the team at Ouya even used Gunslugs as one of the launch titles to show at various trade and game shows.
After that I also brought Heroes of Loot over to Ouya and build that game from the start with two player co-op mode just because I wanted the option to play it multiplayer with my friends!
I know Ouya has gotten a lot of slack in the press, I personally still think they started something awesome.
They opened the doors to the livingroom for many small developers, and I honestly believe every indie developer should get his game on there and support it. Especially if you are already doing games on Android, then there is literally NO barrier and no excuse to the living room market.