There is a sphere of influence emanating from the Toronto indie dev scene. Alexander Martin and Ryan Roth make up a part of that. We talked with the oft-collaborative pair about their plethora of games, influences, exploration on game mechanics, and the benefit of game jams.
Warning: Slight spoilers about Starseed Pilgrim between 20:00 and 22:00
After our interview with Damian Sommer he suggested we get in touch with Alex aka Droqen and Ryan Roth aka DualRyan. We had done so, separately, but discovered just how close this group of friends were.
Prior to talking with them it was my understanding that anyone that goes by a nickname over their real name are either comic book characters or performers. Pair that with the notorious mystery and somewhat insurmountable Starseed Pilgrim. Who are these guys? Where do they get these ideas? What’s happening up there in Toronto? So we asked.
I think what we learned is that these young, talented and industrious guys are still discovering that answer. What we see in all of their projects are these core concepts and mechanics that are explored in new ways and expand the conversation on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ in game development.
“Exploring new sets of rules is really interesting. That’s why I make games and try to make them really different from anything I’ve played.”
Exploration and discovery is at the center of their experiences and what they want to share with others. It’s what provides the drive for them to experiment, collaborate, and preach the gospel of doing game jams. Alex summarizes that “a game jam is sketch work.” It’s building on the art and craft in game development.
They’ve found it’s the biggest asset for their creativity and what they suggest to game developers that haven’t yet participated.
“Don’t care. If you’re already jamming, good. Release jam games. It’s not lowering the bar for yourself. You can release small games and you can release shitty games and it’s totally okay.”
We talked about a lot of game mechanics, developers, inspirations, and a lot of their past and current projects. One of the biggest takeaways from our conversation is a theme that we hear more and more often. Question why something exists in your game, learn from your mistakes, and don’t stop making things.
You can keep up with all of Alex’s projects including Probability 0 & Friends on his website and blog. Definitely check out Ryan’s impressive catalog over on his website. And the best way to reach out to them is through their Twitter @droqen and @dualryan.
If you manage to stay to the end of the recording you’ll get Ryan’s recommendation of how all music in games should be hornhouse. Here’s a sample for your enjoyment.