Doggins and Quiet Adventures

Episode № 166
hosts John Lindvay, Landon Durnan /

I’d like to start with a blatant lift from the Brain and Brain website, “We’re David & Brooke Condolora: independent game developers, quiet adventurers.”  This is an excellent summery for the creative nature behind this married couple. Doggins is the first release under their discerning eyes and their collective love of the classic adventure game.

Doggins is a small adventure game about a pup who dreams about visiting the moon.  It is also the first collaborative project between the two of them, which is slightly surprising considering they both work in creative fields. David works in the film industry as an editor that dabbles in screenwriting and Brooke is a designer and artist by trade. The story of how the two began to develop games is similar to many we’ve heard before: Indie Game: The Movie.

Playing adventure games with a partner is something foreign to me. It wasn’t until last year when we spoke to Alasdair Beckett-King  that the notion was floated my way. It seems obvious in hindsight how much enjoyment is had when two people sit down to adventure together. It is the difference between watching Say Anything only, compared to sitting down with and watching it with your crush inches away.

Doggins is a game crafted by compassion towards a genre, with the idea that it will be something you want share with those around you. I found myself showing my wife all the adorable interactions I discovered. While it is a short experience it still distills this concept, of sharing an experience in a peculiar, often whimsical, world of a dogs dream. For cordial UN-invitations from persnickety squirrels donned with monocles, to seeing a puppy hop in a astronauts boot and hop around.

Working as a married couple has its advantages. Design sessions can happen virtually anywhere. For David and Brooke the afternoon dog walk is when the game would take shape. I wondered if tensions ever rose when work invades the home, something I am often careful to mind. However, due to the delegation of work—David on programming and Brooke on art—the two were able to find that balance required to avoid airborne dishes waged towards one another. That balance is a critical aspect of work that is often overlooked for progress. I live with the mantra, “It takes time, to make time.” I try to be mindful of those around me and be sure to not hide behind an excuse of lack of time to give them proper attention. We are busy, but with a little planning there is always time to take a break and disconnect if even for a little bit.

This is a difficult thing to practice when developing a title. Difficult even more still, when you press yourself to submission deadlines. This is how David and Brooke found their best strides, through pushing themselves to submit to as many shows as possible. That added layer of pressure helped motivate them to produce faster and make decisions at cross roads that could easily be agonized over. Obviously it led to late nights, and long weeks, but it helped them solidify the concept of what Doggins was going to be.

They have just finished the iPhone and iPod touch port of the game making Doggins available on all Apple devices. They still have plans for an Android version of the game, but conceptualizing process for the next game has begun. Burly Men At Sea is the next game they mentioned on the show. It will be an adventure game starring the obvious Burly Men who are out at sea. Landon is already onboard. (I shuddered as I wrote that pun). Be sure to follow up with David and Brooke on the website and twitter to keep up to date with both Doggins and those conceptual Burly Men.