No Direction Studios Interview

No Direction Studios Interview

no_direction

One of a number of the No Direction Studios founders, Adam, has provided App Apes with some interesting information concerning himself, the No direction Studios company as a whole, as well as facts about the IOS app 2-Bit Heroes, future plans for the direction of his company, and even some informative tips for other game developers.

History

Atari 2600

Adam has been playing games since the popularization of the Atari 2600 console, which was released by Atari, Inc in September of 1977, and is credited with spearheading the gaming industry’s exploration of both microprocessor-based hardware and ROM cartridges that contain game code. A little more than two years later, by December of 1979, the Atari 2600 had become the best-selling  console, totally more than a 1 million units sold. In January of the following year, the sales of the console had doubled. Originally sold as the Atari VCS (Video Computer System) it was renamed in 1982 following the release of the Atari 5200, so for 32 to 37 years, Adam has been partaking in the fruits of the video gaming industry. Other than this, he has been casually tinkering with programming tools since first using a friend’s Timex Sinclair 1000 (TS1000), which is the first CPU created by the joint-venture of the Timex Corporation and Sinclair Research, Timex Sinclair, in an attempt to establish themselves as a player in the emergent market of North American home computers in the early 1980’s. The Timex Sinclair 1000 was launched in July of 1982. Adam used the Timex Sinclair 1000 to code a simple game and store it on a cassette tape. He has learned through experience alone, holding a long time interest in computers, and does not have any formal computer programming education. He does however hold a degree in Architectural Technology, which no doubt allows him to keep his eye on the entirety of a project when toiling away on apps after his children have gone to sleep, working  into the late hours of the night on his passion of developing apps. He has done so for several years–since 2011, in fact, where, at a Blackberry event, he and his No Directions Studios team developed their first game, QBE Crush.

QBE-Crush-2-Promo-Art-v2
QBE Crush Promo Art from No Direction Studios

The Team

With QBE Crush the No Directions Studios team received their first prize for game development, and since then the only direction they’ve gone is up. Currently the No Directions Studios team consists of six individuals who all create their important parts, each contributing to the development of various apps. This team of six, after receiving several incentives from Blackberry, have expanded their horizons on top of their team. They recognize both Apple and Android to be the larger markets and are now focusing their attention on those markets, such as with the release of 2-Bit Heroes for the IOS (Apple) platform.

Inspiration

When it comes to citing inspiration, Adam does not shy away, and names Tiny Wings as perhaps his favorite app, as it inspired him in the fact that it was designed by a single individual and uses unique mechanics that had not been utilized before. Another of his favorites is Dots, for its employment  of simple game play, as it goes to prove that games need not be complex to be fun. Finally, Adam states that RoboTek is a favorite of his, as it “uses a unique gameplay and interesting graphics.”

Tiny wings 1
Tiny Wings by Andreas Illiger

Dots: A Game About Connecting
Dots by Betaworks One

Robotek by Hexage Ltd
Robotek by Hexage Ltd

 2-Bit Heroes

As for the development of 2-Bit Heroes, it came with its fair share of challenges. No Direction Studios used myriad software programs to develop the app, keeping an ever-watchful eye on new software that could potentially better the app or make development go more smoothly, and experimented with several technologies. Regardless of what technology they used, the most important thing remained the ability for their apps to be compatible across platforms in order to reach a broader audience and reduce the amount of potential (unnecessary) work. 2-bit Heroes was in development for nearly a year before being released, having its game play changed a few times during the process. On top of this, assembling the team together on a regular basis proved difficult at times. In the end, the effort was worth it, providing players with the free and fun app, that offers engaging game play and a real challenge.

2-Bit Heroes is described by Adam “a free runner with an emphasis on speed.” In addition, No Direction Studio made it a point to cultivate a social feeling in-game of both camaraderie and enmity when playing. They accomplished this by adding “power-ups centered around other heroes helping (or hampering)” player progress. These power-up friends and foes include those who will plow through obstacles, speed Zero the 2-Bit Hero up, or cover the player’s vision with a misguided attempt to help out. Another unique feature of the game is that it includes an ending, to go against the grain and break out of the endless mold of similar style free runners. No Direction Studios hopes to expand on the 2-Bit Hero universe in the future, so fans can rest assured that they haven’t seen the last of the 2-Bit Heroes.

Speaking of fans, No Direction Studios intended 2-Bit Heroes to encompass as large of an audience as possible, but found it to resonate more with those who at least had previous gaming experience. With their kid and family friendly content it’s clear that No Direction Studios put in the effort to include as many people as they can for their games, and with their focus of making each production compatible across platforms they are doing their part to reach out and provide the public with the experience of playing their creative ventures.

Tips

Adam admits that being an indie developer is not easy, given the amount of work involved and the steep competition to garner attention, but asserts that if someone holds a passion for something it’s worth pursuing.  He states that starting the group is probably the simplest part, but that  setting goals and keeping them is extremely important yet hard to stick to. He and those at No Direction Studios have found that without goals the project can go on forever, but with goals inherently comes planning and timing. With a little motivation and a lot of dedication, great things can be accomplished. Overall, even if something takes a long time, he suggests not giving up.

The Future

So,  what about the future of No Direction Studios? Adams assures us that the studio has many irons in the fire, a lot of games that they are currently preparing. Some of a the projects are a revamping of older stuff that they made for the BlackBerry platform, which they are rebooting. They also have some completely new stuff coming, as well. Adam wisely states that, “there are usually more ideas than time,” and asks fans to stay tuned.

You can find more information about the studio and their apps at the company’s online hub HERE or follow them on Twitter: @NoDirectionCrew

Learn more about and play their latest game 2-Bit Heroes by clicking the banner below.

2-Bit Heroes Review

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