Beauty and the Best

Rubber Bandito

Exclusive Interview with Team Rubber Bandito

Recently The X from AllGoodThings.TV had a chance to catch up with LA-based indie game developer, Team Rubber Bandito (aka Cold Dish) for the week of the Game Developers Conference.  Individually having worked on such high profile Disney and Nickelodeon titles, these developers have banded together to produce an eclectic platforming experience unlike any other available now on iOS and Android systems.  Check out their interview here:

AllGoodThings.TV Interview with Team Rubber Bandito

AGT: Tell us a little about Cold Dish and what made you start working in mobile development after such games as SpongeBob and Pixar's Up on console?

RB: Most of us knew each other from working on the games you mentioned and more. As the games industry (along with everyone else) fell on tough times, there was a general surplus of talent at any given time. That, combined with so few barriers to publishing on mobile, made it plausible to self-fund a mobile game. We needed at least a few experienced developers willing to devote their free time towards an original product. A few turned out to be 20 in the end.

AGT:  How did you develop the concept for Rubber Bandito and how many people were involved in the process?

RB: Co-Director, Pat, had a concept very early on (even before the release of Angry Birds) of a platformer controlled by slingshotting the main character around. The aesthetics and story flowed from that foundation. A small art team jumped on to work with the directors to do concepts and really solidify what the game was. At the end of that process we had Steampunk inspired enemies and a badass hero with a bear’s claw strapped to his hand. We walk through some of that process on our development blog and visually in a book for Kickstarter backers, “The Art of Rubber Bandito”.

The whole team and their roles are listed on our website and we will have Facebook updates about team members this week. Many of them are doing some really cool work outside of this game.

AGT:  Tell us about the core game mechanic and what games if any inspired your development/design approach?

RB: We set out to do a condensed, focused, mobile experience that was still very classic like a lot of the Nintendo GBA games we used to play. Those games were great experiences that held up to console games but were also uniquely portable/mobile. There didn’t seem to be enough games like that on phones and tablets.

We then took the best parts of classic games like Super Mario Bros and Sonic and made them more casual by changing the structure of the levels and of the challenges. What we tried to keep were things like secrets, tough (but fair) challenge, main characters with tons of personality, and many different environments within one game.

With the player, we specifically wanted quick jumping, precision, freedom, and something that allowed great control once mastered. Those are the elements we felt were worth striving for.

AGT:  A lot of people are moving into developing mobile games now.  What do you see are the biggest differences between console and mobile development?

RB: One great thing about mobile is that you can find so many different and unique ideas on the market. It's currently easier on mobile for the creators to put out original ideas for people who are tired of the same type of game every year.

There are no barriers to getting on the stores, no limited shelf space, and no thick technical requirement checklists. Projects are generally smaller in scope and size and therefore budget. A higher frequency of new games allows for more design iteration.

The obvious technical differences are screen size, device specs and different device resolutions. As it turns out, those are actually not really so different because we have to deal with those differences in console development. Handhelds are small, every console has different specs, and current consoles support many different resolutions.

AGT:  Can you tell us a little about the tech behind Rubber Bandito? Is this your own engine or a third party engine?

RB: We use Unity for our engine/editor and it’s given us a lot of benefits. We’ve had builds on both platforms and a full-featured editor environment from the beginning. Design was up and running about as efficiently as in a large studio within a few of days. This helped speed up the critical prototyping phase. Another really nice feature is the asset store where you’ve got a lot of indie tools developers making some useful stuff. We used products from the asset store to do our fully animated main character and enemies, and to provide iCloud saving, but there’s so much more out there. The Amazon Appstore for Android also supports Unity nicely.
On the production side, we would be pretty lost without Google Drive, Google Sites for our internal wiki, Trac for our bug base, and the usual communication tools like video conferencing and chat. We also customize some of these production tools a fair amount to make sure they fit within our processes.

AGT:  You were able to garner funding via Kickstarter.  What did you see as some of the hardest parts of developing this game?

RB: Operating on a low budget has definitely been a challenge so our awesome backers really helped us out. This can be a rough transition from working on a game where you are used to having a huge budget.
Another challenge, which isn’t necessarily a development challenge, is publishing the game. Discovery in such an open marketplace and other marketing hurdles is challenging, especially in such a quick shifting environment. We recently heard a stat that some publishers are outspending us in marketing on the order of a quarter million dollars.

AGT:  What are the next steps for Cold Dish? Are you planning on doing any work for hire or are you planning to continue developing Rubber Bandito across other skus?

RB: It all depends on our success this coming Wednesday when we launch for free on the Appstore. We also launch on Amazon Appstore for Android that same day. Currently our best bet is to spread the word by getting on the charts. We hope there are enough outspoken supporters of this game to help get people to download it that day. Ask us again in a week! 

AGT:  Thanks for checking out this interview with Team Rubber Bandito.  Be sure to pick up your copy of Rubber Bandito FREE today!

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