Incubator Interview - Dancing Dinosaur Games

Incubator Interview - Dancing Dinosaur Games

Incubator Interview - Dancing Dinosaur Games

We sit down the AIE Melbourne Incubator Team at Dancing Dinosaur Games to discuss the game COLLATERAL, the Incubator Program, going on KickStarter, Future Goals and more...   

1) How did you come up with the name Dancing Dinosaur Games and form your team?

The name came about during our end of year project. We were trying to come up with a name and we couldn't agree on anything. What we could agree on was we wanted our name to be memorable. One day one of the artist on the team was animating a T-Rex doing the twist. We all loved it, so we named ourselves Dancing Dinosaur Games.

2) What’s it like being in the AIE Incubator Program?

The Incubator helped us in many ways, most importantly providing mentors that have helped and continue to help us as we and the company grow. It provided us with a place we could work together, a kick start of funds and equipment to set ourselves up, and even the experience of a world-class conference by sending us to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Without the Incubator we wouldn't have had the means to start Dancing Dinosaur Games.

3) Can you describe the story behind COLLATERAL? 

"Step into the driving seat of a highly customisable and heavily armed flying taxi in the amoral cyberpunk future of 'Collateral'. You play as Zack Edgewater, an average hovercab driver caught between warring factions, bloodthirsty customers, and the corrupt corporations that control the city of New Bedlam. Explore visually loaded environments, undertake a variety of challenging missions, align with nefarious factions, and gain access to a multitude of weapons and upgrades. Every job brings you one step closer to escaping a depraved, maniacal metropolis in this fast paced and brutal ride you won't forget in a hurry."

4) What is the process like from beginning to Kickstarter and then Release?

A lot of planning goes into a Kickstarter campaign. We spent two months preparing. In that time we had meetings with our marketing advisers from Surprise Attack, constant writing and re-writing of documents, all while still developing our game. When we first started we were like "Ahh, we'll knock this out in a few weeks" but that wasn't the case, and once it's launched the work doesn't stop. Before launching our Kickstarter we had our update schedule worked out, however during the campaign questions popped up that required answering, so we had to go and change some of our updates. Not only that but once the Kickstarter is running, that's when the hard work starts. Media attention is key, nothing new there, but getting media attention isn't easy. We contacted more that 200 bloggers from small to big as well as mainstream gaming media and YouTube "Let's Play" channels. The response we received was awesome, which was in part due to showcasing at AVCon and PAX Australia.

5) What game engine did you use and why?

We are using UDK for a number of reasons. Firstly it's powerful and affordable, but it also allows artist to do some of the work programmers do most of the time. This frees the programmers to work on more vital things like gameplay, so in a heavy art team like ours it makes sense.

6) When will we see Collateral released?

In the next month or so we will have the Alpha released on Desura the full release is scheduled for mid-2014 

7) Congratulations on reaching your Kickstarter Goal. Why did you choose to use Kickstarter and how will that campaign help?

We chose Kickstarter over other crowdfunding sites because, while other sites are easier to access for Australians, Kickstarter has the most traffic. We got a decent number of pledges from people just browsing the games section of Kickstarter as well as people finding us through the "Home Location" list of projects in Melbourne. People like those who already use Kickstarter and find our project are more likely to contribute than if they find out about our game on another crowdfunding site like IndieGoGo. Our Kickstarter funds will help us with adding more content to Collateral, such as more music and voices. In addition to the money raised, Kickstarter also helps as a promotional tool to simply spread the word about our game. It makes our development more newsworthy and thus more likely to be reported on. All of this eventually helps us to reach the widest audience we can, and that's our real goal.

8) What have been your biggest achievements to date?

Being described as a "five-star dessert" by Kotaku, in contrast to World of Tanks as an "endless bowl of Doritos". Generally speaking, any and all media attention has been great. There have been articles about us on Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Kotaku, we've done podcast interviews, we've had Let's Play YouTubers make videos for us, and it gives us all this great sense of achievement.

9) What is the most difficult situation you have faced at work?

Probably the business stuff we haven't done before. We weren't experienced business owners going into this, so there have been plenty of times where we've had to do things for the first time. Things like founding the company and drafting legal documents would have been much tougher without the help we got from professional lawyers and accountants. In terms of development, we've had plenty of our own individual challenges, but nothing huge has really affected the overall development of Collateral.

10) What are your goals for the future?

We want to continue developing Collateral until about mid-2014, by which point we plan to have added several new districts in the city, new weapons and upgrades, a full story-driven campaign, a 16-track soundtrack, fully voiced characters, and a whole lot of polish. After that we'll continue to support Collateral with patches and updates, possibly even some free DLC. At the same time we'll begin working on our next game. We've thrown around a lot of strange and funny ideas for what to do next, but you'll have to wait and see what we decide to do.

Please visit Dancing Dinosaur Games and LIKE the FaceBook Page.  
For more information about the AIE Incubator Program.