Exclusive Interview: Alex Montgomery Talks Indie Games and Getting Started

There is an app for everything now. It is vast world of programs and program creating that is open to virtually everyone and everyone virtually. I spoke with Alex Montgomery, an up and coming designer of game apps with Dyad Games. Their latest game turns the tables on one of the most famous game apps of all time. They call it Flappy Defense. If you ever wanted a certain flapping bird to eat your wrath then Dyad Games can help.

Here is how Alex explains the catalyst for creating Dyad games from the site’s FAQ.

“We were at our friend’s house and both of us were playing flash games on our laptops when we came across a game called “Gangsta Bean 2.” We both found it incredibly hilarious and awesome all at the same time. We started joking around about making our own game.” – Alex Montgomery dyad.com

And here’s what he had to tell me:

onFiction’s Uncle Ted: Your site’s About page lists three people but Dyad means two parts. Who gets left out?

Alex Montgomery: Haha well I created Dyad Games together with Lee McIntosh (Co-Founder, Art Director) originally, but we’ve always known Orie Rush (Art Direction, Designer, and Animator). He was also a roommate, band member and great animator so he was a natural addition to the team.

UT: Has app developing become your day job? If not how much time do you devote to it?

AM: I wish. I set aside about 6 months recently to work full time on Flappy Defense, but I have to go back to graphic design/web development to pay the bills. I’m going to try to squeeze in 20 hours a week of my free time the rest of this year on an exciting platformer.

UT: If you can get that much free time a week; then I need to learn your secrets. There are a ton of things I could get done with that kind of free time.

Did you have formal training/education in the field or is it all self-taught?

AM: All self-taught. I considered going to school but I knew I didn’t want to work for a huge company. I wanted a big part in the control of the games I make.

UT: Understandable. You put everything you have into something just so someone else can run with it and become successful.

With all the moving parts involved, how does the team divide the work on a given project?

AM: I do all the programming, Lee and Orie do all the artwork. Sometimes I’ll take it upon myself to do art if I’m in a hurry or if it’s a smaller project.

UT: Do you guys work together or do you each do your own part and then share as needed?

AM: We work together in the sense that we all agree that something looks good/feels right and then proceed forward. At least for games. Kamakura (the feudal Japanese card game) was probably the most tightly knit project we’ve completed.

UT: How long did it take from the day you were joking around about just creating your own content before the follow through actually paid off?

AM: It hasn’t paid off [in terms of money]. The crushing reality is that we haven’t been able to make enough money from any of our projects. It’s definitely hard being an independent developer, but our skills are getting defined and we’re ready for the future titles and the optimization of older ones.

UT: Classic catch-22. If you are independent, then you have control, but you have no built in marketing or sales push. If you want the built in name recognition, then you have no control.

How long does it take to develop your games? Has it gotten faster since the beginning?

AM: Our first mobile game Shuriken Showdown was developed in about 9 months, and although it took 8 months for Flappy Defense, It also has a ton more content and available on a ton of platforms. We’ve also developed some titles in little as a week, like Larry’s Escape. Each game becomes easier and more efficient.

UT: Every so often we get in the “death of the console gaming” cycle. What are your thoughts on that? How much longer do you think console gaming can hang on?

AM: It’s hard to say, but having the big wigs supporting the indie game community can definitely help consoles extend their lifetime.

UT: With people using smart devices more and more, do you feel that PC gaming will fall to the same fate or will it outlast the consoles?

AM: There will always be hardcore PC fans buying the newest GPU and CPU for that extra frame per second.

UT: Enough of the softballs. Let’s dig into some deep controversial material. In doing my research I came across the fact that you like macaroni and cheese. Kraft Mac and Cheese or homemade?

AM: Home-made for sure. Though Kraft is not a bad thing by all means.

UT: Nice save in case you ever get offered some of that sweet, sweet Kraft money.

Do you make games for you and your friends with the hope others will like it or do you try to have a broader appeal?

AM: We make games based on things we would love to play, but gamers opinions matter a lot as well. I try to stream game development whenever I can and I always take peoples advice, opinions and ideas into consideration!

UT: What advice do you have for others interested in developing?

AM: Stream. Stream your game development, Take screenshots, record bugs, share gifs, and write a blog. Try to be as open as possible to build a fan base.

UT: Stream Everything seems to be the theme. You just never know what will click.

What is next for you? Where do you see this going for you and Dyad?

AM: Our next project is looking like a “Cooperative Platformer RPG”, but I can’t share much at this point. I definitely see this being our first console & steam release. I’m excited for the potential. We just have to keep working hard!

UT: As long as you stay passionate about it then you really can’t lose.

Anything else you think our readers should know about your Dyad?

AM: Thanks again for the interview! If you’re interested we stream game development as well as gaming action at Twitch.tv/the8bitlounge

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About The Author

Ted Willson

You read that right, Willson with two Ls. Ted's a special example of today's geek culture, he has the ability to digest media in almost any form and still - no matter how uplifting or positive - find a way to see the glass as half-full. That may sound like any other comment section troll, but Ted has the very rare ability to relay his cantankerous and crusty (the clown) view in an honest, compelling manner for others to debate. All jokes aside, Mr. Willson - Willsoooonnnnnnnnnn!!! - is a loving father whose adoration for all things Batman even led him to...wait, I think that's supposed to be a secret. Well, he's funny and grouchy and you should read his stuff...

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