The Joystiq Indie Pitch: QUBE Adventures

Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, Klaus Silveira stretches our imaginations with a slingshottable, lovable cube named Qube, in the iOS title QUBE Adventures.

What's your game called and what's it about?

QUBE Adventures is a simple physics game that has QUBE, a small rubber cube with an intriguing wish for adventure, as the protagonist. The main objective of the game is to help QUBE get through the doors of the world beyond the clouds by throwing him around dozens of platforms, jumpers and more.

What inspired you to make QUBE Adventures?

I always enjoyed physics-based games and the gameplay possibilities that physics provides. As an indie game developer, I wanted to create a game that had an interesting mechanic, with addicting gameplay. I came up with QUBE, which reinvents the slingshot mechanic and mixes it with traditional platforming elements. It's meant to be a difficult game, easy to pick up yet impossible to master. I always disliked casual games and how they build their relation with the player: praising his small acts, congratulating the player for nothing, being a boring flatterer. I wanted to create a relationship just like old NES games did: put the player on his knees, make him beg.

What's the coolest aspect of QUBE Adventures?

I believe the mechanic is quite innovative and it's fun as hell to drag QUBE and throw him around the levels. I really love it, i spent hours playing around, tweaking the physics and making it feel perfect. There's so much going on, so many possibilities. I intend to explore this mechanic in other games, improving it as much as possible.

Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?
Remember that game developers are artists, not cold machines that spit out clones of Angry Birds or Call of Duty.

Any developer that ignores publishers and the pressure from the market in order to follow his heart and transform his visions into games is a part of the indie movement. The same applies to film makers, musicians and other artists. Remember that game developers are artists, not cold machines that spit out clones of Angry Birds or Call of Duty. We want to create something, not clone something to earn money. What will you do with money?

I can earn much more money doing other stuff; I'm not here to become rich. I'm here because making games gives me peace, makes me happy.

You will see lots of companies calling themselves indies, although they have lots of money to pay for 10+ employees, marketing and PR efforts, freelancers, etc. Lots of members of the press purport their support for indies, although they will only accept press releases from "trusted sources." In the end, it's all about money. You're all alone and you should be OK with this fact.

Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?

Because I can do what I want to do, what I love to do. There's no one telling me what to do or ruining my ideas. Of course, there are the financial problems and the fact that i have to do everything on my own: code, art, music, sounds, marketing, PR. But it's fun! I believe that a game developer should always follow his heart. That's how this industry started, with kids in their rooms doing what they loved. Picking up ideas from games they loved to play, mixing and creating something of their own. There were no market trend or publishers forcing them to do it, just their hearts. People should stop listening to their pockets.

I will create the games I want to play, and if there are other crazy people that enjoy my game, then I'm happy. And I'll be even happier if they create their own games too, inspired by my work!

How do you fund your game development?

That comes from my full-time job as a software developer and instructor. Instead of purchasing furniture, food or paying the bills, I'm investing in my games. Coffee, of course, is part of that budget. It's difficult, specially when there are so many costs that you can't avoid.

Would you recommend other developers try a similar route for funding?

You should do whatever you think is best in order for your game to be released. Save money, sell stuff (I have sold my PS2 to pay for the Apple Developer Program fee), freelance, steal from a bank, sell your soul. All means necessary to get your game out there! If you believe in something, go for it. You will fail, you will succeed. If you haven't failed, you haven't lived.

Sell QUBE Adventures in one sentence:

Physics-based gameplay for hardcore gamers!

Anything you'd do differently in developing QUBE Adventures?

There's always things you wanted to do, or things you just noticed after the game was finished. Those things are being explored or being developed for future games, specially the QUBE Adventures sequel. I think that I have underestimated the platforming elements of the game; they certainly need more attention in the future.

What's next?

I'm exploring the mechanic I came up with for QUBE Adventures. There are many different possibilities in having QUBE and its "draggable" feature in a game. I'll probably release some prototypes for free on the App Store, and of course, QUBE Adventures 2 is already in the works.


QUBE Adventures is available now through the App Store -- we're not pulling (or dragging) your leg!

If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.