Developing in Australia / by Brandon Driesse

The Shy Kids Club is a wonderful little husband and wife dev team based in Australia working on a fun co-op side-scroller for the Nintendo Switch. They’re also hosts for the global game jam down under and have experience running somewhat big events as well as attending them overseas. Talking with Craig I gained a lot of insight into their budgetary needs/concerns. One country outside the US that is well known for their video games is Canada, mostly due to the government there supplying creators with financial assets and write-offs in the form of the Canadian Media Fund. Australia used to have something similar, the Australian Games Fund, but has disappeared in recent years.

As a dev, you need to justify spending money to showcase at a con: all of the expenses to fly equipment out and stay for the entire duration of the event can quickly run up in the thousands(which may be better spent elsewhere depending on where you’re at in the dev cycle. This calculation is somewhat skewed when you’re traveling internationally as well. Craig and his wife came to PAX East on a whim after they had an good reception back at PAX Australia, sealing their fate.

Let’s talk about their new game for a second. The couple has previously participated in many game jams, creating little projects, but this is their first really big project together; a good one at that. “With Friends Like These”, a somewhat unfortunate name to search online(we’d know a little something about that ourselves), is a co-op required side-scroll adventure where two different colored orbs must work together and communicate to succeed, alternating pilot and gunner. It was a lot of fun playing alongside Craig, there’s a few minibosses that lack a health bar(YES PLEASE) and the controls were very tight.

To keep this article short you can watch the full interview above, but one thing to note is that no matter where you’re coming from, no matter how awesome it is to be at PAX East, try a smaller local convention first and test the waters. I’ve found many great indies traveling the small expo circuit in New Jersey from college campus to rented-out used games stores. Look online and drive to these places, see how you can market your game and get immediate feedback before dropping several Gs. A final take-away I learned from Craig(although I suppose I knew myself deep down when creating this series of Dev Talks), going to conventions is a great way to meet other devs, make connections with publishers and perhaps run into the very next new member of your team. same can be said for the Global Game Jam that the Shy Kids Club hosts back home!

Brandon Driesse Creative Director