Brisbane accelerator Right Pedal Studios is working to reinvigorate the local mobile gaming scene with a slew of original projects.
Now in its second year of operation, Right Pedal has provided funding, resources and mentorship for a number of mobile gaming teams, including Geek Brain Games, Ghostbox and Screwtape Studios. The accelerator recently displayed some games in progress, such as Attract Mode Games’ inverted tunnel-racing game Tail Drift, at River City Labs’ monthly testing session.
“We’ve learned a lot in our second year,” program manager John Passfield says. “We started out looking for smaller, quicker games with faster turnaround times, but now we’re focusing on meatier games.”
Passfield, who has worked in Brisbane’s gaming industry since the 1980s, stresses the need to see a potential project’s “core essence” over its immediate playability. He is passionate about helping innovative teams, with an ultimate goal for them to become sustainable game companies.
One of Right Pedal’s current projects, Geek Brain Games’ Ninja Raft, fitted Passfield’s criteria with a combination of original gameplay and an innovative underlying psychology.
Ninja Raft is a tower defence game that operates in two phases: the “Build Phase”, where the player designs their titular raft and fortifies it with equipment, and the “Defence Phase”, where the player directs the ninjas to fight off attacking pirates.
“We’re trying to make a game with more bite in it,” creative director Don Kirkland says. “We want to make something fun but challenging; the game will make you lose”.
The appeal of ninjas fighting pirates aside, Ninja Raft incorporates original gameplay and revenue mechanisms. Kirkland, who works on the game’s design and coding with art designer and animator Rupert Lewis Jones, stresses that while the game will “throw players equipment generously”, the psychologies underpinning the game, notably prospect theory, will keep them playing.
Rather than charge players immediately or rely entirely on intrusive advertising, Ninja Raft introduces these elements after players have lost their equipment to pirate attacks and then failed to recoup it in a mini-game.
After more than a year of development, the game is now undergoing beta testing.