Interview With Bravado Waffle Studios

Let’s start out by getting the story behind Bravado Waffle. How did the team members find each other and decide to venture into the indie game development scene together?

We are a team of three people who love gaming, there’s nothing especially unique about us or our story. I had an idea and talked a friend into joining with me after more than a little arm twisting. We got extremely lucky to find an amazing developer who is part wizard, part Jedi, and all awesome.

We are spread out across the US and run our studio virtually (Viva la Internet!). Even though we’ve never met in person, it’s pretty amazing how well we all get along and how well we work together.

The studio’s name came from a clever CAPTCHA combination I saw years ago and never forgot. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to do something amazing with it, and building a game studio is the best way I can imagine using the name.

And you guys have been developing part-time while working other jobs on top of that for the past year, right? In retrospect, did you feel fully prepared for this lifestyle going in, and do you have any advice for budding indie game designers about preparing for a stint in this field?

Yes, we all have real life jobs and work on developing games in our spare time. It has been difficult to say the least. In retrospect, we had no idea just how much work would be required to make a game. Being an indie developer is a real “trial by fire” and “sink or swim” kind of environment. You learn as you go, adapt to new changes, and persevere or quit. Through sheer stubbornness and tenacity, we have almost reached the finish line with our first game.

Looking back, we really bit off more than we could chew with RoboHero as our first game. It’s taken us over a year of development to get to where we are now. It’s an amazing game as a result, but in the iOS world that’s just too long of a development cycle. Our biggest suggestion to new developers is to start small. Keep your development cycles short, keep innovating, and seriously look into the Free to Play market. This is where the money is now for indie developers.

Why did Bravado Waffle decide on iOS as your target platform, in contrast to options like Android, Steam, or Xbox Live Arcade?

iOS is an extremely exciting platform to develop on. The audience is hungry for apps, and even in a saturated market, there is still plenty of room for new big name brands to be born. Mobile gaming is the future, as it is reaching areas where console gaming has never gone. The developing world is leap-frogging technology and kids are getting iPhones before they get computers. Because of this, we really never even considered more traditional platforms.

Android has some potential, but it is a different kind of market all together. Right now, it just isn’t a viable option for a startup indie company.

Bravado Waffle has a really interesting – and I think insightful – philosophy on how niche targeting can lead to marketing success down the road. Could you briefly explain this to readers who may be learning about you for the first time?

Sure, our goal is to develop games that target specific niches and even sub-niches of gamers. This hopefully will increase our chances of becoming profitable as a company. Instead of playing the lottery and trying to develop a mega hit game that will appeal to everybody, like Feed Me Oil or Angry Birds, we hope to develop games that appeal to smaller, more specific niches. Many times, these smaller niches have dedicated communities that are begging for a good game. When they get what they want, they spread the word to each other out of excitement.

Our philosophy is to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fry in a large ocean. If we can develop games that appeal to these audiences, then hopefully we can build a sustainable income much faster instead of gambling it all on a mega hit right out the door.

And what genre or niche is Bravado Waffle targeting with its first iOS title, RoboHero?

RoboHero is targeting the strategy tactical market. Gamers who grew up playing tactical games like X-COM, RoboRally, and RoboSport are going to adore RoboHero. It’s an entirely unique multiplayer game and there is nothing even close to it on the App Store right now.

In fact, since this style of game appeals to board gamers so much, we are releasing an actual print board game based on it, soon after RoboHero hits the App Store.

What will RoboHero’s interface be like? How are things like turning, firing, and weapon switching accomplished during play?

We worked hard to make everything very intuitive in RoboHero, with as few onscreen buttons as possible.

Players pre-program their moves into the little Robo by tapping in the direction they want him to move/rotate. They have 15 moves per turn that they can pre-program. Firing and switching weapons is also included in those 15 moves. Once players have finished programming the Robo, they hit the play button and watch him carry out his actions in real time. In multiplayer games, four players are doing this at the same time, attempting to guess where their opponents will be to destroy them while avoiding getting attacked by other players.

The game is very tactical and exciting, but laid back at the same time. You can spend money in the weapons store at the beginning of each round and buy any of the 13+ weapons and armors, depending on what your strategy is for that round. So there’s plenty of room for variation and replayability.