Dots. Neon. They move, they change colour, they change shape. I chase the dots and my anxiety builds, I’m not a good loser. I hold onto the squiggle line and eventually I am defeated. But I play again and again, the game is methodical and rather difficult. Young indie developer Brandon Kynoch’s third release this year, Torus is nothing short of addictive.
You might ask why should you care? Well, maybe because his game was downloaded 100, 000 times in its first day on the App Store and won him the seat of best game of the day in 137 countries.
I caught up with Brandon to find out more about his passion for game development:
Can you please tell me more about how you started creating games? I understand that you were first doing graphic design and digital art, how did that switch occur?
I have always loved technology and enjoyed gaming. At the age of eleven I had decided that I wanted to create my own games, so I immediately turned to the internet and taught myself how to do exactly that. Initially I was more drawn towards graphic design as I had always been very artistic and started painting at the age of seven. However, I am now skilled in all aspects of game development.
When was Blast released and why did you create the game? What were your hopes with the game and do you feel like you have accomplished what you have set out to do?
Blast was released on the 2nd of February 2018. Considering that it was my first published game, my main goal was simply to showcase my talent and start building a reputation for myself. Although it wasn’t the same sort of viral success that Torus is, it did catch a lot of people’s attention. Above all, I had caught Apple’s attention. Therefore, I believe that it was a very worthwhile project, and a major contributing factor in my more recent success.
What is the latest with your company (Hard Graft Studios) that you are trying to push towards a triple A game development studio?
I recently released a new game, Sector, on the App Store. This marks my 3rd release this year. After school I would like to move to America to study computer science and continue my game development.
Why do you believe that Torus has become so huge?
Torus is a very elegant game, with simple yet extremely entertaining game mechanics. It is also a very unique game. I believe that these are the main reasons as to why it has been so successful.
How long did you work on the game? How did the concept come about?
Torus took 3 weeks to develop. After releasing Blast, I had decided to move into much smaller, simpler games. I didn’t have the capacity to continue producing games like Blast, which took me two years to develop. I knew what kind of game I wanted to create immediately after releasing Blast, however, it took a lot of thought to come up with a unique game concept.
Could you please explain why you used Blast in your expo project and what the results were?
When developing Blast, I came across issues with the navigation system. I had to create my own, more advanced navigation system, which I did from scratch. I had modified and implemented an existing cooperative pathfinding algorithm. Considering that I had already done all of the work and created a very advanced pathfinding system, I entered it into the Eskom Science Expo. I made it to nationals, where I won two scholarships (To WITS and Stellenbosch University) and a cash prize, as well as a gold medal.
What is the best advice you can give to people who are interested in becoming Indie game developers?
The internet is an amazing resource, through which you can teach yourself just about anything. Spend a lot of time improving your skills and knowledge. If it is your passion – work hard at it, because hard work puts you where good luck can find you.