When I was a student, I was too busy playing games into the small hours of the morning, let alone thinking about making them. Fortunately, the folks at Pixile Studios were a bit more studious than that, spending their time creating multiplayer tower defense game, Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense. I took the time to learn a little more about the team.
Who is Pixile Studios?
Founded in January 2011 in Vancouver, Pixile Studios is made up of two University of British Columbia students, Michael Silverwood and Chris Clogg. With backgrounds in mobile, web and mod development, the team have just released their first title: Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense.
What is Pixile Studios most famous for?
As mentioned, there's only the one title so far from the Studio, but with Michael graduating this year and Chris already having graduated, I suspect the work will be growing exponentially.
What's next on the horizon?
Michael explained to us that the main focus is continuing to support Stratosphere: "[we] are working on lots of new content for the coming weeks and months. The next big update will include new levels and modifiers, as well as a bunch of tweaks and improvements based on player feedback." It's not just evolution either, with Michael going on to tease us with the prospect of "a couple [of] pretty exciting new features…but they're still in the early stages". He was kind enough to offer us a sneak peek at one of the new levels, though.
Anything else I should know about Pixile Studios?
Michael was all too glad to talk with me about the company's plans and inspiration.
148apps: What inspired you to make Stratosphere?
Michael: We've been big fans of the tower defense genre ever since playing many of the early player created games in Starcraft and Warcraft 3, and even created some of our own that gained some popularity within the Battle.net community. It had always been a dream of ours to start our own game studio, so back in January 2011 we decided that we wanted to finally create our first full game.
We had been doing contract work building iOS apps at the time, and always had our iPhones and iPads loaded up with tons of new games, so we noticed that there was a bit of a gap in great multiplayer experiences. I'd be sitting at school studying and friends would always steal my iPad to play games, but there weren't many we could play together even though the iPad's large screen seemed perfectly suited for multiplayer. So we had the idea to design a tower defense game from the ground up for same device multiplayer. Even at that time the tower defense genre was starting to get crowded, but we thought that giving players the control of sending enemies, and designing the game around multiplayer would be something really unique and fun.
148apps: How has it been juggling University work with iOS development?
Michael: It has been pretty crazy, and I've had to make some sacrifices to my social life at times, but it has definitely been worth it. The entire second year of development basically ended up turning into crunch time, and a couple of my less interesting courses suffered a bit, but overall I managed to keep on top of everything and survive on very little sleep. I'm finally graduating this May with a degree in Business and Computer Science, and Chris graduated back in May 2011, so I'm looking forward to spending even more time on Pixile and Stratosphere very soon!
148apps: What do you wish you'd known before you started?
Michael: I'm tempted to say I wish we'd known how much work goes into creating a game, and what we were getting into, but I'm so happy we didn't because it made us feel like launch was always just around the corner even though it took two years to complete!
148apps: What's your favourite thing about iOS development?
Michael: The level playing field of the App Store is pretty amazing for indie game developers. Ten years ago it would have been a lot harder if not impossible to build a game, self-publish it, and release it on a platform with players numbering in the tens of thousands. We're pretty lucky to be growing up during this time and be able to build something and launch it up against all of the big productions from established game studios.
Where can I find out more about Pixile Studios?
There's the developer's website which is regularly updated, as well as the Twitter account and Facebook page. We'll be keeping an eye on the team's progress, too!