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Not just another Halfbrick in the wall

Matt Knights and Dean Loades spent the last seven and eight years respectively working for a big Australian video game studio. After nearly a decade, they've both decided to give this whole indie thing a bash.
Matt Knights and Dean Loades spent the last seven and eight years respectively working for a big Australian video game studio. After nearly a decade, they've both decided to give this whole indie thing a bash. When the pair started at Fruit Ninja studio Halfbrick all those years back, there were around 25 employees at the company. Now there are almost 100 Halfbrickers, and the company's culture and focus has altered accordingly, Knights tells me. "While it was still a really cool place to work, and we still hang out with a lot of the people there, there is something about the excitement of working for a small company starting out that wasn't there anymore," he says. "At the same time, technologies like Unity make it possible to create really great games without needing a huge support team. So we thought we'd give it a shot." Taking everything onboard that they had learned over their combined 15 years at Halfbrick, the duo immediately began prototyping game ideas as Protostar, making one prototype every day for two weeks. Checkpoint Champion was the prototype that won out in the end -- a quick-fire, top-down racer that sees you racing through checkpoints to claim the fastest time in the world.

"We initially wanted to make a very small game in less than two months, but we liked the game quite a lot and gave it the features and polish we thought it deserved," Knights notes. "The game ended up taking us four months instead of two. Time will tell if it was worth the extra investment." "Developing games as a duo is a little different to how we made games at Halfbrick," he adds. "We can make decisions faster, and try and scrap ideas much more easily now. We both learned so much at Halfbrick, not only technical game development skills, but understanding of the mobile market as well." For now, the pair are gearing up to release Checkpoint Champion on November 20 for iOS, with an Android release planned around the same time.

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