I'm Co-Founder and Lead Developer for Itzy Interactive. Growing up in rural Alberta, I've been an avid gamer since my first days of playing Gorf on my Commodore Vic-20. After spending countless hours entering and modifying game code from Compute’s Gazette magazines on my C-64 as a boy, I never lost my love for gaming even as I eventually fell into a career in finance. After a decade in the brokerage industry, a layoff, and an uncertain economy, I re-evaluated my career goals. I went back to school, retrained and started Itzy Interactive with a few like minded individuals and now I'm set on fulfilling a childhood dream by making some video games. Father, movie geek and indie game developer. You can check out our current projects at (www.itzyinteractive.com) or visit us on Facebook at (www.facebook.com/ItzyInteractive)
Posts by Kyle-Kulyk
  1. Mobile game review sites are a waste of time ( Counting comments... )
  2. "App Of The Day" type apps can help indies with app discovery ( Counting comments... )
  3. Android piracy still sucks ( Counting comments... )
  4. Launch Day 2.0 ( Counting comments... )
  5. Vexing puzzle design ( Counting comments... )
  6. Playing with my kids helps me make better games ( Counting comments... )
  7. Would you pay to have your app reviewed? ( Counting comments... )
  8. The Home Stretch ( Counting comments... )
  9. Why we chose Freemium ( Counting comments... )
  10. How not to go insane while working from home ( Counting comments... )
  11. How we manage the virtual team ( Counting comments... )
  12. The devolution of gaming culture ( Counting comments... )
  13. Game Engines for Indies ( Counting comments... )
  14. There are eight million blogs about Mass Effect’s ending. This is one of them. ( Counting comments... )
  15. Indie devs, the odds are against you ( Counting comments... )
  16. Feedback loop ( Counting comments... )
  17. Performance Anxiety 3 – Road Blocks ( Counting comments... )
  18. An Indie marketing story ( Counting comments... )
  19. Launch Day ( Counting comments... )
  20. It’s ready when it’s ready, dammit! ( Counting comments... )
  21. Cyberbullying and gamers ( Counting comments... )
  22. Present this! ( Counting comments... )
  23. Teachers open doors ( Counting comments... )
  24. Along came a spider... ( Counting comments... )
  25. How’d I get here? ( Counting comments... )
  26. Should we be worried about Nintendo? ( Counting comments... )
  27. Performance Anxiety 2: You’re doing it wrong ( Counting comments... )
  28. My top 5 games of childhood ( Counting comments... )
  29. What this Indie developer needs ( Counting comments... )
  30. Performance anxiety ( Counting comments... )
  31. For Indies, a demo is a must ( Counting comments... )
Advocacy /

...almost...there...

I swear I can see the finish line up ahead.  If you squint, you can just make it out.  It's there, I assure you.  As we approach the launch of our second mobile title, Vex Blocks, I can’t help but get excited at the prospect of putting our finished product in front of people.  Now I know...I know - there’s still a never-ending amount of work to be done from testing to marketing, to more testing, continued marketing, then the tweaking followed by testing, then some testing...but my point is we’re nearing that final stage before our launch.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel and I swear the faintest scent of cinnamon buns.  The burndown chart and the task list is at the point where you can at least realistically imagine the launch day, even if it’s still a few weeks away, instead of just dreaming about it happening at some point in the future like flying cars or super-intelligent, faithful monkey servants.  It feels good, like an imaged back rub from said imaginary monkey servants.

Our first title, Itzy3d was and still is well received by gamers even if it didn’t exactly race up the charts.  However, our inexperience developing games led to a bit of a rollercoaster ride creating the title.  Initial performance hurdles, an over complicated control scheme and simply learning the pitfalls of Unity3d/IOS/Android development made the experience of working on Itzy3d a rocky one.  Still, despite it’s shortcomings I can to this day sit back, fire it up and lose myself in the game and take pride in our first outing as an indie game developer.

Vex Blocks’ development wasn’t nearly as up and down and even though I still thoroughly enjoyed working on Itzy3d I find I’ve had much more fun working on our upcoming action/puzzler.  If I’m going to lock myself in my office and gamble mine and my family’s future working on videogames full time, at least I know I’m doing it with a smile on my face.  The anxiety filled nights haven’t entirely gone away, but I’m far more confident in what we can accomplish this time out, and there’s a few reasons for that.

The first is a matter of scope.  When we started Itzy3d we had no idea how long tasks would take us to complete and as such, creating Itzy the spider’s world became a much more ambitious project than we had anticipated.  When planning Vex Blocks we were able to estimate what we could accomplish in our given time frame with far more accuracy than we had with Itzy3d.  We started with a simpler concept so the development schedule didn’t become like Crawmerax the Invincible....lobster-like, purple, one-eyed and nearly impossible to beat at our current skill level.  Feeling that our goals were attainable within our time frame from the start did wonders for the ole confidence level.

The second major boost to all around enjoyment levels on Vex was having the artwork more or less completed when we started.  Vex Blocks was a concept I dreamt up a couple of years ago and it was initially given to a group of students consisting of three artists and two programmers from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to build a prototype for us while providing them with a final project for graduation.  Having a willing group of artists working under my instruction provided us the opportunity to start with a completed list of art assets when the prototype was eventually turned back over to our team.  In contrast, Itzy’s artwork hit a wall when our main artist found himself unable to contribute the time necessary to create the assets required for 3 of our 11 huge levels.  It also left us with zero assets for our menus and ultimate left us with menus that looked like they had been designed by programmers.  Starting the project with almost every art asset we could conceive was a huge load off my mind as I knew my Maya and Photoshop skills would not be tested as rigorously as I scrambled to fill in the blanks with my limited artistic ability.

And the biggest difference this time out was experience with Unity3d.  We know what works, what doesn't, where our graphical ceiling is for mobile, how to implement sounds more efficiently, how to create an asset pool, the GUI bottlenecks, the performance tweaks, the ongoing mobile testing during development to make sure our mobile performance is where it should be and isn’t biting us in the ass, lighting, texturing, shaders...you name it.  Having the ability to predict where we may run into problems and addressing those issues before they became serious instead of charging full ahead into the unknown is a much more relaxed way to develop a game in my opinion.  Who knew?

So this time out it’s all about making the game fun, challenging and having a blast doing it.  As our cycle on this game nears it’s end I can’t wait to see how the game will do in testing and it’s eventual launch.  The thought of others enjoying our work as much as we enjoy building and playing ourselves is all the reward we need.  Well...and monetary compensation.  All the reward we need is seeing others enjoying our work and money.  That sounds about right.