The Indie Game Cat-a-log: Developers And Their Kitties

Devcat

Part of being an indie game developer is owning a cat, and having that cat then constantly interrupt you via natural cute antics or sometimes deliberately lying across your keyboard or appearing in front of your monitor. If you are a developer and have a cat, then you’ll know this story very well. For those who don’t, clearly you’re in the process of getting a cat, or at least want one to join you at your side – it’s inevitable.

So, if we’re to encompass every aspect of indie games, then surely we need to acknowledge the role of cats in the development process. Hence #devcat! I asked any developer willing to send me pictures of their cats, and maybe even of themselves too, just so that I could fulfil my need for more cats in my life while pretending to still cover indie games – it was the perfect plan, and still is, I’d add. Thrilled is how I’d describe the response, and cute cats were sent my way, and now I have the opportunity to share them with you…oh, and say a thing or two about the developers they reside with too, or something.

Robot Loves Kitty

First up we have a game development studio that references our feline superiors in their company name! You don’t get much more dedicated to the devcat than that. Calvin Goble and Alix Stolzer are half of the development team behind Robot Loves Kitty, with the other half being their two cats, Hobbes and Star. Now, let’s just take a look at them, shall we?

First up, Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin & Hobbes

Yes, as you can see, these two are quite clearly having constant tussles with each other. It would seem that Hobbes managed to land himself in a bit of trouble as he was lured into an unsuspecting tube chasing a stray bit of ham. Poor sod. Calvin set the trap in the middle of the floor and lay in waiting, and just in case Hobbes did he see him, he was cunning enough to wear a disguise – the usual hat and glasses combo. To be fair, this was payback for the time that Hobbes stepped all over the keyboard and let out a stinky silent one right into the mouth of Calvin as he was trying to work on Legend of Dungeon. The photo of Calvin, as you can see, is him looking rather victorious, fists pressed into his sides and a beaming smile. Hobbes, on the other hand, feeling a little bit sorry for himself, but already calculating his next move. Watch out, Calvin…

Next up we have the other pair that make up this development team, Alix and Star:

Alix & Star

What, you thought the mischief in this house would end with these two? Bah, it’s only just beginning! Tongues out and ready to cause trouble, both of them! Though Star is quite clearly putting much less effort into the photo than Alix. But then, that’s what a cat is supposed to, isn’t it? Notice the effort that Alix has gone through to even find a frog hat for the picture, or…or is that actually a dead frog that Star dragged in as a gift and she was obliged to wear it? If so, ewwww. Look, I know that in Legend of Dungeon you can hang around a lot of your fallen foe, but do you have to take it this far, Alix?!

Firebelly Studios

Eric Firebelly StudiosQuite a noble looking pair here, don’t you think? No tomfoolery should be had here. Rather it’s fine dining and luxury baths for both Erik and his cat. Stands to reason that Firebelly Studios should have such a classy presence about them, considering that Temporus looks so divine – clearly, no cat has been able to truly get their claws into the code in this one…but that time shall come. Temporus is a 2D shmup in which you can board other ships and stations to seek timeless treasures. Just wait until the cats hear about these so-called treasures; then they’ll be all over the game and halting development progress left, right and center, especially when I tell them the treasure is tuna.

Ben Chandler

Ben Chandler

Oh, look, within seconds, we’re back to the mischief making! And there was me trying to uphold some amount of class to this kitty parade. Outrageous! So this is Ben Chandler and his cat Montgomery. The former dressed as a panda, and the latter chewing on LEGO. What more can be said here that doesn’t already stand out on its own merit? Maybe this is how Ben draws up all of the backgrounds for his adventure games – shoves some LEGO on the bed and lets Montgomery put it all together until an image is founded. In fact, I bet this is Montgomery in the process of physically prototyping something for The Blackwell Epiphany before he goes and draws it out on the computer – LEGO is perfect for replicating pixels. I see what you’re up to, Ben, and how cruel that you’d take all the credit for Montgomery’s hard work.

FexLabs

FexLabsHere we see a visual representation of the cat-owning game developers life. While Justin Smith of FexLabs attempts to smile for the camera, we see his cat Jack as she attempts to pleasure her face with a rather hard elbow. Or at least that’s what it would seem at first. What she’s really doing is trying to screw up the shot, just because she can. This will happen on multiple occasions while Justin attempts to get Dillo Hills 2 finished; every time a critical moment appears, a cat paw or face interrupts. The game, though, remarkably, is coming together rather nicely. Dillo Hills 2 is a sequel, obviously, so check out the original here if you’ve got the urge from some cutesy downhill races. The early gameplay video of Dillo Hills 2 should give you an idea of how it’s shaping up at the moment.

Quick Fingers

Quick Fingers

Ladies and gentlemen, could there be a photo that represents the turmoil of being an indie developer than the one above? There we see Milo casually taking a sitdown right in front of the monitor, where Tom Jackson, aka Quick Fingers, attempts to sort out the code for Europa, or Surgeon Simulator 2013 – it must be one of them. When this happens, you have two options available to you. Either you can get in a right fit about how the cat is carelessly getting in the way of all your hard work, therefore shooing it off…unless it’s one of those stubborn and violent cats (in which case just obey and fetch the nearest mouse-shaped object). Or you could take the cat’s presence as a welcome break and just cuddle it for a while, enjoying its company – I think this is probably the main reason for having a cat, is it not? Just be careful when stroking Milo if you’re using that robotic arm of yours, yeah, Tom?

Quickfire Devcats!

UPDATE: More Devcats

Carbide Software sends in Jack, their “most valuable employee”. Carbide are concentrating on mobile games for now but will soon be expanding cross-platform to desktop with Unity.
Jack

  • Justin

    Best article ever. And you’re pretty much right on the money: Jack does not want DH2 to get done.

  • Gregor

    What is with a programmer and a cat so much!?!