Bodoink Developer Turns to Community for Financial Backing

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Games are expensive to make. These days it is not uncommon to find projects that cost in excess of several million dollars. Financial limitations have made it more difficult for innovative game ideas to thrive. One Chicago-based developer is forgoing the traditional process and instead turning directly to the gaming community to help finance their game.

Robomodo is developing a new Xbox Live Arcade game called Bodoink that utilizes the Kinect. The game drops players into a pinball-like environment of pegs and pistons where their character bounces around. It looks like a promising title, but there is only one problem: they don’t have a publisher yet.

In order to get their game finished, Robomodo is hoping to forgo the traditional model of publisher funding. Instead, they are turning to the gaming community to help finance the finishing touches of the nearly completed game. They’re using a website known as Kickstarter where users can pledge to support the game and get rewards for their contributions depending on the amount that they give. $15 gets you a game code once it is released, $20 will get you a vote on game features, and $50 will get your name in the credits.

Game Freaks 365 spoke with Robomodo’s CEO, Josh Tsui, to discuss the game and their unique path to release on Xbox Live Arcade:

Where did the premise for Bodoink come from?

We had early access to the Kinect technology and always wanted to do a fun kids game where you’re dropping into a plinko type environment. I’m also a huge fan of pinball so it just seemed like we can have a lot of fun with it.

What advantages and disadvantages does Kinect give you as a developer?

It really opens up a market of people who want to play games but don’t necessarily have time to learn difficult controllers. They want to have a fun experience and get in and out quickly. Personally I just enjoy games that I can play with my kids.

Disadvantage? I would say getting over old school game control thinking is always a bit of a stumbling block for guys like me. You have to design for the hardware’s capabilities and not be constantly cramming in stuff that just won’t work.

Why go to the consumer for funding support instead of a publisher? Can we expect a better game as a result?

It’s a fascinating business model that we felt we should just try out. The idea of making the funding of a game like a game sounded like fun so we just dove right in. As for a better game? Having publishers control a game is not necessarily a bad thing as there are proper checks and balances. But I would say that the Kickstarter approach allows for developers to create more personal games.

Is this the future of indie game development?

Not sure about that, I would say it’s one of the future!

When do you hope to launch Bodoink on Xbox Live Arcade?

It’s a bit open right now. We kind of want to take our time with it, but internally we always thought an early summer release would be ideal.

You can check out Bodoink and support the project by going to Kickstarter.