RIT Professor Creating Kickstarter-backed game, Chain Gang Chase
by Nathan Castle | published Nov. 15th, 2013
As RIT’s Interactive Media Game Design students know well, no game project is complete without a team of talented developers, a new idea and a source of funding. RIT professor Joe Pietruch recently embarked on a project to fund his game, called Chain Gang Chase, with Kickstarter. Pietruch hopes to create a multiplayer couch co-op intended to be played with up to eight players .
The plan is for Chain Gang Chase to hire students on co-op, differentiating it from other Kickstarter projects that RIT students may be familiar with. It’s an ambitious project, and Pietruch hopes that the gaming community will back him as he develops it.
Pietruch has reached his $10,000 Kickstarter goal before November 17. Since it was reached, Ouya, makers of a small Android-based game console, will match the backers’ contributions —allowing Pietruch to hire at least one student on co-op full-time. Pietruch, who has been working on the project on his own time for several months, hopes that the game will provide good experience for RIT students, while contributing a solid entertainment experience to the Ouya and Windows/Mac/Linux gaming communities.
So far, Pietruch has completed a working demo of the game and started his Kickstarter campaign. As of press time, the Kickstarter has met its goal and has been featured as a Kickstarter staff pick. He has been working with Alberto Camacho, a second year Game Design and Development student, to promote the game on social media and through on-campus events. “I consulted with him with creating backer rewards, doing spreadsheets for all the calculations for how much we will need,” said Camacho on his role in the project. One of the features Pietruch is most excited about is the online map editor. “Anybody can go and make a map that can be downloaded and played” said Pietruch, who believes that the feature was a hit at the recently organized play-tests.
Although Pietruch already had a working prototype, he has been working with RIT’s recently-formed Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) center. MAGIC has allowed Pietruch to hire Camacho to assist with organizing the Kickstarter and promotion of the game. In addition, the MAGIC center will provide Pietruch’s co-op with space and tools to work on the project during spring semester, if the Kickstarter funding round is successful. Andy Phelps, the director of MAGIC, sees the center as filling an important role in supporting innovative projects in the community, and getting RIT in the public eye. “With projects like this, … there’s stuff in there that’s never been done before, so that’s a part of it” said Phelps, “Part of it is also pushing the university itself to examine itself and think about how and why it does things.”
While Pietruch sees this project as an exciting opportunity for the students he plans to hire on co-op, the project has special significance for him personally. Pietruch graduated from RIT with a degree in New Media Design in 2008 and he earned his Master’s degree in game design and development in 2010, also at RIT. From there, he immediately became a lecturer at the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. He sees this project as his swan song at RIT, as he is planning on leaving RIT to go to New York City at the end of spring semester. Pietruch hopes that the game will exemplify his best advice for aspiring student developers: “Just do it.”
More information about the game can be found at chaingangchase.com
For more about the Kickstarter, click here.