Classy Bogan Studios

Michael Matthews is the leading designer and programmer at Classy Bogan Studios, a local developer specialising in Virtual Reality (VR). Together with his team of developers, Matthews creates VR titles from Gameplus, a sharespace for game developers. I had the opportunity to speak to Matthews about Classy Bogan Studios and some of their creations. Here is what I discovered.

“Classy Bogan Studios began when Daniel Booker, my artist and very close friend, and I were talking to our boss at our retail job,” says Matthews. “In the conversation, it was brought up that we were game developers and that we had dabbled in VR in our study. When he heard that he suggested that we come up with a VR Training Simulation for our workplace. This was sort of our first big interview.”

The name Classy Bogan originates from their first client meeting, when Brooker arrived wearing his ‘good’ trackies and a jumper full of holes. The name stuck on after this and it is now symbolic to them as trackies are seen as comfort clothes. The company is currently made up of eight members, each specialising in a certain area of digital media, such as 2D artists, 3D artists, and programmers. They tend to use Unity as their primary game engine. Unity is “the engine the team is the most familiar with and its currently the engine that has the best and most thorough documentation”.

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Classy Bogan have done a fair amount since their first project and just last year their work was featured on the water projection at Hybrid World Adelaide. The team also held a VR fishing competition in Port Victoria on the Yorke Peninsula earlier this year. This has been one of the few community events they have attended. Perhaps one of their greatest achievements has been the release of their VR game, Virtual Skydiving, on Steam. Virtual Skydiving, created for Virtual Reality Adelaide is one of their most challenging yet rewarding creations to date. When it was uploaded, Matthews said it was “a major achievement as we hadn’t done anything like that in the past.”

As for the future, Matthews says they have many upcoming projects. Currently they are working on a Gamified Virtual Tour for the geology department at Uni SA and updating Virtual Skydiving to improve the user experience. They are also working on a game developed during a game jam called Screeming Cheeses.

 

For those who wish to find out more about Classy Bogan Studios, check out their website here.


Words by Cameron Lowe

Spotlight: Melonhead Games

Three years ago, game developers Patrick Webb and Sam Frost were classmates in TAFE SA. They had just finished a student project for AVCon and were exhausted but eager begin another project. This was the beginning of Melonhead Games, an Adelaide-based independent game developer. Now, three years later, they are in the process of creating Rooftop Renegade in their office at Gameplus, a sharespace for game developers on Pirie Street.

Melonhead Games’ name originates from “quit your daydreaming melonhead”, a quote by Abraham Simpson from The Simpsons. Once a team of nine, it currently has four members: Webb (Designer and Producer), Frost (Character and Technical Artist), George Martin (Blueprint Scripter), and Alex Ferrabetta (Environmental and Graphic Artist). Their game, Rooftop Renegade, is a fast-paced side-scrolling action platformer. Developed in Unreal Engine 4, it is heavily inspired from game series like Trials and Sonic the Hedgehog, while its Pixar meet Stars Wars aesthetics are drawn from Ferrabetta’s love of sci-fi.

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The team at Melonhead Games. Alex Ferrabetta, Sam Frost, George Martin, and Patrick Webb.

Since beginning development, Melonhead Games have done a number of public playtests of Rooftop Renegade at AVCon in the past. Their most recent being during April at Greenlight Comics. Webb has said the feedback from the public has been generally very positive and has inspired them to create new features for Rooftop Renegade, allowing the player experience to improve with each playtest they do.

“Being your own boss” is what Webb considers both a benefit and a challenge being an independent game developer. “It’s a great feeling to have the exact job you’ve always wanted, but there is a ton of responsibility attached with no safety net, and it’s very easy to ignore your own deadlines. Like any start-up, it’s a tough ride but incredibly rewarding.”

Melonhead Games are hoping to release Rooftop Renegade on both PC and console. While they don’t have a set release date as of writing this, they have a number of playtests coming up. Adelaide gamers can check them out at a second playtest at Greenlight Comics on June 8 and AVCon in July. For fans outside of Adelaide, they are hoping to make PAX AUS in Melbourne later in 2019.


Words by Cameron Lowe