Q&A: Video game developer Devin Moore

  • Photos by Tim Johnson
By Columbus Alive
From the March 14, 2013 edition

Devin Moore has been developing video game software since he was eight. He produced his first professional game as a teenager. As the CEO at Multivarious Games, Moore is leading a dedicated team — who meet nights and weekends because all have other full-time responsibilities — as they prepare to launch a game called “Dangerous” through Xbox’s online marketplace. Moore feels that in two years Multivarious Games will be a financially viable company and a leader in a burgeoning game development industry in Columbus.

Our big project is “Dangerous.” It will be an Xbox Live console game; a fun multiplayer, everybody-join-in and blast-at-everybody thing. It’s based on the book “The Most Dangerous Game.” We have talented artists from CCAD producing high-quality, hand-drawn animation, backgrounds, concept art and so on. It’s going to have that CCAD snap. When you see it, you will know it has world-class artwork.

We also have two smaller games in the works. “Dream Escape” will be a puzzle game … like a very complicated version of Simon. Besides being the greatest name of a game ever, “Call of 2D” is a side-scrolling platform shooter. You could use “Contra” as an example, but a more apt one is “Super Mario Bros. 3” with guns. Tentatively, we have you killing [Muammar] Gaddafi at the end. He flies in on a golden helicopter. He’s this eccentric weirdo — perfect bad guy for a video game.

For “Dangerous” and Multivarious Games, Xbox Live Arcade evens the playing field compared to traditional disc media. The game that you can deploy there is binary — the same as you deploy on a disc. There’s nothing stopping us from putting out a game as good … the delivery mechanism is a little different. In a sense, since we’re saving money on distribution we can put more money into making a good game. A tremendous game on Arcade is able to compete against anybody based on word-of-mouth.

There’s no way Dangerous would be happening without this team. [Chief Operations Officer] Chris Volpe is the heart and soul of driving the daily operation of a game like this and has the business acumen to land us in a fiscally solvent position. Being able to say that with confidence is an enormous relief. [Chief Design Officer] Wes Adams has a tremendous amount of graphic experience … he can steer us clear of pitfalls in the graphics world. And without the entire team there would be any number of hurdles we would hit that would just be a showstopper.

Dangerous is past proof of concept, and we have playable demos that a developer can look at and say, “Yeah, fun.” The end user might look at it and not entirely understand it, but that’s normal at this stage. We’re at a point where we can do a Kickstarter campaign because there’s enough momentum to say this is definitely getting done. The Kickstarter campaign launches April 1, and we’re having a kick-off event at Seventh Son Brewing Co. on April 4.

Multivarious is one of a handful from an ever-growing local community of game development companies. The brain drain out of here is shocking and we want to stem that as well as take advantage of what is truly a die-hard game community in Columbus. We want to grow the community and make this as viable as the West Coast, Vancouver or Texas.