Q&A: Video game developer Devin Moore

  • Photos by Tim Johnson
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.