Ratchet Game Studio creates games as hobby
Ratchet Game Studio is a one man band of sorts, headlined by Robert, a mechanical engineer from Canada. While mechanical engineering is not completely unrelated to game development, the two are not exactly identical fields.
Robert did have some classes that involved programming, but overall, his collegiate curriculum was “heavily non-programing related.” Robert said he had to teach himself much of the programming he used. “A lot of it was only a quick google search away, but a lot of the time I would find myself doing things the long way and be completely unaware of a function that could do it for me.”
But while Robert’s eventual degree, and career path, was mechanical engineering, he did have other initial desires and job avenues.
“For a long time I was set on computer animation or game design,” Robert said. “[Developing games] was something I always wanted to do, even considered it as a career at one point. I’ve really enjoyed it as a hobby and will continue to develop it as time goes on.”
However, those initial aspirations were forestalled as Robert “settled on mechanical engineering.” In the curriculum, he learned how to program, so the two backgrounds he had ultimately helped him develop and create his game. He said the overlap helped his “understanding the math, but also being able to do 3D modeling, although the modeling in [Pixel] was relatively simple.”
Although Pixel, Ratchet Game Studio’s first game, may have had simple graphics, the game had its fair share of headaches for Robert. Since he learned the trade as he went along, he was expected to hit some bumps along the way.
“I had [Pixel] 70% coded when I first tested it on an Xbox and had half a dozen different crashes I had to debug through on top of severe lag that took a while to finally find,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you need to really stick at the problem solving aspect to it.”
Among some of those issues was the custom physics engine he made.
“If you want a good laugh, try to develop your own physics engine with collision checking,” Robert said. “Sometimes it’s frustrating, but other times, all you can do is just laugh at the result.”
Even with all the adversity Robert faced, Pixel was released as the final game for the Uprising III indie game showcase. Robert described the game as a mix between a puzzle game and a first-person shooter. However, he had some trouble pinning down what the title is most similar to.
“Portal…with maybe a dash of Tetris. Or maybe the other way around,” Robert said. “Unfortunately, it’s Bring Your Own Cake, though.”
Robert may have had some trouble pinning down the exact similar game hybrid, however, he was much clearer of the initial concept that led to the game. He said he came up with the idea while sitting in one of his classes.
“[I was] sitting in class, back years ago, looking at the wall and thinking how cool it would be if you could have the bricks come out and you could climb up the wall,” he said. “It may have been a morning I missed my coffee and was my subconscious trying to figure out how I could get out. Either way, I developed the idea over time, and once I found I had some free time, I started seeing what I could come up with.”
Robert said he was excited for his first release and has plans to release the game on both PC and Android. However, his days are filled with other adventures for his subconscious to escape with and no exact timeline was currently planned out.
“I work full time as an engineer, so my days are full with that,” Robert said. “Beyond that I also snowboard and camp heavily. The game design was a hobby that I decided to pursue more into, so on days that I’m not doing something, that’ll be when I’ll work on stuff.”