“How we won gamedev by rolling our own tech”


For more technically inclined people, here are the slides for our GDC & IndieCade talk this year:

Slides with notes included

Slides without notes


Did you know you can make successful games faster, cheaper and more reliable by building your own tech instead of using a third party engine? 
With a small team and no budget, we managed to make 2014’s best tactics game (Door Kickers) in a very short time, with a huge amount of content, on 5 platforms. 
Without using any third-party engines or tools. 

Instead of adding tech, we removed tech. We kept removing until there was almost nothing left. Sounds counter-intuitive? Think of it this way: simpler means faster, cheaper and more reliable. 
Learn about the extreme simplicity of the production pipeline and the “unified everything” game engine used for Door Kickers. 
Learn that developing a game can also be done in a very smart and simple way, instead of spending years or $$$$$ on game engines. Learn how to focus on what is important and that finding the simplest solutions is usually the hardest.



  1. your argument is valid to a point , that i can assertain you guys are hardcore programmers , know cpp to the bone , have an exprience of at least 3 years , i like to do my engine stuff as well but let’s be honest if i start to make a game from scratch i have to learn opengl or dx from ground up ( i have some exp with them but we know that it’s not enough) lets put graphics aside even i wanna add sound , music , fx to the game again i have a problem , where in say unity , udk , ue4 it’s a matter of drag and drop to use sound and other stuff , sure they introduce extra complexity too but i say for a programmer with no exp in low level stuff they are good boot up considering the time limit you mentioned.

    • We do have experience, but that’s exactly the point, we became experienced by learning what’s under the hood. Once you get a hold of the basic systems, you’ll realize it’s not that hard to implement them.
      OpenGL ES 2.0 is relatively easy to learn once you get on to it, same with sound when using OpenAL.

      I agree that, in theory, Unity/UDK are way faster to prototype stuff, but sometimes, for very specific games, you can do it faster by building your own tech. There are some hidden dangers in third party engines which can be seem in action in most games out there and come from lack of experience, like bad performance even on good hardware.

      • thank you for the reply,
        i saw OpenAL its api calls are very similar to OpenGl despite the differences in what they do ,
        surely becoming familiar with the low level stuff is more exciting and a resume changer too.

  2. This is an excellent game, everything is near perfect, but what is the exact part of development method in this big success ?

    Sometimes poor games are very successful, and sometimes masterpiece doesn’t catch public interest. so idk.
    The very same game could have been appreciated by only a few people ? ( like, only fans of this kind of game.)

    • Even you have a one-of-a-kind idea, implementing it in the right way is equally important.
      You can sometimes see games with great potential that are horribly executed (buggy, low fps etc.).
      You can also do a great job at implementation, but to what purpose if it takes you 5 years to do so? As an indie, you have a very limited time horizon before the money will run out, so you NEED to make an accessible (hardware-wise) and reliable (stability-wise) game in the shortest amount of time possible.

Leave a Reply