10 Questions: Laser Dog

For the next instalment in our '10 Questions' series we spoke to friends Rob Allison and Simon Renshaw, of Leeds-based indie game studio Laser Dog. 

They brought us their first game, PUK in early 2013. And since then they've not looked back, producing smash-hit after smash-hit with Alone…, HoPiKo and most recently PKTBALL. We asked them our same ten questions to find out what a day at Laser Dog looks like...

What do you do?

Laser Dog is an indie game studio. We make games for mobiles, and more recently, consoles and desktops.

We’re a two man team composed of:
Rob Allison - Programming, music and stuff
Simon Renshaw - Art, drawing and stuff

What are you typically doing every day at 9am?

Drinking coffee, talking about what games we played last night and planning the day. We do play a lot of games, for research of course.

What makes your job easier?

It sounds corny, but we both love making games for ourselves. We really enjoy the projects we work on, and fun work is normally easier than boring work!


HoPiKo

What makes your job harder?

The fact that in our office we have about 8 Gameboys, a NES, SNES, Wii, WiiU, PS2, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and a lot of games to go with them. Distracting.

Dream job title?

Rob: I’d honestly go with the job I have now. Which I guess is “Game Developer/Composer”

Simon: Same for me, but I’d also love to be a Lego set designer on the side!

What is the most overused word in your workday?

Probably “shop?”. There’s a mini Sainsbury’s just downstairs from our office and we go in far too often. We know their inventory off by heart. We’re almost on a first name basis with the staff.

What misconceptions do you encounter working in your field?

That game development is easy and we just sit around playing games all day. We do play games a lot though.

Our work is a lot of fun, but it takes a really long time to make a game, especially when there are only two people. There’s 9 months’ worth of work in our latest game “PKTBALL” but we completed it in 5 months. We worked long days and every weekend for most of that.

Any advice for those who want to do what you do?

If you want to make games, start making games. There are endless tutorials on YouTube and a really friendly community out there willing to help out. It’ll be really difficult to start with, but once you’re past the very first hurdle, everything starts to makes sense.

Number 1 rule for your first game: Make a small game that you will enjoy creating and playing.

What’s your career high point?

We both attended PAX east in Boston this year with our game "HoPiKo". We stayed on a houseboat (floating caravan) in the harbour.

PAX was amazing. So many great games and people to meet. It was our first business trip overseas too.

What makes your current job different from anything else you’ve done?

Everything we produce is for our own company and needs to pay our bills. This means that risks are much harder to take as a game makes most of its income in the first month, but they can take up to a year to make. We’re very fortunate that we’ve always *just* made it before we need to go find another job.

A huge thank you to Rob and Simon for answering our questions. You can keep up to date with all things Laser Dog on their Twitter, where there are some details about their next release… we played the beta last week and it’s highly addictive!!

Finally, if you want to enjoy what you do as much as these guys, maybe check out our latest design jobs and developer positions in Leeds and Yorkshire.

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