People behind Rogo – Part 1

Even for a small project like Rogo, there are many people involved. There are the inventors, the programmer, graphics, music, translations, testing, accounting, video and website to think of.

A comprehensive and dynamic list of people who have contributed will be on the Credits Page. Here we introduce some of them.

Bruce Webster, Nicola Ward Petty and Shane Dye.

Puzzle inventors

To start with there are the inventors: Nicola Ward Petty (me ) and my colleague, Dr Shane Dye. We came up with the idea for Rogo in the middle of 2009. I had recently taken up the sport of Rogaining, and felt that it would make a good board game. As we were working on that, we stumbled on the idea of a puzzle. To begin with the puzzles had no black (forbidden) squares, and we originally used a Sudoku grid and a twenty step route to see if that would be fun. We thought it was – and thus was born Rogo.

But this is about the people – the history can come another day.

I (Nicola) have been a lecturer in Operations Research for over 20 years at the University of Canterbury, the same University at which I gained first my BSc(Hons) and then my PhD. Shane Dye has also been lecturing in Operations Research at Canterbury for quite some time. His family is a bit younger and has provided a range of support. Shane, like me, has always been interested in games, and also education, and it would be fair to say that we tend towards being geeks.

App Development

Another key person in the team is Bruce Webster, who did the programming and much of the design work for the app. Bruce has a history of game development, right from when he was a young lad posting out Amiga games around the world. He is encouraged by his game-critic daughter who wants him to create “Dress-up-Zombie Attack”.

Pettys

Kimi the pukeko, drawn by William Petty

I am married to Mark and we have two grown sons, William and Jonathan. This is relevant because Mark is our bookkeeper, sales manager, purchasing manager,  photographer and general “go-to-guy”. Jonathan provided two  of the music tracks in the app, and William’s fiancée, Jessica, created most of the graphics.

William is currently serving a mission for our church, but will have an active role in the company on his return in less than two weeks. William intends also to resume his persona as The Dude in the Suede on “That Guy with the Glasses” . You can see him here on Youtube. The Dude in the Suede.  Another example of William’s work is this amv which has proved popular: Crazy. And he sketched Kimi, the pukeko, who appears on our printed material and this website.

Music in the app

The music has an interesting story. We decided that music is important to some people in games, but being low-budget, decided not to go for anything too expensive. So Bruce suggested his friend Ari, who composes as Mystical Monk. We liked his sound and the first track on the app is one of his compositions.  You can hear more of his work at http://soundcloud.com/mysticalmusicmonk

Jonathan Petty is blind and an autistic savant, and plays the piano as many of us breathe. We convinced him to play his arrangements of “Old Folks at home” and a Gymnopedie by Erik Satie, both of which are old enough to be out of copyright. We recorded him at Orange Studio here in Christchurch.

The three tracks provide an interesting mixture of lively and calm, which Brad Hildebrand at 148 games commented on:  “The game also features a very nice, mellow soundtrack that does a great job of setting the perfect mood.”

If you would like to see more of Jonathan, here are three places where he appears on Youtube:

White Cliffs of Dover

NZ’s Got Talent

Attitude TV

Artwork in the App

Some of the graphics, displayed on the Japanese version

The coins and the gems in the iPhone app were created by Jessica Prisbrey, who is soon to join the family, but joined the business last year. The ironic thing was that the gold kiwi and the silver fern which appear on the coins are New Zealand symbols, while Jessica is a native of Utah, USA. We had to send back a few times, saying “No a kiwi doesn’t really look like that!” Fortunately she didn’t take it personally and we have the great results you see today, along with the eight original gems, and another fourteen to be seen soon. You can see more of Jessica’s work here on the website, as she designed this. Jessica also has a deviant art site, which is where she and William first met over three years ago.

So you see it is definitely a family affair!

In another post I will talk about the localisation process and all the friends and colleagues we dragged in to help with that.