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April 9, 2015

Meet the developers behind the award-winning TurnOn game

We recently wrote about TurnOn in our top 10 new Windows Phone games of March. Now, let’s meet the team of developers behind the Imagine Cup award-winning Windows Phone game.

Turn on

A day before TurnOn was declared winner in the “games” category in Imagine Cup 2014, team Brainy Studio had won another laurel in the form of an AppCampus award.

In this free game, you restore electricity to cities and take care not to skip a single lantern or any electrical equipment. The Russia-based developers of this game, Evgeniy Romin and Dimitri Ogorodnikov, have big dreams and are currently busy adding more levels to the game. We recently caught up with them to learn about their game-development experience.

What has changed for Brainy Studios after winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup?

Evgeniy: Winning the competition was a great inspirational thing for us and after the award, we started to believe more in ourselves.

Dimitri: We have created our own company and have our own registered address. We have been able to launch the game because of the Imagine Cup and AppCampus award.


Tell us about your team members.

Evgeniy: We are a five-member team and I do the project strategy development, game and design animation, and video production. Since, it is a small team, everyone has a lot of responsibility. Alexander Frolov does the programming of game logic and Anton Baranov is the main programmer. Ilya Antonov, who is the digital artist, also suggested the idea for the game.

Dimitri: I look after marketing and communication.

How did you decide to make a game that brings electricity to blackout cities?

Evgeniy: In our city of Perm, there are times when the electricity unexpectedly disappears, and we call these moments ‘earth hour.’

The electricity cut is only for one hour, but there is no Internet and that’s when you realize what it means to be living in the dark. Through this game, we have tried to show this difference.

Dimitri: We wanted to develop a game without any blood and violence. With TurnOn, we hope the world is becoming the way it was before, but a little better and kinder.

What have you learned while creating the game?

Evgeniy: It is hard to finish the game. We wanted to bring a high-quality game to the market and while creating this, we learnt how to work in teams and share responsibilities.

We have used the Unity3D engine for development process, something that we learnt from our online friends present on various social networks. Thanks to the game, we have also built a small community.

TurnOn 2015-04-06 08-42-34-57

What improvements do you wish to make and what are you working on next? 

Evgeniy: I wish to add more levels that are exciting and more content. Even make updates for the game for holidays, like Halloween or New Year. We also make it a point to work on feedback from the players to work on our gameplay.

Dimitri: We are exploring the idea of theme-based levels—some will be devoted to earth hour in various cities in the world. Let’s say, ‘Turn on’ in London, or New York!

Why did you become developers?  

Evgeniy: We wanted to make games ever since we got our first computers. In fact, I was part of the Microsoft student partner program in my university and this helped me to think differently. I got so much opportunity and free software from the evangelists at Microsoft Russia.

In 2012, I also got an opportunity to participate in Imagine Cup International Finals in Australia. Later, I formed my studio and reached Imagine Cup.

What do you think of Windows as a platform for developing apps?  

Dimitri: We really think Windows Phone has a lot of potential and it is getting better with newer Microsoft services and products.

It is a great place to start as a developer as no other platform offers so much [in tools and options] like Windows Phone.

turn on

What are some of the challenges of app development?

Evgeniy: I don’t like the unexpected exceptions and bugs that creep in from time to time during the development process.

What’s the best part of developing your own gaming apps?

Evgeniy: The stage when the app gets uploaded in the Windows Phone Store. Moreover, when you start receiving a lot of feedback from users.

What are your tips for budding app developers?

Evgeniy: It is perfectly fine if you start with simpler things and grow your skills as you move ahead. Continue working even if your first applications are as not [good] as you had expected they would be.

The most important thing while developing your own app is the experience you gain and the valuable portfolio you get to build.

What do you like to do besides game development?

Evgeniy: I am writing my PhD dissertation on virtual reality at the University of Perm National Research Polytechnic. That’s on hold because most of my time is doing game development. I also play games and watch movies.

Dimitri: After meetings with the team, I like to spend the remaining time with my wife. That is my idea of fun.

Thanks for talking to us, Evgeniy and Dimitri!