Damage Dealers is the Latest Rhythm Fighting Game

Rhythm games are making a comeback, and we got the latest on an upcoming fighting game titled Damage Dealers! The co-founder of the studio shared details and exclusive insights into his development journey!

Game Development Beginnings

Two Average Gamers: How’d you get into game development?

Damian: As a kid, I grew up poor in Bakersfield. We would take cardboard from the garage to make board games. We had a natural affinity for game design. As I got older, I recognized that game design is my calling. It was what I leaned into. I started with a program focused on directing and later switched to video games. Understanding the structure of a story and how to keep people entertained over a period of time. 

TAG: It definitely seems like you were meant to be in this industry. Tell me about the inspiration for Damage Dealers.

D: Damage Dealers is similar to my favorite childhood game – Jetset Radio Future. It perfectly combines music and gameplay. When I was playing as a kid, I knew I wanted to make a similar video game. I wanted to combine guitar hero with fighting on the beach. The original prototype was stick figures and jumping, then I created a website to showcase the development.

Building Your Gaming Studio

TAG: What are some of the biggest challenges in developing a game?

D: Finding out what is viable to make given our existing tools. It’s also difficult to stick to an initial idea. You need to trust yourself and be comfortable. Having self-doubt in what you make is normal. It takes years to make games. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, it will show up in what you’re creating. The biggest challenge is staying in love with what you wanted to create. There were times where I wasn’t sure if this was the right thing for me to spend my time on. At times, I felt ashamed for wanting to quit. We need to remind ourselves that what we are doing is important. 

TAG: Walk me through your process in creating new characters. How have your life experiences impacted the way you think about character development?

D: I’m 28 so my childhood was old school Cartoon Network. I grew up in a small town outside of LA called Bakersfield. Being that close to a major city, you meet a lot of interesting people. I also draw inspiration from Fooly Cooly, Trigun, and Jet Set Radio as the basis for my characters. Through oddity and using strange devices, I’m able to frame the character. 

Damage Dealers menu

TAG: What game studios do you admire? What about them impresses you?

D: There’s a team that started making Lethal League. It’s a multiplayer party game where you hit a ball back and forth. It’s a funky game, also inspired by Jetset, created by Team Reptile. It was the exact aesthetic I was going for and I immediately fell in love with it. I would love to talk to them and just geek out on their development process! Hideki Naganuma has been a major inspiration on the music creation side. I am trying to learn sound design and making music to expand my skill set.

Tips for Interested Gamers and the Future of Dynamic Ink

TAG: What’s the future of Dynamic Ink? Can you tell me about the release schedule and upcoming developments?

D: We’re currently looking for more musicians. Right now, I make all the music for the game. I have a huge amount of respect for song creation after trying to do it myself. We’ll have the official announcement of Damage Dealers in October and then the game will be released soon after. We’re always looking for more artists who have a cool, funky sound. 

Damage Dealers Fight scene

TAG: Any advice for people looking to get into game development?

D: My younger brother made a wildly popular mod for a game on his own. He’s only 14 and is doing amazing things. He fired up YouTube, watched what he needed, and just recrated things on his own. If you want to get into game design and don’t have the resources to go to a college for it, you can get a lot of the knowledge online. It’s up to you to acquire the knowledge that you need. 

TAG: Anything else you’d like to share?

D: The state of rhythm games right now is interesting. They’re becoming increasingly more popular. Unlike other genres, they had a strange transition. DDR was huge in the arcades, but the genre has been stagnant for a long time. A lot of different games started coming out after Beat Sabre.

The cool thing about being a Black developer and having the stamp we have on us, people are willing to hear us out a little more than usual. They’ll say “we need a cool urban team” to try to cover their inclusivity efforts. They show people like me, but I don’t like just being a box that gets checked off. We’re really trying to throw ourselves into places where we belong. We are going to have a concert for every artist that made music for the game. That news will come very soon! We also have a lot of cosplayers who are jumping.

If you want to get into game design and don’t have the resources to go to a college for it, you can get a lot of knowledge online. You just practice over and over. There’s a stigma that you have to go to school to learn specific things. It’s up to you to acquire the knowledge that you need. 

TAG: How can people reach you?

Damian’s IG
Dynamic Ink’s IG
Damage Dealers Merch
Damage Dealer Patreon

Rapid Fire

Mario or Sonic

Sonic – his games aren’t as good as Mario, but he was made because Mario needed a rival. 

PlayStation or Xbox

Xbox – I’ve been an Xbox fan since back in the Dreamcast days.

RPGs or Action-Adventure

I love third person shooters. Uncharted is amazing. I’m not a Playstation dude, but some of the scenes in that game are incredible. 

Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter 

You’re crazy if you think one is clearly better than the other. Mortal Kombat has sloppy animations and combos. Their projectiles are very similar to each other and it’s a slower game. Street Fighter is quick. The combat system is simple but hard to master. It has balancing issues. I lovefighting games – I know about frame data and neutrals. If I had to pick based on which game has better fundamentals, I would go with Street Fighter. For me, it’s the character design. 

Best Mario Kart Game Ever

People are going to hate me for this, but Double Dash is great. 2 on 2’s is hilarious! 

Favorite Pokemon

I played Ruby and Sapphire so my first pick would be Houndoom. My second choice would be Geodude has small dude energy and I love that he’s always flexing.

Damian and his team are helping to build a place for Black voices in the game development world. You can stay up to date on his progress on Instagram and follow the creation of games that feature Black characters!

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