The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

As we meet with client’s the hardest thing for them to wrap their arms around is that on the web, your business is instantly global.  “Awesome, bring it on.”  “Yeah, so, no big deal.”  These are some of the common answers we hear from client’s.  It is then we sit them down and using their enthusiasm or lack thereof, we coach them on doing business in a global economy.  It’s not always easy with i18n (shorthand for internationalization) and l10n (shorthand for localization) and social networking and web 2.0 and e-commerce.

Now imagine adding mobile customers to the mix.  That is exactly the challenge David Kainer of The Dojo experienced.  Provide his customers a gaming platform globally that easily works for all mobile devices and Linux, Mac and Windows computers (<=computer download link, start playing today) based customers.  He also added in multi-player real-time , and to top it all off…it is all FREE.

Techlife sat down with David, who from his Sydney office, works with the London office to learn about The Dojo.  How?  Why? How hard?  It’s all in there, and we even cover why he chose Google’s Android first over Apple’s iPhone. 

Techlife: What is The Dojo?

David Kainer: The Dojo is a global platform for uniting game players in interactive gaming, irrespective of platform. It’s aim is to provide great multi-player experiences on mobile and online and really begin to blur the boundaries between the two. Best of all – it’s free.

T: How did you come with the idea for The Dojo?  Was it based on something?

DK: Dojo Media’s production studio, Viva La Mobile, has 5 years of experience developing and running real-time multi-player mobile games. I think the culmination of that experience and knowledge, as well as recognizing the shortage of true interactive gaming in the mobile market, led to The Dojo.

T: What is your background?

DK: I come from a computer engineering background and have been involved in mobile software virtually my entire professional life. After a couple of years developing vehicle tracking software for wireless devices with a US corporation I threw my hat into the ring and co-founded Viva La Mobile in 2003 and now Dojo Media in 2008.

T: How many people does it take on the back-end to run?

DK: For the time being we run a pretty small team with some excellent developers and engineers. Of course as more people access The Dojo and hopefully become regular players we will increase our team as the system scales up.

T: Where are you located?

DK: Headquarters are in London and the development studio, where I am most of the time, is located in Sydney.

T: What was the hardest aspect of getting The Dojo up and running?

DK: Apart from the technical difficulty of creating robust real-time multi-player games for mobile, one of the trickier aspects was actually drawing the line on the features list and to actually commit to launching the beta.

Cubed Addict has a true international feel with global gamers playing head to head.

Cubed Addict has a true international feel with global gamers playing head to head.

T: What surprised you about the audience so far?

DK: I think the global nature of the audience has really taken us aback. We first put Dojo Cubed Addict onto a few free mobile sites and we have since seen players from about 30 countries in the system. It seems that people from India to Russia to the UK and USA all enjoy a similar experience.

T: Have there been any problems yet?

DK: Yes for sure. The first edition of Cubed Addict was the best of 3 rounds per game and we found that sessions took too long and players often quit after the first round. So we re-released it with a game being a single multi-player round. Secondly the control scheme on the T-Mobile G1 leaves a little to be desired. This was a hangover from the porting process from Java mobiles, and we will address that in January 2009. On the whole The Dojo is in beta so we expect problems and feedback about usability is helping us to refine it.

T: Was Cubed Addict, originally just called Cubed and you added the addict after playing yourself?

DK: Actually you’re not far off the truth there. We originally launched a multi-player game called “Cubed” on an Australian carrier in 2005 and it was hugely successful and highly addictive. Cubed Addict is essentially the sequel to that title.

T: Why did you release an Android version before an iPhone version?

DK: We feel that timing wise we are right on target to hit the Android market while there it is new and exciting whereas with iPhone we are a little late. We plan to release an iPhone edition early 2009.

T: How many games is the target for The Dojo?

DK: We plan to launch another 3 titles next quarter and will continue to develop more. We will also introduce a 3rd party developer program if and when the numbers allow it. Our goal with game releases is quality over quantity.

T: Give us a preview of the upcoming games?

DK: Next game will be Badlands 2, a sequel to one of our earlier multi-player games. This is an action game where multiple players (the original had up to 4 but we may push this higher for Badlands 2) fight it out in various futuristic combat vehicles. Expect a large variety of weaponry and some very useful digi-good power-ups that you can get from the Dojo Shop.

T:  We recently covered London based Casual Collective’s Minions in a column, and really enjoy it.  Check it out, they may have gotten the idea from Badlands, but I can tell you anything like that on a  mobile will be amazing.  (I realize 5v5 is probably unlikely.)

DK: Will definitely check it out. The original Badlands was maxed at 4 players due to device limitations, but these days I think we may be able to get up to 8 players in a room, so 4v4 may be possible. No idea until we try!

T: Do you have a gaming at work rule?

DK: Lately we haven’t actually had much chance to play in the office since launching The Dojo has kept us highly busy!

T: Do you feel Dojo gaming is really a mobile experience with an added desktop version?

DK: Dojo is not solely about being mobile. It is about giving gamers a unified experience across both mobile and desktop. It’s the gamers’ choice how they choose to play.

T: Any plans for Wii, Playstation or Xbox versions?

DK: Not in the short term but if it makes sense in the longer term then we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

T: Finally – a hint for the readers – why in Cubed Addict when playing an opponent does the board start to rise upwards quickly?  Is there a trigger?  Why is the trigger not the same for both parties?  In fact I often see the trigger for my side go off and release and their’s stays nice and low.  Sync issue?

DK: Ah, this is one of those features that is designed to ‘mix it up’ a little. The trigger is simply a timer and the purpose is to disturb the status quo that can sometimes happen in the game and push both players to the limit. I think there may be a sync issue there. I have noticed that happen too sometimes. It can be very hard to iron out all issues like that with multi-player games, especially with packet-dropping devices like mobiles.