Indie Developer Spotlight: Daniel Doan
Written by Sam Rizzo
When it comes to gaming, I’m known for writing about two different scenes: the indie gaming scene and the gaming collector’s scene; whether it’s satirical, straight forward news, press releases, or just out right ranting about a company that’s pissed me off that week. One thing I haven’t done is give credit where credit is due and shine a spotlight on the people who are hard at work making all these games I praise.
After playing Overture for the thousandth time I was curious about the people behind the game. I did a bit of sleuthing and came across one name, Daniel Doan. Not only is he a game designer with two very good games under his belt (Overture and SanctuaryRPG) but an impressive resume that features Software Development and co-founding Black Shell Media. For those who don’t know what Black Shell Media is, they are a publishing and marketing firm whose goal is to help Indie Developers; a company that boasts over 60 published titles as well as having partnerships with companies like Amazon, Valve, and Microsoft. That’s no small feat indeed.
After reading his blog, it’s clear he’s a developer who truly cares about his craft. He writes blog post after blog post with helpful advice for any budding indie developers who are just starting up. As well even his twitter account has pinned posts about the best YouTube videos on game design. This is a developer and marketer who clearly believes in the art of game design and cares about this industry more than anything else. In the current condition that the AAA gaming industry is in, this is a breath of fresh air.
Let’s talk about his games; Overture is a neat and addicting little dungeon crawler set in a rouge-like world that was developed by Black Shell Games with Mr. Doan himself being at the forefront. It features NUMEROUS characters to unlock from four different archetypes that come out to 24 different playable characters. You are dropped into a new world each time trying your best to defeat enemies, bosses, and rescuing NPC’s. Each level is broken up with even more difficult boss battles and loot galore. With a pixel art style that feels very familiar to an old school NES JRPG. If you are a loot hound, this is absolutely the game for you.
What about SanctuaryRPG? It is an extremely well made and creative ASCII Rouge-like. Developed under Black Shell Games and again with Daniel at the forefront, this is yet another addicting loot frenzy, enemy slaying, and boss bashing hell of a good time RPG. While seemingly very similar to each other both Overture and SanctuaryRPG feel extremely different and tick all of those satisfying boxes that seem to suck me into a game for hours at a time. If you have even a slight interest in randomly generating RPG’s, especially games with graphics akin to the original Ultima game, this is a must play.
I’d like to tip my hat to you Daniel. You’ve proven yourself to be an extremely motivated and passionate developer. As well as a dedicated mentor to those who are just starting out in the Indie development business. You run a successful marketing and publishing firm and tirelessly devote yourself to the industry. While you are already doing big things and achieving great success, I can only hope you keep moving up from here. If the Triple A gaming industry was run by a bunch of people like Daniel, it would certainly be in a much more consumer friendly and developer friendly place than it is now.