Founders’ Fridays: Zack Wood, BTS & Cafe Murder

Hey Rachael here again! Today’s featured Friday founder is Zack Wood from Beaver Toad Software. We discussed Zack and his partner’s new game, Café Murder, and how his experience in Japan has influenced its creation.

Founder: Zack Wood                                             

Startup Name: Beaver Toad Software (BTS)

RP: Tell me a little bit about Beaver Toad Software:

ZW: Beaver Toad Software is a game development company. We are working on our first game that we are hoping to release in next two months, maybe in January. Right now it’s just me and my partner Eli. He’s doing all the programming and I’m doing the art and design.

RP: What is the game called?

ZW: The game’s Café Murder. It’s a new twist on an old genre- the old genre being restaurant simulation games, which is all the games about running a café or restaurant. A lot of them in my opinion are kinda boring so we are trying to make a fun twist on it and add more of a sense of humor. It’s called Café Murder because the chef tries to kill the customers so you have to protect the customers from being killed while making sandwiches for them.

RP: Where did you get the idea to start this?

ZW: Eli thought of the basic idea. He emailed me out of the blue and said that we should make a game about a chef that goes on rampages and tries to kill the customers, and we went from there. It started years ago, but then we did a Kickstarter project one year ago and that’s when we started focusing on it for real.

RP: What motivated you to take your idea to the next level?

ZW: We had been working on it as a hobby for two years. We saw it had potential and enjoyed working on it and decided to focus on it full time. That’s when we did Kickstarter and raised $7,600 and lived on it for 5 months and fleshed out the game. Then we ran out of money, went back to work, and that’s been working out since then.

RP: How did you come up with the name “Beaver Toad Software”?

ZW: We liked the initials BTS. A beaver character represents Eli and a toad character represents me.

RP: What is the most important thing you have learned in the process of building your startup?

ZW: We have learned tons about game design and how to make games more fun. We have had tons of user feedback that has helped us to see what is fun for people. The whole thing has been a learning experience; it’s our first game we have ever made.

RP: Where do you see your startup being in the next year?

ZW: In the next year I hope that we are working on or finishing our second game, and adding one or two more people to the team to make a slightly bigger project. My dream someday is to work with Japanese developers. I lived in Japan for four years, and Eli and I really like Japanese games. It influences our games and I want to make some hybrid games with Japanese and Western style.

RP: What has been the high point in your journey of building your startup? Low point?

ZW: When I am giving Café Murder on an iPhone to someone to test, and I see them getting really into it and not wanting to stop playing. That’s really rewarding. People get really into it. 

RP: What do you do to for fun outside of work?

ZW: Play video games! Its fun, but it really is research. I also do Tae Kwon Do to relieve stress. 

RP: What advice would you give to someone who is considering building their own startup?

ZW: Make sure its something you’re passionate about. Eli and I love playing games. I love playing Café Murder, and I play it all the time. I love games, and I’m trying to make games. It’s kind of a challenge so make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.

RP: What is your biggest strength and how has it helped you in building your startup?

ZW: I guess I consider myself a pretty creative person. I like thinking of new things and making new connections between things. We are going in a new direction and creativity definitely helps with being successful in that. 

RP: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or Beaver Toad Software?

ZW: Café murder is hopefully going to be available January 2013 for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the 1-2 dollar range. Check it out!

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