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Dead End Studios: Indie Game Creation as College Students

Felderman is releasing his first game under his indie game development company, Dead End Studios.
(Courtesy of Dead End Studios)


Summer semester is sadly coming to an end, but we get to see lots of projects that come from each class roster. In many classes here and around the US, students get the chance to create some of their first projects into what are soon-to-be professional portfolios.

One such student is Ryan Felderman, an EAE undergraduate student here at the U. Along with a couple of classmates, Felderman is releasing his first game, aptly titled “Extreme Inter-Dimensional Dodgeball (With Superpowers!),” under his indie game development company Dead End Studios.

This is a monumental occasion for any business, let alone a student. It is the culmination of years worth of time, effort and plenty of other projects to boot. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Ryan and Dead End Studios co-founder/Concordia University student Kiran Freund to talk about the trials of game development and their road to their first game release.


It all started with Felderman and Freund attending the same high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Knowing that he wanted to make games, Felderman decided that he wanted to make something for his college portfolio.

“So I was like, ‘Why don’t I just make a game?’ Which was arguably the worst way to go about that,” Felderman said. After understanding the scope of the project he was about to undertake, he asked Freund for help. Luckily, he’d also been looking for something to work on. Thus, Dead End Studios was born.

Their first project, titled “We Prevail,” was pitched as a co-op first-person shooter. I asked, “How did you guys develop that as high schoolers?” Felderman promptly replied, “We didn’t.”

It became apparent that the project was too far out of scope for either of them to produce at the time. They moved on to a different project a few weeks later. “The majority of our projects start out as a manageable concept, but as we sit on the idea and add little features, we always have time to plan [more] ideas,” says Felderman.

“We Prevail” ended up just as big in scope, but unlike their previous project, they’ve stuck with it for over two years, developing it largely as just the two of them.

As they’ve been cooking “We Prevail,” all while attending university, some side projects have taken the forefront of their attention. Enter “Extreme Inter-Dimensional Dodgeball (With Superpowers!).”

Now and On Projects the Horizon

The game originally started out as a project for a class in the EAE program, “Traditional Game Development.”

Felderman pitched the idea for dodgeball to his group, and it was voted into development with him as the lead developer. Though Kiran is in a different program at a different university, he uses his self-taught skills to help out wherever he can. Development hasn’t been all sunshine and roses despite all the new people on the Dead End team. Felderman added, “People did the classic thing you always see in group projects where they wait till the night before to do their portion or they don’t do it all.”

Still, Dead End’s drive to create games that they would want to play themselves keeps Dodgeball afloat.

“Ultimately, the best engineer of your dreams is yourself,” Freund said.

To keep up to date with Dead End Studios, the release of “Extreme Inter-Dimensional Dodgeball (With Superpowers!)” on Aug. 17, and other projects they have on the horizon, check out their website.


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About the Contributor
Zach Anderson, Arts Writer
Zach Anderson is an Arts Writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle with a passion for gaming, movies, movie criticism and pop culture. He's written everything from articles to poetry to YouTube videos fanatically since he was 13 years old. A man of all things geek, he's usually catching up on his latest show/movie obsession or playing games on his PC. He is currently working towards an information systems undergraduate degree at the David Eccles School of Business.

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