Geek Speak: Martin Sitter, president of zemaGamez
Martin Sitter is growing out his moustache during the month of November. But that’s not all the 40-year-old president of zemaGamez is doing to support Movember, an annual campaign that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues, including prostate cancer.
On October 26, zemaGamez added a Movember Madness level to Bucket Dan: The Moustache Man. Released in September for the iPhone and iPad, Bucket Dan is the Vancouver-based game studio’s first title. According to Sitter, Bucket Dan has garnered about 50,000 downloads in Apple’s App Store. zemaGamez’s second game, Finger Ninjas: Zombie Strike-Force, is due out in December. In addition to iOS, the studio plans to make games for Android, desktop, Steam, Windows 8, and other platforms.
Born in Calgary, Sitter co-owns zemaGamez with CEO Mark Stope. The downtown Vancouver resident is also the owner of AppDesigner.com, macProVideo.com, and AskVideo.com, which share a two-floor space with zemaGamez in the Fairview neighbourhood. Sitter started macProVideo.com—which he calls the “largest Mac-training site in the world”—after working for Apple as its courseware designer and lead trainer for Logic, DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack Pro, and writing books in the Apple Pro Training Series.
The Georgia Straight interviewed Sitter after getting a tour of his companies’ offices on West Broadway.
What kind of game is Bucket Dan: The Moustache Man?
It’s a very unique game. The idea behind the game is that there’s twin brothers separated by their love of facial hair. Stan, who is the bad guy, likes beards. Dan, who is the good guy, like moustaches. They’re separated by their love of moustaches versus beards. It drives Stan crazy, and he begins trying to blow up the buildings in the city by throwing bombs out the windows. Now Dan is a fireman, and he has to run around the bottom of the building and catch the bombs in a bucket of water before the building blows up. That’s the basis of the game.
But it’s very unique, because it uses the accelerometers. You actually have to tip the iPad back and forth in order to move Dan around the screen. You can also jump, slide. There’s a lot of power-ups. There’s a special water-blaster power-up that turns into a shooter game. It’s kind of like Space Invaders meets Donkey Kong.
How are you using the game to support the Movember prostate-cancer campaign?
We’re working with the Movember Foundation. We actually have our own Movember team. Proceeds from the special Movember level, which is $1.99 inside the game—you can buy this in an in-app purchase—25 percent of the proceeds from that go directly to the Movember Foundation through our Movember team. That’s why I’m clean-shaven today. I’m growing out my mo’.
Do you think we’ll see more charity levels like this in games?
Absolutely. With Bucket Dan: The Moustache Man, it was an obvious tie-in for us to tie it in with the Movember Foundation. Charity is something I support through all my companies. We do a lot of work with charities in general. So, absolutely, you’ll see more of that from us.
What can you tell me about Finger Ninjas: Zombie Strike-Force?
Finger Ninjas: Zombie Strike-Force is kind of a cross between a classic RPG game and something like Fruit Ninja. So you have a little character that you run through different levels meeting the zombie hordes, and as you encounter the zombie hordes you have to do different slashes in order to kill the zombies as you’re passing through the level. It’s a massive 3-D environment, with a ton of characters in it. You basically hack and slash your way through it.
What kinds of businesses have used AppDesigner.com to make apps and get on iOS?
Lots of businesses. AppDesigner is really tailored towards people who are creating media-display apps for all the different devices—iPhone, iOS, now Windows 8, we’ve got Android coming out now. As an example, we have companies producing how-to videos, like skateboard videos to yoga videos—even how to make beer and wine videos. You can also make musical instruments with AppDesigner, so we’ve had people that have been making sample players and musical keyboards with it. There’s all sorts of stuff. Basically, if you can do it with a DVD video, you can do it with AppDesigner and then a whole lot more.
How are people learning using macProVideo.com?
macProVideo.com and the sister site AskVideo.com are fully tutorial video sites. So the way you learn is through an online course that’s delivered through videos, using our online playback system. So that’s what you do. You go through the courses and you learn.
What can we expect next from your companies?
From zemaGamez, we are going to be bringing out more games. Our program is to put out one game every three months. So we’ll be putting out games as the years go by and just getting more games out there into the catalogue.
As for macProVideo.com and AskVideo.com, we are concentrating on doing a lot more training across the board. In fact, a new area that we’ve moved into is tutorials on how to make games—tutorials for iOS production. We’ve got new tutorials coming out for making Windows 8 apps. So we’ve got a lot of software-programming tutorials at macProVideo.com and AskVideo.com now, and that’s kind of our focus for the next six or eight months.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Hui on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.