Geek Speak: Kimberly Voll, lead developer for PepperDev Studios

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      Kimberly Voll says PepperDev Studios is really passionate about Vancouver’s video-game scene. The local startup is looking to build a community around its first game, Hungry Fins.

      PepperDev is raising money on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to develop the iPhone game. So far, 43 backers have pledged to contribute $1,077 of the $8,000 goal. The five-person studio is promising to donate a portion of the game’s revenue to the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. PepperDev hopes to release Hungry Fins in June.

      A cofounder and lead developer at PepperDev, Voll was born in Vancouver and lives downtown. When she’s not developing games, Voll is a lecturer in computer science at UBC.

      The Georgia Straight reached Voll by phone at UBC.

      What kind of game will Hungry Fins be?

      It’s a side-scrolling, survival-style game, so basically the objective is to go as far as you can every time you play.

      Why raise money on Kickstarter for the game?

      We’re brand new to the startup scene. We haven’t released anything before. None of us were going about getting things through venture capitalism or hoping for angel funding, et cetera. A huge endeavor like that isn’t necessarily something that we can support while we’re also doing full-time jobs. Because this was something we didn’t need a ton of funding for and we wanted to also build a community around the game, Kickstarter seemed like a really good fit.

      How did you settle on deciding to pledge a portion of the proceeds to the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation?

      I think each of us within PepperDev has a bit of a personal connection. For me, it’s the fact that my stepbrother had spent a lot of time there growing up as a severely handicapped boy. He passed away several years ago. I also worked at Children’s Hospital for a few years, when I was going through university. So it just seemed like a natural connection.

      Where do you see PepperDev Studios going in the future?

      We’ve got a lot of plans. We’ve got a few games sort of on the back-burner right now that we’re already starting to talk about once Hungry Fins is a go. We’ve got developments for Hungry Fins as well. So I see us seeing how Hungry Fins goes with the first release, learning as much as we can from that, and just rolling it back into new games.

      What is your favourite iOS game to play?

      That’s just a hard question. There’s a lot of great content. I’m a big fan of tower-defence-style games. One of my favourites is a classic, Fieldrunners, so I play that game quite a bit. Another one I play is Dungeon Raid.

      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+.