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HomeBusinessOntario Tech entrepreneurs debut "Pesticides Not Required" in gaming world

Ontario Tech entrepreneurs debut “Pesticides Not Required” in gaming world

A group of ambitious students from Ontario Tech University in Oshawa has transformed its dream of developing engaging video games into reality.

Their latest creation, “Pesticides Not Required,” is set to debut on digital platforms like Steam on March 18.

The game, developed by Jampacked Games, a company born in the Durham Region, has already caught the eye of prominent streamers such as Lyric during its demo phase, indicating a highly anticipated launch.

The story began on the Ontario Tech campus when Chris Grigor received a call from a fellow student, Markus Vine, who recognized Grigor’s artistic talent and proposed a collaboration on a 3D game project.

This initial connection laid the foundation for what would become Jampacked Games, a studio driven by an enthusiasm for fun and interesting games.

The process was not without challenges, particularly during the early stages of their debut project, Avanzar. Nathan Tuck, who spearheaded the level design, shared insights into the initial hurdles they encountered while striving to bring their vision to life.

According to Tuck, the main issue they faced was managing the scope of the project. “We [had] super grand ambitions for everything that we worked on…, being sort of the first project that we saw through we just didn’t have the right headspace and the right knowledge to know when to stop.”

Realizing the need for a more attainable goal, the team began to step back from their initial game. Avanzar, to take on a smaller, more manageable idea. Transitioning from Avanzar to their latest project, “Pesticides Not Required”, they ran into old habits, but things were more manageable this time.

After a year and a half of development and refinement, they have decided to make “Pesticides Not Required” their debut release.

Vine, an integral member of the team and one of the artists behind the game’s charming visuals, attributes the decision regarding the game’s genre to game designer Mat Kostrzewa.

Vine explains that the concept of creating a bullet-hell roguelike game was an idea from Mat.

“He had seen that the genre was really growing and popular in today’s market,” said Vine, “Since the scopes of those types of games are significantly smaller, he was like, ‘This is something that we should try and complete.'”

With “Pesticides Not Required”, Jampacked Games ventured into uncharted territory, combining elements of bullet-hell gameplay with a whimsical farm setting. They were entering into a crowded space when they picked the roguelike genre, and had to find a way to stand out.

“We wanted to be different,” said Vine. “A lot of the games in this genre are super kind of gritty, kind of dark, and that’s really not our strengths.”

Transitioning from game development to managing a business presented a whole new set of challenges. This is where Brilliant Catalyst, a start-up incubator at Ontario Tech University, came in.

Vine says that once they started talking to Brilliant Catalyst, they could finally see a path forward to making the company work.

As the release of “Pesticides Not Required” draws near, Vine reflects on the challenges of post-release support:

“The very first thing that’s probably going in is going to be an insane amount of bug fixing right after release and then straight into localization because we don’t currently have any language support,” said Vine.

Despite the hurdles they may face, the team remains optimistic about the game’s future, with plans for endless mode and discussions about the possibility of making game development their full-time careers.

Grigor says that getting started is the key to chasing dreams.

“There’s never going to be a perfect time to start, so you might as well just start.”