//Student Game Dev Spotlight: Starfall Studios and Sneaky Ninja

Student Game Dev Spotlight: Starfall Studios and Sneaky Ninja

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Matthew Maravilla

A game designer/developer who's only trying to make sense of all of the things he's doing through writing about those things or just plain doing them.

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By Matthew Maravilla

You’ll be amazed at the talent NJIT’s game development program has to offer. Most of you may not know this, but while our many athletes were doing amazing things, when we were being rated as the number one underdog school in the country, or even when a lot of our professors were doing amazing things for NASA, like a cherry on top of this awesome 5-layer cake, a small team of NJIT alumni were able to get their game through the Steam Greenlight process.

The awesome guys at Starfall Studios, Louis Saporito, Mike Sullivan, and James Wolff, have been working on an upcoming indie hit called “Sneaky Ninja” and they were gracious enough to discuss their game with me.

Sneaky Ninja is a single-player action stealth platformer. It plays like a combination between the classic Super Mario by Nintendo, and the 2012 Game of the Year nominee, Mark of the Ninja by Klei Entertainment. I had a chance to play an alpha build during the Spring 2014 CSS Capstone when only Mike Sullivan was working on it. For a one-man game, at the time, a lot of passion and polish went into that build and the demo was thoroughly enjoyable.

Fast-Forward to today and now Sneaky Ninja has grown to a team of NJIT alumni and the game has been able to get past the historically difficult Steam Greenlight system, making this one of the first games made entirely by NJIT students to get put on Steam!

This dynamic trio isn’t just a group of random individuals. Louis, Mike, and James have each known each other since they started at NJIT. All three are Information Technology majors of the Game Development specialization. With the powerful connections they formed by being in the same classes throughout their college careers they formed Starfall Studios, and it’s been a wonderful ride for them.

As of right now, the crew is still working on improving the game for its official Steam launch, which has not happened yet. Otherwise, Mike and Louis have hinted that a Kickstarter for Sneaky Ninja will start on Tuesday, February 3.

With talented teams like Starfall Studios, it really isn’t a surprise to see why NJIT is ranked in the top twenty-five best Game Development Schools in the country. It’s great to see awesome games being made like Sneaky Ninja.

Though, all of the things Starfall Studios has been doing, from the Kickstarter campaign to working on their Steam Greenlight page, aren’t easy. However, the only way to learn how to work these many systems is to simply do it. Like Mike, who wanted to make a simple game with gameplay he loved, you just have to do it and maybe even your game ideas can get put on the front page of Steam!

If you can spare a dollar or even $10, which I believe should be the reward tier to get the game upon release, it’d do wonders for the development of an awesome game by an awesome team.

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A game designer/developer who's only trying to make sense of all of the things he's doing through writing about those things or just plain doing them.