Our team at Cannes Lions last month had the opportunity to meet and chat with someone from our developer community – 12-year old Jordan Casey. If you’ve had the chance to play Alien Ball vs Humans or its sequel, Alien Ball vs Humans 2: Holiday, you’ve experienced a Casey-developed app. If not, you can get to know this young Irish prodigy, who has made headlines as one of Europe’s youngest iOS developer below. Between teaching himself game design, his schooling, and working on upcoming content for his own game studio – Casey Games – Jordan found some time to participate in a Q&A on his youthful rise in the world of game development.
Adobe: When did you first start developing and what inspired you to get started?
Jordan Casey: I first started developing when I was nine, I was playing a Flash multiplayer game called Club Penguin and saw that other kids were building websites and blogs about it, and I saw that this could be fun, so I learned 3 languages: HTML, ActionScript 2.0 and CSS and went ahead and made my site.
How do your ideas come to you? While riding your bike, playing with your dog, from your friends…?
Both of my grannies have a wall in their back garden so I get a football (soccer ball) and start kicking it at the wall, and I just start thinking and I could do this for an hour and when I’m finished I have a couple of game concepts or what to look up online that night when I get home.
Who are your “creative heroes” or role models?
My creative heroes would have to be Apple founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and independent game developer Markus Persson (or Notch) the creator of Minecraft who showed me that you don’t need a big team to make a successful game.
How did you come up with the idea for ‘Alien Ball vs Humans?’ Was it based on game mechanics, the concept, or just the fun factor?
For Alien Ball, I was just in my granny’s house again just kicking the ball. I had just gotten my iMac and was thinking of ideas for my first app. I didn’t want my first app to be a massive thing and take years to make, but I didn’t want it to not be fun either, so I was thinking of a retro game remake and made a Pac Man, Space Invaders and Mario clone. I looked at them all, and I published the Space Invaders one and made a couple of changes and also made Alien Ball, who was the main character of my previous Flash games, the main character of my app. When you think about it, it is kind of the opposite of Space Invaders, because in space invaders you are the human destroying the aliens but in Alien Ball vs Humans, you are the alien killing the humans.
What was the transition from HTML to game coding like? Any tips for other young developers?
When I started developing web games, I already knew Actionscript 2.0, so making Flash games wasn’t that hard. But when I was starting to develop gaming apps it meant learning Actionscript 3.0, which wasn’t that hard but it did take a bit of time.
What’s next for Casey Games?
I am currently working on a Flash game, which I plan to publish to AIR for Mac and PC. Then, I will make some changes and publish to iOS. In September, I am speaking at a summit in Germany and after that I am starting a new school. So, I plan on taking a break and just study for a while but I will be developing, just not as often as the summer, maybe 20 minutes a day.
You can check out Alien Ball vs Humans in action below, and get in touch with Casey Games on Twitter @Casey Games.