Interview With Cascade Game Foundry’s Kathie Flood About Their Indie Hit: Infinite Scuba

Cascade Game Foundry has been chosen as one of the first Indie developers to join the PCGA's new Indie Bootstrap program. They are an independent simulation-based video game company located in Seattle, Washington.

Their first game, Infinite Scuba, allows you to "experience the beauty, mystery, and serenity of scuba diving and artifact discovery in exotic real-world locations."

Today we'll be interviewing Cascade Game Foundry's managing director and co-founder, Kathie Flood, about Infinite Scuba and the experiences that come with being an Indie game developer.

PCGA: Tell us a little about Infinite Scuba

Kathie: Infinite Scuba is reality-based scuba-diving game, so players do what real divers do – explore, identify wildlife, search for sunken artifacts, and take photos. The locations, critters, and gear are all real and reflect the beautiful and serene experience of diving. Players learn marine biology, dive science, and history while playing, so we are squarely in the educational, non-violent, games-for-good category.

PCGA: What kind of challenges have you come across as an indie developer?

Kathie: How long do you have? The most obvious challenge is the lack of funding opportunities for indie developers, especially those working on games that are unusual and don't fit neatly into an already-established genre. We've built this game primarily with a hearty band of volunteers, so it was a long, slow process, but also a fantastic learning experience on how to build a game with a high level of integrity and how to maintain a team in a very lean way.

PCGA: How do you build realistic dive locations? What resources do you utilize to create an authentic experience?

Kathie: We do lots of research on the dive site itself, the surrounding area, and the local population. Most of our research is conducted online, but we also interview people who have dived and/or worked in the area as marine researchers or dive operators. We are fortunate to have experienced, well-traveled divers on our team and partners, like Mission Blue, who can help us create experiences that reflect real dives. The Seattle Public Library is also instrumental in our research, especially in finding resources that are not available online or not available in English, like history books, old magazines, and ship documentation. Other partners, like PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), DEMA (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association), and the diving equipment manufacturers, like SCUBAPRO and Body Glove, help us make the dive science and gear as accurate as possible.

PCGA: What are the next dive sites you plan on adding?

Kathie: We are working on a dive site in Belize, selected by Dr. Sylvia Earle (National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Time Magazine's first Hero for the Planet, and Founder of Mission Blue) which will be ready for release later this spring. It's a multi-level wall dive, so a nice contrast to the Chuuk Lagoon shipwreck that was our launch site. Both of these sites are in Dr. Earle's Hope Spots - we would love to build all 50 of those! We are also building one of our favorite Seattle-area dive sites, with the assistance of a local dive club.

PCGA: Outside of Infinite Scuba, are there any plans to develop other simulation-based games?

Kathie: Infinite Scuba is our primary focus for now, but we are always exploring new opportunities in reality-based games. So far, we haven't found the right fit with respect to philosophy and funding. We also do some work-for-hire side jobs, mostly in the non-game space, which stretch our skillset and enable us to have another revenue stream.

PCGA: Where do you see Cascade Game Foundry in 10 years?

Kathie: Wow, 10 years is an eternity in the game world! Our immediate goal is to establish Infinite Scuba as the de facto game for ocean exploration and education, with dive sites all over the world, multiplayer, and tools to enable players to build and share their own dive sites. Beyond that, we also want to expand our platform to create a suite of exploration/education games for non-water-based locations, fulfilling our mission to help people explore the world from home. There is incredible potential to use games like ours to teach about the real world and we want to be on forefront of that effort.

For more information about Cascade Game Foundry and Ifinite Scuba, please visit their website:


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