disFigured: An Interview With Indie (Toy) Game Developer Freddie Nelson

Posted October 17, 2014 by Taneisha Jane in Video Games

Taneisha, a new writer of the We The Nerdy staff got the chance to interview Freddie Nelson, a game developer for both Pixel Start and the upcoming indie RPG game DisFigured. Freddie talks about his inspiration behind the game,  as well as his plans for the game.  DisFigured is a combat RPG about toys at war which Freddie and Pixel Start have started a Kickstarter project to help with production.


We The Nerdy: What was the inspiration behind the concept of the game?

Freddie Nelson: My inspiration came from my impoverished life as a child. I grew up with 3 older brothers and 3 older sisters. So Christmas time and birthdays were always slim pickings for gifts. Mostly, my toys came from garage and yard sales where people would donate their old hand me downs. As a child, I always created toys out of spare parts, like the incredible hulk’s arms and a gorilla’s torso and female legs. Now that I’m older and have my degree in video game production, I can make the same type of toys in games. The inspiration from most of these toys has always come from cult classic horror movies, Dr. Who comic books.  Another inspiration came from watching Tim Burton movies, creepy but lovable. That’s where I came up with my equivalent version of Scraps, very similar to Jack from a nightmare before Christmas, with his bony frame of a body and haunting smile.


WTN: What was the inspiration behind the concept art for the playable characters of the game?

FN: Most of the characters came naturally.


Frankie is the equivalent of Jason and Michael Myers, a worn kitchen knife with a half broken hockey mask.


Gunny, my G.I. Joe gone wrong, is based off of a Marine Corps friend. Like most of those that come back home, they always have some injuries that will always persists. So instead of building a green army man  or a G.I. Joe we made it a little closer to Robo-Cop, more machine than human.



Zipps was always an all time favorite; we came out with many versions of him. Another version of him looks more like a sinister Teddy bear as opposed to Gur in a party suit with the flat top type head.


Mimic had always been like my version of mega man, a test tube hero gone villain.



Dahlia is a traditional archtype female that most gamers drool over. She was sculpted from a friend I know with scars denoting her adventures and exploits in her teens and 20’s. Dahlia is the physical expression of different female parts put together.




WTN: What are your plans after the game is released?


FN: My plans are never to make a big studio. I firmly believe that games should cost less so more people can enjoy them. If successful, I would like to keep the brand name of Pixel Star and to continue to create small but fun games developed by graduates, so that they can get their 5th year experience in the game industry. I would love to stay true to this philosophy considering there are so many graduates looking for that very first start.


WTN: Do you plan to bring the game to other platforms besides the PC?


FN: Yes and no. I want to make a site called IndieStream, where the original game and other games we make can exist. Where gamer, developer and dreamers alike can communicate ideas, talk game design, play games and get those connections and market information to where gamers can have their ideas validated. In time, we look forward to branching out on steam, Xbox and PlayStation. Not necessarily to make money, but so that these talented graduates get noticed and hired.


WTN: Did you hit any road blocks during development?


FN: Anatomy. One of the game aspects that I wanted to build was having a ton of different parts that could fit on any body type. Well, the issue was rigging some parts like bigger arms and a smaller torso would create animation oddities and clipping issues. So we weren’t able to make that, but we are able to make a bigger torso and smaller upper arms with big hands. We’re still learning to work within the constraints of programs.


WTN: How would you describe your overall experience working on this game?

FN: A long one, but we take breaks.  We get fresh air, vacations and learn to let things go. I always make it a rule for people to walk away from something that’s bugging them, whether it be code, pixels, or animation.


WTN: Is the combat for the game turn-based like most RPG’s? Or is it more action based RPG like the Legend of Zelda combat?

FN: Traditional turn-based RPG with a lot of elements of strategy. Imagine if you can pre-construct the battlefield with assets you gain from battle.  Then be able to trigger those assets to either block paths, fall on your enemy, or prevent the enemy from hitting you. The game will essentially play more like Final Fantasy Tactics, where instead of recruiting soldiers, you can make them. You can also send them off to different parts of the toy realm and acquire allies and parts. In addition, you’ll be able to construct your own toy fort, palace, township from cloth, popsicle sticks, blocks and so forth. Each commander will have their own stylized unit and from there the player branches out.


WTN: Is there anything else that you want to tell the audience about this game?


FN: This toy box is your own world; we’re making the game accessible to modders and Photoshop pros by giving them access to the original source file of changing and applying the textures they see fit. This way gamers can change the way the characters look, be able to stamp their own name on their toys and buildings. We are also receptive to new ideas to help build the world and eventually name patches after people that have contributed to these changes.



You can read up on some more of disFigured’s development and Pixel Start on the Pixel Start website, as well as view their concept art on indiedb and steam

About the Author

Taneisha Jane

I'm Taneisha Jane, a writer, comic book reader and aspiring artist who has an active imagination as well as a story to tell. I love the way Catwoman purrs and the way Harley Quinn jokes. I also like to dance when no one is watching...