Interview: Jae Williams discusses founding his own game studio

A gameplay screenshot from Rocket Dodge 2D
Image: Just Faith Studios

In addition to being a musician, Jae Williams is the founder of Just Faith Studios, an independent video game company. His team has created multiple mobile games, including Stack the Box and Delpy’s Donuts. Their latest game, Into The Fragment, was inspired by Limbo. We spoke with Jae to talk about his journey as a black game developer, and founding his own studio.

  • LoopBreak: What challenges have you faced as an independent black developer? How did you overcome them?

Williams: The challenges I’ve faced as an independent black game developer are having a harder time growing an audience and struggling to find fellow black developers in the overall game development space. I overcame these challenges by taking advantage of TikTok while it was still in its earlier stages. I wanted to utilize the opportunity to grow on a newer platform and network with people I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise.

  • LoopBreak: The concept of Stack the Box is pretty simple, but game development is typically anything but. Can you talk about some of the programming, and developmental hurdles faced while creating the game?

Williams: Yes, Stack The Box 2D is a 2D game developed for mobile and is available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. This game was developed with the Unity game engine and all programming was done in C#. The biggest development hurdle I faced was getting leaderboards to work on android via the 3rd party tool CloundOnce I was using. The problem was with authentication, once I realized there was another key that the Google Play store uses to sign an app or game I was able to get the problem fixed on the backend.

A gameplay screenshot from Into The Fragment.

  • LoopBreak: Your studio just released Into The Fragment last Fall. What about Limbo influenced you to make a similar game? Can you talk about your studio’s approach to that art style and narrative design?

Williams: The art style of Limbo is what influenced the art style used in Into The Fragment. Into The Fragment is actually a prelude to a much larger game I will be making in the future. The narrative design of the game is that the Fragment represents a place where in the future, humans will be able to transfer their consciousness and live inside the world or transfer it back into their current body or a potential new one. The Fragment at this point is very unstable, in early development, and not ready for public use. So it is up to the player who represents a developer to explore the Fragment and fix as many bugs as possible. The bugs inside the game represent software bugs. Limbo has a mysterious vibe to it and I wanted to incorporate that vibe into Into The Fragment.

LoopBreak: Does Just Faith Studios have any projects currently in development that you’re looking forward to sharing?

Williams: Yes, Just Faith Studios is currently working on an update for Into The Fragment which will add even more power-ups and a potential multiplayer mode. Just Faith Studios is also working on a big game however I am unable to disclose any details on it at this time.

Our chat with Jae Williams provided some fascinating insight to the game development process on the indie level. For future details on the upcoming projects he teased, be sure to visit the Just Faith Studios website. LoopBreak will continue to offer informative interviews with developers.