It’s ‘game on’ for graduates’ Rooftop Renegade

Oct 26, 2020

Melonhead Games, a game development studio run by three TAFE SA graduates, has reached a significant milestone in its short history.

The company has released a trial version of its first game, Rooftop Renegade, which can be downloaded from Steam.

Players take on the role of Svetlana, a hover-blading renegade, who gathers scattered time crystals while dodging hazards and being pursued by an evil corporation.

Melonhead’s Alex Ferrabetta likens the game to Jet Set Radio or Sonic in style and says it is a family friendly game.

“There is some shooting but it’s not at people and there’s no blood and gore,” he says.

Alex met his business partners, Patrick Webb and George Martin, while studying the Advanced Diploma of Screen & Media - Game Art (CUA60615) at TAFE SA in 2015.

They followed a university pathway going on to complete a Bachelor of Creative Arts – Visual Effects and Entertainment Design at Flinders University and established Melonhead Games, in 2017, while still students.

“Locally there aren’t a lot of opportunities for game developers, although it is getting better. We all wanted to work in this area, so we decided to try and create our own opportunities,” Alex says.

“We want to have a sustainable studio in Adelaide where we can employ other graduates and create our own work.”

Their first major project, Rooftop Renegade, began in 2018 and they’ve charted the game’s development with regular blog posts. It was also previewed at video game festival AVCon in 2019.

“We were really fortunate to receive a $25,000 Games Innovation Grant from the SA Film Corporation, which has been great,” Alex says.

“The most challenging thing about game development is the cost. It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars, so we’ve been taking on contract work to help pay for it.”

They have been encouraged by the initial response to the demonstration game’s launch, with 2500 downloads in the first week.

“Experience in playing the game is important so we hope people continue to download it and try it,” Alex says.

The three business partners bring different talents and interests to game development, but their approach is underpinned by the skills and knowledge gained at TAFE SA.

“It was a fantastic course where we learnt skills such as 3D modelling, texturing, the fundamentals of building a game, as well as soft skills like working in teams,” says Alex, who also studied digital media and web design with TAFE SA in 2014.

“The idea of starting our own company came from our time at TAFE SA.”

For more information, visit Rooftop Renegade can be downloaded at until early November. The full game will be available in early 2021 across several platforms including PCs, Switch and Xbox.