Janrae Mendoza is a video game developer and the creator of Honesty Games. Born and raised in the Philippines, Mendoza attended King’s College of the Philippines and the College of Saint Adeline, where he studied game development and took a Trainer’s Methodology Plus for Creative Arts in Game Programming at the University of Makati.
He is also currently a Game Development instructor at the Cordillera School of Digital Arts.
I was inspired by the creators of Breath of Fire IV and the Phantasy Star series when I was young. Being addicted to both franchises, I started to learn programming at the age of 13. Back then, my cousin was helping me cope up with how to code. When I got to college, I started coding simple games in Java. My first involvement in making a game I really started was for my portfolio when I was 16.
How did Honesty Games come about? What inspired you to create the company?
Honesty Games actually is the new name of my old game club, Kuroneko Games. After deciding to hire more people for my game company, I started a new name. I was inspired by the success stories of game developers in Japan, such as Ryukishi07. Back then, I was thinking of making my own group, then there it is, until it became Honesty Games.
How many people currently work for Honesty Games?
The ones inside Honesty Games as of the moment is three. The other member is my game artist for As the Midnight Approaches and the other one is my story writer for Dating Selena. I do the game programming, music arrangement, game art, game design, and bug testing for all my other games. You can say that I am a one-man team at times. I hire people on my team for special reasons.
What challenges did you face in developing Kagerou Days?
The main challenge I have to face here is the fact that since it is a doujin game, I had to seek advice of what the fandom really wants for it. Looking on how the game would appeal to the fandom for them to exactly play it was the question which was on my mind back then. Unlike my original games, this game needed to be critically examined. The game was successful and many players around the world loved the series of games that I made.
What other games have you created over the years?
The games I have created so far includes Avoid the Bomb, Universal Dreams, Happy Puzzle, Battle Shooting Hero, ShuuyaFlap, Classic Hangman, Door Classic Game, Red Battleship, and Kuroko no Quiz. They were written in different platforms and programming languages as well. There are other games I’ve started creating but it’s not yet out in the public.
Which of your RPG Maker scripts was the most difficult to create and make work properly?
That would be the Battle Scripts of the Soul Engine Ace. I had to make sure that there were no errors and incompatibilities with the other scripts that the users might be using. As a scripter, I was looking how my script would be adjustable for all, so I had to make sure that it works with other famous scripts out there. It had many errors; it took me quite a few days to make it work.
What is, in your opinion, the best video game ever made?
In my opinion, that would be Breath of Fire IV. For me, it had a powerful and compelling storyline. Though it was released for the older PlayStation, I think it would catch the interest of gamers up to this generation. The gameplay is also catchy, great music, and most of all, the stories of each character that molds the entirety of the game is its selling point.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I enjoy the actual interaction with my students, question and answer, and seeing them informed about the subject I am teaching. I also enjoy the discussion. I can see their happy faces as they understood every bit of the lesson. As an instructor, I am more than pleased to see that they learn new things with me.
What would you like to do that you simply haven’t found the time for yet?
I really wanted to do some learning in violin. I have been obsessed watching people playing violin since I was 18 years old, but because I never had the time, I never had the chance to learn and play. I also want to do cosplaying and culinary arts, but sadly, I haven’t found the time to do as of the moment.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
A full course Japanese cuisine and delicacies. It was so delicious, I want to prepare them again for my next birthday.
What are you working on next?
To be honest, there’s a lot of them. But right now, I am working on two games, Dating Selena and As The Midnight Approaches. For me, it’s another challenge, since it needs extreme game design, actual programming and different ways of bug testing. The games would also be released for Android platforms, so coding its compatibility is another work.
What goes into releasing a game on Android?
Before anything else, I plan the game thoroughly before creation as to which platform it should be written and its compatibility. Most of the time, I would be looking at the pros and cons, the issues and mostly the time to have the game written for Android. I usually code the game in scratch for Android platform, run a thorough bug test and test run on an Android phone and post them on Android apps sites for download or purchase. Putting aside the time to do the Android programming for an actual running game is the biggest challenge.