#4MinutesWith... Joost van Dongan

2 OCT 2017
As part of our #4MinutesWith series, we spoke to 404 speaker and co-founder of Ronimo Games, Joost van Dongan about his career to date, what makes a special tech event and what he’s looking forward to at 404.

Briefly outline your profession?

I'm a game developer, mostly a programmer but I also do design, art and music on my solo projects. I create both weird experimental art games like Proun and Cello Fortress and more commercial indie games like Awesomenauts and Swords & Soldiers at my company Ronimo.


How did you get started out in this field?

By building stuff with Lego as a kid! From there I moved to digital 3D design when I was 13 and when I was 18 I started studying programming and game design at university and art school. During my graduation project, I started the game development company Ronimo with a bunch of friends and that's still my main thing today.


What will you be doing at 404?

I will be doing two Cello Fortress performances! Cello Fortress is an experimental game in which four players from the audience play a game and I play against them by playing cello. By playing cello I'm both making music and really controlling the game. For example, if I play low notes I drop mines in the game, and if I play dissonant chords I turn on the flamethrowers. At the same time, I'm trying to make my improvisation music sound good.


What’s your proudest achievement to date?

Awesomenauts, the biggest game we've made at Ronimo. It has won many awards, sold over 2 million copies, was released on a several consoles and still has a very active community over 5 years after release.


What do you hope to achieve next?

I'm working on a version of Cello Fortress that can be downloaded so that musicians can play the game at home.


What’s the biggest challenge facing the tech sector?

Balancing ethics and functionality. For example, adding all that cool functionality that relies on private information without being a stalker with no regards for privacy, and doing advanced robotics without making the robots accidentally hurt people or break stuff.


What makes a really special tech event?

A combination of both inspirational and truly in-depth talks where you actually learn something.


What are you most looking forward to at 404?

Meeting inspirational people and hearing their stories.



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