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When your career is in game development, working long hours on complex projects that can take years to complete, what do you do in your off time to take your mind off your day job?

If you’re anything like 2002 DigiPen RTIS program graduate Rob Pasquini, the choice is simple: You make another game.

By day, Pasquini works as a programmer at Cryptic Studios, makers of such popular massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) as City of Heroes and Champions Online. But, like the superheroes those games depict, Pasquini himself has an alter ego: not as a masked vigilante, but rather an indie developer.

“I decided one day that instead of grinding World of Warcraft, I would every night for an hour or two just code a little bit,” Pasquini says. “And at some point in the past six months I started to work on it every night until like one in the morning.”

I think there’s a huge movement back to old-school gaming, and people have realized you can do a lot more with 2D games.”

What began as a hobby a little over a year ago eventually became Monster Feed, a new tower defense game for Apple’s iPad. Pasquini was inspired both by the device’s novel interface and by the process of traditional 2D game development.

“I love making 2D games,” he says. “Back when I graduated, everyone was pushing towards 3D … but now I think there’s a huge movement back to old-school gaming, and people have realized you can do a lot more with 2D games now that we have accelerated graphics and physics.”

With Monster Feed, Pasquini has picked and chosen gameplay ideas from a number of his favorite tower defense games, especially Blizzard’s official tower defense mod for Warcraft III. “I wanted players to be able to do more than just build towers,” Pasquini says. “I wanted them to constantly be doing stuff, to make it more action packed and have the waves not really stop—a few seconds after the last wave is sent, another one will start. So there’s always something going on, and you’re not really sitting there waiting.”

I’ve known I wanted to make games since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to have my own company.”

Pasquini isn’t waiting either. While the iPad version of Monster Feed is currently available on the App Store for $3.99 (with a free lite version as well), Pasquini is hard at work porting the game to other mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android handhelds. If you don’t have an Apple tablet yet, it shouldn’t be long before Monster Feed is available on a wide range of platforms.

As for Pasquini, he isn’t quitting his day job, but he’s a step closer to fulfilling his childhood fantasy. “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do since even before coming to DigiPen,” he says. “I’ve known I wanted to make games since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to have my own company.” Here’s hoping the App Store will allow him to do just that.