Trouble Impact LLC
Based in Austin, TX

Founding date:
April 15, 2012


Press / Business contact:


Amelia Vs The Marathon
Color Thief


Trouble Impact, LLC is a two-person game studio located in Austin, TX. It was started in April 2012 by an animator and programmer (both formerly of Activision) who wanted to see what they could learn and make by striking out on their own. They are interested in expanding gaming in new directions by tackling new subject matter and exploring different types of gameplay.


Early history

Issam Khalil and Cat Musgrove both got their start at Vicarious Visions in Albany, NY, working on games for various platforms (from the GBA to the most recent console generation). Around 2011 they became interested in having a bigger say in the company - both in terms of company culture and the types of games they were creating - and started talking about starting their own studio. The success of other indies at the time showed that even if success wasn't guaranteed, there were some people out there who were able to make a living while creating the types of games they really wanted to. After a lot of game jams to build their confidence and some research into running a company, Trouble Impact LLC was formed in April of 2012!

First game: Amelia vs The Marathon

For their first game, the idea was to release something small and fun that didn't take a ton of development time - mostly just to prove to themselves that they could make a game from start to finish on their own. They assumed (perhaps unwisely) that the mobile market was still viable for indies, and it was a good platform for a smaller game. The game's development ended up being a hard lesson in a lot of ways: it took a lot longer than anticipated to make something polished, they waited too long to start marketing, and playtesting wasn't given a high enough priority (the game ended up ridiculously hard). Amelia vs. The Marathon was not a commercial success, but it did make Trouble Impact a better studio. (Also, despite the difficulty, it's a pretty fun game!)

Move to Austin

Trouble Impact relocated from Albany, NY to Austin, TX in October 2013. Albany didn't have many other indie developers, and Cat and Issam decided that being somewhere with a denser community would really help them grow. In a large community, there are way more opportunities to learn from other developers and get feedback. After settling in, they became active in the local community by attending and organizing events. Cat maintains the @ATXGameDevCal Twitter and Facebook accounts which list every upcoming game developer event in the city, and both Cat and Issam run a local co-working meetup at coffee shops twice a week. They also participate in local events to share what they've learned (for example speaking at local conferences or presenting their game at small events).

Second Game: Color Thief

Color Thief started in February of 2013. Cat and Issam decided to make a make a bigger game that was more in line with the type of game they really wanted to play. They accepted the risks of a longer development cycle because it allowed them to focus on making something that felt different. The first couple of years of development were spent learning: building out the project pipeline, figuring out how to design puzzles, and doing a ton of playtesting and iteration to make something both fun and worth the player's time. Color Thief is still in development - in 2016 it is moving into full production and Cat and Issam are starting to try to raise awareness of the game.



Loading Screen Podcast Podcast

Going Indie: My Journey as a Game Developer Article


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (13MB)

There are far more images available for Trouble Impact LLC, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!


Awards & Recognition

  • "Official Selection (Color Thief), Fantastic Arcade" - Austin, TX - 2014
  • "Official Selection (Color Thief), Intel Buzz Workshop" - Austin, TX - 2015
  • "Official Selection (Color Thief), Indie Arcade" - Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2016

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks