Based in Seattle, WA

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Refract is a small Seattle-based independent studio. We make interactive art.


How it started

The three founders of Refract (Jordan Hemenway, Kyle Holdwick, and Jason Nollan) all met as classmates at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA. While earning their programming (CSRTIS) degrees they had a blast working together and separately on various small game projects such as Nitronic Rush, Solace, Sowlar, The Fourth Wall, and Solstice. These games ended up taking off outside DigiPen and they were honored with the opportunity to present them around the world at award events like IGF, Indie Game Challenge, IndieCade, IndiePub, PAX10, Sense of Wonder Night, and others. Nitronic Rush in particular was well received by consumers, and since its release in 2011 the game has been downloaded well over a million times.

After graduating

After graduating from DigiPen, several of the other developers on their student projects like Nitronic Rush took jobs in the AAA game industry or went to work on other projects. When looking at what the Refract team wanted to do next, they realized that they're too passionate about making smaller independent games to stop now. With the encouragement of other indie devs they had met over the years, they started their own studio and continued to focus on experiences that they're incredibly passionate about.


Distance is Refract's debut title and a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush. It's a survival racing game that combines the intense action of arcade racing with the exploration of an atmospheric world. You control a unique car that allows you to boost, jump, rotate, and even fly through a chaotic and mysterious city.



Distance Early Access Trailer (November 2014) YouTube

Distance: The Past, Present, and Future (Part 1) (October 2014) YouTube

Distance Beta 3153 Quick Recap (October 2014) YouTube

Distance Beta Trailer (August 2014) YouTube

Distance Alpha Gameplay Experiments (January 2014) YouTube


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (19MB)

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

Awards & Recognition

Working together and with other teams, we've been able to consistently earn finalist and winner status in several independent game competitions. These games weren't created solely by the three of us, but were team efforts including several other students at DigiPen. The name next to each game indicates who collaborated on each project.
  • "BigSushi.fm Golden Sushi of Sophistication (PAX Prime)" - Distance, 2014
  • "Freeplay Awards Finalist - Best International Game" - The Fourth Wall (Jordan), 2012
  • "IndieCade E3 Showcase" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
  • "Independent Propeller Awards Winner - Technical Excellence" - Nitronic Rush (Jordan, Kyle, Jason), 2012
  • "Independent Propeller Awards Finalist - Grand Prize" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Independent Propeller Awards Finalist - Best Audio" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Independent Propeller Awards Honorable Mention" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
  • "Independent Propeller Awards Honorable Mention" - Solstice (Jordan, Kyle), 2012
  • "Indie Game Challenge Winner - Gamer's Choice Award" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Indie Game Challenge Finalist" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Indie Game Challenge Finalist" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
  • "Independent Games Festival Honorable Mention - Technical Excellence" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Independent Games Festival Honorable Mention - Student Showcase" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
  • "Inside Gaming Awards Finalist - Best Indie Game" - Nitronic Rush, 2011
  • "Gamasutra's Best Of 2011 Honorable Mention - Top 10 Indie Games" - Nitronic Rush, 2011
  • "Tokyo Game Show Sense of Wonder Night Selection" - Solstice, 2011
  • "Independent Games Festival Student Showcase Winner" - Solace (Jordan), 2011
  • "Indie Game Challenge Non-Professional Finalist " - Solace, 2011
  • "Indie Game Challenge Non-Professional Finalist " - Subsonic (Jason), 2011
  • "IndieCade Finalist - Most Fun and Compelling" - Solace, 2010
  • "IndieCade Babycastles Showcase" - Solace, 2010
  • "PAX 10 Winner 2010" - Solace, 2010
  • "Tetris Design Challenge Winner - Grand Prize" - Tetris Besieged (Jason), 2009
  • "IndieCade Finalist - Top 10 Finalist" - Sowlar (Kyle), 2009

Selected Articles

  • "A Racing Game I'm Actually Really Excited About"
    - Nathan Grayson, Kotaku
  • "Videos and words don’t really do justice to Distance. It may be the most instantly exciting, absorbing game I’ve played all year."
    - Rob Zacny, PCGamesN
  • "It's rare that a racing game will fully command my attention, but Distance was difficult to ignore in the PAX Indie Megabooth."
    - Kyle Hilliard, GameInformer
  • "Arcade to the core, leave now if heavy car tuning, standard racing or anything remotely realistic is what you are wanting, because Distance about to blow your face off."
    - Owen Hibbert, Entertainment Buddha
  • "Being part of an independent studio doesn’t mean letting go of big ideas. One team is challenging the distinctions between indie and triple-A game quality in its approach to development."
    - Stephanie Carmichael, VentureBeat

Team & Repeating

Kyle Holdwick

Jordan Hemenway

Jason Nollan

Chin Fong

Eddie Peters

Laura Borgen

Ellie Hemenway

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