We are Indie RPG Developers of Battle Brothers, Dungeon Kingdom, Graal Seeker and That Which Sleeps AMA!
As a developer I will be ashamed to make a sloppy game, so that's not an option for me. My main concern is to make a game that the player wants to play over and over again. And for that, I need to take care of my alpha and beta phases. I agree with KingDino with their concern about technology. Furthermore, it will be really risky to try to make alone a game that looks like The Witcher 3. We don't have the same budget, so we have to focus on the gameplay to make a great game.
What do you think of the current state of the video game industry?
Mobile market changed a lot of things. At the beginning it was very exciting and now we have a lot of clone games. I hope Valve will never change Steam to make something like the appStore because it will probably more difficult for the good games to have a great exposure.
Whats your favorite video game of all time?
Overall playtime would have to be Alpha Centauri or Master of Magic way back in the day (or Arctic MUD... oh MUD)
We both have a real sweet spot for King of Dragon Pass, so unique and fun - but I also think Space Station 13 was maybe the most innovative game I've played in some time
King of Dragon Pass, I need to try this game! I guess it will be on my favorite games list very soon.
Well, I have many favorite games. I love mostly RPGs and tactical games: The Witcher 2, Baten Kaitos, The Last Story, Fire Emblem, Gladius, Disgaea, Paper Mario. But I'm also loving fun games to play with my friends like Mario Kart (didn't try the last one though) and F-Zero. The last game that impressed me was FTL, it reminds me one of the best board game I ever played: Space Alert :)
I don't think I have a single favorite game. Games that impressed me the most were probably Civilization, Ambermoon, Fallout 1, Arcanum, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, Shadow of the Horned Rat, Wing Commander.
I've forgotten Arcanum. Thanks to remind me. Arcanum is one of my favorite game as well :)
What do you guys think about steam from a indie-perspective?
Steam is a kind of Holy Grail of digital stores for indies :) I know few indies that get great exposure on Steam. So I think it's really important.
Hardest moment in your career making games?
I agreed with Jay from Overhype Studios. The hardest part is when you are running out of funds. I have several options. First I launch a crowdfunding campaign (what I do now). Then, depending of the result. I can make some freelance work to grab the needed cash or try to find a publisher. But if I make some freelance work, I will have to delay the game and work on 2 projects at the same time. But it's just one more challenge :)
I'm generally not into RPGs but I do enjoy some when they really stand out and offer something more in terms of gameplay and mechanics than what we usually see in RPGs.
Do you think of your games as classic RPGs or do you have more complex mechanics we don't always see in RPGs games?
I prefer to stay humble and let the players decide :)
I have some classics mechanics such as character leveling and customization of course.
But the main point of the game is in the procedural story: we don't just have differents endings, the player will have a different main quest according to all his choices and some random events. All the side quests will be procedural too.
Regarding the battles, I'm trying to have a real-time tactical combat with an active pause, so you can pause the fight and continue to give orders to your characters.
You can read this interview, it will provide a lot of informations on some of the game mechanics :)
Can you walk me through the basic steps you take in developing a game?
First, look for an idea that is enough motivating for you. As stated by KingDino, you can then iterate on little features step by step to keep you motivated. Also, finding a good team is very difficult but it can help a lot.
Has NetHack been an inspiration to any of you as game developers? If so, in what way?
I didn't play NetHack but I played to other roguelikes. Roguelikes is a real source of inspiration, I love the way how roguelikes can be so difficult. You can easily be addicted to a roguelike even if the graphics are not catchy. I added procedural generation of map and events and permadeath in Graal Seeker.
I'm a writer, but I have zero experience in making games, in any sense -- I don't know programming, I don't know a pixel from a sprite, none of it. So how would someone like me get involved in the writing side of creating a game? By which I mean the plot, and not the programming, obviously.
You may want to try to create some text-based game to have a first experience in nonlinear narrative. There are some free tools very easy to use for this purpose.
How do you monetize?
First, I have to release the game (Graal Seeker) ;) Then I will try to reach as many platform as possible like Steam (we are doing a greenligth if you want to vote), gog, humble,... I plan to sell the game at 14€ (<18$) when it will be released. But for now, I sell pre-orders at 10€ (<13$) on my crowdfunding campaign.
Entre le moment où vous avez l'idée du jeu et sa commercialisation, quelles sont les étapes les plus compliqués ? Quel est pour vous le moyen le plus efficace pour faire connaître votre jeu?
Between the time you get the idea of the game and the time it reaches the market, what are the most complicated steps? What do you consider the most effective way to market your game?
For me personally the most complicated (and still ongoing issue) is: How and when do you decide to quit your normal job and put everything into your dream of indie game development. I have to admit I'm still working a fulltime job and do my Battle Brothers work on top of that just to have financial security.
The most effective marketing in my oppinion: Youtube Lets Play videos and coverage in online game magazines. Facebook is more useful for maintaining contact to your fans and Twitter mostly to get in contact with other Game Devs.
And what do you think about event: Professional game event (like Gamescom, Game Connection,...), meeting with players or street marketing action ? Do you think it is a waste of money and it's better to focus on online campaign ?
Well, same thing here. Each time there is a game event, I want to participate. But I think it's useless without a demo and it's very expensive.
For me, the most challenging step will be the beta testing. In a RPG/tactical game like Graal Seeker we need to tweak and test a lot, to have a well-balanced final product.
L'étape la plus importante pour moi sera la beta test. Dans un jeu comme Graal Seeker (cad un RPG/tactique), nous aurons beaucoup de réglages à faire pour avoir un jeu final bien équilibré.
Don't you have some help to find some player to test your game ? And about your communication, what's your favorite support or the most effective you wish you had ?
For now, I'm trying to bring attention and to find some players through my crowdfunding campaign since I'm selling some alpha and beta access. I know that it would be easier with a public access of a prototype but I'm trying to get additionnal funds as well.
Regarding my favorite support for the communication, I think it's internet :) But having website + blog + indiedb + greenlight + facebook + twitter + reddit and so on is very difficult to handle.
If you're still here:
What's the team's recommended game engine for 3d?
What's the team's recommended game engine for 2d?
I don't have enough xp on 3D, I just tried Minko so I can't tell. But regarding 2D, it really depends of your needs. A lot of good 2d game engine I know are very efficient for platforms or puzzle games. So, for this project, I only use an entity system framework called Ash-Haxe. I've already used other entity component system called Awe6 which is also great.
What do u think about greenlight and the validation system ?
Since I am not yet completely gone through the process (here is my page), I have something like 16% (to the top 100) I can't tell much. The are a lot of games currently on Greenlight waiting to be validated. And I think you can't count on getting trafic only from Steam, you have to bring people to your page.
What is your next projects ? (after game release)
I have some ideas but it will depend a lot of the success of my game :)
@Lugludum, I'm worried about the indiegogo campaign. What if you don't even get half of your goal? Is it ok for you?
It's a bit a hassle indeed because I will think I failed somewhere (lack of communication?). But I will find a solution: 10,000€ (13 000 USD) is not much. I have some opportunies for freelance work this fall. I'm not discouraged and I think I need to do some extra effort to polish the alpha because it will be important as I will have the opportunity to have feedbacks from the gamers. Furthermore, I don't need to have all the graphics I wanted for the alpha. So I can provide an alpha before to collect all the budget.
@all, all your games looks really great ! I can't wait to play them!
Don't you think that the same RPG/strategy blend would work great in a futuristic/gritty/gothic setting à la Warhammer 40K? I'd love to see it !
There are so many Warhammer 40k games, don't you like it? :)
@Lugludum why did u choose indiegogo and not KS? if u don't reach your goal, will u try a KS or other?
KS is still not available in France, so you have to find a UK-based or USA-based partner. Since I plan to finish the game no matter what happens, I launched a flexible funding which is only available on Indiegogo. It seems that a flexible campaign is not very catchy for the backers, but anyway all pledges will help a lot (saving us some time and reassuring us). If we don't reach the goal, I may think about alpha-funding (on Desura for example) when the alpha will be ready. But for a next game I will probably try KS with fixed funding.
There are a wide variety of game types and platforms represented by your various teams. How do you pick the tools you use to build your games? What drives these decisions?
For example, there are many questions on StackOverflow and Reddit around "What programming language should I build my game in?" or "What engine should I use?" Do you even ask these questions when starting a project, or do they sort of answer themselves as you go?
I began to use flash since it was the programming language I knew the most. But something changed, I was upset to not being able to provide a linux build of my game and I switched to haxe because it's crossplatform and very close to as3 (they both came from EcmaScript4). So when I'm choosing a technology, I'm looking for something free, cross-platform and easy to learn.
It's 7:30 am on the west coast. AKA the internet. Why are you AMAing right now?
P.S.I would totally love to participate but I'm just got home from a night out on the town. zZzZz
That's pretty difficult to reach all the time zones :( We have already 6 hours difference between King Dinosaur Games and the others.
What sets your games apart from a lot of the slapped together sloppy greenlit games that have been coming out lately? Basically quality is my main concern.
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