Stormcloud Games‘ Richard Wood was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about the studio’s development process and their game [email protected] once again. In our first interview, we covered everything from the huge surge of indie games in recent years to implementing what he’s learned from other projects into this current one.
Today, we cover the ups and downs of indie development, and deep dive into the exciting new game Stormcloud is creating, [email protected]!
– What are some of the hurdles when developing a game independently? As a team at Stormcloud, how do you tackle them?
I think there are obvious big hurdles; budget, time, getting people to cover your game and so on, but in reality, more than not it’s a combination of these that can really be a headache.
Having a lack of time, or a smaller budget, or having to contact all of the press on your own is something you can work around, but it gets tricky when all of these cross over, for example needing to make a build for a press event, while also having to finish the game, all the while trying to promote the game to the press without taking time out of making the game.
I think for a lot of these you tackle them with experience, the first time you do it, perhaps it doesn’t go as well, but then you learn and move on. I also think you’re much harder on yourself than others are, that small bug you notice every day most people won’t, because they’re interested in the full experience not what happens in the corner of the room when no one’s looking.
Not to downplay being an indie, if you can give us more time and budget, we’ll, of course, take it, but you get into this knowing that’s the case, and in all honesty, you could go to a large team like Blizzard and their producers, marketing team, designers and QA will ask for the same thing – another day please?
– [email protected] just recently got a big thumbs up from its Steam Greenlight campaign, for those that don’t know about it, what’s Brutal all about and how can we find out more?
We launched our Steam Greenlight campaign on the 26th of February and it went really well!
In terms of what the game is, I really do think our opening of the Greenlight campaign explains it quite well:
“[email protected] is a modern re-imagining of the classic ASCII dungeon crawler, fusing old-school gaming with a stunning 3D visual style to create something unique for PlayStation®4, PC, Mac and Linux!
Choose your hero: Ranger, Mage, Warrior or Amazon then descend into a procedurally generated world constructed entirely from ASCII.
Your goal? Reach the 26th floor, vanquish the fearsome Guardian of the Dungeon and claim his crown.
Sound easy? It won’t be. It will be [email protected]”
Our trailer really shows the games aesthetic and feel really well.
In terms of more information, we’ve put out a lot of content in our blog!
There you’ll find videos on each character, a breakdown of weapon crafting, potion brewing and even a Let’s Play of one of our early levels.
– Rogue-likes are fairly popular in the indie dev scene, what sets Stormcloud and [email protected] apart from the rest?
We’ve tried to bring the classic ASCII roguelike feel and combine it with the expectations of modern gameplay. Our art style is the most obvious example of this, we have that traditional ASCII theme, but we’ve done tried to bring it to life with a 3D approach.
Outside the art style, however, we’ve got a depth in features that you’d expect from the genre. We have four classes to choose from, as well as a levelling system to allow you to learn new skills and abilities. On top of this we have a weapon crafting and enchanting system, so not only can you craft your own weapons, you can also enchant them with fire, ice, poison and so on.
Our potion brewing system also has a traditional ASCII roguelike feel. You find empty potion bottles and ingredients in the world, you can combine these to make potions however what that potion is you won’t know until you drink it, or throw it at an enemy. So you may end up drinking a potion of inferno and killing yourself like I did in our last Let’s Play, or you may throw health at an enemy and heal them, which luckily I haven’t done yet.
Aside from that, we’ve also made sure to focus in on the feel of the game. We’ve worked hard on making the combat feel satisfying, so mashing attack and killing stuff feels great, but we also have dodge and block abilities versus stronger or groups of enemies, so there is a tactical nature to the game.
Overall I’d say that the sense of getting stronger and progression is really good in [email protected] You find these weapon blueprints, craft them, enchant them, then you find stronger weapons. Then you level your skills up, find new weapons and armour, brew potions, discover new enemies, kill new enemies (hopefully!) and overall just, we hope, have a good time.
– What do you hope players take away from the unique aspects of the game?
The most obvious answer here is that we hope they enjoy it after all that’s why we’re making a game. If the core game isn’t fun, the art style and homage to older ASCII games will mean nothing, so while we think the theme is really great, and our systems are fun, the real push we’re doing right now is making the main experience fun and polished.
[email protected] is slated for release this year, and will be available on PS4, PC, Mac, and Linux. It’s unique blend of rogue action, RPG, and it’s art-style look to blend together in one great package. Thank you, Richard Wood for your time with the interview!Look for more coverage
Look for more coverage of Stormcloud Games and [email protected] in the future, right here at The Nerd Stash! If you have any questions for us or Richard, let us know in the comments!