Selasa, 13 Januari 2015

Indie gamedev interview: Half Heart Games

Halo semuanya! Minggu lalu aku sudah mulai menghidupkan lagi segmen indie gamedev interview, di mana aku menanyai game developer indie dari berbagai belahan dunia dan meminta mereka untuk berbagi pengalaman mereka. Kemarin kita sudah kedatangan tamu dari Belanda, kali ini target interview kita adalah developer dari US, tepatnya dari Minnesota.

Saat ini game yang dia kembangkan masih dalam tahap awal pengembangan. Mungkin kalian berpikiran: "Apa menariknya game yang masih belum selesai?" eits, jangan salah sangka. Justru kita paling bisa banyak belajar tentang proses game development dari game yang masih dalam pengembangan. Kita bisa tahu dari mana developer mendapat inspirasi, bagaimana proses prototype dibuat, dan semacamnya.

Apa kalian mengira proses prototype itu selalu dalam bentuk software? Ternyata kita juga bisa membuat prototype dengan kertas dan kotak pizza lho! Kotak pizza! (disclaimer: semua gambar di artikel ini diambil dari halaman facebook dan blog Half Heart Games, link facebook dan blog akan diberikan di bawah)

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Pizza box prototype

bagaimana, menarik kan? Untuk tahu lebih detil tentang proses pengembangannya, langsung saja kita simak hasil interview di bawah ini. Seperti biasa, interview akan dibiarkan dalam bahasa Inggris supaya tidak ada makna yang terlewat.

To start our interview, why don't we talk about yourself? What can you tell me about your group? How many people are involved? Where are you guys located? Stuffs like that.

Half Heart Games is currently mostly just me. I do hire on programmers when I can, but I can only offer them rev share. So I mostly get students who are eventually get too busy to help. However, with their combined effort I do have a small prototype.  I plan to pitch to a few investors that I know this month which will help hire on more permanent programmers.

I am an artist (3D to be specific) so I handle all the art for the game. I am also located in Minneapolis Minnesota, but the programmers and additional artists that have helped me thus far range from California, Michigan and even South Africa.

What can you tell me about your game? Is it an Android title or iOS? How long is the development of the game?

Fleet Calamity is a sci-fi strategy game. (think of Magic the gathering meets battle ships). Each player builds a deck and uses their cards to bring out vessels, traps and upgrades to conquer their opponents fleet. Life is measured by population on each respective ship the players own.

The game is being made for PC, but I would like to port it to mobile devices. But one thing at a time for now. I have got a long way before I jump into that pit of snakes.

The game is scheduled for 2 years (assuming I can get funding from the investors). If I can't the game will take much longer depending on how much help I can get.

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Assembly drone
  
What can you tell me about the inspiration for your creation? Does it come from your favorite game? Are everyone in the team gave their suggestions on it?

The game was actually spawned from the t.v. show Battlestar Galactica. Its one of my favorite shows. It also had some inspiration from deck building games like Magic the gathering, Scrolls and the like. When the game was first being developed I was the only one working on it. Now that I have gotten it to a play-able version I do ask for help from every one involved, such as play testers, programmers and artists. Each one has shaped the game into what it is now. No matter what game you work on or how much you try to refine it yourself there is just no way other people won't influence it. Every one on the team has their own ideas and inspiration and they will want to add their own little tweak. If it helps the game in the end, I don't see why you'd hinder them.

The year 2014 just left us, what kind of thing did you achieved last year? Any achievements or milestones broken?

Oh jeeze! lets see here. Since I'm the only 3d artist all of the models are created and textured by me. Last year I created over 40 models and textured them all. Aside from that I also got a play-able version up and running and have been regularly testing it and making plenty of tweaks and changes to make game play more involving and fun. I also got a quick prototype up and running for the actual digital version. so considering in 2013 I didn't even have a fully developed game I think I have come a long ways.

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Paper unit prototype

It's the beginning of 2015, and people are having new resolutions this year. What do you want to achieve in this year?

Funding! Funding! Funding! I've been making steady progress with a budget of zero, but its getting harder and harder to make real substantial progress without paying people. And I really do want to pay those who help me, their contribution is making my dreams a reality and they deserve something in return! So early this year I'm hoping to get enough funding for a full time programmer for a few weeks. Then return to the investors and show them what can be done in a short amount of time with just two people working on the game.

 Aside from that I still have 100's of models to make and more play testing to refine and polish.

If beginners in gamedev read this article, do you have something to say to them? Some advice, tips, or anything?

Stop reading and start doing! Get involved, ask questions, start a project! There are tons of game jams that you should be checking out. Find one you like and jump right in.

Also, if you have a game idea make a physical copy first and start play testing. No body wants to work with you unless you can prove you have a product. For me I used pizza boxes for game boards and note cards for cards and folded pieces of paper for the ships. I've even heard of people running around their house/office pretending to shoot each other for FPS's.

Lastly, but not least, Play test your heart out. Once you get any type of prototype up and running begin play testing with your friends, with yourself, with your mom and dad, Any one! Find out whats wrong with your game early and save yourself the headache later. With the type of prototype I just talked about you can refine your game quickly and without spending much money. Spend maybe 100 bucks on card board and paper or spend 1000's on a programmer to re-do half their code.

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Mech cruiser
 
Lastly, is there anything you'd like to share with the audience? Doesn't have to be technical.

I think I said most of whats needed in the tips, and I've probably talked your ear off enough. But I would like to plug my dev blog. It just shows the progress we've made on Fleet Calamity and lets you know whats on the agenda.  We are still very early in the development process, but it might be interesting to see how things progress from the beginning. The blog can be found @ http://fleetcalamity.blogspot.com/

Yap, itulah dia hasil interview kita hari ini! Bagaimana? menarik kan caranya pihak developer membuat prototype dari kertas dan kotak pizza? Membuat prototype seperti ini akan lebih mudah terlihat hasilnya daripada membuatnya dalam bentuk code, dan lebih mudah diubah kalau kalian merasa game kalian perlu modifikasi.

Kalau kalian ingin mengunjungi langsung developer kali ini, kalian bisa ke halaman facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FleetCalamity atau twitter: https://twitter.com/HalfHeartGames untuk update yang terbaru.

Kira-kira sampai di sini blog post kita kali ini, sampai ketemu di tulisan berikutnya!