Conducted By Adam Ames
TPG had the chance to interview the fine folks at Cateia Games, developers of the humorous adventure game, Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World. You will get their opinions on various aspects of the PC gaming industry and details of the development of Kaptain Brawe.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World.
Ivan Bralić: – Cateia Games has a vast experience when it comes to developing and producing adventure games. On Kaptain Brawe we joined our forces with creative game designer Petar Ivanček who was responsible for the artwork and storyline. We wanted to create (this may sound a bit strange) a modern old-school point n’ click adventure game. We wanted to take players back to the golden age of adventure gaming (Monkey Island, Broken Sword, etc.), and at the same time, to introduce such an old-school adventure with modern, intuitive and minimalistic user interface and character control.
2. How did you get started in developing PC games?
Ivan Bralić: – It was long time ago. Back in the year 2000. We were just a couple of young men with very little knowledge about game development, but with lots of enthusiasm willing to create something on our own.
Today, we have 15 games already developed and released world-wide on many different languages. It all started with the PC, but we are now rapidly expanding to new platforms such as MacOS, iOS, Android and others.
3. Where did the idea for Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World come from?
Ivan Bralić: – The original idea was created by Petar Ivanček whom I mentioned above already. He’s a true fan of point n’ click adventure games and he wanted to create his own one.
In fact, we’re all huge adventure game fans. It was obvious right away that we wanted to develop Kaptain Brawe.
4. What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World?
Krešimir Špes: We’ve learned a great deal about how to design a good adventure game, what players like and don’t like as well as the today’s differences in taste between hardcore and casual players.
On the technical side, we learned a lot how to design an adventure game engine. Although we had previous experience in adventure games and a stable engine, this game took it to the next level.
5. In its current form, how close is Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World to your initial vision?
Krešimir Špes: Very close, we didn’t compromise much, we did the best we knew how to and we’re very pleased with what we’ve made. Our only regret is that we couldn’t produce voiceovers in English.
Ivan Bralić: – Some things changed during the development, of course. Mostly, we changed UI and controls. We wanted to be sure that the game will perform well on mobile devices as well.
Also, we needed to cut down some language “issues”. This was a bit of a challenge since we didn’t want to lose the humor. Finally, we found a perfect balance for it – to keep the entire game funny, but in very profound way.
6. Some indie devs admitted their games were too hard upon release because they became experts as they developed the game. Talk about setting the difficulty levels for Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World and if you faced a similar challenge.
Krešimir Špes: We’ve had a lot of experience developing games before so this ‘problem’ didn’t affect Kaptain Brawe. Nevertheless we had to fine-tune a few mini games and puzzles to make them playable 😉
7. Were there any challenges you faced in ensuring Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World would run on the various PC system configurations?
Krešimir Špes: During our years in the game development industry we had plenty of tech issues and performance problems but thanks to that experience we were able to optimize Kaptain Brawe to run on virtually anything with a reasonable hardware configuration.
8. Outside of creating the game itself, what is the toughest aspect of being an indie developer?
Ivan Bralić: – Probably the financing and getting contacts with a good publisher (if you want to have one of course). But hard times are behind us and we now have everything we need to keep doing this and hopefully to raise the quality of our games with each new one.
Honestly, I don’t think of us as an indie developer any longer. We grew from an indie dev to an independent, full-time professional studio. Well, it depends what’s your definition of indie 🙂 Everyone has a bit different idea about what it really means.
Dejan Radić: I’d say the toughest aspect of being an indie developer is how to find ways to achieve good visibility and marketing. Without it, there are poor chances for greater success.
We have faced such problems in the past, but now that situation is much more favorable for us.
With great efforts we managed to win the confidence of large publishers, but it wasn’t an easy task!
How did you create funding for the development of Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World and did you receive emotional support from your family and friends during this time?
Krešimir Špes: We funded the project ourselves with funds earned from previous projects. You need to be really careful when you do something like this.
And of course, our families and friends supported us a lot, from the very beginning of Cateia Games.
Dejan Radić: Emotional support? We have it all the time from family and friends and that is the driving force for everything we do. They all await with interest every single game that we do and are first to give objective criticism.
9. Tell us about the process of submitting Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
Ivan Bralić: – Almost everything was smooth. Some portals are faster, some are slower in getting your games live. But we always count that this process will take 2-4 months before we cover everything. We have great partners all around the world, so actually, we haven’t experienced any significant problems publishing our games for digital download.
11. How do you feel about the digital distribution platform as a whole?
Krešimir Špes: Awesome! Much better than retail in my opinion because you can offer your games at a lower price due to less expenses involving physical media, boxes, shelf space etc – and this is important nowadays! Although I like having a physical dvd-box on my shelf and would pay more for it, digital distribution simply has way too many advantages for me to care too much for the “old ways” 😉
Ivan Bralić: – The SRP is always something you need to take an eye on. Sometimes, portals have their own pricing policy, but it never defers too much from our own SRP.
13. For the most part, big budget studios no longer release PC demos while almost ever indie developer does. Why do you think this trend is occurring? Tell us why released a demo for Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World and the difficulties in doing so.
Ivan Bralić: – No difficulties in releasing the demo! 🙂 It’s mostly good for sales. People can play content or time limited game, and if they like it, they will probably buy it. If they don’t like it – well, whatever… Big studios quit doing this, mostly. I have no idea why.
Demo doesn’t always help, but so far we found useful to have demo versions. If we don’t release the Demo, we have at least a 1 hour free trial with some partners.
However, it’s likely that after 6 months or 1 year will stop supporting demo versions (releasing patches for example).
14. How important is it to get instant feedback about Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World from users through online message boards and other social networking sites?
Krešimir Špes: Very important! We maintain a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook and encourage users to like / follow and interact. We’ve always listened to our players ideas and suggestions and we believe our games are better today because of it.
15. How much value do you place on the opinions of those who review Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World professionally?
Krešimir Špes: We look at professional reviewers differently than regular users. Pro Reviewers are usually more objective, while users usually either love the game or hate it, without much explanation.
Dejan Radić: Personally, I like to hear a professional opinion about what we do. Actually it comes as a confirmation of quality we always strive to improve, and it’s very motivating when it comes from the professional critics. Of course we are open to hear any reasonable criticism, positive or negative. We always learn a lot from it. But when it comes to players who play our games, I think that a professional review is not always the only relevant one and often disagrees with the opinion of players.
16. How do you feel about the various indie bundle promotions and the “Pay What You Want” pricing methodology? Would you be interested in contributing to a project like that in the future?
Krešimir Špes: An interesting concept. We’d like to give it a try to see where it takes us.
Ivan Bralić: – We don’t have plans to regularly offer our games in bundles like these, but as Kresimir said, we are open for new concepts and monetization methods.
17. What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
Krešimir Špes: We’ve always had the same attitude towards piracy – you can’t stop it. No matter what you do, some hacker kid will break your DRM. So we rely on the good will of our players to buy the game and it seems to work so far. Besides, since the digital distribution age began, average prices were dropped quite a bit which reduced piracy. Take the app store for example, many people won’t bother pirating for a few bucks, but for 50-60 bucks they might.
18. Bill S.978 was introduced to the Untied States Senate earlier this year which could make it illegal to post unauthorized copyrighted content on YouTube and other video sharing sites. How do you feel about individuals outside Cateia Games posting videos of Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World?
Krešimir Špes: Any such activity around Kaptain Brawe and our other games, authorized or unauthorized is welcome 😉 I don’t think this should be discouraged, unless we’re talking about illegal content distribution.
20. What are some of your hobbies outside of the gaming industry?
Krešimir Špes: Cycling, coffee brewing, gaming, sleeping. ..
21. What advice would you give up-and-coming indie PC developers who are trying to break into the business?
Krešimir Špes: It’s getting more and more difficult to break into the business today but the general method hasn’t changed since the beginning – be persistent even when everything seems hopeless.
Ivan Bralić: – Learn, educate yourself, keep watching for new trends, explore new ways of monetization and marketing, be sure who your audience is… and never let you enthusiasm die. If you let this happen, it’s likely that you won’t be developing video-games. – End
TPG would like to thank everyone at Cateia Games for allowing us to sneak a peek at the inner workings of a great PC developer. You can pick up Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World via GamersGate.