Conducted By Adam Ames
TPG had a chance to speak with DnS Development about their new top-down survival horror title, Dead Horde. You will get their view on topics throughout the PC gaming industry as well as how the development of Dead Horde took place.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Dead Horde.
My name is Axel Deising. I am the founder of DnS Development. I am responsible for all the coding of the game.
How did you get started in developing PC games?
I started coding when I was about 12 years old and always I loved playing games and I was very interested in game development. It started on the C64 and Amiga. My first real game related programming was porting games from PC to Mac.
Over the time the projects grew more and more and a small team was built.
These days it is a lot easier for indie developers to sell their games because of Steam and other online platforms.
Where did the idea for Dead Horde come from?
We always try to make games we like to play as well, top-down shooters are one of these games. We played Alien Breed and Alien Swarm and came to the idea doing this with a mutant/zombie setting might be fun.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Dead Horde?
As a success you we can see that we finished the game in our set time frame and learned a lot of it. You always learn tech-wise or team-wise. We can pull a lot of positive things out of this.
The bad thing is that you always could need more time, but at some point you have to decide that it is time for release.
In its current form, how close is Dead Horde to your initial vision?
Dead horde is quite close to it. We have not removed too many things. One thing that is not in the game but technically working is for example a quad. Also one mission is not in the final game because it pass our internal quality checks 😉
Some 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 Dead Horde and if you faced a similar challenge.
Our team and other testers played Dead Horde a lot of times through form start to end and I think we have balanced the difficulty quite good during that time. We did not release a patch after release concerning difficulty.
Were there any challenges you faced in ensuring Dead Horde would run on the various PC system configurations?
The compatibility was not a problem because the engine was used in previous projects, so this problem did not occur for Dead Horde. We had one small issue with the refreshrates in fullscreen but this was fixed during the first week after release.
Outside of creating the game itself, what is the toughest aspect of being an indie developer?
You have to keep your time frames to stay inside your budget. So, you need to have a reliable team which should deliver things in time and sometimes you have to work not just during the normal working times 😉
Tell us about the process of submitting Dead Horde to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
This is our third game on Steam, we have not encountered any resistance since then.
Did you research similar titles when trying to come up with the launch price for Dead Horde?
No, we decided to have the common $9.99 indie price sometime at the end of the development of Dead Horde.
Please talk about developing the art style, level design and music for Dead Horde.
We wanted to achieve a dark, creepy atmosphere with nice lighting and shadow effects.The overall art style should be realistic. The levels were designed to lead the players through the mission but also to have places to explore and give some reward for this like ammo and money.
How important is it to get instant feedback about Dead Horde from users through online message boards and other social networking sites?
Very important. We read everything in the forums, check YouTube and reviews. We already improved a lot of things mentioned in the forums the users.
How much value do you place on the opinions of those who review Dead Horde professionally?
We try to improve things for our next titles depending on some of them. Unfortunately, sometimes these professional reviews are not very professional at all 😉 Most important is the feedback of the community.
How do you feel about the Humble Indie Bundle and “Pay What You Want Pricing”? Would you be interested in contributing to a project like that in the future?
It is a great thing. With the attention they got for now it is for sure an option for those games to reach even more people.
What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
We don’t care too much about DRM. Piracy will not be reduced with it. With online content like co-op game play you can reduce it.
How do you feel about DLC and its current implementation in the PC gaming industry?
DLC is quite common these days for the big publishers. If it is a real extension of the game then it might be ok but selling hats and guns as DLC is stupid.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about modding of PC games and the relationship developers have with modders. How do you feel about the online modding community in general and specifically if mods were created for Dead Horde?
People can of course mod Dead Horde. This gives more value to each game.
Dead Horde may not be very easy to mod.
What advice would you give up-and-coming indie PC developers who are trying to break into the business?
I can tell from my first experiences in game development, that mod-teams or indie dev teams often start with a high passion, but at some point there seems to be slow progress and motivation is lost for some team members.
So my advice is to start small and finish things, finishing a project might be one of the biggest problems for new teams. Don’t try to make a HalfLife3 as your first project 😉
We would like to thank DnS Development for taking the time to interview with TPG. You can pick up Dead Horde via Steam.
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