Conducted By Adam Ames
Arvind Yadav from Pyrodactyl Games, developers on Will Fight For Food, speak to TPG about their development process, success and failures in creating Will Fight For Food, his thoughts on the PC gaming industry and much more. Here is a preview:
Where did the idea for Will Fight For Food come from?
The game is a strange one. Ian and I were throwing ideas around, and the two types of games that we both liked were RPG and old school brawlers. The conversation mechanic was a bit of my personal project, because I feel conversation mechanics are an area current games can improve a lot in.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Will Fight For Food.
I’m Arvind, the programmer, designer and lead developer of Will Fight for Food.
How did you get started in developing PC games?
I started out by working on several Source engine mods at ModDB, then about a couple of years ago I started developing my own games.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Will Fight For Food?
Well, I think it has mostly been a success – especially compared to my first game, which I think failed in many things. There have been compromises, but not any outright failures.
In its current form, how close is Will Fight For Food to your initial vision?
It is quite close to the vision in terms of the RPG aspect and the conversations – the fighting mechanics have a lot of scope for improvement, especially the number of fighting moves available to the player. The biggest compromise for me is the scale of the game – I would have liked it to be a 10-15 hour campaign all over the city but sadly, the amount of budget, time and art assets required for that made it impossible.
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 Will Fight For Food and if you faced a similar challenge.
I think regularly getting friends and family to play the game helped a little. However, unbiased feedback before release is hard to get, especially for a small developer like me. You cannot exactly get 50 beta testers by posting on your blog, so you have to do with what you have.
One good thing I did was releasing a vertical slice of the game early – I called it a “mini demo”, and that provided me with some good feedback. But there’s no substitute for regular testing.
Were there any challenges you faced in ensuring Will Fight For Food would run on the various PC system configurations?
I think the technical part of the game was a lot easier than I expected. I aimed at keeping the system requirements low, and starting development with cross-platform in mind meant that porting to Linux was not a challenge at all.
Please talk about developing the art style, level design and music for Will Fight For Food.
Ian and I did the level design, and we contacted an artist and musician to provide the art and music.
Outside of creating the game itself, what is the toughest aspect of being an indie developer?
I would think it’s the inherent uncertainty about your future – you never know if your next game is going to be good enough, if reviewers or players will like it, whether you’ll make enough money to work on your next game.
How did you go about funding Will Fight For Food and did you receive financial or emotional support from friends and family?
It was funded by the sales from my last game. I try to keep my expenses low and live within my means, which also helps I guess. Friends and family provide emotional support, which is crucial because you need someone to believe in you when you are doubting yourself.
Tell us about the process of submitting Will Fight For Food to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
Services like Desura, Indievania and Gamersgate are easy to work with. Steam is a bit more complicated, which is why I am waiting for the initial wave of feedback to hit, then improving the game and then submitting to them.
How much pull do you have when setting sale and regular pricing through digital distribution channels? Did you research similar titles when trying to come up with the launch price?
I generally have full control of the services I mentioned above. You have to take a lot of things into account when setting a price, such as competing titles, length of the game, sales data – that sort of thing.
For the most part, big budget studios no longer release PC demos while almost every indie developer does. Why do you think this trend is occurring? Tell us why released a demo for Will Fight For Food and the difficulties in doing so.
I think as an indie you need to convince people to buy the game – hence the demo. Some companies that have brand loyalty, media coverage, advertising and hype feel people will buy the game anyway and hence don’t bother setting dev time aside for demos. However, I think this mentality is fading and I think they are realizing that many players need to try the game before they will pay for it.
How important is it to get instant feedback about Will Fight For Food from users through online message boards and other social networking sites?
It is extremely important because not only do you get feedback, but you also get encouragement. It feels good to know people are playing your game and like it enough to talk about it.
How much value do you place on the opinions of those who review Will Fight For Food professionally?
I value their opinion very much. As a PC gamer myself, I frequent sites dedicated to PC gaming and trust quite a few of them.
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?
I think bundles provide a good way for unknowns to be noticed, and make a bit of money on the side. I’ll probably be interested in getting my game on a bundle, although it’s too early to comment anything else.
What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
I think DRM is a waste of time, and piracy is unavoidable. So it’s best if we focus on making things better for our players, not on making them worse for pirates.
How do you feel about individuals posting videos of Will Fight For Food?
I would love if people took the time to post videos! What’s not to like about that?
How do you feel about DLC and its current implementation in the PC gaming industry?
I don’t feel strongly one way or another. The only thing to care about is that your customer should never feel you are ripping them off, and that is such a hard thing to quantify. There are many better people to talk about it, since I have never released anything can be classed as DLC.
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 Will Fight For Food?
I would love if mods were made for my game! As somebody who started out via source engine programming, I feel it is very important to let players mod the game – a developer cannot explore all the possibilities with his engine, while a player can. Will Fight for Food has inbuilt mod support to reflect this, and I hope I can play some great mods for it.
What advice would you give up-and-coming indie PC developers who are trying to break into the business?
It’s a tough line of work with a high amount of failure, but if making games appeals to you then there’s nothing like it. I would say just keep working hard, that’s all there is to it. -End
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