Steel Storm: Burning Retribution Interview

The boys from Kot-in-Action Creative Artel were kind enough to take time out of their busy day to talk about thier smash indie hit, Steel Storm: Burning Retribution.  You will get thier take on how Steel Storm: Burning Retribution came to be, DLC, DRM, piracy, life as an indie dev and much more.

 1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Steel Storm.

My name is Alexander “motorsep” Zubov. I am the founder of Kot-in-Action Creative Artel, an independent game development company. I am the project lead and the art director for Steel Storm. Besides these roles I had to wear many hats, as most indies do, and I worked on all of the art assets, GUI, some sound effects, a few levels, missions, etc.

My educational background has nothing to do with art or game development. I got my Master of Science degree in engineering and never worked as an engineer. Instead, I became a self-taught graphic designer and I worked in that field for 5 years. I also worked as a teacher, 3D graphics and animation instructor, and a police officer. I applied myself in various fields, but game development is what I enjoy the most currently.

2.  How did you get started in developing PC games?

I started, like many people of my generation, by modding Quake 1. Eventually I discovered the Darkplaces engine, which is based on the GPL version of the GLQuake 1 engine, but can match the visuals and performance of ID Tech 4+. The independent movement was on the rise when I realized I could make a living making games. I met our lead coder few month before Quake Expo 2008 and got him interested in helping me with my first project titled The Prophecy: Return of the Blademaster. Together we made a working prototype which still can be seen at the virtual Quake Expo 2008 booth at



3.  Where did the idea for Steel Storm come from?

The Prophecy was supposed to be a grand project, with a lot of content. We didn’t have experience with making and shipping commercial titles back then and after we finished the game’s prototype it became clear that we would not be able to accomplish it. At that time the idea of making a top-down shooter did not seem to be as complicated as the idea of making The Prophecy. We discussed the concept and began working on the Steel Storm series.

4.  What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Steel Storm?

We learned that we are very capable of making high quality commercial games that sell 🙂 We learned a lot of new skills, improved existing ones and established important business relationships. It’s hard to tell at the moment if we had any failures because the game hasn’t been out for too long. It’s been on the market for less than 2 months.

5.  How close is Steel Storm in its current form to your initial vision for the game?

The game is more advanced and has more features than the initial idea.

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