Paradum Games is currently an “Indie” developer. From our own experience we know how tight the money sits with publishers and that they invest primarily into blockbuster titles, sequels for X360 and PS3 or into low budget mobile games. Do you experience difficulties to get in contact with serious publishers and how do you see the future for Multivaders and similar titles in this market?
Although we’ve not started to seriously pursue publishers or distributors right now, I’ve spent some time lately looking into the different options we’ll have available to us. With the Steam platform and the increase of digital distribution I’d imagine that companies such as Valve have less financial risk and so can gamble a little more on smaller developers like ours. Although I think that big publishers such as EA/Activision/Take 2/etc. are still largely unavailable to indie developers like ourselves, there definitely seems to be other options available. IGN have recently begun to promote an indie-developer service which seems very attractive to smaller/unknown developers and is definitely something we’ll be pursuing further along in development. There’s also the recent ‘Community Games’ service that Microsoft have launched on the X360 – I’m keen to see of Sony do something similar. I’d like to think that with the increased trend in digital distribution, it can only get easier for indie developers; the challenge will be in making their games stand out in what could be a saturated market.
There are many independent developers out there reading this. Can you offer a few words of advice about real life production problems, daily time management and the acrobatics of financing the project? A strong passion for creating games is critical, but it definitely takes more than that to survive the daily challenges…
Because of the scale of the project, we’ve experienced considerable problems in finding people willing or able to help develop the game. A lot of programmers and artists see the game, get excited and want to help out but just don’t have the free time to contribute to such an ambitious project and end up fading away. With no monetary incentive, we have been really lucky to find the team we have now that contribute regularly. Related to this, it has proven quite challenging to have new artists come in and match the existing style of the assets, environments and characters. A clear idea of your games style and a good set of example style sheets has really helped any newcomers we’ve had.
To manage the team I developed an in-house project management system. It features the usual features such as timeline, knowledge-base, milestone/task tracking and chat and really helps us to store and communicate the ideas we have for the game in one central place. I’d recommend anyone trying to manage a large team/project to look into something similar – there are quite a few free services online. Our SVN file repository has also proved invaluable when working with a team consisting of people from around the globe. Everyone can work on their assigned tasks and check them in at their leisure. When it comes to financing, I try to make low-cost, high-gain purchases. Tools we’ve purchased like FlatIron will definitely prove an investment for future projects we work on. Other than that, I think it’s down to dedication. Working on a commercial-quality game as well as working a day job can be tiring sometimes. I’ve found that regularly having the team show-off what they’re working on really motivates everyone to do their part. There have been days where I’ve worked into the early hours of the morning just to get an amazing piece of art one of my artists has produced into the game.
Just as you are constantly updating your game content, we are working on our tools. What would you your like to see in future Flatiron updates to improve the tool further?
I’d love to be able to be able to configure FlatIron to automatically split the scene into multiple texture maps. Being able to rebake a single object from a previously baked selection would be great too.
The last question: when can we see this awesome project, at least as demo, on our PC-Screens?
We’re hoping to have a playable demo ready within the next couple of months. Stay tuned to multivaders.com for more announcements of this in the near future :)
Thanks a lot to Paradum Games for the interview! (Igor Posavec, 3d-io, Flatiron)
Thank you :) (Blake Robinson, ParadumGames)