Welcome to Show and Tell, a new regular that gives local Australian Indie Developers the chance to show their latest work, whether its a finished game or a work in progress. We're kicking things off Michael Ventnor, owner of Red Crest Studios, and his new game Andromium.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio? My name is Michael Ventnor and I own Red Crest Studios. It's a true indie outfit since it's made up of just me and occasional contract workers, but hopefully it'll grow in the near future! My current platform of choice is Xbox LIVE Indie Games, since I've always wanted to develop for a games console. For any of your readers who already follow XBLIG, I created a JRPG for the platform called Bonded Realities. You can follow my personal Twitter here.
What game are you working on at the moment? I'm gearing up to release a game called Andromium, which I designed from the ground up, so it will have unique gameplay and a very unique style to it. The goal is to not only avoid getting killed by the multitude of space enemies, but also safely deliver a glowing green chunk of metal, called Andromium. The problem is, the Andromium tends to, well, explode, so the only way you can safely handle it is by juggling it between your ship and your partner's ship so you can keep the Andromium cool. I managed to implement three different modes: the normal 1 Player mode is where you control the left ship and the AI controls the right. After playing that, there's an insanely hardcore New Game+ mode which requires you to steer both ships. Finally, there's the 2 player mode. All levels are procedurally generated, which really increases the replay value. It's the sort of game you need to play rather than just see or read about, and I've received unanimously positive feedback from everybody who has play-tested the game.
Where and when can we play? One unfortunate downside to working on Xbox Indie Games is that your game is unavailable in many countries, including Australia where console games are heavily regulated. Sadface. But for any readers who do live in a country that gets Indie Games, Andromium will be available on August 12 at the cost of 80 Microsoft Points. You can watch a gameplay trailer here.
What’s next for your studio – any big plans? I have one plan for expansion and one for shrinking, and which path I take depends on how successful Andromium is, I suppose.
Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry? What counts the most is that you've shipped something. Making a game needs a huge time investment, so make sure you are willing to sink all your spare time into getting your game done. It is almost impossible for a first-time developer to get an agreement for publishing platforms like XBLA or Steam, so aim for an indiscriminate platform like XBLIG or Android. Otherwise, all the advice you've heard before still applies: stick with a tiny design and don't try to clone a AAA game. Making a game is nothing like playing a game, it is hard work. But if you manage to ship your complete game, it's definitely worth it because you can then choose to either stay as an indie, or list your complete project on your CV as proof that you're capable of finishing a game, if you choose to apply for a job at an established studio.
If you're an indie developer, or a student working on a cool project, get in contact with us here if you want to be featured in an upcoming Show and Tell!