The independent gaming industry has grown enormously in recent years, bringing us games like "Minecraft" and "Undertale". But how did the companies that made these brilliant games start out?
I'm hoping to shed a little light on the subject with the help of a friend of mine, James Vermont, who has recently started his own indie studio named Mutiny Media with his father.
What made you want to become a game developer?
"My granddad was a musician, my dad's a photographer, his friends are filmmakers or actors or writers. So I always jumped around in the mediums that I wanted to use to tell my stories. I got into making a game when a friend of mine introduced me to the RPGmaker engine, which of course doesn't require any code, and it was like this big flashing alarm going off in my head. This was the medium I wanted to use the most to tell the stories I wanted to tell."
You said you use RPGmaker, what are your thoughts on the engine? Does it have any limitations that make it harder to make your game?
"I love the engine, it serves as an excellent tool if you don't understand coding, and it has a very active and helpful community. Any limitations of the engine are removed by the plug-in system, where a user can mod the engine. If you use RPGmaker creatively, those limitations stop being issues. I'm not going to pretend it's a perfect engine, I've had my issues with it, but it's good for what it is."
So, tell me about your team.
"We've got two members over in the States, a writer and a musician. The musician, DJDelta0 has been a godsend, making music that calls back to the first days of CRPGs. Then down here in South Africa there are four writers, myself included. They're all people I go to film school with and have worked with in some capacity before.
Between the writing staff, we have a very wide range with some of us writing quests in a more, black comedy style whilst others go for a more dramatic style. There are several other styles that we're integrating alongside the two I mentioned.
This keeps the quests nice and varied so players aren't just going through the same motions over and over again.
We have three artists. They handle the map design, character portraits, the expressions, the Lorebook sketches, and accompanying art for the Soul Synthesis segments.
And of course, once all the assets are complete then I pull them into the engine and put the game together."
Sounds like you have a really solid team. Now, I know that you update your Facebook page and youtube frequently with videos from yourself and your team. Do you feel this is a good way to connect with your fans?
I do. Any potential players aren't just betting on the game, they're betting on the people that make it. Our developer diaries are there to show us as people trying to make a game and everything that entails, including the pre-production stage which is of course where we find ourselves now.
That's an interesting outlook. So, tell our readers about your game. What type of game is it?
"We've joined the RPG Renaissance, using the fairly text heavy storytelling style of the old Isometric RPGs like Planescape Torment and Fallout, or the more recent Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2. But of course we're mixing that in with the JRPG turn based combat that RPGmaker is equipped with."
What about the games story? What is it about?
"The story itself begins as the continent of The Hearth comes to the end of a fifteen year war, a peace treaty now in the works between the various factions that include, made gods, business and religious leaders, thieves, memories given human-physical form and even more.
The player character is nowhere near that, however, instead the game's opening sequence has the player's soul being ripped from their bodies, torn apart, sewn together with the souls of other prisoners and then put back into the player's body. After events transpire, the player finds themselves mixed up with a group of smugglers living day to day, job to job. But the player's experiences with the soul experiments gains them notoriety and soon the seven factions vying for superiority in the peace treaty all want the player's aid.
This starts off the player's experience, with the endgame a long way off from where the player starts and in between is an experience that should feel different. Magic can only be used with certain weapons equipped, crafting doesn't require you to find a dozen shiny shards of steel but instead requires you to forge a synthetic soul to merge into your weapon and a simple, generic fetch quest might end with you challenging a god on the highest mountain."
Do you think that creating videogames is going to be a sustainable career?
"I think that the sustainability of developing depends (among other things) the quality of what I've made. The more I put into creating something unique, focused and memorable the better chance I have of sustaining myself through future projects."
And finally; Where can people find out more about the game?
"There are two ways people can find out about the game. Our developer diaries, videos where I discuss the process of development as it happens. The second way is through our website and Facebook page. The website isn't quite up yet, but it won't be long now. On there people can find not only information on the game, but also the world. Short stories set in the world of the game, lore entries, artwork and music are all available there to show off what people can expect from the game."
When released, Fables Of the Hearth will be available for purchase on Steam.
If you'd like to check out the latest Development Diary for Fables of the Hearth, look below;
You can also check out their facebook pages below!