Ryan Alcock is the developer of Missile Control, a game that Johannes reviewed yesterday. Missile Control comes along with a fresh gameplay, why we honored the game by giving 20 Playandroid points and the bronze review medal. Fresh game, fresh developer, please welcome a new face in our pantheon!
Interview by Frederik Schrader.
10 Questions for Ryan Alcock / Blunt Instrument Studios
1. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Ryan Alcock and I’m the co-founder of Blunt Instrument Studios. I live in Sydney, Australia. I previously worked for a couple of game development companies here in Sydney. My first job in the games industry was at Perception working on the Stargate FPS game (that’s a few years ago now). My main area of expertise lies with 3d graphics engine coding. Now I make games!
2. What made you want to be a game developer?
I’ve always been a game developer I guess. I made games in high school and in my free time. I was distracted for a few years whilst going to Uni and got deep into the computer graphics research. All that stuff got me a job in the games industry which was a dream come true. After a few years I felt I needed to make my own visions into reality. So here I am trying to live the indie dream!
3. What platforms do you develop games for and why?
I will make a game for any platform. I especially like tablets at the moment. They give you so much gaming potential whilst being portable. Our studio’s goal is to make all our games as multi-platform as possible. This is the main reason we’re using the Unity engine. I think it’s essential to get your products to the widest possible audience. Especially when you’re first starting out.
4. What are your experiences in porting games between two platforms?
For our first game Missile Control we managed to release the Android and iOS versions within 1 day of each other. I think this is awesome. We kept switching between the different platforms during the development cycle, just to make sure we got everything working right. I plan on making the game available on PC/Mac as well. The only problem here is I haven’t figured out how we’re going to distribute yet.
5. How do you get inspiration for a game?
Usually from beer and playing other games. Myself and Przemek bounce ideas off each other all the time. I try write them all down (good and bad) and then inject a bit of liquid inspiration to develop them. I also get a lot of ideas just before I fall asleep at night. It’s quite annoying having to send myself email reminders from the mobile phone at my bedside!
6. How long does it take for you to write a game from start to finish?
With Missile Control we tried to target a 3 month cycle and make it really simple but it ended up taking longer and we added more content than originally intended. It took about 8 months of part time work to finish it. We both work full time jobs seperate from our Blunt Instrument work. I think it’s really important to start with small games when trying to kickstart a studio. The more games you can make the better you’ll get at it. We’ve learnt so much from our first game that will help us with the next. I can see that snowballing from here on. One day we’d like to make a game that has a development cycle of a couple of years but we want to be able to fund it ourselves and not rely on any publishing deals for survival.
7. What are the biggest technical challenges when you develop a game?
My biggest technical challenge is usually maintaining high performance and quality levels over as many platforms as possible.
8. What do you think the future of gaming will look like?
Some kind of mobile platform that doubles as a home console when you want it to. Think of blend between the Apple Air play features and the Wii U.
9. What is your favorite game at the moment and why?
At the moment I’m playing a lot of the new X-Com game. It’s just awesome. I also really enjoyed Hotline:Miami.
10. What is your advice for new developers?
Game development in small teams is all driven by passion. You need to love what you do and start as small as possible. Keep reducing the project size until you finish and release a game. Repeat! Also, attend any a local development group meet ups. It’s great to talk with people who have the same interests and goals as you.