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Liam Schnell has created a project that looks like a regular arcade game, but has a few interesting, original twists. Read the interview below to learn more about his project.
Q: How would you describe Gravix? What type of game is it?
A: From the plot it’s a dedication to post-apocalyptic “save the world” games and arcade games. Robots from outer space (from the Earth perhaps?) conquer a tiny little planet and you are the hero who tries to free the planet by skillfully floating through different levels, solving tasks and even fighting directly against the enemy. You get help from a friendly “commander” – leader of the planetary rebellion.
While moving you have to take different grades of gravitation into account, which makes it sometimes quite puzzling to solve your task. And it is the reason why the game is called “Gravix”. Until now Gravix got fifty levels as single player mode and nine levels as multiplayer mode.
Q: How much did it take you to create the game?
A: I worked at Gravix until now for about seven months and altogether about 660 hours. It started as a project to teach myself using physics in Lite-C and grew to an own game due to the excellent feedback of the game studio forum community. So I learned the code, learned using the WED, created every object used within the game as well as the level designs. It’s a trip that always leaves me even hungrier once I start to understand a matter instead of satisfying me. However, looking back I see that I have gone quite a few miles already, no matter how far to go yet.
Q: What is, in your opinion, the best method to learn lite-C programming?
A: I love the workshops of Game Studio. They are just the best I’ve ever had to learn something. They are funny, they stick to the topic and don’t come up with content aside game-programming. Every lesson increases the anticipation to make your own game. Let me tell you what I’ve done to learn lite-C; since I don’t regard myself as a specialist I can’t really tell what is the best method. But I can tell you what I did to learn Lite-C with these workshops:
- I did NOT copy / paste from the workshop, I wrote down EVERY code I found or read on my own;
- I edited the graphics / code in every lesson. In the lesson where you learn how-to use panels, I made my own panels, integrated them until it looked like I would want it in my own game;
- I regard the workshops as a support, not something I have to follow;
- I stayed patient. I did not wreck my keyboard. I used a wooden stick and killed a few of my pillows. That was it;
- I reduced my goals until they became realistic – from creating a better Grand Theft Auto to a marble that is rolling around with 2-3 special abilities…
Oh and… I did NOT copy / paste…
Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to face while developing the game?
A: The biggest challenge is coming up – as always actually. I am afraid of implementing the Desura API to Gravix in order to give you the possibility of collecting achievements and similar things. Besides that I find it hard sometimes to stay motivated solving the problems and to stay creative, finding new ideas to implement in the game. Once I solved a problem I feel very enthusiastic, but until the sun is shining there seems to be always a lot of frustrating and annoying rain. I’d prefer to have it more simple but then again this might be something that differs in real life from a well programmed game – as my sometimes very annoying as well father keeps telling me: "the level of frustration in real life is higher by far. But to balance that the gain is a lot less". Thanks to the GameStudio forum I found equally minded people who understand my troubles and give great support as well
Q: Can you give us more information about the power-ups? What are their names and what do they do?
A: The power-ups aren’t always available and you can only use them in the corresponding level packs. Here is a list of all power-ups I created until now:
- Tutorial:no power-ups;
- Levelpack 1:no power-ups;
- Levelpack 2:lightning bolt to turn off generators;
- Levelpack 3:becoming invisible / lightning bolt;
- Levelpack 4: no power-ups;
- Levelpack 5: arcade shooter (completely different gameplay);
- Levelpack 6: switch through dimensions (normal and parallel world).
Q: When will we be able to buy a copy of Gravix?
A: I released every version for free, the last free version is 5.4 and you can download it here: http://www.indiedb.com/games/gravix/downloads/igf-version-with-graphic-update
However it will be the last free version and you will be able to buy the game for about 4,99 € probably in April 2011. There will be further downloadcontent (DLC) for free afterwards as well, new maps, maybe some bonus level packs, …
Q: What would you like to see implemented in the A8 engine in the future?
A: I am looking forward to the next PhysX features. And I hope there will be clothes and fluids and soft bodies in the A8 engine. I’ve got tons of ideas to that (meaning another tons of frustration trying to realize it – I know). A new compiler with new lightnig system would also be cool. And the possibilities to have Mac and Linux users play Gravix, too. J
Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners out there.
A: Don’t search a team for an MMORPG and build up an “enterprise”…(don’t bother if you don’t understand this). Have fun while working, a lack of motivation is okay for a while as long as you don’t start with another idea. Publish what you’ve got in order to get feedback. I love our Gamestudio forum for this, almost everyone gives good and constructive advices – excepting the cases when they hear of enterprises and MMORPGs.
Thank you a lot, Liam!