Computer Repair Simulator
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Garrett Swindell, founder of Computer Repair Simulator, kindly tool the time to answer this month's interview questions.
Q: What is Computer Repair Simulator (CRS)?
A: We are still trying to determine this answer (jokes), as it can be used for so many different things. For now, we are classifying this as a computer video game (only on Windows for now, sorry) where any user with any experience level with electronics, computers, laptops, desktops, servers, phones, etc. can learn assembly / troubleshooting / structure of these systems. We are quickly partnering with hardware and software companies, so you will begin to see them in the game soon... this will allow our users to interact with them. I keep thinking of us all being in the age of looking up YouTube videos to repair your home electronics... imagine this game being an interactive version of that, and you move at your own pace.
Q: How big is the team behind CRS and how long did it take you to create the game?
A: Here is the current team:
Garrett - programming, modeling, basic graphics, web, server, music
Euthumis Kechagioglou - website manager, marketing, press, ideas (he is also getting into programming)
Brooke Swindell - graphics / fonts
Andrew MacArthur - sound FX
I started the actual code of the game maybe in late November / early December of 2015. My personal deadline to launch the Alpha release was a day or two before I got married, so I know I cut certain corners and the bugs are showing through. It had a good 9 to 10 months of work into the game.
Q: What's the hardest part when you are designing an application like CRS?
A: If you asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have said the "fun factor" is the most difficult part to design in a game of this caliber; as you want to continue to entertain and grow your players, make them feel like they are part of a story, if you will. Now, 10 years later, I can promise you the most DIFFICULT part of designing a game is keeping organization in your code. You need to keep your code clean and organized. I have about 38,000 lines of code in Computer Repair Simulator and I can find anything within about 20 to 30 seconds if that. Without this organization and the code being large, you are in big trouble and doomed to fail.
The second hardest thing is to keep dedication to your project. It is easy to take time off, but if you do that, you will never succeed. You need to envision it and keep working, even if you are tired & exhausted.
Q: Please give us more info about the game features. How are we going to play CRS?
A: There will be several different modes. The first mode is Random Mode, which allows you to work and unlock hardware that have different hardware issues. You can't work on difficult systems right off the bat until you have earned your experience. You will be faced with extremely random hardware failures that won't make sense, but it gets you involved and learning.
The second mode would be Scenario Mode, which is a story line you work through. Once again you need to earn your experience, so you start with easy jobs and work your way up. The third mode Training will cover a game play tutorials, along with allowing you to take "in game classes", which are live scenarios that teach you electronic principles and electronic assemblies which will strengthen troubleshooting and experience within the player. The game play will be as realistic as we can make it (unless you are in Random Mode). I am an electronic engineer / product manager for my professional... I just so happen to like making video games too.
Some in-game features would include: MORE hardware, MORE software, implementation of basic tools, storyline design, central data storage, multiplayer, more skills, achievements, unlock-able features, and several others.
Q: How did you create those realistic models?
A: I am patient, and very detail oriented when it comes to hardware since I work with it everyday. One of my project requirements was to have high resolution models, that was a must. What you see in the alpha demo today is my own hardware from older computers I built many years ago (hence the semi outdated hardware from early 2000s) that are laying all over the place like a child's Lego set. I take every piece / component out and spend time measuring and modeling them. I take photographs of the hardware and use Photoshop and Texturemaker to create a texture. The motherboard texture took me 4 weeks to make, as I had to find an acceptable pattern for the circuitry, and put in all board markings and solder joints. It takes time, but I feel it is well worth it.
Q: What are your favorite game development tools?
A: I would have to say 3D Game Studio (late A7 version) for the game engine. For modeling I prefer to use Autodesk 3D Studio Max if I am licensed in that month, but MED does the trick most of the time. I use Photoshop and Texture maker for graphics. In the past I purchased Realmcrafter, Torque, and tried Unity, however I decided on 3D Game Studio.
Q: Please give us a few tips for beginners.
A: I grew up with a passion to make a video game, and I still have that passion. Without passion, you will not make it in the Indie Game Development world, especially if you work 40 hours a week and spend your own personal money on software / licensing / legal fees. That would be my #1. I grew up reading on every website that "99% of all Indie Games fail, don't even try"...I accepted that challenge. Don't listen to what others have to say, if you feel in your heart that you have an opportunity in your hands, take it with the risks and see it through.
I hope I was able to share some ideas and personality with you in regards to Computer Repair Simulator. I am extremely excited to see what the future holds, especially seeing over 10,000 downloads within one month.
Thank you, Garrett!