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Q: When did you start to create games? Is this your first release?
A: Yes, this is our first release. For a short time we worked on some 2D game before we put our efforts fully into Daemonica but we never got really far with that project.
Q: How many people are in your team and how long did it take you to create Daemonica?
A: Well, the most of Daemonica was done by only two people. I wrote the story, dialogues (so I am the one to blame for them being so long) and coded the game. My friend and co-worker Karel "Charlie" Samonil made all the graphics (both 2D art and 3D textures), animations and models. We were helped by several people (some of them worked for our Czech publisher - Cinemax) with graphics (box cover, manual, press materials), programming (installer, database tool for testing of dialogues) and betatesting. Cinemax also put us in contact with a guy who later composed the great music for the game.
We were also helped a lot by what has been shared by all of the 3DGS community. For example Timo Stark's (aka TripleX) publicly available sound plugin made our work much easier. And by the way - your pathfinding code in one of the older AUMs really helped us a lot too! We finished Daemonica in a bit over one year, not counting some two months it took us to get a grip of 3DGS and for me to learn to script (which was quite far from anything I'd done before).
Q: What game feature was the most difficult to code?
A: The pathfinding took me quite a long time to code before I made it work the way it does now. I've also come across some problems with memory consumption - we're talking of time two years ago so there were no compressed textures or any kind of memory management we could use. Getting everything we needed into the memory while making the game run even on PCs with lower RAM was a real challenge. I wish I had all the new cool A6 features back then!
Q: Many engine users have stated that Daemonica doesn’t look like a typical 3DGS game. What are the explanations for this, in your opinion?
A: There's a really simple answer to this. Firstly - all you can see in our game are models imported from 3D modeling software. We don't use any level geometry at all. Secondly - it's all about the textures. Your models can be fairly simple if your textures are great. You have to tile your textures wisely so that the repetitions (mainly on terrains) are not obvious. I'm really lucky to work with an extremely talented graphic artist and I think that's what really made all the difference. Thirdly - if you don't want your game to "look like a typical 3DGS game", don't use the knight model and the big red mouse pointer.
Q: What was the biggest mistake that you’ve made while you were developing the game?
A: Well, we really did make some mistakes. I guess that the biggest one would be that I have underestimated the effort I should've put into making the game texts and graphics easily localizable. As a result, every single language version we had to make took us much more time than was really necessary.
Q: Are you happy with Daemonica’s sales so far?
A: It's still a bit too early to say how well the game sells in the USA, Canada and Germany, but I think I can say that we're very happy with the sales in general so far. For example the Russian version of Daemonica sells extremely well.
Q: What should I do with my game in order to attract a publisher’s attention? How did you get the contract with Meridian 4?
A: We didn't contact Meridian4 by ourselves. It was Cinemax - a Czech publisher that we were lucky to find right at the beginning. I think that if you made a really great game you will surely find a publisher. Set up a nice website, take some great-looking screenshots and mail just about everyone you can think of. Just don't give up - it may take some time.
Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.
A: I don't want to be the only one who doesn't say it, so here it comes: start small. When you approach a publisher, they don't really care that your game world is 5 zillion square kilometers if it looks ugly and is filled with two types of a palm tree and some rocks. Make an extremely small level and make it look extremely good. They will know that if you can show awesome characters in a amazingly looking room, making more is just a matter of money (and a lot of supervision).
Don't start by assembling a team consisting of ten inexperienced strangers. All you really need is one or two people you know, who want to make games as much as you do. Decide who's more skilled at graphics and who's better at coding. Take your time and learn. Together, you can really achieve a lot - you can trust me on that.
Thank you a lot, Ales.