Rack N Ruin artist and co-creator Tyler Hunter has given me the opportunity to ask a few questions about his shift to the indie spotlight and what to expect from the new game. The former artist of a multi-million dollar game company now has willpower separate in order to write his own chapters in video game history with a quirky tale about little devil, this is what he has to say:
TECHZWN: How is finding a job at a large company like Blizzard the same as starting your own indie game studio? Which one do you think an aspiring game developer should try first?
Hunter: They are not much alike at all to be honest. Getting a job at a big company has a lot to do with making a very dedicated portfolio that shows your strength in a specific area. Starting and running an indie game studio requires you to flex all sorts of skills. A lot of running an indie game studio is managing the time you spend on each of your skill sets. I’m always fighting with making needed time for pure development vs marketing, making trailers, collaborating with team mates, setting up trips to show the game, worrying about money, and so forth. Its a great learning experience. However I would suggest that a person new to the field try a studio job first if possible. For starters the money is a lot better, its more secure, and the experience one gains at a big studio will be paramount in their ability to see a game through to completion.
TECHZWN: When I look at the main character battling with many upgrades floating around him, I can see influences form Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 alike. Was the development of Rack N Ruin specifically; a compelling factor in parting with Blizzard?
Hunter: I left Blizzard to start Lifespark Entertainment. Any influences my time at Blizzard have on the game in specific are probably subconscious. I do recognize that Blizzard’s token art style has had its effect on my own art style over the years and so has their philosophies on game design. However, Rack N Ruin is much more influenced by console top down action adventure offerings then point and click action RPGs, and RTSs of the PC.
TECHZWN: In the press release Rack N Ruin is compared to the Zelda serious as well as The Binding of Isaac,so I will ask you this: Can gamers expect to see a slew of quirky characters along the way, spreading personal disruption to the living folks across the land? Or will the title be more based on randomized experience to keep players constantly guessing and experimenting through a dynamic ever-changing dungeon system? Will chaos be even more widespread upon multiple completions of the game?
Hunter: Rack N Ruin definitely subscribes to the slew of quirky characters you meet dispersed across the world setup. Its similarities to Isaac are mechanical for the most part, in so that Rack is a wizard and shoots his enemies instead of swinging a sword at them which results in a more arcade driven combat system. Rack N Ruin is a purely progressive/designed experience, there are almost no randomly generate sequences. The whole handcrafted feel of the game is something that is backed up in both its art style and its world design.
TECHZWN:Which of the compositional components, such as the: animations,user interfaces, soundtrack, programming, progression tracking, or similar parts of the game did you find more challenging to complete when working with a smaller indie team?
Hunter: I think the sheer volume of animation in an HD 2D game is quite staggering, and even after all the animation I’ve put in, the community at large seems to feel that it needs more so back to the animation program I go. Since its top down game and each enemy is hand animated, they have to be animated from each angle. This has been the largest part of the game’s production without a doubt. Programming is always a lot of work, but luckily our programmer has been able to tackle all the challenges the game has presented.
TECHZWN:Since Rack N Ruin will be later developed for the Android and iOS marketplace, we can expect a game with simple controls while being connected to the internet. So will Rack N Run receive any multiplayer support to utilize these inherent aspects?
Hunter: As of right now, no multiplayer elements are planned for Rack N Ruin’s initial release. We are exploring the idea of adding in multiplayer for potential expansions.
TECHZWN: Can you discuss a few examples of how spreading destruction will be used in the name of progression. Often times in a hero’s journey a helping hand can easily be rewarded with riches and information. How is the player rewarded for destroying the world?
Hunter: It raises a philosophical question for sure and is one of the risks of making a game about a villain. Will the player feel rewarded for being a bad? Players tend to enjoy being bad guys in the GTA series but at the end of those games, the player has amassed riches. Rack is not the type of villain who amasses power or wealth, he lives for the moment. For him, its about the journey. This philosophy is explored in the game’s story, as much of the game’s central struggle is about Rack and his conflict with his controlling master who does seek power above all else. Though I’m not sure that answers the question. From a purely progressive standpoint within the game, Rack’s corruption of the world will be seen as the game progresses. Each part of the world can be corrupted and turned into a nightmare version of its prior self, and each NPC within with the world will have a story arch that will out line their eventual fall be it at Rack’s hand or their own human short comings.
For more details about Rack N Run you can access the blog, storyboard, and trailers here.