Dmitry Dryzhak from Team Krealit joins TPG in our newest interview session. Dmitry goes into extreme detail to give readers a glimpse into the development process of their upcoming title, Guns N Zombies.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Guns N Zombies.
Hello, friends! My name is Dmitry, i`m a lead artist and game designer in Krealit. I would like to introduce you team members:
Yuliya – textures and ambience artist, 3d modeler, and teams mascot.
Andrey – game designer, programmer of some tough stuff.
Alexander – programmer, code breaker. He`s trying to keep it in secret, but everyone knows that he is a robot.
Martin – perspective newcomer, programmer, cameraman.
Alex – PR manager, Google ninja, and just a good guy.
How did you get started in developing PC games?
That’s simple, some guys, who wished to professionally make games that they like, met one day. The wish was so strong, that it overcame all problems.
Where did the idea for Guns N Zombies come from?
Actually, we were playing Left 4 dead, and decision to make zombie game was obvious, but we didn’t want to clone the game. However, we tried to save one feature – replayability. This feature in Left 4 dead looks so intuitive and alive, that every round is like the first one. It is one of the goals in Guns N Zombies development.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Guns N Zombies?
I believe that the biggest success is a really interesting gameplay. Even when I play the level, which I’ve played a million times, it’s hard to stop. Our pride is the AI, and unique behavior of the zombies.
As for failures, we couldn’t make a big open world available for exploration, where player could walk anywhere, find some secret places, and etc. Generally, we wanted to make a game, like a classic RPG. I hope that we will make it in the next project fith all our experience.
In its current form, how close is Guns N Zombies to your initial vision?
As for gameplay, it’s just as we thought. But in case of design, it changed totally. At first, we wanted to make some fancy candy popular design, but what the hell? It’s a zombie apocalypse! So we have a lot of blood, scary monsters, horrifying ambience, and everything is serious.
Some devs admitted their games were too hard upon release because they became experts as they developed the game. Talk about setting the difficulty levels for Guns N Zombies and if you faced a similar challenge.
There was a lot of wars about this issue. If the game is very hard, it’s impossible to complete levels. On the other hand, if the game is too easy it will be boring. The answer here is polishing of balance and testing. We will try to engage players in beta testing. Anyway, the player will have to use brains to complete each level. Press “X” to win is not a case.
Were there any challenges you faced in ensuring Guns N Zombies would run on the various PC system configurations?
Optimization of the game is a question of great importance. For now, Guns N Zombies can be played even on the Netbooks, but the biggest part of work is in days to come.
Please talk about developing the art style, level design and music for Guns N Zombies.
Main idea of design was to introduce a combination of classic zombie hordes and some fresh look. The game starts in typical ruined city, but when you reach final levels you’ll see something extraordinary for the zombie apocalypse world. I would like to show you those levels, but it will be a spoiler. Also we tried to make unique zombies, you’ll meet mutated cops, scientists, McDonalds cashiers, even the mutated bulls! There will be a lot of nice enemies. As for the music, we just said that we need “drive and action”, and musician did it.
Outside of creating the game itself, what is the toughest aspect of being an indie developer?
Obviously – public relations. It’s not a secret that there is a lot of indie games today, and it’s very hard to let people know about your game. By the way, thank you very much!
How did you go about funding Guns N Zombies and did you receive financial or emotional support from friends and family?
It`s just impossible to make a project without support of our friends and families. We are very grateful to them! Actually, when you start creating such a complicated project, every positive feedback, every comment, and just attention stimulates us.
Tell us about the process of submitting Guns N Zombies to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
We recently started solving this problem. There is some ways to distribute the game in bundles, and on the specific distribution platforms. It’s hard to submit an indie game but not impossible. Especially we need help on the Steam Greenlight, each vote is very important. If the game will be greenlit, it will be a great win for us!
Did you research similar titles when trying to come up with the launch price?
Of course! We certainly understand specific of the games like Guns N Zombies and not going to set a high price. Actually we need attention more than money right now. Also we will bring a lot of gifts for the community members.
Can you tell us why you chose to release a demo for Guns N Zombies?
We believe that every demo player can see the basics of the game and decide if he likes this type of game or not. Also, we want to engage more people in our community. There are a lot of issues in the demo version, but it’s not a problem! Gamers who like this game can see how it changes day by day, until release. When we released demo version #2 there was a lot of changes, and players commented about it.
How important is it to get instant feedback about Guns N Zombies from users through online message boards and other social networking sites?
We appreciate any attention, even the negative feedback. Players say what they like, and what they don’t like about Guns N Zombies, so we can edit some thing in the game. Our community is our friend, and this friend helps us a lot!
How much value do you place on the opinions of those who review Guns N Zombies professionally?
It’s very important for us! Every review can help us make this game better, and spread a word about it. There was a lot of important advices form professionals!
How do you feel about the various indie bundle promotions and the “Pay What You Want” pricing methodology? Would you be interested in contributing to a project like that in the future?
Yes, of course! Bundles are very popular this days, so we decided to use it in our promotion strategy. Pay What You Want is a great option too. People who use this pricing methodology have very friendly attitude, so developers and gamers can come to an understanding.
What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
It’s a big problem, but I think that it depends on the attitude of gamers, not the law. Eventually, it’s a developers job to make every player become his friend, who would like to support the game. If you don’t wish to connect with your players, no laws can help you in this case.
How do you feel about individuals posting videos of Guns N Zombies?
It’s great! People who make letsplay movies show us that our game is interesting to them.
How do you feel about DLC and its current implementation in the PC gaming industry?
As a gamer, I would like to buy the DLCs that are released, and not bother anymore about the game. As a developer, I’m glad that I can produce more content for the game, after its release. Ultimately it depends on the quality of the DLC, if it’s more than a new skin or gun for the character, I would buy it.
How do you feel about the online modding community in general and specifically if mods were created for Guns N Zombies?
Mods are great! If people can use a game as the way to show their creativity, it’s awesome! Also the history can show some games that were mods, but became a worldwide bestsellers. Dota, Conter Strike, and other great titles were just mods in the beginning. I hope that we will have a chance to let our players add mods to Guns N Zombies. Players made guns, turrets, cars, locations, all that things would be great to see.
What advice would you give up-and-coming indie PC developers who are trying to break into the business?
Don’t give up! Independent game development is a great challenge, so there will be a lot of hard days, when you’ll start thinking that your work is needless and futile. Keep working, study, and improve your skill every day! One more advice: start making your community as early as possible! When people see your progress, they inspire you to be better tomorrow, because they believe in you. It can be a simple web page with forum or chat, or a Facebook official page, but you need it! – End
TPG thanks Dmitry and everyone at Team Krealit. We wish them all the best in their continuing development efforts. You can download the demo via the official site, pledge on Kickstarter and make your voice heard using Steam Greenlight.