Joining The Switch Effect on today’s Industry Interview is Christopher Toman, indie game developer for Sorax Entertainment and currently working on Steel Skies, a 3D side scrolling SHMUP with 2D game play. With Steel Skies currently in development, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to learn more!
Christopher, thank you for giving us this interview. Before we get into it, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with the gaming industry?
Hi, I’m a hobby game developer and I’m 17 years old. I started developing games when i was 13 and i just fell in love with the idea of designing something complex like a game. It happened over one RTS, when i realized there is more thought to it then i have ever imagined. There were three main nations, all with different buildings, units, and upgrades. There i saw the balance between them. Therefore, I asked my older brother if he could teach me programming and that was the origin of my hobby that will hopefully one day turn out as a full-time job.
What was your first console/game you owned?
The first official game I owned was Settlers IV, but it was too complicated for just a five year old kid. In those days, my brother had many installed games on my PC. The first games I remember playing are Age of Empires 2, Stronghold Crusader, Need for Speed 2 and Roller Coaster Tycoon. Around 13 years, I got my first and only console: PSP. It was an awesome handheld and with that, I finished the GTA: Liberty City Stories on it.
Growing up, what inspired you to pursue a career in the gaming industry?
Just by seeing other games being fun and ‘pleasing’, that inspired me to re-create the same experience. Trying to analyze them and define the main elements is always hard and challenging. However, I like that challenge and it hasn’t stopped me from doing game dev so far.
Can you tell us a little bit more about Steel Skies and how this game came to be?
Development started on summer holidays. Originally, there was our old manager; he defined the game, split the work and organized everything. In the team, there was a music composer, a storywriter, an artist, a manager and me as a programmer. However, suddenly our manager had to step off and other members didn’t have time or got into a crisis. Only the writer and I stayed on the project and I took the manager spot. In that time we had the basic core of the game done and that was the main motivation to continue. Then we hired more developers and continued developing the game until this point.
Can you provide an update as to the current status?
The game is currently in Pre-Alpha state and some of the key features are missing. One specific enemy, for example, is a balloon that will just fall from the sky. If you hit it, it’ll kill you immediately because the balloon is packed with explosives. Other than that, leaderboards and other competitive features.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in developing your own game?
Managing has been the biggest obstacle for me. I have learned a lot from this project and the biggest lesson I have learned is about the scope of the project. The original idea was ambitious so we had to scale it down.
Is there an expected release date at this time?
Yes, it is February 19, 2018.
Let’s “switch” gears a bit. We at The Switch Effect are obviously huge fans of Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch. What are your thoughts on the system?
Unfortunately I don’t own one and didn’t make any research about their dev kits. Besides that, I really like this new system and personally always admired Nintendo for their different approach. Specifically, the Switch’s concept is interesting as it combines a portable console with a gamepad-based one.
Could fans expect to see Steel Skies release onto the Switch in the future?
I’m afraid not. This project has small scope and mainly it will be our first. Therefore, the main targeted platform will still be the mobile.
Where can our readers follow future updates from you?
They can follow us on Twitter (@SoraxOfficial) and we’re preparing Discord server. Besides social media, there is much information on our temporary website (https://goo.gl/KnBctB).
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share?
On this short journey, I really understood that a team is really important to me. Because of this, I don’t want to work alone ever again.
Thank you again Christopher for taking the time to speak with The Switch Effect. All of us look forward to continued updates and the eventual release of Steel Skies!
Use the links below to follow Christopher and Steel Skies.