An Interview With … – The Basement Studios

Hello,my name is Luke and I’m the Co-founder of Indie Gamers, Id firstly like to thank you greatly for agreeing to be interviewed by myself and I look forward to reviewing your app in the future.

1.When and why was the development team formed?

Hey!  First of all I’d like to thank you Luke for giving us the opportunity an interview.  We’re a very small indie game development team and we need all the support and exposure we can get. I’m Andreas Grech, the programmer on the game. With me are Cameron Saliba, who’s our graphic designer and Richard Schembri, our website developer.

About five months ago, I started working on a prototype for a typing-shooter game in Unity. A week and a half later, I showed it to Cameron and he was really psyched about it!   And that’s when our little indie game dev “company” was born. Roughly two months later, I approached Richard who’s an old schoolmate of ours and told him about the plans I had for a website which would store and display detailed player and game session statistics.  He liked the idea and came onboard to take charge of this website.

2.Who formed the team?

I started working on the game alone, but I’m a programmer by trade and graphic design is not my forte…far from it.  So when Cameron joined the team, he took charge of the graphic design process around the game and started working on making the game look beautiful.

3.Who is now a member of the team?

We are now three dudes in total and together we’ve decided to call ourselves The Basement Studios.

4.Where did the name of “The Basement Studios” come from?

Stereotypically enough, we “operate” from a basement and thus it was very appropriate to name our team that.  Working in a basement has its benefits; for starters, we can immerse ourselves working on the game without any social distractions from the outside.  In fact, the only time we need to leave the basement is when we need our coffee fix…but that’s only until I manage to acquire some coffee machine to leave in our room.

5.What are the general views on games such as favorite genres and titles for the developers?

I personally think nostalgia’s a bitch, because I always melt whenever I reminiscence with my mates (and alone…) about the old point and click adventures I used to play on the Amiga 600 and 1200, but up until recently I was a WoW addict for ~7 years as well. Richard is mostly into retro style games especially those which have 16bit pixel art. His favourite genres are Shooters, Strategy games and the odd beat em up.  His favourite game(s) are the two No More Heroes games on the Wii; he’s really into that quirky style! Cameron, on the other, is more into action-adventure games and you can usually find him playing AAA games on the PS3 or Vita.

6.What games have the team developed in their past?

As a team, this is our first game; in the past, I wrote a game called The Lost Battle with Gosu and Chipmunk in Ruby, and co wrote the original Typocalypse game with XNA in C#.  Cameron had helped me with some of the in-game graphics for The Lost Battle as well.  Apart from that, I had also written a small game in JavaScript which simulates The Monty Hall Problem. Richard also developed a game with Gosu and Chipmunk in Ruby. It was a clone of the NES Kung Fu game but in an endurance mode format.  He also created a turn based RPG in Silverlight which incorporated the Farseer Physics Engine.

6.What is the team’s current project?

We are currently working on a game called Typocalypse 3D which we’ve aptly categorized as a web typing-shooter game.  I am writing the game in Unity, reason being I simply wanted to learn the Unity game engine and what better way to do so than to write an actual game in it? The game will be released and playable online and we are currently planning to host the game on multiple sites, starting with Kongregate.com. We also have plans for a companion site, and that’s the project that Richard is working on.  In this website, we will show saved game session statistics and players will be able to compare their score with leaderboards and detailed analytics.

As a side project, I’m also currently porting my old The Lost Battle game to Unity just so that I get it online, because the old is too complicated to install and run (and only works on linux); and for keeping with the retro theme, I’m writing the game in vim only 😉

7.Do the team have any future developments planned?

Once the game is officially released online, we plan to start working on building a website that represents our team.  This website will be our identity, and we’ll use it as a portfolio for our future games. We have bounced a couple of new game ideas around but for the time being we still haven’t decided on what we will be working on next.  What I’m pretty sure about though is that for our next game, we will be experimenting with incorporating different genres.

8.What was your Inspiration for this game?

Back in 2010, my friend Marc Tanti and I attended a two-day XNA course at our local university, and for the second day the instructor told us to come up with a small XNA game; so we teamed up, rushed to the basement, and in ~15 hours we came up with a typing game we called Typocalypse.  Both Marc and I worked on the programming of the game round the clock to try and get as much work done as possible in the few hours that we had.  When the gameplay was finished at ~5 in the morning, Marc recorded the sound effects and ambiance and then we left the basement to go and show off our game to the class. Because of this, I chose to “rewrite” this old typing game in 3D as my first project in Unity…and now we have Typocalypse 3D!

9.How long has it taken you to develop the game from scratch so far?

I started writing the first prototype in January 2013, so up till now, it’s been about ~six months.  All three of us currently have day jobs, so we have to work nights to keep up progress, although I’ve recently quit my programming day job and starting from August, I will have more time to work on the game and other projects.  We meet about twice a week at the basement and try to get as much work done before the sun rises.  It’s not easy, but we’re very passionate about it.

10.What have been the good and bad points during the development stage of the game?

Although working in Unity has been a great experience for us, that’s not to say that it was a bed of roses either.  I did encounter some very frustrating issues with it along the way, but then again there was nothing that wasn’t too problematic to solve. We currently also lack a 3D artist in the team.  Because of this, we had to find most of our in-game models online but we are hoping to replace them in the future if we find someone who’s able to fulfill this task.

11.Do the developers have any future plans for the game?, if yes, what?

Oh definitely, loads actually; too much probably…then again, who doesn’t? Our goal at the moment is to get the game up and running on Kongregate.  After that, depending on how the game performs on Kongregate, we have a couple of new ideas and concepts we’d like to introduce to the game, such as the Story mode (currently we only have an Endurance mode in the game), boss fights, and also multiple levels.

12.What are your views on the game, such as art,game sounds,storyline ect?

Since the original Typocalypse was written in 2D, as for my first Unity project I thought it would be a cool exercise to “rewrite” the original game in 3D.  The original Typocalypse had a spooky kind of atmosphere, where with the new one, we took a more upbeat approach pumping in two electronic tracks, for the start menu and the first level. But we currently have plans to take a more ambiance oriented approach, by including more sound effects based on the different actions that take place in the game.  For this approach, the in game music will be changed to background music, allowing the sound effects to be clearly heard and understood. The game currently only has one of the two game modes available: Endurance mode.  This mode has no plot or storyline; just one goal: attaining the highest score.  Once the game is officially released, players can compete with each other with multiple statistics ranging from Highest Score and Combo Multiplier to Total Headshots and Total Enemies Killed.

Where can we send fans and interested indie gamers?

We are on twitter https://twitter.com/0xTheBasement and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thebasementstudios.

Ok thanks for taking part in this interview with us and we here at Indie Gamers.co.uk would like to wish you the best!

No Problem, thanks for having us.

 

About Luke Barlow

Co-founder of IGUK! Writer, hoarder of Indie Titles, and overall gaming enthusiast. HL3 Confirmed?

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