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Steamroll – Interview with the developers

Guys from Anticto answered few questions about their new game Steamroll and also told us more about the studio itself. It's their first game on the market and we were obliged to ask them about the history and development!

We got the opportunity to ask the questions below directly Jordi Rovira from Anticto. And hopefully the answers will give you much better knowledge about the team and will satisfy your curiosity :-). Of course, you can buy Steamroll on Steam for $11.99.

And if you are reading this and there is still no popup at the bottom right side then come back later because we will start today a new weekly giveaway. And this time there will be 15 keys of Steamroll to win!!!

Hello Jordi! Can you tell us something about your studio? How many of you are working on Steamroll? How old is the studio? Simply, please introduce yourselves and the background of your team members.

Anticto was born 5 years ago with the target of becoming an independent game development studio. After an experience of more than 8 years developing games in big companies (Digital Legends, Realtime Worlds, Blueside), we decided to start by developing middleware for third parties to make the business sustainable until we could start developing our own games. 2 years ago we reached that point and we started to create our own games. The studio is tiny! We are currently 3 in-house developers and we work with a freelance musician. We also receive help from students who are starting their game development careers.

Is Steamroll your first game? Do you plan now to make another one? When and what?

Steamroll is our first game, and we plan to do many as we can! We already have 4 other concepts in development but we have to save money first to be able to start one of them. This means we may need to work for third parties for some time unless Steamroll makes a lot of money. We’ll choose the next project after another brainstorming session in the mid-term.

The game is just few weeks on Steam. Are the sales ahead of your expectations or the opposite? Are you happy and satisfied with the outcome?

Being our first game in Steam, we didn’t have a clear expected number of sales. Moreover we decided to ignore the myriad of marketing companies assaulting indies these days and try to do it our own way, which is not ideal. Overall the sales are below what we need to make up for the money invested, but we are just starting and having completed the game is already a victory for us!

Steamroll Scarabeus Steamroll gameplay mechanic

How was the whole concept created? I mean, miner in a Scarabeus ball. That is quite unique and the idea behind it seems pretty original.

This project was born from some ideas around game mechanics. The initial game concept was more focused on the design of the Steamballs, with much more complex elements, and without any sort of prediction hinting the player. It was almost like programming! We realised that the game was shaping to be too hard even for hardcore players, so we simplified its mechanics. Before the idea of the Scarabeus as a mobile factory, the bases were supposed to be fixed, and the player was supposed to shoot himself inside a steamball to move between bases! After some prototypes we were happy with the combinations of gameplay elements and it became the current game.

Let’s talk more about the game. From our review it’s clear that the game is not very easy. How difficult for you was to prepare the puzzles? Were there any disputes and fights over the layout, difficulty, how should everything work and similar topics?

Designing the puzzles was hard. That was one of the reasons we went to Early Access: to get feedback from the players and see what kind of levels they liked. We had to discard many level designs that were not fun, or repetitive. For us, repetition is one of the things that kills some puzzle games, so we tried to make levels with something new and unique on each of them. The team is made of 2 programmers and one artist, no designer, so we shared the level design. We usually built a prototype of a level with boxes and spheres individually and then pass it to the other 2 members as a challenge. After some iteration to refine it we would approve or discard that level.

The graphics looks really nice. Are you using Unreal Engine 4? Were you thinking about other engines?

We are using Unreal Engine 4 because it is one of the engines we had experience with, since we use it for some of the third-party projects we participate on. Unreal Engine has many virtues and a few problems. We love the rendering part: the lighting and shadowing is great, and the material system is ideal for the steampunk metallic look. The tools are also great for quick prototyping which was very important for us. And finally you get access to the full source code which is a guarantee that you won’t be locked out by a bug you cannot solve. We have a technical background, so for us in an ideal world we would use our own engine. But we don’t have the 2 or 3 years of time to develop it!

Steamroll puzzle solvingSteamroll steampunk graphic style

Lewis who did the review was pleased by the music and sounds but wanted to hear more. Will you prepare any update to enrich the music? And fix short loops which were annoying in the game?

Actually yes. We have some additional music loops to add to some levels of the game. We use a “dynamic music” that tries to seamlessly evolve the music as the player progresses on a level, that’s why we sometimes have too much repetition and we need to add some more variation. Moreover we’ll try to release the soundtrack with some of the extra compositions that we didn’t use in the final game.

What about the updates in general. Do you plan to support and develop more features for the game? I could see that you already made Leaderboards on Steam few days ago. What else are you going to add?

We will provide some minor updates (bugfixing, optimisation, more music), and if people likes the game and we can afford to spend more time we may add new levels outside the main Mine story-line in a different section. When we originally designed the game, we wanted to do much more (of course :)) and we started discussing different gameplay styles more based on exploration, survival or even multiplayer. We would love to develop these modes further, but it will all depend on the commercial success or failure of the game.

Steamroll puzzle´s difficultiesSteamroll operating instructions

One simple question for you. Are you proud of your game? But honestly, what would you change or made better? There must be a lot of things on your mind that could have been improved, am I right?

From my personal point of view: Along my career, I have worked in a project that lasted 6 years (APB), and another one is already on its 8th year of development. All with teams of more than a hundred developers. When you work on such huge projects you don’t feel very relevant. We are proud of Steamroll because it is entirely our game, from design to programming, to promotion. It is a delight to be in control and we are happy when we see people reacting positively to it. If we had to redo it again, we would have probably spent more time in game and level design, and we would have created more community focused, with tools for players to create their own designs. This is not easy in Unreal, but it can be done.

Thank you for the answers. Would you like to say something else to our readers?

Thanks for reading this far! Please support indie games 😉

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