DJ Arcas is a name many will be familiar with, being the first person to create a game grossing more than one million dollars on Xbox Live Indie and all.
For the few that don’t: DJ Arcas made FortressCraft, a wonderful little game about building anything you could imagine. But fifteen months on, what is he up to now? Aside from still providing free updates for FortressCraft, of course.
The answer is FortressCraft2D: Zombie Survival, a 2D, base-building, zombie-splattering slice of fun which is generating buzz by having its entire design process open and critique-able. Hungry for more info than was available, T1 dispatched an agent to Arcas’ volcanic lair to get some greater insight into the ideas behind this very promising title.
What made you want to go from peaceful building to tower defence?
I love Tower Defence! This will be the 4th or 5th tower defence game I’ve written. Once the game idea trickled into my head, it turned out it wasn’t leaving; game ideas that won’t leave my head generally turn out to be good ones. (usually!)
Why make the design docs publicly available?
I’ve encountered an insane amount of ignorance since leaving the AAA industry and going Indie. Whilst DVDs have plenty of ‘Making of’ features, so Joe Public has a very clear idea of the cost, scope and effort that goes into a film, games rarely have the same amount of thing. Someone outright accused me of stealing the source code to Minecraft and putting it on the Xbox; a task that anyone with a modicum of coding sense would realise to be completely impossible.
As FortressCraft2D is much more of a traditional game than FortressCraft: Chapter 1, it made sense to get people in really early. If people are interested, and follow the changes in the design doc, then they can see how a game grows. You don’t sit down and flesh out an entire game in a design, then implement it wholesale. Instead, you come up with ideas, you throw away the ones that don’t seem to work, you implement the ones that continue to seem good, you evolve new ideas based on how the old ones are.
Read More in Today’s Issue of T1 Daily