logo-mini
AIE Incubator developers go Bearzerkers

AIE Incubator developers go Bearzerkers

AIE Incubator developers go Bearzerkers

11-Jun-2014

Wildgrass Games is introducing their debut title Bearzerkers to the world and you can help them develop it.

In Bearzerkers you play as an Armadillo trapped on a small island with up to 3 friends. Just when you thought life couldn’t be better a Panda is dropped onto the island and begins chasing the closest Armadillo in attempt to satisfy its thirst for Armadillo meat. In this speedy arcade multiplayer arena, you don’t have to run faster than the bear to survive, just faster than the person next to you.



We caught up with Tom (technical Artist), Alex (Programmer) and Parisa (Texture Artist) from Wildgrass Games to find out more about the Beazerkers development process. While your reading the interview you can download the public demo for windows (direct download link - 76.6 MB)

How did Wildgrass Games form?

Tom: Wildgrass got together in late 2012 as our studies at AIE were wrapping up. We’d worked on a number of game jams together towards the end of the year, liked working with each other and wanted that to continue. The AIE’s Incubator Program had just started up that year and we wanted to get straight into making games instead of working towards a particular role in a larger studio. We applied, were accepted and began working in the Incubator offices together in February 2013.

How will the alpha access available to most Kickstarter backers affect the development of Bearzerkers?

Tom: The broader strokes of our games design are defined, but how we get there and all the little details in between really are dependent on the game being played as new things are created to see if they’re fun. Bringing more people into this process means a wider range of opinions will be heard which will mean that we’ll be able to have a better idea of how well the game is doing overall. We test the game a lot ourselves but we can do it at times with blinders on to things that somebody new to the game might pick up as an issue straight away.

It’s not all about finding what’s wrong with the game in its early stages though, it’s equally important to know what’s good and how people are enjoying the game. That feedback is always a lot more fun to hear too.

Alex: Having backers play our game early on will allow us to gather valuable information from actual players, and allow us to improve and fix the game as the project goes on.

Bearzerkers started off development during a game jam. What was the theme and was this the first idea that the team had?

Parisa: The game jam theme that Berzerkers originated from was “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. We had a tough time thinking of a game idea we would settle on and we went through quite a few ideas over a number of hours. At the end of it we settled on a having a game revolving around the Tron light cycle mechanic and figured that having an enemy chasing after you would work well with it and still work within the theme. This process took longer than it looks and usually this time takes about a couple of hours before we actually start working on the game. During the game jam we called the game Pandamonium.

Tom: The reason Pandamonium featured a rabid Panda hunting Armadillos was that I had gone into the jam telling everybody that no matter what the game was that we were making, I wanted to model and animate a bear, luckily our game’s concept as ridiculous as it is worked well with that! Armadillos were chosen because I didn’t have time to rig and animate two characters over the weekend, and we could easily just have the Armadillos rolled up and have Alex rotate them through the game’s movement code.


What has been the most challenging aspect of development so far?

Parisa: Trying to get out of a 48 development cycle and learning how to get a good workflow with well thought out ideas and plans and just reiterating on various aspects of the game. While you can get a lot of development experience out of rapid prototyping that’s only a fraction of a whole development cycle of a full product game. This is also our first time doing business and marketing on our game and have realized that it takes up a lot of our time, especially Kickstarter.

Tom: Juggling the balance between working on business stuff and actively working on the game has definitely been the toughest aspect, it’s something we’re still struggling to figure out!

When you demo the game at expos what has the response been like?

Alex: The response at expos to our game has always been great. The most uplifting factor about showing our game at expos is that every single person who plays the game enjoys themselves, and has fun. Even those who are reluctant, or nearly refuse to play, finish by telling us how much fun they playing, and how great the game is.

What was the process like for setting up the Kickstarter?

Parisa: If you expect it to take a month you’re wrong. Give yourself two instead of one to setup your Kickstarter alone.

Tom: It was a crazy rush of events; a few other things had been delayed in our plans leading up to the Kickstarter that made hitting our planned date pretty rough. At the end of it all, I had forgotten that there’s a submission period after your Kickstarter is ready where you wait for them to approve that the campaign is legit. We ended up launching a few days late, and a little closer to E3.

What tips do you have for other developers looking to get started?

Tom: Pick who you work with carefully, choose hard working talented people over friends. Make sure you know what you’re getting in to, the world of video games is insanely competitive and you need to put an insane amount of work in to be successful. That’s ok though if you’re doing what you love.

Parisa: Expect the unexpected. And be prepared for everything that has a possibility of happening and if you're working on a team treat it like a full time relationship. A lot of hard work and commitment is required, your experience as a student means little in comparison.

Bearzerkers will be playable at Sydney Supernova Friday 13th to Sunday 15th.

To pledge to the Bearzerkers Kickstarter visit:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildgrass/bearzerkers-subversive-indirect-multiplayer

To keep up to date on all things Bearzerkers make sure you follow @WildgrassGames and like them on Facebook or vote for the game on Steam Greenlight