Graduate in Focus - Garth Robertson

Graduate in Focus - Garth Robertson

Graduate in Focus - Garth Robertson


AIE graduate Garth Robertson from Organic Humans launched 'Montas' on Steam Early Access this week. 

We caught up with Garth to find out what Steam Early Access means for ''Montas'', his thoughts on developing for the Oculus Rift and tips for students.

Which course did you study at AIE and what was your experience like?

In 2010 I began a two year course studying Professional Game Development, specialising in Art and by the end of 2010 I had received my Advanced Diploma, saving half the time and cost. In that time I lead a game project of my own design with a small team to a polished conceptual prototype within a month, created a proof of concept prototype of my own and contributed to three other game prototypes and one commercial mobile project. I am very pleased with my experience at AIE.

Can you tell us about your debut game 'Montas'.

'Montas' is a survival horror adventure, virtual reality conceptual prototype to be released on Steam Early Access on March 25th (AU). You play as a mentally unstable alcoholic accountant working for a firm in the city of 'Montas', and you begin waking up one night in your office with an empty bottle of rum at your desk. The game is still in its early stages and for that reason it does not contain the majority of story driven content, and is purely a conceptual prototype or proof of concept. Those who purchase 'Montas' on Early Access will be directly contributing to the development of the final game.

How did you find development with the Oculus Rift and did it change the original concept for 'Montas'?

Working with the Oculus Rift has been a great experience thanks to the efforts provided by the team at Oculus VR. They have gone to extreme lengths to provide most of the groundwork for integrating the Rift with leading game engines. The inspiration for 'Montas' mostly came from the work of Frictional Games long before the Oculus Rift existed, and luckily enough those games such as Penumbra and Amnesia are perfect for such a device.

You are about to launch on Steam Early Access. What opportunities will this allow for you/ other developers?

Steam Greenlight and Early Access have been absolutely crucial to the development of 'Montas', and I believe they are truly revolutionary platforms that will change the way we engage with developers and provide new opportunities to many small development teams around the world. It is to video games what Soundcloud and Spotify is to music, or YouTube Let’s Players to Game Journalism.

How will the game evolve between the launch of the Early Access and official release?

While 'Montas' is in Early Access the mechanics of the game are going to change rapidly based on player feedback, and the financial support from being on Steam will fuel the development and fleshing out of the story content. This is going to allow us to create a big, polished and immersive experience that would otherwise be too ambitious for a team of two indie developers who have not released a commercial game before.

What advice do you have for students who want to get into game development?

My advice to students looking to break into game development is to start by making very tiny game prototypes in short development cycles, this will teach you everything you need to know about constructing a video game. After you feel comfortable creating a game and having people play it, spend a while thinking about concepts, themes, ideas and design choices. Try to design something that is elaborately thought out yet eloquently built. Once you have that, build it. Build it as quick as you built those other prototypes. 

Once it is built, you can go back to thinking about it, and this time focus on not only what you think about it, but how other people think about it. This is what we call Marketing, and it is a very important, yet underrated aspect of creating a product. Marketing is not advertising, it is not promoting. Marketing is putting yourself inside the mind of someone else, someone completely other than you, and design the game around that. Do not mistake this process for relying on others to design your game for you. You imagining the mind of another is still you, it simply puts everything in the right context.

To find out more about 'Montas' and buy the game on Steam check out the links below.

Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/269350/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/welcometotheopera

Twitter: @OrganicHumans

website: http://welcometotheopera.com/