Dragon’s Games Interview: Building Games in Ukraine
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I have being working in the AAA industry for tha last 3 years and the crunch is what is forcing me to find something else to do in life even if I love 3d. Some places may be more respectful with their employees but in my experience the crunch is even calculated in advance cause they know the workers will accept that. Some people is very passionate and don´t mind to do it and that is fine but a lot of people have families and they want to build a healthy environment with them or other goals outside the working ours. Not to mention non-payed overtime and other abuses I faced. Hope this industry fixs this problem.

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Those tilesets are sexy. Seeing new tilesets is like getting introduced to a new lego set.

Dragon's Games Interview: Building Games in Ukraine
27 March, 2015
Interview

Developers from a small Ukrainian studio, Dragon’s Games, told 80.lv about their upcoming titles. The company wants to create a unique mobile MOBA and a very strange looking RPG for PC. Let’s see what the east european indies have in stock for us.

Let’s talk a little bit about your studio. Where are you guys based, how many people actually work at your studio, and what kind of games have you been making before? Are there any big talents in your studio?

We are all from Lviv in Ukraine. Actually Dragon’s Games is a small team (seven people), but all of them are quite good and specialize in their field.

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Dragon’s Games

Lead programmer, Tyran Danylo, made his first game while studying in school. Also, I’m proud that I’m working in a team with a cool guy such as Volodymyr (aka Wolod). He created a lot of great games and took first place on Construct2030 Jam on www.NewGrounds.com. Another very important person on our team is Oleh Ursatiy. He is a very talented game designer and quality inspector. Also our compositor,Taras, created music for a New York opera before I added him to the game development. Also, we have very young talent that literally graduated from school yesterday. Before Dragon’s Games I worked on Free2Play online multiplayer games as a game designer and art director. And even earlier than that I’ve created a few games for mobile. In general I’ve been working with 2D/3D graphics for a very long time.

You’re stationed in Ukraine. Could you tell us a little bit more about how you develop games in a country with such an unstable situation? Did you get in trouble because of the whole conflict? Did it affect the game development scene in the country?

The situation is unstable indeed, but the state should not interfere into our work. We want to boost the game development industry in Ukraine to the next level. And it’s hard to achieve that goal because of bureaucracy. I realize that we don’t live (for example) in Canada so we shouldn’t expect any grants or financial support from the government. The one thing I know for sure is that our community and other game developers are on our side. I also want to say one more thing. People who create games are not interested in war in real life. We are against violence in real life. Its place is in action movies or video games, but not on our streets. So if the circumstances are against us, we’ll be forced to move to another country.

Tyran looks mighty impressive. What kind of game engine did you use to make the game? Why did you choose this particular product? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this technology if any?

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We are using Unity 5 Pro for the development of Tyran. Before we used Unity 4 and we bought Unity 5 because it was the ideal solution for us. I don’t think it’s necessary to create your own engine (because it’s just a tool) when there are lots of great solutions these days. This is not a true RTS (Real Time Strategy) game because there is no economic component and you can immediately go to the battle. But there are many elements of an RPG game. In the new demo video we’ll show an example of it. To keep things simple and so we don’t invent new genres we prefer to call it RTS. Basically we chose RTS because in this genre you can combine a lot of interesting gameplay mechanics and these types of games are very fun to play with another player.

Could you tell a little bit more about the technique that allowed there to be so many units on screen? As far as we understand, this is pretty difficult to achieve on mobile devices?

I need to make some corrections here.  Tyran is not the same game it was a year ago. We decided to give up mobile platforms and switch to PC instead. I’ll explain that decision below. Tyran feels a lot like a PC-based title. Its visuals are top notch and it has controller support.

Why did you decide to go mobile and while we are at it, why choose premium monetization instead of the F2P? It seems like F2P was the best way to go for mobile MOBAs? What is your reasoning for choosing a completely different path?

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Tyran © Dragon’s Games, 2015

If you are creating an indie game with a low budget but with high ambitions, it’s better to go where there is a great indie community. The gameplay mechanics of Tyran were too complicated for mobile from the beginning. And frankly speaking, we wanted to create something more than just another Free2Play casual game or MOBA. People who work on this project love cool games and want to make cool games as well. When I was working on Free2Play projects I realized that such games are killing the game industry. They don’t inspire or make you want to talk about it to your friends just like how it was in the Golden Age of the game industry!

So if we start a mobile project it definitely won’t be Tyran. Tyran will be available on steam and it won’t be a Free2Play or Pay2Win game.

What is the approximate budget behind Tyran? It must be expensive to develop such an ambitious game? Mobile development is not as cheap as it used to be.

Yes. You need a big budget for the mobile platform but we are a small indie studio and can’t afford that. That’s why we chose Steam Greenlight. I am personally responsible for the budget and it’s kind of personal information.

When I started this project I wanted to do it without the publisher who only takes things into his own account, his own preferences, and his own tastes. We, on the other hand, take the opinions of our team and potential players into account.

Mad Nords: An Epic Quest is a completely different kind of animal. It looks like an indie game for the lovers of experimental gameplay. Could you tell a little more about the philosophy behind this game?

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We are also developing another game that was recently also Greenlit and it is called Mad Nords. It is an old school parody RPG that is based in the same fantasy world as Tyran (Easter Egg). There are lots of parodies, pop culture references, and quite good amount of humor!  Your first quest will be to retrieve a cucumber.

How’s your Greenlight going? Did you manage to go through? And why did you choose to distribute this game through Steam and not some other channels?

Tyran passed Greenlight about a month ago in 34 days. Mad Nords was also Greenlit in 52 days. We plan to release our games on other stores too in the future.

How do you make this strange art for the game? Do you use some cool new tools for it? Did you use Cocos2D or Unity to build this product? Some other cool engine perhaps?

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Mad Nords: Probably an Epic Quest © Dragon’s Games, 2015

All the graphics for Mad Nords were drawn in paint.net, and the game itself was made on Construct2.

How do you manage to combine the development of two completely different projects? What are the main difficulties of running the development of two games at once?

To make a long story short, my experience in producing Free2Play projects helped me a lot; especially people from my team. Every member of our team came a long way (starting from its inception) and I can rely on my team. We are fond of our craft and we each pull our weight.

I’ve always tried to avoid people who create additional problems when it comes to work. In big companies there are lots of people who work just for the money and they don’t even try to create something special. We are not such a company and we’re able to see who is right for the job from the start. When somebody applies for a job in Dragon’s Games, I make my decision not only based on his resume but also from his gaming experience and preferences. In the end, we are making games because we love them.

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Nick UrsDragon’s Games

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