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CEO and founder of Industry Entertainment, Nemanja Bondzulic, talked about SUPERVERSE – a crazy Asteroids remake with awesome visuals and clever gameplay.
Industry Entertainment is a small team gathered around SUPERVERSE game. Currently the team has members located in Serbia and Germany. Before SUPERVERSE the company was mostly focusing on the mobile market from its beginnings and Palm OS days. Monsta, Jack or 100 ways to Barbecue (Jack BBQ) and Master Kick (later renamed to Table Football XL) are the most known products from Industry Entertainment so far.
The inspiration comes from older arcade games we used to love to play. On the other end we love visual effects and some of us used to take part in computer demo scenes. This has been a perfect opportunity to make use of them in a practical and effective way. This is also the game we always wanted to make.
We used the iterative approach to the development process. We work on one thing, one feature at a time – then we test if it works as we have imagined and modify it trying to perfect it. Or we discard it. There are no major obstacles other than our own time that we can dedicate to the project. It started as a learning and experimenting project, which was later recognized as something that has a potential. We just built on top of that.
Space Ship and Environment Design
Considering quantity of objects and action in the game and (importantly) having to display several player-controlled spaceships at the same time, they (space ships) were designed to allow good visibility and to be easy to differentiate from each other. This was all thanks to unique silhouettes and color schemes that we used (colors can be changed by player).
Environments have been designed in a way that breaks with history of somewhat sterile vastness of empty space common to similar games, adding density and volume to what often is left blank. Each level has its own color palette and slight depth of field effect that helps ships and enemies stand out from the background. For the most part, it’s a practical design facilitating our gameplay married with some (possibly unusual) artistic choices.
Tech and tools
All you see in the game has been built by us and from scratch. No third party game engine or graphical engine has been used to power the game. For development purposes we stick to Visual Studio mostly, and some text editors like Sublime. The graphics tools we use are 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, and Substance Painter. For music we use lots of software like Cubase Pro, Omnisphere, Nexus2, Ni Massive, Sylenth, and more. The hardware we use is RME Fireface 800, M-Audio Oxygen 88, and Virus Ti.
In addition to that, we use Basecamp for organization, Subversion for source code versioning, and I’m sure there are probably some smaller tools I can’t think of right now. We have built our own tool that allows us to test and see how the 3D models made in, for example, 3D Studio Max look in the game’s environment so we can easily adjust materials, reflections, level of metalness, and so on. These tools speed up the process of creating new 3D objects and allow us to quickly see if something looks good, or if it needs to be adapted. We have focused on all those areas at different stages of the game creation process. First it was the technology and mechanics, now we are mostly working on the audio-visual content and the gameplay. Each part is very important for the game as a whole.
That’s still an ongoing process. From time to time we present the game at shows and events and allow people to play it. This is valuable for getting the feedback on different aspects of the game – some people are able to verbalize what doesn’t work for them in the game but others cannot tell. Instead you have to observe them playing and see their reactions.
Promotion and Distribution
Putting the game in front of as many eyeballs is the key to success of the game and achieving that is a challenge for us. We are talking to potential partners that could help us get the exposure that the game deserves when it gets released. Being featured on Steam would be nice – hopefully we will be there. It is still hard to tell precisely when we are going to release the game, as that depends on several factors. Some time next year sounds like a realistic time for release, but we may still have the demo (alpha) released this year. Balancing between playability and difficulty is important and getting it right allows player to get into the flow of the game – which is what we want to achieve.