Our interview with Space Crescent the developer of Hamad & Sahar

Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Space Crescent the creator of Hamad & Sahar. Before we start we’d like to thank the Space Crescent Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks!

/// Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Hamad & Sahar! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?

Hello, my name is Faisal Alkubaisi, a self-taught game developer from Qatar.

I was making 2D games which was supposed to be a hobby until my graduation at Qatar university when I started to see it as a small business opportunity. Especially with all the new game tools and the rise of mobile games.

Selling indie videogames a decade ago was tied to a few publishing platforms.

Later I met my friend and Space Crescent co-founder, Abdulrahman Al-Thani. He is an artist who can fill my limitations in making polished game assets, together we have managed to establish our small indie team. Space Crescent.

Space Crescent, is a small Qatari company founded by young Qatari entrepreneurs, Specialized in web, mobile & console game development.

/// Ok, let’s start talking about Hamad & Sahar. What are the highlights of your latest release?

Hamad & Sahar is a 2D platformer game inspired by many retro games of the 90s. Especially the famous plumber and other platformer games, but with a new Arabian flavor. All the characters and game environments are based on Arab folktales.

The latest highlights of the recent releases, we have managed to improve the game GUI, balanced some level difficulties, added more sounds and visual effects, and little improvement based on the feedback from many users, like the ability to save your slingshot/eggs ammo when advancing to different levels including bosses stages. Not to mention, the game now supports Google Play achievements and Apple Game-Center.

/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Hamad & Sahar? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?

I remember things were moving so fast in Qatar at the end of 2013 when we established our indie team, and it wasn’t too long until we received a call from another gaming studio in Qatar.

Girnaas, a startup gaming company asked us to join and help them develop their first mobile multiplayer game, but since we were still new to the gaming industry, their project was out of our capabilities. We proposed to create a simple 2D platformer game for their studio at low cost to add more games for their studio.

We suggested to them that we could share the revenues together, and they were excited about the idea until they decided they would only help us with the marketing while we would own the whole game IP, which was fair enough. That story was before our team became an official company in Qatar.

When making our games, we always like to create something fun and simple. Our ideas are mostly inspired by entertainment or retro video games. Since we are currently focusing on mobile, we intend to make our games basic and straightforward.

/// How long was Hamad & Sahar in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?

Hamad & Sahar was finished in 2015. The game took almost two years to develop, and now we are only fixing and improving the game to be relevant and work on new mobile devices. Also, we removed the ads after many users complained.

/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Hamad & Sahar? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?

We used Game Maker Studio 1. It was in beta and new for mobile publishing during that time. Multiple resolution support in Game Maker Studio needed to be addressed from day 1 of development which we, unfortunately, didn’t reconsider during the development process until too late.

Unlike other game engines like Unity 3D or Godot, it was challenging to develop a non-pixel game for mobile using Game Maker Studio without adjusting multiple screens manually or through GML scripting.

Currently, the source code for Hamad & Sahar has already been ported to Game Maker Studio 2.

/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?

Hamad & Sahar was our first mobile game, and it was a big project for a newly formed indie team. It was fun and challenging to manage to complete the project with a small group. I believe we rushed to develop a big title as our first video game before learning more about mobile gaming and game development business.

I advise all new developers to start step by step before creating any massive game project, especially if it’s for mobile platforms. You will learn and earn faster in this way and lower the development cost in the future.

/// What can we expect to see in Hamad & Sahar or from Space Crescent
in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?

Meanwhile, we are busy developing an educational game for a local client and are still planning to create a new Hamad & Sahar sequel, probably it will not be for mobile devices this time.

Also, we are planning to improve/remake our other mobile games to support new mobile devices with new content.

/// Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to our awesome team of Writers, Developers, and Supporters who keep Edamame Reviews up and running?

Thank you, it was a pleasure to be interviewed with you, and I always enjoy and learn more when I read about game reviews, developers tips, and interviews on Edamame Reviews. I highly recommend indie game developers to check your website for more inspiration.

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