Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Oliver Bohnes
the creator of Heroes and Merchants. Before we start we’d like to thank Oliver Bohnes for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks!
/// Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Heroes and Merchants! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
First of all, thank you for the interview. That may sound funny, especially considering the size of the game. But I’m actually just a single developer and I do not do it full time. Game development is my hobby.
I am 40 years old, work as a software developer for business software and have two kids. I only program in the evening after work, when the children are in bed. Now you might think: What is my wife doing while I’m programming in the evening? We work together on Heroes and Merchants. She also enjoys it, draws the graphics and we work together on the ideas for the game.
I was already interested in game development in my youth. In 2003, a friend and I developed Evergore, one of the first fantasy browser games in German-speaking countries.
/// Ok, let’s start talking about Heroes and Merchants. What are the highlights of your latest release?
The absolute highlight of version 1.5.1 is the long-awaited guild bartering. This makes it possible to exchange materials and particularly valuable equipment and thus mutually support each other.
/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Heroes and Merchants? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
Decisive for the development of Heroes and Merchants was a game that I played together with my wife for a long time. Unfortunately, this game has become more and more Pay2Win and it was also necessary to spend much time in the game every day. A certain playing time became a “duty” to be able to achieve success in the game.
That’s when we thought for the first time: We’ll do it ourselves and we’ll do it better.
For this reason, we attach great importance to the fact that Heroes and Merchants is Free2Play with voluntary advertising and you do not get the feeling that you have to spend many hours in the game every day. Today’s games are usually very colorful, flashy and fast-paced, so we deliberately decided to make the game discreet, based on the good old browser games.
/// How long was Heroes and Merchants in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
That’s not an easy question … In the winter of 2017/2018, we had the first ideas about the basic structure of the game. In the spring of 2018, I started developing the first game features, and it took me about 9 months to release Heroes and Merchants in its first version.
Over the course of this year, we’ve expanded and added features to Heroes and Merchants. These include, for example, the guild functions with buffs, raids, shop … as well as the real-time duels against other players, the crafting competition and better heroes with special skills.
A very special moment was when, for the first time, players in the chat said how pleasantly calm they felt about the game and called it an “old school pearl”. The fact that the game does not have any in-app purchases still surprises most of today’s players. It was nice to see that many were still looking for ways to help us fund the game (licenses and servers). That’s why we’ve added donation opportunities (Patreon and PayPal) that are used by the players. Now, this allows us to occasionally advertise the game to make it more popular.
Edamame: Those small comments of appreciation are pure gold! 🥰
/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Heroes and Merchants? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
The most important program I work with is Unity. On the server-side, the game actions are processed by a self-built PHP framework. In addition, the chat and the real-time duels are processed by a core programmed in C#.
/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
There are no real hidden clues in the game. If you have questions, you can ask them in the chats and there are lots of players who like to help and answer them.
In many games, there is a hassle with acceleration options. This is different in Heroes and Merchants. Artisan and mission tickets are regular drops and should be used when you have time to play more intensive.
/// What can we expect to see in Heroes and Merchants or from Oliver Bohnes
in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
First, there will be further game enhancements in Heroes and Merchants. These include minigames, the 5th region and in the next major update another artisan who provides mounts, which reduce the mission duration.
We are already working on a few ideas for future games, but we have not started yet.
/// 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 for giving us the opportunity to introduce Heroes and Merchants here. Especially for small game developers, it is difficult to find publication options. That’s why your work is so important.
Edamame: Thank You! ❤️