Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Sinkpool Games
the creator of Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze. Before we start we’d like to thank the Sinkpool Games Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
/// Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
I started my career 20 years ago as a Motion graphics designer and a VFX artist, but I always wanted to work in games. It was my passion from the beginning, but back in the day, it was really difficult, for the engines were expensive and there weren’t as many platforms to develop for, but now, the game has changed and a few years ago it all came back to me. My dream of making games!
I founded Sinkpool Games here in Ukraine, so we are basically just a startup, and we plan to expand and form a bigger team in the near future.
It all started when one of our clients asked us if we could develop an educational game for PC and mobile platforms. The opportunity to do what we loved the most was all we needed, after researching the industry, we designed our first game ever “Sarmad the adventurer”.
It wasn’t easy to find a good developer, all the good ones were fully booked and we were designers and had zero knowledge with coding and programming, so after experimenting with a few engines, we found the Buildbox engine, where you can make games without code.
We started to follow their news, the idea was amazing, this thing can be the solution to our weakest point, so our first project with Buildbox was, of course, Skruta: A Dark Twisted Maze.
/// Ok, let’s start talking about Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze. What are the highlights of your latest release?
Skruta: A Dark Twisted Maze, is an Arcade mobile game, combining Pacman style with dungeon crawler in a mystical labyrinth full of a wide range of traps, enemies, game mechanics, and power-ups.
As a knight seeking adventure found himself trapped in a perilous Catacomb searching for a hidden treasure and an exit, the mechanics are easy, you can swipe in four directions, avoiding traps and enemies, collecting coins and points (we call them cookies or crumbs) till you find the way to the exit of each level.
Skruta consists of a Story mode with 13 levels and an Arcade mode where you have to collect coins and points and escape while avoiding the bottom of the screen.
/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
I like to always experiment with games and I keep following new game reviews like on Edamame, IGN or pocket gamer.
We have so many ideas we are working on in parallel – we Started with Skruta because Pacman was always one of my favorite childhood games. I wanted to make it as an action adventure game, but then I saw many ideas on the mobile stores combining Pacman style with other styles, and I liked it.
I liked the idea of fusing styles, so I decided to try and create a game with a mixed genre. Usually, we start with Photoshop where we draw a frame that looks like a screenshot of a finished game, as it helps us determine the style and feel of the game. We sometimes even go so far as to animate it with After Effects, just to see how it is going to play.
I started designing the labyrinth first, then the characters and mechanic. To be honest, we had so many ideas, but to implement them you need a lot of time, so it was important to set a time frame, without it we could have just stayed working on Skruta for years.
/// How long was Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
It took us 6 months to finish Skruta. The plan was for a shorter time frame, but to be honest, there were so many good ideas and features we simply couldn’t ignore. We took it as a learning opportunity and learned a lot in the process.
It was so fun to work on, even the idea of an Arcade Mode came in at the last month of development when we realized that some people prefer Arcade Games over Story Games.
/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
We mainly used Buildbox and Adobe tools like Photoshop and After Effects. For Skruta, we couldn’t offer to have a sound designer in the beginning so you can find a lot of generous contributions from many artists online – from places such as itch.io or opengameart.org and they are amazing.
You can always use these artworks for prototyping, then replace them by the time you have yours ready, or you can buy very good packages online which are very good and time savers.
/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
First, I would like to advise the readers to never give up, plan everything first and it’s very essential to set a time frame for your project, or else you will be stuck there forever. Every day you will have great ideas, just learn to know your limits, write them down and save them for another project.
Second, listen to no one, you will have many people who will tell not to waste your time or the competition is big out there, how are you gonna survive? … just ignore them, and always listen to the encouraging voices instead, and always ask for help, don’t feel shy.
The people I asked for help on Twitter or in forums, they helped me so much, even though they didn’t have to. That’s what makes this industry amazing, it’s the community out there and the collaboration between all.
/// What can we expect to see in Skruta: Dark Twisted Maze or from Sinkpool Games in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
We are currently working on a couple of new titles one for Mobile and one for PC. We decided to explore engines like Unity and Unreal because when you work on a no-code engine, you are always limited by the software limitations, and there is no way of getting over it, it’s still good to make rapid prototypes and experiments, but we are looking forward to experimenting with every format possible in the near future, Mobile, PC, VR, AR and even consoles.
/// 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?
Edamame is our source of inspiration. As I said earlier the work you guys do is amazing, I don’t like other games news or review websites that only cover big hit games, and ignore smaller indie titles. We follow Edamame on every social media platform and we check it daily, like a morning newspaper, for it always shines the light on new fantastic games out there we hadn’t heard of, your work is very important for us indie developers.
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