Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Spheroid Games the creator of Spheroid X! Before we start we’d like to thank the Spheroid Games 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 Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
The studio was conceived very recently, in May this year, and is closely intertwined with the development of Spheroid X. You could say the game came first, and the studio was created as a vehicle to carry it, so it was fitting that they share the same name. The goal is to bring more games into fruition in the future.
I have been playing games from an early age, and I have always had an analytical eye to them, wondering about the technology that makes it possible. A little bit like a sightseer, I would take my time and study the environments. The water effects in Bioshock blew me away, and they still do. I was, however, a late bloomer in game development, starting my education at the age of 34, which I am still in the middle of. Turns out it is very possible to learn programming as an adult, despite what the myth says. I find it to be the most rewarding thing to spend my time on, and the aspect of game development that I am most drawn to.
/// Ok, let’s start talking about Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer. What are the highlights of your latest release?
The game offers uncompromising levels of control for a mobile game in general, and for games with zero-g maneuvering in particular. The core mechanics that allow this is the one stick control of thrust and direction simultaneously, in a true zero-gravity environment.
This gives you dynamic control of thrust force depending on how far you push the thumbstick. Combined with the power to stop all momentum instantaneously, and jolt in a straight line in any direction, it affords the player great freedom. The black holes are really the stars of the show, which exert a gravitational pull on you towards its center, pulling you in if you’re not careful. They are a major component of the gameplay challenges. They keep you on your toes and make you think twice about which direction to thrust in. There are also many other physics-based challenges in the game.
Spheroid X takes this genre in a bit of a new direction, making it more of a high-intensity platformer experience.
Edamame: We would definitely agree with that last sentence 😆
/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
The process for this game started while studying the Unreal Engine documentation when I got into the physics engine stuff. The idea of putting a thruster on the character and giving the player full control of it really fired up my imagination, and it quickly became something I just had to make a game out of.
I have fond memories of playing gravity maneuvering games as a kid. They offer a special kind of experience where every try becomes different from the last, and they offer a special kind of immersion, just based on their unique kind of maneuvering.
In general, I find inspiration from games that have simple systems to learn and a small number of strong core mechanics. I also simply like games that are innovative and do things their own way.
/// How long was Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
The game was in development for about 2,5 months of working at my full capacity. As a fairly new guy in game development, every victory I made was extremely exciting to me, and I really grew as a developer making this game! Getting enough command of the physics system to be able to implement the features in this game feels very satisfying, and gives me a lot of inspiration moving forward.
/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
I use Unreal Engine as my primary tool, and I used Gimp for all the 2D game art. We can get a lot of things done with these free tools! I have a history of music production before I got into game development, and I am fortunate to have a lot of resources collected over the years in that department. I use Cubase 8 Pro for all the music and sound effects in the game.
Unreal Engine is very practical to use for mobile games. It’s very straight forward to set up touch interfaces and integrates Google Play Services into the game. With the correct package settings, depending on the structure of your game, you can easily get a build size down to about 45 MB.
As for black magic, there is a fair bit of real-time calculation of trigonometry and vector math to get the navigation, and all the physics challenges working correctly.
/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
Not so secret, but here are some general tips. Sometimes, less is more! Don’t go full throttle all the time. You can use small bursts of thrust to make small course corrections, just like real spacecraft do. And remember, you can make sharp corners by boosting rapidly.
/// What can we expect to see in Spheroid X: Zero-G Platformer or from Spheroid Games in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
I am working on a PC version that I will be releasing on itch.io shortly. I’m going to let the Android version sit for a while and see what the reactions are. But I am very open to feedback and I am happy to make improvements and push updates going forward.
There has been a little bit of an idea brewing for the next project. I want to make a twin-stick shooter where you control movement with the left stick and use the other stick for shooting in all directions. No auto-aim!
Edamame: That sounds both fun and tricky 🤨😆
/// 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?
I think this is a great initiative that gives us small developers a chance to get the word out about our games and support each other at the same time. Games by solo developers and small teams are often bursting with personality and charm, and anything that highlights that to the world is a good thing!
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