Interview: 2Dawn Games on its upcoming shooter 'Ravaged' and life as an indie studio
Why the PC? (Get your beta access key)
Why did you guys decide to release on PC?
Boris: Honestly, the people who are developing this game are all PC players, so our first thing was, you know, letís make a PC game thatís fun again. We wanted to have something like this that we havenít had in a long time. I mean consoles are great but to play this game the way it should be played, you really need a keyboard and you really need a mouse.
Ken: Yeah, I agree.
Do you plan to take full advantage of the PC side of things by allowing community-generated content?
With most developers and publishers, I feel like once they release the game, it's not supported anymore. You know, it's out there and that's pretty much it. When we release Ravaged, we plan to support it all the way...
Ken: We'd like to, it's just a matter of time. It would be great to have modding tools, it's just that right now we have to focus on getting out a good game. We've all talked about that though, so we'll try to take a look at that after we release and see where we stand.
Boris: With most developers and publishers, I feel like once they release the game, it's not supported anymore. You know, it's out there and that's pretty much it. When we release Ravaged, we plan to support it all the way through with more vehicles and weapons, different game modes and different features. One of the features we hope to look at is modding tools.
Great, that segues into my next question, I was going about your stance on DLC and microtransactions. Do you have any plans to sell extra content?
Boris: Well, we don't want to paint ourselves into a corner here, but we've looked at every single option out there and we're just trying to figure out the right balance. For us it's a little more difficult just because we are doing everything pretty much on our own, but want to make as fair as we can. We're not trying to screw the consumer. We want to make it a fair balance between us and them. So that's what I was saying, we would actually do proper support once it releases.
Ken said that graphics weren't necessarily a key aspect to the game. Are you guys working with AMD or Nvidia at all?
Boris: Yes, we're working with AMD and although graphics aren't key, we are getting a lot of reviews saying that the graphics are pretty impressive, especially for an indie group like us. You look at something like South Park for example, I mean the graphics aren't really that impressive, but you're watching because it's entertaining, it's funny, and it just helps you get through the day laughing and having a good time, and that's the whole thing with us. We still push the graphics as far as we can, but it's a lot harder for us to compete with Battlefield where they have millions of dollars to spend and hundreds of employees to help build that infrastructure up.
Would you say graphics drivers are a major concern for developers these days? I feel like I have less conflicts and problems on that front compared to a decade ago.
Boris: Not really for us because we're using the Unreal Engine and a lot of stuff has already been prebuilt. There's obviously stuff that we have to modify for our game but the fact that we have a good foundation to work with helps a lot.
Ken: Yeah, for the most part, we don't have to worry about much. There are other few things here and there but for the most part like Boris said, itís taken care of for us.
How did your Kickstarter come about?
Boris: Kickstarter, unfortunately, we found a little too late. I don't know if it was around three years ago when we started Ravaged, but we found it as the game is nearing completion. Kickstarter is usually used to fund something from beginning to end, you have an idea and you have no money to create it, whereas our game is pretty much done. Because we don't have a publisher, all the money has been coming out of my pocket, so I've been funding a lot of it on my own and everybody else has been putting in their own spare time, where they could be spending it with their families and doing what they would be doing normally. So we decided to try Kickstarter and see if we could just raise a little more capital to help us out a little bit. And it seemed to work, you know. We didn't set a high goal, we put I think $15,000 initially and we more than doubled that. I think we were successful.
So you'd say a properly managed Kickstarter is a good way to promote a game?
Boris: Absolutely, I think Kickstarter is an amazing tool for people like us, independent game makers who don't have the capital but have an idea. I wish I knew about it three years ago, it would have helped me out a little bit, but I'm glad we were still able to use it and Iím glad that we passed our goal. That made us feel good in a way because people supported us you know, even though the game is at its completion.
I don't sleep much, and then the weekend is all about this game...all of us on the team, me, Ken, John and everybody else, we have full time jobs and we have families but we're so dedicated to this craft.
Do you have any advice for aspiring indie developers?
Boris: It's a tough road and Ken can attest to that.
Ken: Stock up on coffee.
Boris: I mean there are late nights every night. I go to sleep around two to three o'clock every morning and I wake up at seven, so I don't sleep much, and then the weekend is all about this game. I mean all of us on the team, me, Ken, John and everybody else, we have full time jobs and we have families but we're so dedicated to this craft.
Ken: Yeah, it's not easy. It's a big commitment and you have to know what you're getting into that's for sure.
Boris: That's the other problem we've had, actually. Where people see the game and theyíre like, "wow, I want to be a part of this" and we'll be like, "okay, we'll try you out" and they're there for a day or two and then youíll never hear from them again -- not to say anything bad against them, it's just a commitment. People sometimes don't realize how much of a commitment it is. It won't get done if you don't put the time into it.
Ken: Yeah, and the smallest things can eat up days and days of time. The things that you think are trivial can be a nightmare but you just have to work through it and not give up.
What kind of PC, mobile devices and other gadgets do you guys have on your desks? What do you use daily?
Boris: On my desk currently I have a Wacom LCD tablet where I can actually write on the tablet but it's a monitor, which is really cool. My PC, to be honest with you, you're going to laugh, I bought this Dell at BJ's wholesale club for like -- I feel weird advertising for them -- but it was like $800 bucks for a Core i7 and 12 gigs of RAM. It's awesome for the price. I can't believe how cheap things are nowadays. For my phone I have an HTC Evo, which I'm in love with. If I could marry a product, it would be this phone.
Ken: My main PC I built myself but it's a little outdated now with an Nvidia 8800 GT. I have a Mac, it's an old dual G4, and then Alienware provided me a laptop that I'm doing the light effects for right now, so I'm kind of surrounded. As far as mobile devices, out of everyone I know, I'm the only person who doesn't have a cell phone. I still have a landline believe it or not. I do have an iPad 2 though.
All I really use is Google Voice, I don't have a cell phone service either.
Ken: Hey, someone else!
Any final comments?
Boris: We're still working on Ravaged, but we'd love for you guys to go to our website and if you're interested, you can preorder the game which will give you access to the beta. We also have a clan pack option with four game keys for a significant savings.
We'd like to thank Boris and Ken again for speaking with us, and for generously providing us with a fistful of beta keys for TechSpot readers. You don't have to do anything special to claim your key, just tell us you want one in the comments and we'll send it privately on our forum. Naturally, that means you'll need a TS account.
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