Welcome to another edition of Developer Diaries! This week I caught up with André Steen from Venturous who have recently released the game Voyage.
WHY NOT START OFF BY INTRODUCING YOURSELF?
Hello, my name is André and I enjoy creative endeavours! I’ve been a fan of video games since early childhood, an interest of which I have my big brother Johan to thank for. I never really sought to create games in addition to playing them until Johan and I discussed it back in 2014. We saw an opportunity to work on something together and it only made sense when we decided that this creative venture would entail making a game.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE CONSTRUCT?
One of the main reasons I chose to work with Construct initially was because I had no prior programming knowledge. So, I was looking for a tool that would accommodate my lack of expertise and at the same time not limit my choices in terms of what games I wanted to create.
Once I tried Construct 2, I found the event sheet system to be very intuitive. It allowed me to create just about anything I could set my mind to and still does.
YOU'VE RECENTLY RELEASED VOYAGE, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE GAME?
Voyage is a cinematic adventure game capturing the essence of shared exploration. Whether you decide to play by yourself or cooperatively, the journey will revolve around two survivors in search of answers to a long-forgotten past.
Our intentions when making this game were to create a non-violent and relaxing experience focused on shared exploration, a game that could be played by anyone without much difficulty. We tried our best to capture the sense of childlike wonder and discovery that is so easy to forget as an adult.
VOYAGE'S ART STYLE IS BEAUTIFUL. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE TECHNIQUES THAT WENT INTO DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING IT?
Thank you! All of the art was single-handedly made by Johan. For this project, he used loose brush strokes to shape the base of the environments and a limited colour palette coupled with added soft light on top to create cohesion and a dreamlike feel. This art style allowed us to easily iterate throughout development.
WHAT'S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST DEVELOPMENT HURDLE SO FAR?
Since we started working on Voyage, we’ve made several prototypes of other projects throughout the years. One of the biggest hurdles for us besides money and life in general, has been polishing, finishing and releasing a game. Part of knowing when a project is finished is simply realizing the fact that those last few percent of polish and tweaking can go on forever if you don’t decide to eventually let go. I’ve heard other developers mention the Ninety-ninety rule or similar aphorisms:
“The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.” - Tom Cargill
This humorous but painful quote is apt for many projects but it’s especially relevant in games that can cover such a wide array of mediums.
YOU'VE OPTED TO SELF-PUBLISH VOYAGE. HOW HAS THE PROCESS BEEN FOR YOU?
Since Voyage is our first game we wanted to retain creative and business control by self-publishing. I would say it hasn’t been easy, since there are a lot of advantages to finding a publisher who can help out with aspects that one otherwise wouldn’t have the time nor the experience to deal with, such as marketing.
When planning a project one would have to determine what’s best for the situation depending on project intentions, scope and budget. There are upsides and downsides to any decision but speaking from experience of self-publishing, it’s difficult to get any kind of exposure without the help of a publisher or at least a hired marketing team.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY MEMORABLE DEV STORIES?
A recent story would be when we got to see our hard work come to fruition with the release of Voyage. I was particularly struck by a very wholesome stream of a mom playing our game cooperatively with her son, who was on the other side of the world, using Steam's Remote Play Together feature.
Other memorable moments in game development, for me, usually involve daydreaming or prototyping ideas. What I enjoy about this phase of development is the sense of infinite possibilities ideas can hold.
I think a lot can be learned by realizing ideas through the form of prototyping but there are definitely important lessons to be had by polishing, finishing and sharing these ideas with the world as well.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE DOING THEIR OWN GAME PROJECTS?
The games medium is growing and overflowing with amazing games. Do not get discouraged by other games. Realize that every project is unique, and that includes yours.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Thank you for this interview and thank you to everyone reading. There are a lot of cool people in the Construct community I’d like to give a shout out to, but in fear of missing someone, I’ll just leave it at that. You know who you are, yeah you, thank you for being awesome!
Voyage is out now on Steam, play it by yourself or share the experience with a friend. Let us know what you think, we’d love to hear from you!