We recently came across a game titled ‘HOST’ that was launched on 2nd July, 2018 on Steam platform and got in touch with the developer of this interesting game. Here is our interview with the developer of HOST game where they talk about this game along with some interesting aspects of game development:
1. Tell us a bit about your game and what was it that inspired you to make this game?
HOST is a virtual reality puzzle game inside of an alien planet. The planet itself is an organism that’s slowly consuming you (literally). It’s inspired by reoccurring nightmares I had as a teen. I kept dreaming about being eaten alive by something that was so unaware of my presence. I wanted to translate that feeling for so long into an experience and virtual reality was the perfect medium to do so.
2. Naming a game is almost always one of the most difficult tasks since that’s what people identify it with. Was this name the first choice for the name? If not then what were some other options you were looking at?
The name HOST was definitely the first choice. The entire game is about a single relationship between you and the planet, and since you were exploring the inside of the organism, the analogy of a host/parasite made a lot of sense.
3. What sort of thought process went behind the artwork of this game?
I’ve always been amazed by things that were gorgeous and grotesque at the same time. I looked at a lot of coral and fungi. Once you zoom into those things, you get some really interesting patterns that emerge. To the human eye they might look really gross but are full of awe and amazement at the same time.
4. What was the major challenge in developing this game?
The biggest challenge was figuring out how to make a game as I went. I actually had the beginnings of the game built about 3 months into it, but I hadn’t tested it in virtual reality yet. When I did, I was totally bored. I had been focusing way too much on the visuals, hadn’t given too much thought to the gameplay and the player’s sense of space. So, I started over, making prototype after prototype until I found something that worked well and matched the creepy gooey vibe I wanted to immerse you in.
5. Any in-game secrets that could be easter eggs for players to discover?
There are definitely clues hidden throughout the experience that lead up to a surprise ending. They’re hidden in plain sight and hopefully will flip your perspective on the story entirely in the future chapters.
6. Why do you consider Steam as a platform for your game and is there any other platform you look forward to get your game onto?
I chose Unity and Blender because of the amazing community that surrounds them. Thus, it only made sense to put it on Steam. I learned so much from people who were having very similar problems and I don’t think I could’ve done it without the support from a community. HOST is an experimental game, and I understand it’s not for everyone, so I wanted to get real reactions from people.
7. How much time did it take to get this game developed and what can players expect in updates for this game?
It’s taken me over a year and a half in nights and on weekends. It’s quite a lot to take on myself but it’s been worth it so far and I feel proud of what I’ve learned and made. I plan on releasing 2 more chapters under the same title that will unfold the story.
8. What are your future plans as a game developer?
I want to keep making things that cause people to become truly immersed and put them in contexts that they’re not used to. Virtual reality is really good at this and I think I’ve found my dream medium. I definitely plan on releasing more VR titles after I finish HOST.
9. How long have you been developing games and what is the most enjoyable aspect of game development according to you?
This is my first game! The most enjoyable aspect has definitely been creating something that’s so embedded in my brain that it just had to get out. Creating it feels so natural to me and I find myself in these long sprints of making and testing. It’s also been awesome learning all of the things that go into the game itself. I even created the sound design using my mouth, warping and twisting the audio files to create an ambient soundscape that still feels strangely human.
10. Have you developed the game solo or you have a team working with you?
I’ve been developing the game solo. But, that’s not entirely true. I’ve leaned on so many of my friends for advice and input. It’s definitely from my soul but I’ve pulled so much inspiration from their reactions and suggestions.
11. What are your personal favourite games?
Wow, I’d have to say my personal favorite games would be Inside or LIMBO. Both are brilliant pieces of work and I love how natural the puzzles feel. I love the idea of a linear timeline that’s impossible to progress unless you put forth the effort to think the problem through.
If you ever have an idea for a game and really want to do it, don’t be afraid to learn how to make it yourself. You’ll expand the technical and creative side of your brain at the same time, which is a challenge I recommend to anyone. If you decide to play HOST you’ll see where a year and a half of intuition and will power can get you.