Shudder Steam Game Developer Interview With Adrian Mills

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Here is our interview with the developer of Shudder Steam game where they talk about this game along with some interesting aspects of game development:

Image Credit – Steam

1. Tell us a bit about your game and what was it that inspired you to make this game?

Shudder came from an initial thought that was as simple as how do you make a traditional twin stick shooter, but with no shooting? I was always impressed with Geometry Wars and wondered how you could make a game like that but take away the core mechanic. What would you be left with? How would the player overcome the incoming enemies? That’s when I hit on the idea of building up energy to freeze them in place in one go, which would then allow you to kill them by, essentially, ramming into them.

So what we have ended up with is a retro styled twin stick shooter, but with no shooting and using only one stick. The idea of using the rainbow to colour code the strength of the enemies and the level of energy you have to reach to freeze them in place just evolved somewhat organically during the early stages of development.

2. Naming a game is almost always one of the most difficult tasks since that’s what people identify with. Was this name the first choice for the name? If not then what were some other options you were looking at?

Ironically, the game was always called Shudder. This never changed from the moment I came up with the concept. As soon as I came up with the core mechanic, that of “shuddering” the incoming enemies, it seemed obvious to call the game Shudder. The thing that surprised me most was that there didn’t seem to be a game out there called Shudder already. Which was kind of lucky, as I have no idea what I would have called it otherwise.

3. What sort of thought process went behind the artwork of this game?

I approached Josh (the artist) to concept some different ideas for the game when I had a decent prototype built. My sprites were fairly basic and I knew Josh was a talented 2D artist, having taught him for three years on the degree programm I run. He came back with a few ideas but as soon I saw the neon style bugs and starting blue ship he’d designed, I knew that was the one. It just seemed to fit so perfectly with the theme, the retro styling of the game, and had such a strong look that we both agreed to use that to shape the design of the rest of the way the game looked.

4. What was the major challenge in developing this game?

Getting the time to develop it. I’ve been coding it in my spare time, as most of my time is devoted to being a full time game design lecturer, along with working on the first year of my Masters degree, and Josh has been finishing his undergraduate degree. We’ve done pretty well to complete the game in basically twelve months as it was only September 2017 that I started to develop it.

5. Any in-game secrets that could be easter eggs for players to discover?

There aren’t many. We wanted to make it fairly straight forward to the player to understand what is going on. It’s a high score game at heart, but does have you collecting resources from destroyed enemies to enable you to buy newer and better craft. The one thing we don’t explain are the mysterious Energy Voids that appear as the game progresses. What are they for? Friend of foe and can they be used for anything useful…?

6. Why do you consider Steam as a platform for your game and is there any other platform you look forward to getting your game onto?

Steam seemed the obvious choice as the gateway to publishing is much easier than the consoles at present. Early on, we did consider making the game for mobile, but decided on a PC release in the end as it allowed us to add more graphical flourishes without having to worry unduly. If the game is successful we would love to bring it to the console space and have had people already asking for a Switch version. I think the game would work well on there as it is very easy to simply pick up and play and game sessions are usually only a few minutes long. We’ll see how it does on Steam first, though.

7. How much time did it take to get this game developed and what can players expect in updates for this game?

Well, it’s taken us a year, on and off. We do have some plans for some new modes that we plan to introduce in the first month or so to give players an extra challenge.

8. What are your future plans as a game developer?

We’re already in the planning stage for our next game. I’m not saying too much at the moment, but we have a prototype working for it and it’s quite different in mechanics to Shudder, but we’re aiming to keep the same retro aesthetic for it.

9. How long have you been developing games and what is the most enjoyable aspect of game development according to you?

I’ve been developing games in a semi-professional capacity for about four years. The most enjoyable thing for me is thinking of a mechanic for the game and then making it work as you envisaged, and seeing how it adds unplanned complexity and effects to the way the game plays. You can never fully predict how anything you add will turn out in practice, but when things work well, it’s a great feeling.

10. Have you developed the game solo or you have a team working with you?

There’s two of us in SaberPhrog: Josh Foston is the artist/designer, and I’m the coder/designer, Adrian Mills.

11. What are your personal favorite games?

I have a holy triumvirate of three games that will probably never be bettered: Halo:Combat Evolved, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime.

12. Any message for our readers?

Buy our game! But seriously, it would be great if you’d give us a shot. This is our first game on Steam and we are looking forward to making many more. 

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