Saturday 12 May 2012

Pandemic 2.5 Developer Interview

Here at Gametrender we've quite fallen in love with Pandemic 2.5 and are pleased to present an exclusive interview with the Indie Developer of Pandemic " Dark Realm Studios". 

Since the original teaser article and subsequent review of the increasingly famous infect 'em up was published we've had a lot of readers to Gametrender searching for terms such as "What is the best Pandemic 2.5 Disease Class" and " How to beat Pandemic 2.5 every time". We'll start off by meeting the developer and then hopefully in subsequent articles we can get him to drop some exclusive material; hints and tips on the awesomely popular game which has made the leap from Flash Game to iOS success.

Dark Realms Indie Interview

1. What's the most difficult thing about being a solo developer?
The most obvious answer may sound sarcastic, but it is true: the most difficult thing about being a solo developer is having to do (nearly) everything your self. Sure some work, like art or audio related tasks can be contracted out, but overall I'm responsible for completing the entire project which means that I'm working not only on the tasks that I'd like to be working on, but also on trivial, tedious things that almost anyone else could be capable of accomplishing. And in the long run (in terms of a project's development schedule) being a solo developer means you're more prone to getting burned out.
2. Do you ever have to outsource ie for graphics or otherwise?
Yeah, the one thing I have absolutely no skill in is composing music. So a friend of mine, Evgueni Naverniouk took on the music and did a fantastic job. And at the time when the project was first starting out, I had no real knowledge of 3D modeling or texturing, so that was all contracted out to Nicole Nagata. Everything else was left up to me to see through to the end.
3. Is Pandemic a first app outing or do you have other projects?
Pandemic 2.5 is my first app and first commercial video game. The project represented a lot of firsts for me and my company.
4. Why did you choose Pandemic ? Do you have connections with the Flash game and do you see it being as succesful on IOS?
Heh yeah, considering how I was the developer of the older flash games, you could say that I have a connecting to them. As for the iOS version, I was obviously hoping for a success, and I believed that the game would do fairly well but the response so far as been far beyond any of my expectations.
5. What has been the biggest obstacle to developing your app?
That's a really difficult question to answer. I mean, I could fill a book on all the obstacles that I ran into while developing the game. Nearly all of them were technical or knowledge-based (as in, I needed to do a lot of learning) yet I think the largest overall obstacle was simply trying to balance the game. Having to managed and fine-tune all of the various algorithms and systems running below the surface proved to be a very, very time consuming process.
6. Did you self fund or consider using something like KickStarter?
The project was entirely self-funded and unfortunately, as amazing as Kickstarter is, Dark Realm Studios is a Canadian corporation and as far as I know, Kickstarter remains limited to an American audience for the time being.
7. Any future Projects planned?
Yes! I've had my next project planned and brewing since roughly halfway through Pandemic's development cycle. Unfortunately it won't be emerging for any time soon as I'm committed to updating Pandemic 2.5 for the near future to work out any lingering issues and improve what can be improved.
8. What do you think is the biggest competitor to Pandemic in the appstore?
Impossible to say really. New games are released daily and old games can experience sudden booms of interest that can propel them to the top. So really I think the entire library as a whole is the biggest competitor to Pandemic's continued success.
9. What game do you most admire on IOS?
I greatly enjoyed playing World of Goo. It had a fantastic art style and provided a fun and unique puzzle experience.
10. What other gaming background do you have, Xbox 360 etc. Do you
foresee iPad and Smartphone Gaming eclipsing consoles and PC in the
My only other game development experience comes from my earlier flash games. The iPhone and iPad platforms were the next logical step for me branch out into, especially from a financial standpoint in terms of development costs. I don't see smartphones or tablets eclipsing PC in their current state as they suffer from two critical issues: screen size (more so obviously for smartphones) and UI. Touch-based interfaces can produce extremely unique experiences and games, but they're also quite limited.

Thanks for taking the time talk with me about Pandemic 2.5 and my experiences in developing it.

Soon this article will be updated with Dark Realms views on Pandemic 2.5 being featured as "Epidemic" on Google Play for Android phones.

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