Nathan Interviews The Creator Of Archways, Michael Roe

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I was confronted to do an article on an upcoming game called Archways by an old writer of ours and I totally said yes! It looked pretty neat. Oh, and random fun fact of the day, it looks like the game was a side-scroller a few months ago.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Michael Roe. Wait, didn’t you write for us?

Well, I’m 15, I’m a high school student, and I come from the land down under (Australia). Game development has been my hobby from the age of 7, and I still love it! I run a new indie studio, Admiro Games, with my best friend Jonathan Merrett. And yes, that’s right! I did write for you at one stage, but all of a sudden an exciting new idea popped up in my head, and I’ve been spending the past few weeks working to make that idea a reality. And it has, in the form of my debut commercial game, Archways.

What can you tell us about Archways?

Archways is a 3D, first-person survival game. It’s set in randomly generated dungeons, with good old retro graphics, and a stunning orchestral/chiptune soundtrack, created by Jonathan. The game is packed with extra features to enhance gameplay, such as portals, traps, item and weapon purchasing, and much more! It’s based on a variety of goals: explore the dungeon, fight the enemies, survive for as long as possible, gather points from the enemies, purchase items, weapons, and armour, collect all orbs in the dungeon, and proceed through the Archway to a new dungeon, with more powerful enemies.

What makes it different from similar titles? Is it really an RPG or more of a first-person action-adventure?

It’s definitely more of a first person action-adventure. Although the game takes some of its elements and style from the old 3D DOS RPGs (such as Ultima Underworld and The Elder Scrolls: Arena, it has the feel of an adventure game. There’s no storyline, the player just jumps into a randomly generated dungeon and they can run around, killing enemies, or whatever they feel like doing in order to survive. That’s the vision I had for the game from the very start. Give the player absolute freedom, let them go wild.

You removed the mining, woodcutting and crafting aspect of the gameplay. Any reason for that? Did anybody speak out about their displeasure or was the decision well received?

Yeah, that was a decision based more on trying to avoid the ‘Minecraft clone’ stereotype. The reaction was neutral as people seemed eager to try out the game for themselves before they gave an opinion on whether those features should stay or leave. I might put the features back sometime in the future but at the moment I’m just focused on making sure the game sticks to its goals. But I’ll add some cool gameplay features later in development!

The IndieDB page says there is multiplayer. Is there…?

Well, the multiplayer mode is still in development, but I’m quite positive that it will be ready by release. I just have to organise a time when a few people can help test it. I’m eager for it to be in the game, since it would be so fun. The ability to jump into a randomly generated dungeon is great, but when you can do it with some friends, it becomes so much better. I’m looking forward to seeing how players respond to that, hopefully they’ll upload some videos showing their multiplayer experiences.

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How was GameMaker Studio to use? Is there big differences from the original? How much was it to buy?

GameMaker: Studio has been a wonderful addition to the tools I use in development. It’s user-friendly and excellently designed, as well as beneficial in the way that it allows me to release my work across multiple platforms.

I know you finally cleared out a lot of the bugs in the game. What is your method for bug-testing?

Bug testing has always been very fun for me. It gives me an excuse to spend at least an hour playing the game, to look out for errors, and also be sure the game is still heading in a positive direction. I test the game every time I add a new feature, which gives me a good estimate of where the bug can be found in my code. Sometimes the bug was just caused by a simple spelling mistake, but sometimes large amounts of code need to be rewritten to make sure every feature works fluently, not only by itself, but together as a whole.

Any parting thoughts?

I wonder what I’m having for dinner tonight… Seriously though, make sure you check out Archways when the Alpha version is released on both Desura and IndieCity for only $5 (US) on the 21st of December. It’s been a pleasure answering your questions, and I hope everyone has fun playing the game!



IndieDB page:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan. He prefers his last name not to be known. He’s probably a high-class superspy, but we don’t mind. He is a writer at Independent Gaming. He’s our point man for interviews, and occasionally he takes a blowtorch to a game to see whether it measures up to his standards.