The Enclave – Interview


I stumbled across a neat little Kickstarter game while exploring that site. The Enclave is a post-apocalyptic sim game where a huge amount of the gameplay focuses on using the GPS functionality of mobile devices. I was intrigued by the concept and so I contacted the creator, David Kidd.

Tell us a bit about yourself, David Kidd.

I’m going to attempt my utmost to make this not sound like a profile on a dating site! I’m 28 years old from the good old north-east of England. I’ve been a huge fan of video games since the days of the Amiga and I’ve always wanted to have some creative impact in the world of video  games, no matter how small.

Can you please give us some back-story into the game’s world?

The game is set in the year 2061 and humanity is pretty much decimated with what little population remains holding up in The Enclave.

The areas beyond The Enclave’s walls are known as the barrens and cities that once stood tall now have been taken over by a combination of nature and the infected known as huskers.

The huskers are the result of human experimentation into personality control during the early 2000’s. The experimentation appeared initially to work but some months later the test subjects began to disappear.

A full breakdown of the games back-story/timeline can be found on our Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2065454932/the-enclave-location-aware-ios-game-dayz-meets-ing

Tell us what you can about The Enclave. 

The Enclave is where humanity decided to fall back to when it began to be overwhelmed by the huskers. Its initial purpose was a military facility but as more and more people began to arrive at its doors it has begun to spread out and now houses the majority of humanity.

It initially had no power and operated as an almost medieval city until one day a terminal housed in an old electronics store randomly lit up and asked the question “Do you exist?” The machine seemed to communicate with an external faction known as the Shadows but nothing is known of them at this time. Following the terminal’s activation, power began to return to the Enclave slowly for an unknown reason.

Where did the idea come from?

The core idea has been rattling around in my head since the initial launch of the App Store.

I’ve always felt that mobile is unique in its capabilities when compared to home consoles or the PC. Mobile phones are always with you, have a constant internet connection, and all come with  a built-in GPS.

This combination of capabilities makes mobile genuinely unique as a platform and it’s what excited me when the App Store launched.

Problem is I don’t feel there are many games that have taken full advantage of these capabilities so I wanted to make something that takes advantage of the platform’s benefits.

I wanted to make a game that could be played in short bursts as people went about their usual daily routine. If you walk to work I wanted to make a game that meant you could benefit from that movement. If you are stuck at your desk all day like me, I wanted to make a game that let you still feel like you were making progress even while you were not directly interacting with it.

With all these ideas and the systems capabilities rattling around in my head I started playing DayZ and the idea of a location aware survival game came to the front of my mind.

Is there anything that influenced the free-to-play with in-app-purchases model?

I’ll be honest, this is the one place I feel most uncomfortable with in regards to The Enclave. On one hand I want as many players as possible and free-to-play is the way to achieve this but the prospect of giving away something you have likely spent a year making for free is naturally scary.

However I’m a huge fan of many games that use the model and all the research I’ve done indicates that as long as the player doesn’t feel forced into in-app purchases it’s a safe model to use, and a one that tons of players will enjoy.

Reaching that balance of keeping the player happy while still selling some in-app purchases is no doubt a tricky balance though and it’s something I’m planning to seek advice on from devs who have implemented it well.

Give us some details on the tech side of things. How does the GPS-aware system work?

Essentially the location systems in the game mean that you will be playing The Enclave on your local area’s map.

You can place your Enclave wherever you like on the map but we recommend placing it at your real-world home.

You have to collect materials to upgrade your Enclave and craft items for your citizens and this can be done a few different ways.

Firstly if you are heading out you can activate “patrol mode” and this means that the app will trace the route you take and the length of your wander will dictate what materials you gather. Go on a 15km hike and you’re going to gather more materials than a sprint to the corner shop.

Secondly if you happen to be within a certain radius of a business (I’m not sure what the radius will be yet but it’s likely to be quite close) you can “loot” the business for business related materials. Supermarkets are likely to provide food, petrol stations provide fuel, etc.

The final way location is used, and the way I think most people will play the game is looting via your citizens. If you are stuck at your desk and unable to go out on patrol you can send one of your citizens instead. These missions will operate in real time. If you want to loot the petrol station 3 miles from your desk you can send a citizen but it may take the 45 minutes and there is a risk the citizen may be killed by huskers on the barrens.

How long these missions take and how likely your citizen is to die are all calculated based on the equipment and base stats the citizen has.

Have you had any prior experiences with mobile devices? Do you prefer iOS over Android for this sort of thing?

Total disclaimer, I’m not a dev and I’m hiring others to do the heavy coding work on this project but I love both Android and iOS. I started off as a heavy iOS fanboy, importing the original first-gen metal backed iPhone into the UK on its launch. At the moment though I use a Nexus 4 which I love. In an ideal world we will raise enough cash to make an Android and iOS version but for now it’s iOS as lead platform.

Are there any plans for multiplayer-type sharing and that sort of thing?

Multiplayer was originally something I wanted in The Enclave. I wanted to enable trading between players but it’s something I removed from the concept for a couple of reasons. Firstly it breaks the back-story of The Enclave being humanity’s last stand if you load your map up and there are 3 other Enclaves within a mile of you.

Secondly it’s a huge technical challenge to create and then maintain the infrastructure required to implement multiplayer.

Should The Enclave be a success, then who knows what might happen in the future…? But for now it’s single-player only.

Anything else to say?

All I’d like to say is thanks for the interview and if any of your readers are interested in the concept please check out our Kickstarter page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2065454932/the-enclave-location-aware-ios-game-dayz-meets-ing

Or check out our website which has more detailed back-story and some screenshots at http://theenclavegame.com

As one last thing I’d just like to ask anyone who reads this to share The Enclave with their friends. This isn’t one of those games you see on Kickstarter that will get made regardless of its success. This genuinely will not get made without your help so please tell everyone you know!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan prefers his last name not to be known. He’s probably a high-class superspy, but we don’t mind. Point man for interviews, and occasionally he takes a blowtorch to a game to see whether it measures up to his standards. Visit his game development blog: http://wonderlandgamesblog.wordpress.com/