Gamedev Interview: Kingsblood

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Gamedev Interview: Kingsblood

It is time for a new gamedev interview! The Steam Summer Sale is nearly upon us, and that means new games to play! Today I bring you an interview with Daniel from Icy Forge UG, a small team of talented folks who recently launched their autobattler RPG Kingsblood. I got the opportunity to interview their narrative designer, and I hope you all enjoy! I will be reviewing Kingsblood in a future Indie Corner episode, but here is a link to the Steam page in the meantime:


Let’s start off with an introduction! Please tell me who you are, and what do you do?

Hello there! I’m Daniel, just your average middle-aged guy eagerly anticipating the arrival of my first bundle of joy. By day, I embrace the responsibilities of a hospital job that keeps me on my toes, but during my precious free time over the past three years, I’ve embarked on a journey as a game developer alongside two of my closest buddies. It turns out, game development has always held a special place in my heart, even back in my early years when I dabbled in hobby teams, lending my talents as a 3D artist and crafting immersive game worlds as a GM. Admittedly, none of those projects skyrocketed to success, but that only fueled my determination to turn my dream into a reality. So here I am, much older, but with my first game successfully published!

Gaming Questions

What game/studio are you currently involved with? And what position?

Our game studio is called Icy Forge UG (haftungsbeschränkt). We are a German indie team of three friends. It may sound a bit cheesy, but one of my teammates, Andi, was actually a schoolmate of mine. The other member, Dominik, has been my gaming buddy for about 20 years. As for my position within the team, well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure myself. Like most indie devs, I wear many hats and handle various tasks, with game design, narration, UI, graphics, and even the repetitive boring stuff being some of my prominent responsibilities. However, I must admit that my mates are exceptional programmers, so while I do possess some coding skills, they primarily handle the programming aspect while I take care of the rest. It’s a collaborative effort where we each contribute our strengths to create something amazing.

What advice would you give those who wish to enter the industry?

Start small and prioritize good visuals! It’s advice I stubbornly refused to heed. Instead, we went all-in, driven by my desire to create an enormous game. I must admit, our graphics aren’t top-notch, and keen-eyed players might recognize some assets from the store. However, our game boasts an array of rich features, and an immense amount of effort has been poured into its development. In terms of complexity, I dare say we could even rival some major titles.

But, as they say, love at first sight often hinges on visuals alone. In our next venture, we will undoubtedly scale down the scope in terms of complexity and invest more effort into crafting appealing visuals. Of course, this is easier said than done, as visuals typically require initial capital and come with inherent risks. Yet, it’s important to remember that people tend to purchase what they find visually appealing. So, it’s a lesson well-learned for us to strike that balance between complexity and visual allure in future projects.

If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?

I enjoy tranquil games that require critical thinking and strategic planning. It often leaves me unsatisfied if I can’t conquer them on the highest difficulty setting. One notable example is Civilization, one of my all-time favorite game, where I’ve invested countless hours playing exclusively on the deity difficulty level, the hardest challenge available. However, I must admit that Kingsblood, a game we developed and tuned, turned out to be a tad too difficult for some players. We swiftly addressed this concern by releasing slight nerfs shortly after its launch, aiming to balance the challenge to better suit everyone’s preferences.

In addition to strategy games, I have a deep fondness for RPGs with captivating narratives. Final Fantasy 7 holds a special place in my heart as my personal favorite game of all time. Lately, I’ve also enjoyed the Zelda titles and immersing myself in the epic adventures of Xenoblade Chronicles.

How did you get into your chosen field in the industry?

As I mentioned earlier, my interest in game development has always been a driving force for me. Interestingly enough, my real-life job shares many similarities with the tasks I undertake within our team, so the transition wasn’t as monumental as one might expect.

What is the hardest part of your job?

As the one responsible for most of the game design decisions, one of the toughest challenges I faced was undoubtedly the need to trim down the scope. We had numerous ideas we wished to incorporate into the game, but we had to prioritize the essentials. However, rest assured, we managed to include countless Easter eggs and a rich lore that immerses players in a captivating world.

What lessons have you learned during your time in the industry?

Since this is our first game, I can’t elaborate too much on the matter. However, there is one important thing I’ve learned along the way: nothing in life is given to you for free. So be aware of the many scammers trying to trick you.

What are your future project(s)?

Honestly, being caught up during release week, it’s hard to predict how things will unfold. Nevertheless, I can’t help but dream about the possibility of creating a Kingsblood part 2. I already have some exciting ideas for the storyline. It would be fantastic since we have all the systems in place and could focus on enhancing the visuals. On another note, there’s a project we’ve been toying with called ‘The Tower,’ but I can’t reveal too much about it just yet. However, if the sales don’t meet our expectations, there’s a chance Kingsblood might remain a one-time adventure.

If you couldn’t be a game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?

Well, at the moment, I’m actually employed full-time in clinical IT. However, I’ve always had an interest in training and teaching. Now, this might sound even more far-fetched, but I’ve also developed a fascination for working as a forester.

What were your greatest challenges during the development of Kingsblood?

I believe the biggest challenge we faced as a team was maintaining our motivation. Countless indie projects tend to falter when they reach a point where perseverance wavers. I’ve personally experienced difficult episodes in my own life, which taught me the importance of enduring during tough times. Therefore, I fully understand that keeping the discipline alive, not just for myself but also in motivating our team, proved to be the hardest battle we encountered.

What are your plans for Kingsblood during 2023 and beyond?

Despite conducting thorough testing over several months and distributing over 60 copies during the beta phase, we encountered a number of previously unknown bugs during the launch week. Therefore, our primary focus at the moment is to swiftly address and rectify these issues, ensuring the satisfaction of our community. Furthermore, we have been attentively listening to the feedback and desires of our community, particularly regarding quality of life improvements. Additionally, will participate in the Steam Strategy Festival, scheduled for the end of August.

What games were your greatest inspirations in designing Kingsblood?

Obviously, autochess games such as Teamfight Tactics or Dota Auto Chess. However, I also drew inspiration from classic titles like Heroes of Might and Magic, as well as Suikoden.

What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object?

Honestly, Kingsblood is quite close to the vision I had three years ago. However, there are a few aspects I wish we could have improved upon, such as better graphics and increased flexibility in terms of housing options. Additionally, I would have loved to incorporate more player agency during combat. But, as much as I dwell on these thoughts, I must stop pondering them, as I already struggle to fall asleep with countless game ideas swirling around in my head. But I would probably stick to the same genre – calm and strategic gameplay that requires a lot of thinking.

More about You

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Honestly, I haven’t had much free time in the last three years. But when I do find some spare moments, I love to spend them with my wife or play interesting games. I also plan on writing a book. Another of these crazy ideas … I know.

Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?

I hate warm drinks. But if I have to I prefer coffee. Cola Zero is my true addiction.

You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?

Somewhere where life exists, the highest chance for that would probably be Titan, right?

Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?

Honestly, I would love to embark on a survival trip in nature. For companions, I would choose Link, who may not talk but can defend against any danger, Zyra, keeping the wilds in check and honoring her ability to help this rusty dude maintain a diamond rank for the past 10 years, and Bodo, Kingsblood’s chef, to ensure I am well-fed throughout the journey.

Finally, what superpower would you most like?

I find the ability to read the minds of others fascinating, although it must come with an off button.

About the Author

TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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