I’ve been playing a pretty cool game lately. That’s Devil Spire, an old-school dungeon crawler that released very recently. It has plenty of unlocks and modes to try, has great visual design and it’s dirt cheap. I think it’s around 10 USD, and you can buy it on Steam right now!
After a small conversation with the developer Ithiro on Twitter regarding our favourite indie games, I offered him an interview and he happily accepted.
Sit back, grab some snacks and enjoy!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you do?
Hi! I’m Ithiro, an indie game developer from Brazil! As an indie dev, I kinda have to do a bit of everything, but my specialties are programming and game design. I’m also almost a computer engineer, and a normie web/app programmer.
What does being a game designer actually mean?
To be an artist that creates interactive experiences that resonate with many different people in different ways, but makes them all have fun in their own way!
There has been a great deal of controversy in recent years about micro transactions in gaming. Not so much an opinion, but why do games tend to cut out content to sell later as DLC and lootboxes? Is it to do with development costs? Or is it time related?
Usually just plain old greed. Expansion packs and DLCs developed later, after the game was a success and people demand more, are totally fine, but simply lobbing off parts of your game just to get more money out of people is baaad. Some exceptions can be made in case of content that is expensive to produce, but only a select few would enjoy… Like celebrity cameos, or skimpy outfits. So, you know, almost none.
Tell us about your current project.
Devil Spire is me trying to bring the King’s Field experience back, without all the jank. You know how sometimes you feel a strange comfort in walking around a terrible, dead and dangerous world, but knowing that despite all, you’re still standing and going on adventures, and finding your own happiness even in a devastated land? That despite the world trying again and again to bring you down, you can still get up and keep moving? Well that’s the experience I wanted to give to the players. A difficult, unforgiving challenge that they can slowly, but surely, conquer as they improve and discover more about it.
As anyone who creates anything, we must all deal with criticism from consumers. How do you go about it particularly in the prolific and viral standard of gaming today?
Positive responses are great encouragement, and it keeps you going and makes the journey easier. But the only way to truly advance is to take all criticism, be it constructive or not, and use it to improve your craft. There’s a lot of spiteful, or just plain evil people out there, but even they can accidentally be a new opportunity for you to make yourself, and your product, better. I would not be where I am today if I just discarded the feedback of people who did not like my game.
What advice would you give budding developers into taking the plunge into game design?
Never give up. Use your passion, determination, discipline or just the good old stubbornness to keep going. The road of gamedev is a long and arduous one, but as all others like it, it’s immensely rewarding once you reach your destination(s). Also, forget about money and the market and all that boring stuff, you won’t get much of it with game development. Focus on what you truly want to create, to make real. Be realistic, and bring that experience you crave to others who will enjoy it immensely, like you do. And don’t forget to share it with the world!
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
RPGs. But really I enjoy almost any kind of game, especially the best of the best, regardless of genre. Recently I finished FFIX, Yakuza 0, God of War II, Slasher’s Keep, and got to level 10 on Lineage II with a friend. Quite a large spread, don’t you think? And that’s good to keep your perspective fresh, and the spice of life (variety) on!
What inspires you to do what you do?
Others. Be it the great works that take 100 people to create, or the passionate garage projects that were made by just that dude.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The market part. Marketing, selling, producing, researching… Everything a big business is great at, I hate and am terrible at. But you gotta do what you gotta do to show your game to the world!
What was your favorite thing about game development? Is there anything you find difficult or challenging in dealing with the struggles?
Making an idea real. Thinking something up that you think is cool and just putting it in your game and seeing it just works is the best feeling you can get. Even dealing with nasty stuff like bugs or design conundrums is rewarding once you finally figure it out.
What lessons have you learned from your first game?
Do NOT settle for mediocrity. Always give it your all, and if your all isn’t enough, and you don’t want or can’t spend the years learning or improving on it, reach out to people that can do the things you don’t and collaborate to make it the best it can be!
What are your future project(s)?
A cyberpunk VN-RPG with a really cool battle system, with a considerably larger team, which will allow us to create a game with much better and original music, art and even story! Also, probably Devil SpireS: the Made in Unity sequel!
If you couldn’t be an game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
Other than my current, main money-farming job as a web/app developer, maybe a cook? The allergies wouldn’t help at all, though.
Finally, what is your ideal video game if money and time was no object?
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Daggerfall, but it works and isn’t jank. Just you wait for Devil SpireS: This Time There’s More Than One!