Hello! It’s been about a year since I released this interview on my blog, but I’d like to revisit it and give some more props to a great game with a great developer!
So, I’m happy to introduce Huw Millard, the sole developer of Warsim: The Realm of Aslona! This is an awesome little game that revolves around kingdom management, and you can buy it right here! Just click on the little image down below, and it will take you to the Steam page.
I will say right now, I’ve been a big fan of this game since 2019, and it’s a blast to play. I was fortunate enough to grab Huw for a quick interview. I hope you enjoy it, and please check out the game. For the price of a coffee and a cheese toastie, you really can’t go wrong. It’s frequently updated by Huw as well, with new features being added frequently. He’s one of the nicest guys in the game development scene, and I’m more than happy to shout out this game and his work whatever chance I can get.
Ahem…drunken sales pitch aside, onto the interview itself!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you do?
My name is Huw Millward, and I’m a game developer and online seller. I do a few little things online to keep myself afloat, and when I have free time, I like to travel, usually within Europe, as it’s cheaper!
What does being a game designer actually mean?
Well, it means developing experiences that players enjoy in the hopes of creating a product that can resonate with those who play it.
There has been a great deal of controversy in recent years about microtransactions in gaming. Not so much an opinion, but why do games tend to cut out content to sell later as DLC and loot boxes? Is it to do with development costs? Or is it time-related?
I think the root of all of this is money. Some games have made record-breakingly high numbers, yet still, later, resort to these things. The problem with the gaming industry is that over time, with all of the money it began generating, it became hugely corporate as many wealthy people sought to get more wealthy by maximizing profits and growing game companies into billion-dollar juggernauts.
And they have succeeded. However, the corporate model doesn’t reward stagnation: make a billion dollars this last year? If you make the same this year, then the company isn’t experiencing growth, which is bad.
I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to greed and the desire to make a much as possible, and it runs against what gaming should be.
Tell us about your current project.
My current project is called Warsim: The Realm of Aslona. It’s a wacky kingdom management game that started as a small test project and ended up becoming my road into my dream job. The game is still well in development, but thanks to lots of support by the game’s followers, it has evolved into something I could never have imagined and hopefully will continue to do so.
As anyone who creates anything, we must all deal with criticism from consumers. So how do you go about it, particularly in the prolific and viral standard of gaming today?
I consider myself a fairly sensitive person, so it’s never easy hearing negative stuff, but to be honest other than straight-up trolls, which I’ve only encountered one or two in my time developing.
Most negative feedback is at least trying to be constructive, there are always lessons to be learned from them, and if you address them, sometimes that feedback can later turn positive. Luckily I’ve had very little negative feedback in my time developing, and I can only hope it stays that way!
What advice would you give budding developers into taking the plunge into game design?
Make something you yourself would want to play. It’s hard trying to make something other people would like, but if you make something you yourself enjoy, it’s a good starting point.
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
I love Mount and Blade, Minecraft, Streets of rogue, Stardew Valley…the Elder Scrolls games. All sorts of stuff. I don’t get a ton of time to play them these days, unfortunately.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Ever since I began playing video games, I always wanted to be able to modify and expand on the games I was playing. I was always thinking of things that would make the experiences better.
I’ve finally made something I enjoy, and I am in my element working on games. There’s nothing better than seeing that other people enjoy something you’ve put your heart and soul into, it’s really touching and absolutely inspires me.
What is the hardest part of your job?
That’s hard to say. I think sometimes marketing is a difficult one, that’s one thing that I never thought would be needed, but as a solo developer, it’s one of my main jobs, trying to get the game out there and in front of as many people as possible in a world of massive competition.
What was your favorite thing about game development? Is there anything you find difficult or challenging in dealing with the struggles?
My favorite thing personally about game development is that moment where you spend ages working on a concept or a procedural system, and up until then, it’s all just writing and words, then you build it up for a test. You get to see it live and working, it’s a rush.
That and finding something made by a procedural generation system that catches you off guard. I remember seeing purple orcs once in-game, and It totally caught me off guard. I forgot it was possible and it for a moment really surprised me, which for something I’ve been working on for 4-5 years entirely by myself is hard to do.
What lessons have you learned from your first game?
I’ve learned a lot about the organization, but I’ve also learned that the rules I assumed existed for game development don’t all necessarily ring true, and sometimes if you can find a way to break those rules to help you make something more in tune with what you envision it can work out in your favor.
What are your future project(s)?
I have a few rough ideas but I don’t dare even give them a moments notice until I get Warsim closer to full release.
If you couldn’t be an game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
I’m not sure, but probably something either creative or positive like upper level charity work.
What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object
I had this really kick-ass plan when I was younger for some massively procedural fantasy RPG based on Mount and Blade and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. But unfortunately, this massive game would be borderline impossible for a small indie team, in my opinion.