My final article of 2022! It's been a long yet productive year on here, and I've got so much planned for next year. I got the chance to interview Jose, the developer of an interesting underwater exploration game called subROV! It's a bit of a hidden gem and I'll be reviewing it in the coming weeks, but here's some time with the man himself.
A New Year: Some Updates and Steam Sale Rambles!
Previous Gamedev interview: Winter Falling
It’s the final article from me this year! It’s been a long and tough twelve months but fairly productive on here! We’ve achieved good work, and I can’t wait to show my plans for 2023.
Today, I’ve got an interview with Jose, indie developer and the brains behind subROV. It’s a fascinating little exploration game that focuses on underwater mechanics in a submarine. He launched it in December and it can do with some more attention, so here’s the link to the page! In the meantime, here’s an interview I held with him. I’ll be reviewing this little gem in the coming weeks, but enjoy Jose’s insights!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you do?
I’m a composer and sound designer working in the games industry for more than 20 years. I have worked on projects of all kinds and sizes, from AAA spaceships like Elite:Dangerous to indie RTS like Dawn of Man. Over time I’ve learned other skills from the process of making a game, and now I’m making one myself.
What does being a game designer actually mean?
It means specifying in detail all the inner rules of the game, and the interactions that the player has with it, both individually and combined.
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?
It is a case-by-case, I believe. We would have to first know if the content was actually deliberately cut out, which implies it was once part of the original scope, or was always meant to be an extension. If it was cut out, then we would have to know when was the decision taken within the development process. With that knowledge, and by comparing with past projects from the same developer, I think we could easily figure out the why.
Tell us about your current project.
SubROV is a game that recreates the dives of oceanographic institutes as seen in their youtube livestreams; it allows you to control a research vessel with a submarine, and explore underwater locations around the world.
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?
I take it respectfully, trying to understand where it comes from, and see if I can do something about it when it’s negative. I also don’t take it personally.
What advice would you give new developers taking the plunge into game design?
Work consistently, know your limits, be patient with progress; analyze what others do, keep a healthy distance from your work, plan both for failure and success; work with and for your customers (or players), and cherish the connections you make along the way. The same as any other discipline, I believe.
Ah, and one more for solo devs/artists: don’t be the producer and the artist at the same time.
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
I play bits and pieces of many things; recently I was playing the latest Sniper Elite. I love both Subnauticas, as much as they scare me, and I come back to NMS from time to time.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Within a “game” there’s elements of many of the things I like to do in life, and the ocean setting particularly has always attracted me.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The best and worst part is working on it alone, depending on how you look at it.
What was your favorite thing about game development? Is there anything you find difficult or challenging in dealing with the struggles?
I love how multifaceted it is. The challenge is perhaps dealing with the unknowns, the things that are out of your control, moreso as a small developer.
What lessons have you learned from your first game?
This is not my first game; I would say that was Glest. From that project I learned most of the things I talked about earlier.
What are your future project(s)?
At the time being, subROV stretches out into the horizon.
If you couldn’t be a game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
Any creative job where I’m treated respectfully.
What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object?