Train2Game interview: Chris Ledger of Train2Game & Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live team Derp Studios

Train2Game students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Derp Studios’ Chris Ledger to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Chris, how did you come up with the name of your studio?

Well, we unnamed for our first few weeks, debating what to be called, and it turned out the most common phrase we were using was ‘Derp’ because we were making stupid mistakes and saying ‘Ah derp’ we ended up as Derp Studios from that.

How have you found working with the Fighting Fantasy IP, which particular book is your game going to be based on?

It’s based on The Citadel of Chaos, which is the second book in the Fighting Fantasy franchise. It’s been great fun to work with, we’ve had numerous playthroughs of it and we’ve bought some additional books to expand our knowledge about the lore of the franchise as well.

And how are you finding getting to grips with the Unreal Engine using UDK?

I really like UDK, it’s brilliant, absolutely fantastic. We had a few teething problems at the start with the mobile functions as it’s completely different to the PC version, almost. But we were gutted about the terrain, but we’ve worked our way around it by exporting an object and re-importing it, so we’ve overcome the teething problems and it’s going quite well at the moment.

How are you finding the work compared to pressured environment at the Train2Game and Epic Game Jam?

It’s probably equally as stressful sometimes, especially because of deadlines…and even though we’ve got more time to do things, our scope is a bit bigger than what we were doing at the game jam. I suppose it’s equally as stressful, but just as enjoyable.

What deadlines have you met recently, and what progress have you made with your game?

We’ve done our pre-Alpha, so we’ve compiled a small build with most of our mechanics in, just fine-tuning that. What we’ve been doing lately is mostly getting the character models out the way. We’ve done the majority of the levels that we’re planning to have in the game, and now it’s just the character models and adding the code to them.

Tell us about the genre of game you’re working on for Make Something Unreal Live.

It’s a first person RPG. I haven’t seen anything like it on IOS devices at all, I’ve seen first person shooters, but nothing that’s first person melee and magic based, so it should be quite eye opening and interesting to see when it’s fully done.

Does the game have a bit of a Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim vibe to it then?

Yeah, we’ve obviously, often referenced Skyrim, Elder Scrolls and other famous first person melee games. We got a bit nervous at first as people might think it’s just a watered down version of Skyrim, but…they’ll love it!

And it fits in nicely with the Fighting Fantasy IP as well.

Yeah, we’ve taken extra care to fit it perfectly with the IP. Our game is in fact a sequel to The Citadel of Chaos game book.

Why is it a sequel rather than being based on the book itself?

Well, it’s based on the exact same settings, it’s just happening a week afterwards. In the game book, at the end, you kill the main bad guy, and we thought we could have a bit of a twist on it where events happen after his death, but it’s all related to him. So, it’s got a lot of twists that relate to the book.

How are you looking forward to going to The Gadget Show and making a game in that public setting?

I’m nervous and excited at the same time. Well, more excited. It’ll be great just to show off what our studio is doing. It’s eye opening for the public as well.

How can people who want to find out more about Derp Studios on Facebook and Twitter?

We’ve got a Facebook and a Twitter page. Facebook is www.facebook.com/derpstudios and Twitter is www.twitter.com/derpstudios

Great Chris, thanks for your time and good luck.

Thank you.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

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