“My name is Peter Law, and I’m attempting to be an indie game developer.” Part 1
This week Train2Game caught up with Peter Law, the forum favourite that operates under the username: Carwash. He’s helped many other students with their Train2Game related queries and assisted lots of people on their games creation journeys.
Not a lot of people actually know that Peter has been working in the games industry for years. He’s now working on his own projects and has recently released two titles under his independent label, Enigma 23.
This is the first part of the interview, where we asked Peter about his history with games and what he’s currently working on.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your love of gaming?
“I probably started gaming on the Atari 2600 (“Light Sixer”), I’ve no idea at what age. I still remember getting the Atari 5200ST one Christmas, which came with around 25 games, Gauntlet; Bomb Jack; Space Harrier and so many more I enjoyed many, many … many hours playing – I wish I still had it. The thrill and enjoyment of coming home with a new Atari game I remember fondly. Another Christmas I got a Super NES and a TV for my room, again many hours spent on Mario All Stars; Mario Kart; Donkey Kong Country et al – thankfully I still have my Super NES and Atari 2600.
It was probably the Super NES that incepted me with games as more than a pastime, then the N64 which progressed me more into the world of gaming – I read so much about the N64 before its release it became somewhat of an obsession. It was PC gaming, the internet and online multiplayer that solidified the desire to work in the games industry.
So I started gaming back when games were hard, back when you had to think, there was no hand holding in games (certainly not to the extreme extent many games have today).
I started off working in the games industry for EA, in their QA department. Since then I’ve worked for SEGA, Microsoft, ChangYou (a fairly big Chinese MMO developer/ publisher) and some non-gaming companies. After 8 years in QA I got the chance to take some time off and do my own thing, teach myself a lot more of C# and Unity, and make some games – that’s what I’ve been doing since October 2014 with Enigma 23.
Over the years, I have always dabbled in creating something, be it websites (HTML and CSS); levels (Hammer – TFC, GtkRadieant – Q3); flash (websites and animations); games (UDK – my own stuff) but they never really got fully completed, it wasn’t until picking up Unity at around version 3.5 that I started to be able to progress and finish a game.
My hobby is my career, and my career is my hobby.
Can you tell us about Shh, Zombies?
“Shh, Zombies originally started out as a companion mobile game to an MMO game idea I had years ago, but as that MMO was never going to get made I turned SZ into its own, full game. Shh, Zombies is a puzzle game where the player must get Jim safely to the exit, they do this by placing waypoints down to complete a path to the exit and then watch the action unfold. There are two types of zombies to avoid: the idle, but ever watching, zombie – if they spot Jim they will give chase. Then there’s the walker, these just walk in a straight line, oblivious to what’s going on around them.
There are 40 levels, set during the day and at night. Night levels offer greater difficulty, as it is night time there are more zombies and lower lighting. Each level has 2 objectives:
1- Complete the level in a set number of moves (par).
2- Collect all the zombie heads.”
And its release?
“As this was my first time publishing a game I decided to launch on the Windows Store (desktop) first, using it as a platform to do a soft release and learn about the process of submitting to a store, iOS and Android were then a fairly easy submission process for me.
I didn’t expect to make anywhere near my money back on SZ, but I expected it to do better than it did – mainly because of friends and colleagues saying they’d buy it when it was released, most didn’t, but very thankful to those who did
I have a blog post that goes into more detail about the release than I’ve got room for here (http://enigma23.co.uk/blog/shh-zombies-sales-post-mortem/)”
And can you tell us about Minecart Runner? And describe the game?
“’Shh, Zombies’ took me approximately 18 months from start of development to first release, and nearly 2 years until I decided it was “finished”, for my second game I wanted something that wouldn’t take as long, 2 to 3 months. In December I started prototyping an infinite runner, and I forget why exactly now, but started to remember the mine cart levels on Donkey Kong Country, so I took inspiration from that and made ‘Minecart Runner’.
There are 2 modes in the game, a Normal mode, where the cart is on rails and the player must jump over gaps and obstacles, collecting items along the way; and then Krazy Mode, which is procedurally generated, is quite difficult and has “crazy” physics (the cart spins around 360). Krazy mode is how MCR started out and wasn’t supposed to be in the game, but during prototyping quite a few people said to me they’d play that, so I kept it in as an additional mode.
MCR has been out, on iOS, since Friday 17th and has had nearly 400 downloads so far – it’s doing a lot better than I expected. Most people are playing the normal mode at the moment. I released Android a little over a week ago, but it hasn’t been picked up as well on there.”
Why Enigma 23?
“The 23 enigma refers to the belief that most incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some modification of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23. Though, this belief isn’t something I personally believe, I do find it interesting and use it as a meta game, hiding 23 where I can.”
How many people in your studio, just yourself?
“Just me, though my wife is a graphic designer, so she helps me out with art when I need it – mainly UI, icons, promo assets etc.”
What are your responsibilities?
“Everything. Game design; coding; UX/ UI design; producer; marketing; PR; community management; testing; even did a bit of 3d work for my first game.”
Who did the artwork?
“For ‘Shh, Zombies’ I had a friend helping me with the UI assets, and he did an awesome job. I did all the 3d work for SZ, using a program called Qubicle. Then my wife has done UI assets, icons and promo assets for both SZ and ‘Minecart Runner’. Other than that I buy game assets from the Unity asset store or Game Dev Market.”
How is it working independently?
“Besides the lack of income? It’s great! Doing what I want and working making games. It is hard though, working at home alone, the main challenges that come with that are not being left alone by my family, and not having someone to work with, discuss ideas with, and get motivation from. To help with motivation I’ve started going to indie developer meetups/ events in my area, which gives a huge boost to motivation – just to be around other developers is a great help.”
You can keep up to date with the company on there social media at
Or the company site http://enigma23.co.uk/