Train2Game interview: Stuart Moore of 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 Stuart Moore of Derp Studios 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 Stuart, how have you found being part of Derp Studios on the road to Make Something Unreal Live?

Very chaotic, but also very enjoyable. I’ve got a great team working with me, there’s a whole range of personalities and they’re really lovely people, I’ve made some good friends and I’m really enjoying working with the Unreal Engine and making massive progress, some great leaps recently in installing the software onto the device and just seeing it in action blows your mind.

So, you’re enjoying using UDK?

Yeah, the software is really good, really intuitive. As a developer, using the tool that they’ve called Kismet, it really lets you visualise all the development that you’re doing.  Instead of seeing lines and lines of code, you get to actually see images on the screen of the actions you want the engine to take.

You’re working with the Fighting Fantasy IP, which book is your game going to be based on?

We’re making a sequel to the book The Citadel of Chaos. That’s basically a story which revolves around a mage who was sent to assassinate the evil Balthus Dire, who is attempting to get another Army of Chaos from another realm.

So there’s a lot of Might & Magic style things in the game.

Yeah, there will be a lot of spells and we want the player to rely more on the spells and strategy and only use their melee as a last resort.

How are you finding developing a first person game for IOS?

As far as I’m aware, there aren’t many first person games for IOS, so I think we’re really hoping to revolutionise the platform and get more hardcore gamers on iPad and on iPhone. But also we want to incorporate a mini-game so you can play on a casual commute if you’ve just got half an hour on the train so you will be able to hack and slash. But if you want to sit at home for a few hours you can play through the story and that mode will be quite immersive, we hope.

So, you’re essentially doing two games in one.

Yeah, we’re hoping to have two completely separate modes, one rough and ready that gets you into the game to kill as many enemies as possible to get the highest score that you can. And also, we’re hoping to have an engaging, in-depth story mode to keeping the player interested, wanting to know what happens next, where is the next twist coming from.

The team formed at the Train2Game and Epic Games Game Jam, how have you found the transition from that to working as a fully operating game development studio.

I’d say one of the major difficulties that we have is the distance between some of our team members. We have to rely mostly on communicating over the internet using Skype and Facebook, and we’ve got a pretty good program called SVN which we can use to share files. But apart from that, you wouldn’t really be able to tell that we’re not having that many face-to-face meetings. We’re gelling really well and the progress is coming along leaps and bounds.

And there’s still plenty of time to go before you take part in Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show, how do you think you’re going to find building the final stages at the big event where potentially thousands of people could be watching?

The pressure is going to be on, to have five days to build the game. Hopefully we’ll know exactly what we’re doing, the whole process has been a massive learning curve.

And finally, tell us the contact details for Derp Studios,  of your Facebook page and Twitter page.

We’re available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/derpstudios and on Twitter it’s www.twitter.com/derpstudios

Great Stuart, thanks for your time.

Thank you.

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