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 Commando Kiwi’s Adam Sherratt 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 Adam, tell us about your team for Make Something Unreal Live, Commando Kiwi.
We all met at the Train2Game & Epic Games game jam in November. We all worked very closely together then and we actually came up with the winning game, obviously, that’s why we’re in this competition! We’ve all grown very close, working closely together on these projects, and we’ve got a nice range of skill sets – we have somebody who is good at just about everything – and it’s really working for us.
How are you finding working with the Fighting Fantasy IP and the Unreal Engine?
The Fighting Fantasy is very exciting. I honestly hadn’t heard of it previous to this, but having read the book, I can see why the series is so popular and it was a very exciting experience to read the book and think ‘we’re going to make a game out of that.’ As for the Unreal Engine, it’s been incredibly helpful, it has little quirks, but I can honestly say, without using such an amazing technology, we wouldn’t be able to pull this off in the time we’ve got.
You’re making a third person game on IOS for Make Something Unreal Live, how is the process of that going? Building a game using UDK for iPad?
It’s a bit more difficult than making a traditional game for PC, there’s a lot of considerations you’ve got to have in watching the performance and that sort of thing; you’ve got to build things in a particular way. Obviously, being on a small screen means you’ve got to watch how it’s laid out. It’s been quite a challenging process but also quite rewarding, because it’s pushed us more to think about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and how it’ll work for the player.
So you’ve learned new things as you’ve gone along, in addition to using the knowledge you already have through Train2Game courses?
That’s right. As the lead programmer I use a lot of Unreal scripts, and the Train2Game course teaches you C++ which is very similar. I must say, this experience has been incredibly educational, I’ve gone away and learned lots of different things, and putting these into the game has been very exciting and a great learning experience.
What have been some of the landmarks so far in the development of your game?
This first landmark was just getting a character on the screen and running around! We have a very simple touch and move interface, and just getting that nailed so anybody could play it – a 10 year old, a 40 year old, whoever wants to play it – it’s so simple anyone could play it. Next key, milestone is we’ve recently got battles working; once again it’s a very simple interface which we can’t go into much about now, secrets, secrets! But once again, it’s a very simple Fighting Fantasy meets Final Fantasy style, very exciting times.
How have you found the transition from being a team at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam to being a fully functioning game development studio working on IOS with UDK?
It hasn’t been too bad really because we got on so well at the game jam, and we all became good friends then. The only challenge really is communicating via Skype and the internet. We have our own forum, Facebook page, Basecamp, Skype conferencing every week and we talk to each other over the phone. The only challenging part really is the distance, but we keep in close contact with one another and as a result we’ve been able to stay close together as a team just like we were at the game jam.
Distance won’t be a problem when you’re at The Gadget Show Live, how much are you looking forward to being part of Make Something Unreal live at The NEC, Birmingham?
It’s incredibly exciting. I mean, I’d heard of it beforehand, but I never thought I’d get the opportunity to compete at it. So I’m incredibly excited to show the judges and obviously the 125,000 people there what we can do.
For those who want to keep up to date with Commando Kiwi on the road to Make Something Unreal Live, what are the details of Facebook and Twitter?
You can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/commkiwi or on Twitter @CommandoKiwi.
Great, thanks for your time Adam and good luck.
Thank you very much.
Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.