You may not have heard of Bartlomiej Mamzer or Powerlust, the mobile indie game he’s developing, but we’re about to change all that.
Who doesn’t enjoy deriving power from killing demons and monsters in a creepy underground crypt? Powerlust doesn’t hide the fact that it’s the player’s own drive to satisfy that hunger that keeps them coming back for more.
Software developer/IT architect by day, Indie Game Developer by Night!! Bart’s “Just Do It” approach and the level of accountability he is holding himself to in developing Powerlust are the key components to any successful venture.
We hope you find his interview both informative and inspirational. It’s a good reminder that when you love doing something like game development (or writing Behind the Scenes interviews with Indie Devs) all you need to do is take that first step and keep moving forward.
Your dedication to daily game dev updates is evidence of your passion for this work. What inspired you to follow a career in game development?
I’m not sure if I can say I have a career in game development, I just do it as a hobby. I’m a software developer/IT architect by day, when I get back from work I spend some time with my wife and my little daughter, I only have a few hours I can actually spend on other things, so I try to make the most out of them.
I was probably inspired by all the awesome games I played in my life and the joy that they gave me.
I always liked playing games, but lately I’ve been bored by most of the titles I tried. I make games, because it gives me immense satisfaction. I believe you can’t get that by pure consumption, at least not in the long run.
What classes or training have you undertaken to prepare you for this line of work?
I have a degree in computer science, so I know quite a bit about software development. I don’t think you need to take classes to make games though. From my experience it’s better to just start making a game and learn on the fly. You obviously need to start with something small to actually have a chance to finish it, but I believe you shouldn’t wait for anything, you just need to start.
Tell us about the storyline behind Powerlust.
I don’t have the full story yet, I can give you an introduction:
“During your studies as an Apprentice at the University of Magic, you’ve stumbled upon a powerful stone that greatly increased your magical powers. Blazing through the semester with ease, you’ve discovered a deep, insatiable hunger inside of you. Knowing that slaying the dark creatures in the ancient crypt nearby will make you even stronger, you’ve decided to use your newly found powers to satiate your lust for power.”
If you had magical powers what would you use them for?
Probably to have all the time in the world:)
The enemies featured in your game are beyond creepy looking. Can you tell us specifically about their design?
No grand story there I’m afraid. I bought them from the asset store. I don’t have the time to make everything on my own and I don’t see anything wrong with using assets, as long as they fit in nicely. I found a few packs that looked great, most of the creatures in the game are made by Maksim Bugrimov.
What tools does the player possess to defeat them?
His spells and wits 🙂
I plan to create several classes. Every class will have 4 spells: basic & powered attacks, which use energy and offensive & defensive spells, which will be based on ammo.
What influenced your decision to create a mobile game?
My previous games were mobile, so this one is too. I started with mobile games, because they are very easy to get into, you just have to pay 25$ to google and you’re all set to release games.
I plan to release Powerlust on iOS too and maybe on PC in the future. To be honest I’m not sure if I shouldn’t have started with a PC version.
What aspects of development are unique to building a game on a mobile platform?
Obviously the performance of the devices is different, so you have to keep that in mind. The main thing though is the input, mobile games are much more intuitive and fun when they fully use the touch capabilities. That’s why I plan to add a new control scheme based on gestures.
Also majority of players prefer fast and simple games that you can play in a line or during commute, that’s another reason why releasing the game on mobile first might not have been the best idea. There are however players that actually play rpg games on mobile devices, so hopefully it won’t be that bad.
What are you building it with? And why?
Unity, because it’s powerful and easy to learn, there are plenty of tutorials and assets available for it. I might have chosen a different engine if I made only 2d games, but I didn’t want to limit myself to that.
What has been most challenging part of the game development process?
Actually starting doing it and then continuing the work after the first motivational kick wears off. I finally started to work consistently this year, mostly thanks to two things.
First one is a book called “Mini Habits” by Stephen Guise. It suggests that you should make a few tiny daily habits. They have to be really small, for example working on your game for 5 minutes or doing one push up. This works great for several reasons, it allows you to get rid of the resistance that you feel when you have to start doing something, because the habits are so small and easy to do. The interesting part is, once you start, you want to continue, because people don’t like to change their state. You often do a lot more than the habit requires. It also helps you build momentum with consecutive successful days, which is really important. Let’s say you had a habit to read 200 pages a day. One day you read 150 pages, you failed, you feel bad, you don’t feel motivated to succeed the next day, because you didn’t do it the day before. Now let’s say your habit is 2 pages a day. You would crush it, you would gain confidence that’s super important in tackling other goals.
The second thing that helped me with motivation is accountability. I never really used social media and didn’t want to do any marketing, but I knew that it’s important to promote your game in order to have any downloads at all, so I decided to post updates on social media every day. It was an amazing boost to my motivation. First of all if I want to post every day, I need to have something relevant to share, so I actually need to work on the game every day. People are social creatures and don’t want other people to think bad of them, so I subconsciously didn’t want to let anyone down (even if I didn’t really have any subscribers at the beginning). Additionally you feel awesome, when you get positive feedback on something you do and people on social media related to gamedev are generally kind (some of them also go through similar stuff after all).
What keeps you motivated to continue working on Powerlust?
I think the main thing is feedback. I love when people like what I do. I got some followers and I don’t want to let those awesome guys and girls down.
What are some of the aspects of Powerlust that you are still working on?
Everything to be honest 🙂
I still need a few more environments, new monsters, new spells, new control schemes. I’m currently adding a progression system, which is a really important part of the game, especially when it comes to player retention. I’ll probably also add items in the future, because right now there is no loot other than the currency for upgrades.
What methods are you using to evaluate the progress during the stages of Powerlust’s development?
I don’t evaluate the progress to be honest, I just try to go ahead. I do have a todo list, so I guess I could take a look at the things I’ve already done, but I rarely do that. I have a more or less clear plan on how to make this game and I try to stick to it.
How have you used the feedback that you’ve received?
The feedback is really useful, especially when it comes to controls. You can really see how the controls should look like, when you give the game to someone and watch him play. I made some graphics design decisions based on feedback. I also created a few polls on my social media channels asking people how they think the game to be monetized, still not 100% sure about that yet though.
When did you begin constructing Powerlust?
It was in 2017, not sure about the exact date, but I think we can sum up all the work I did that year into one month, it was just a lot slower, stretched for the whole year. I actually started focusing on it more seriously on 01.01.18.
Tell us about who’s helping you to bring Powerlust to life.
My wife supports me and helps me stay motivated. Francois Sivignon made an awesome soundtrack, for which I’m very grateful. A few guys from my social media community also helped me a ton with some design decisions. Unity Asset Store was very useful too, plenty of tools sped up the process a lot!
Do you have an estimated release date for your game?
I plan to release an alpha in a month, probably 30.04.18. (April 30th) I’ll hopefully get some useful feedback and work on the rest of the stuff.
What accomplishment are you most proud of so far? Personally or professionally?
In gamedev? I’m very proud that as of today I was able to keep making daily updates for 3 full months! I hope to keep it up!
I’m also proud that I was asked for an interview 🙂
What sets this game apart from others?
I loved Diablo games, but I always felt like only the first one had a really good atmosphere. It was dark and creepy, I missed that in D2 and D3. Hopefully my game will have that. I don’t think there are any mobile games that could be compared to Diablo 1 in that regard, I can only think of one or two on PC.
The story is also not the typical ‘hero saves the world’ thing, you definitely won’t be a hero in my game.
What is an early memory you have of a game that made you say, “Wow! That’s something I’d like to do!”?
I played games since I was a child, I can’t say I remember the moment that I decided I’d like to make games one day. I actually made a few small games when I was a kid. I do remember one game that had me think, it would be amazing if I was able to achieve that. It was Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. The story and atmosphere in this game is astonishing, there are so many different plots that mix together, I would really love to make something this complex one day.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever received about game development or life in general?
It’s a cliche but Nike slogan “Just do it” is pretty much the only thing you have to follow in order to achieve something. The main problem is it’s very hard to actually make it happen. I’ve read dozens of books and countless articles about self improvement and I don’t think there is one thing I could say to my old self that would make me the man I am today. I guess you just have to work for it.
Do have any “dev to dev” advice for other indie game developers?
Start now, don’t wait for a new computer/program/course/school/whatever, just start making a game. Choose any engine you’d like to try (don’t think for 2 months which one to choose, just choose one of the most popular engines) and try to make a simple game. It’s really so much easier to learn by doing and when you actually know what you have to learn. Today, when you know what you want to do you just need to google it, it’s super easy to find tutorials for pretty much anything.
Is there any behind the scenes information that you’d like to add about game development and Powerlust?
Not really, maybe just that any content creation is really satisfying, I highly recommend trying it out and sticking to it!