There’s many many games out there where you’re in competition with your friends while playing. Running around trying to kill each-other, or out-maneuver each-other. It’s very refreshing to find a game based on cooperation!
Personally, I think if cooperation where taught more readily instead of competition the world would be a better place. Maybe Balance Bros is a step in that direction! OK, perhaps this indie game isn’t going to help solve the worlds problems but it will be a fun adventure of balance and cooperation for you and a friend, while avoiding various obstacles that are thrown in your way!
“Balance Bros is being developed by Sarwic, a Copenhagen-based studio, driven by 3 lifelong friends and passionate gamers. Our dream at Sarwic is to engage people in fresh new ways with accessible and delightful cooperative games.”
Let’s hear what the fine folks at Sarwic have to say:
Balance Bros is a couch co-op. For those who don’t know could you tell us what that is?
Our view at modern games is that there is too much isolation. Multiplayer games exist, but sitting alone in front of a screen, is not the same as being in the same room with someone else, fully able to express yourself vocally but also by the use of your body gestures. So what makes Balance Bros so different you might ask? well, we are trying to force people to meet up, share a keyboard or grab two controllers and play together.
What is the main objective?
The world of Balance Bros takes places on a flying board. The board functions as a seesaw, as one end goes up, the other goes down. The main objective is not to fall down … hahaha, well that is the simple objective, but we actually want to draw people together, push aside what Social Media is doing perfectly and hope that people can bond in a different way, like in the gold old days.
What inspired you to make a cooperative game?
Back in the days when we were young, a good Amiga Commodore or Nintendo was simply a machine for the whole family. You could grab a joystick and play games in all kinds of genres.
The same feeling is hard to find in modern games, so we stepped up and thought what true co-op would be like in our time, the answer was Balance Bros.
Did any of your friends ever jump off a see saw and slam you on your butt? Is that part of the strategy ever? To make the other player fail?
Ha ha – that happens alot when you play with a new player. We don’t believe its fully intended, but as they get to play more and more, they are starting to say “ohh, we have to work together?”. But the game does punish you if both players are not cooperating. Actually it gets more intense as the game progresses, so what may be a minor mistake in the beginning is not so easily forgiven by the game mechanics at the later levels.
What would you say is the most interesting aspect of your game?
I would dare to say that it is the ability to make people go insane as they want to progress. This may sound weird, but it’s meant in a good way. In the beginning, people may fall off the board all the time, some lack the basic understanding of physics, some are just bad at communication which may look hilarious to an observer. But as people start to bond and get in-sync, they overcome their challenges and cheer together, that is the very essence we strive for.
What tasks are assigned to each member of the team at Sarwic?
We are dividing tasks as we feel, and what we have time for, mostly based on our experience, but also going beyond and trying something new, beyond the comfort zone. We do try to keep up social meetings where we talk about the game, try to divide the work and talk about pitfalls or how we can help each other if any problems arise.
How do you keep track of who is doing what and hold each other accountable for getting their assignments completed?
Regular meetings, skype calls, and todo lists for smaller sprints, so far we have overcome the project management trouble by the use of Trello, but we believe that something that always motivates us to perform, is that we meet and present our work to each other.
How do you spend your free time?
Philip plays the electric guitar, Marcin loves to fish and build gadgets, and Daniel likes to practice public speaking at a Toastmasters Club. But we spend most of our free time with our girlfriends.
What kind of games did you play together as children?
Some of the first games we played together were Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3.
This was really the genesis of multiplayer in our childhood. In those days it was a challenge to even connect to each other with dial-up internet, when the phone was used, it interrupted the connection, ahh those were the days. We were much more in to pc gaming at the time, and Blizzard were simply making ground breaking games at the time. We used countless hours in these worlds, and those games really developed our taste for games and immersive gameplay.
What do you think is different about growing up in Copenhagen versus anywhere else in the world?
We actually didn’t grow up in Copenhagen but a town around 100 km south of it. We moved to Copenhagen many years ago though. The city really encourages innovative thinking as so many cultures and people live here. There is room for everyone, and that is part of what makes it a beautiful place to live. People are easy going.
Did you go to school for what you’re doing and/or how did you learn to do what you do?
None of us really have a background for working with games, except that both Marcin and Philip
have had programming as part of their education (Marcin especially). The skills that we have this day, have been acquired by hard work and dedication. We are quick learners and therefore are able to adapt quickly to new frameworks and challenges.
What have been the steps you’ve taken to get to where you are in your career?
Dedication is really the key. When you realize that you are a master of your own fate, you look at things differently. We all have an inherent interest in learning and growing intellectually. It is really the drive and the thirst for learning and expanding, that has gotten us this far in our respective careers.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing your game so far? How have you dealt with it?
Time. The development of the game has been in our free time, as Daniel and Marcin both work full time, and Philip is finishing his studies as an engineer. We have had ups and downs, caused by different workloads at different times. But when the stars align, we really push forward and manage to do great things. But time is definitely the biggest challenge.
What methods are you using to evaluate progress during the development phases of your game?
We regularly meet and discuss progress, issues. This gives an overview for all of us, and gives insight into progression of the tasks that others are dealing with. We write almost every day to each other, when there are issues or something needs to be discussed. Progress is evaluated by longer meeting sessions approximately every 2 weeks.
What kind of feedback have you received and how have you applied it?
Large amounts of players from Copenhagen have tried the game during the last months. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We have received several great ideas from our players, and they have helped us find different bugs and adjust the difficulty settings. When you develop a game, you need this kind of input from players. We appreciate their input immensely.
What is your financial goal on Kickstarter?
Our initial goal is 75.000 DKK (Danish kroner) which roughly translates to USD $ 12,000.
How do you plan to invest the money you raise?
We have a clear vision for how the game will look, sound and feel when completed. The raised capital will go towards visuals, soundtrack and a lot more game content.
How long after you reach your Kickstarter goal do you expect to complete game development?
We expect game completion late-2018.
When and on which platforms will your game be released?
The initial release for PC and Mac will be available November 2018. One of the stretch-goals in our Kickstarter campaign is making the game available on mobile devices (android and iOS).
We have done some initial testing and the game functions well on this platform, which we are super excited about.
What Dev to Dev advice do you have for other indie game developers?
Developing a game is a long and difficult process, especially if you do it alone. We have benefited greatly from each other, not only in regards to different skill sets and viewpoints, but also in supporting each other. The fun and excitement in getting a specific game-mechanic just right, or seeing someone download your game for the first time is also amplified when you have someone to share it with.
Is there any Behind the Scenes information we missed that you’d like to add?
I think your very well thought out questions covered it all 🙂
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