The end of humanity is near, your mission is to assemble a rag tag group of unlikely heroes and race against time to…
Make a successful Indie game?!?!?
Maybe not, maybe it’s to avoid extinction.
The heroes of Team Mastodonte are developing their “most ambitious Indie game” yet. Okay, so it’s also their first Indie game, but from what I’ve seen, they are certainly setting the bar high for the future. The colorful graphics and fun characters are making me wish Aurelian and his partners could do some chronomancing of their own and fast forward to game completion so we can play it already.
Nevertheless without further ado let the interviewmancing commence…
What is the story behind Beat The Clock?
It all started with the idea of creating a small rpg with a ton of characters and a style very much like that of Dungeons & Dragons. We notably started with a dozen of heroes directly inspired from characters created during tabletop role-playing games with friends.
Since then the game has evolved significantly and the only thing that hasn’t really changed is all those heroes that our friends created and never imagined would become video game characters.
I’m intrigued by the term “Chronomancer.” Were you familiar with the term prior to designing your game or did you find it along the way?
We agreed that time travel would be possible thanks to a mix of technology and magic. When we created the character capable of using this power, we naturally thought of the term Chronomancer. But we didn’t invent anything: in the world of role playing, the suffix “mancer” makes it easy to create new classes, like a necromancer who reanimates the dead or a pyromancer who controls fire. Imagine a hero capable of manipulating plants by infusing them in hot water: the teamancer! Hold on… I think we may have a new concept here!
If you could manipulate time, what, if anything,would you alter in the past?
Like everyone else, I would probably come back to the creation of USB technology and make sure that we know intuitively what side to plug that shit in.
How long have you been working on this project?
The idea was born during the year 2016 and we started the adventure in early 2017.
Is there a completion date that you’re racing against time to meet?
We set ourselves deadlines for key stages of development. Currently we want to be able to offer a playable demo for the month of September. For the finished game, it’s still hard to say. It will be out in 2019 but we can’t be anymore precise than that.
What platforms will Beat the Clock be released on when it’s completed?
PC. But the game has been designed to be played on the controller, so if we get the opportunity to transcribe it for consoles, we won’t hesitate!
What are you building your game with and why?
Unity – it is the engine most suited to our project.
How would you describe the style of artwork in your game?
It’s a form of Flat Design although the background scenery has a slightly different treatment. We have several artists as references (Robin Davey, Fraser Davidson, Dan Gartman, ShwigityShwonShwei and many others …).
What inspired this colorful minimal approach?
Neither of us is an illustrator, so we needed the style to be simple and accessible. In the end, it isn’t a very common style to find on PC / console, so we hope to take advantage of that fact to make ourselves better known.
What would you say is the most interesting aspect of your game?
The dynamism of our gameplay. This is really our first concern. For each element of the game that we implement we ask ourselves “Is it fun? – How can it be more? “. We can’t wait to have a first playable demo to get some player feedback. For this it will be necessary to create a tutorial because the game can be quite difficult to take in hand. By throwing a player right in the middle of the action, we fear that they might quickly smash their controller.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing your game so far? How have you dealt with it?
I would say funding. And how did we deal with it? I’d say by simply ignoring the problem.
More seriously, it’s difficult for us since we only rely on our personal savings. We thought of doing a Kickstarter at the start of the project, but without a community it would have been a waste of time. So for the moment we keep working on it hoping it will turn out for the best in the end.
What are the three “R’s” of Beat The Clock?
Runner – RogueLike – RPG. To put it simply, imagine a “Darkest Dungeon” where the heroes have to run in the dungeons! But don’t just see the game as a simple fusion of the three genres: they are thought to work well together. You won’t have a dynamic Running phase followed by a slower combat phase you can see in most turn-based RPG. No, Beat the Clock will be dynamic and nervous at all times!
Give us some details on some of the unique heroes we can put on our team.
For the moment, we have already unveiled Albrecht the mustached aristocrat, Elisen the fiery Valkyrie, Hellmut the bloodthirsty therapist and Ley the afro-mage. These are the 4 characters that will be available in the demo we are currently working on.
But there are many, many others … A thunder monk, foxman the superhero (all indie games must have their fox!), a dangerous prisoner, a gnome scientist and so on …But we won’t reveal everything here!
Describe the four basic movements of the characters (in addition to running).
Jumping, bending down and protecting yourself are the three basic movements to dodge the traps. The 4th is looting, but unlike the other movements, it has a “cost” and will consume a resource during the Running phase while requiring to choose carefully which hero to loot with.
There will be other moves available, but we will have the opportunity to talk about it on our website and social networks.
Tell us about Team Mastodonte.
We are 3. Sven our developer recently joined the team, but it’s been a while since he first helped us on the project. Unlike us he already has experience in video game development with Mr Paf.
Valérian, my big brother, is the art designer – he is the one behind the graphic style and also the one who creates the backgrounds and the character animations.
Actually, our roles are quite close, as I also take care of animations, character design and together we work on the game-design. Beside that, I take care of communications and all the annoying bits like the creation of a legal status or all that relates to the organization.
What heroic abilities do each of you possess?
Sven masters the power of intuitive breathing. Valerian can survive in a vegetable-only environment, and I possess the ability to create dead epidermal cells.
We are blessed!
How did you meet? How long have you been working together?
We met Sven a year ago at a conference for start-ups in our region. He has never been very far from the project since, but officially joined us in April 2018.
Did you go to school for what you’re doing and/or how did you learn to do what you do?
I don’t know much about Sven’s career path so I will only answer for my brother and I. We have both been trained in computer graphics, but what we do on Beat the Clock is essentially self-taught. There are lots of resources on the internet to learn how to create something.
What is the indie dev/indie game scene like in France where you’re from?
It was a nice surprise! There is a lot of indie developers in our city/region and it’s great to get their feedback or just to have a beer with them. We have also joined East Games a professional network dedicated to developing the game industry in the east of France. A lot of help and kindness, it’s a nice network to be part of!
How are you tracking and evaluating progress during the development phases of Beat The Clock?
In a fairly conventional way I think. Through prototypes and test phases with friends or between us.
What is the next stage for Beat The Clock?
Make a playable demo for the public. We wish to participate in the Paris Games Week in September and it would be ideal to have a nice demo! That is our goal.
What keeps you motivated during each new phase?
Chaining different phases and varied missions limit weariness and repetitiveness. Also, creating a game is still a pretty cool thing so motivation isn’t what’s missing – at least for now.
What Dev to Dev advice do you have for other indie game developers?
Wow, we haven’t even finished our first game and we still don’t know if the players will like it, so maybe we’ll hold off before giving advice. 🙂
Is there any Behind the Scenes information we missed that you’d like to add?
Not really. Thank you!
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