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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Interview with "Gnome" of Kyttaro Games

Although we will probably never meet in person, I have come to know Konstantinos Dimopoulos of the last few years as a fellow games blogger (you may know him better as "Gnome", who maintains the excellent gaming blog "Gnomes Liar") and more recently also a fellow indie developer. Now that the team he's part of, "Kyttaro Games", has been released, I thought it was time to let a few more people get to know him with an interview... 

1/            Why did you decide to become an indie game developer?

Ah, interesting question that and one I cannot give a definitive answer to. I suppose it was a variety of reasons that led me to it and I have to admit it's been a childhood fantasy too. Then again, if I weren't offered the chance of joining and helping found Kyttaro Games by two close friends, I'm not sure I would have actually gone on and worked in games. It's a risky and time consuming plan, it is.

2/            What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of indie life? 

Not shockingly the lack of money. Working for almost two years for close to nothing has been quite exhausting and rather terrifying. Then again, the creative challenges are nothing to laugh at either, though I have to admit they can make one happy.

On a more practical note, creating a good, innovative even, game is not the whole story. Actually getting the word out and making a living out of it is what's tough. Especially for indies.

3/            Which indies have inspired you with their vision and passion for game design?

Oh, it's not just indies. There are hundreds of non-indie games I've loved and these would include almost everything by Lucasarts, Sensible Software, Sierra and Ultimate Play The Game. But, when it comes to indies, one of the greatest inspirations would be Jonas Kyratzes and his sublime, truly artistic, exquisitely unique work.

4/            Kyttaro Games have assembled several bundles before their first game release – how did they turn out?

Well, I like to believe that Bundle In A Box, though a relatively small bundle has been successful in doing things differently and with the firm purpose of actually helping indie developers. It hasn't made us rich, but at least we are not losing money on it anymore. Well, for the most part that is.

We are currently working on a new bundle too, that should appear sooner than later.

5/            Tell us about "The Indie Dev Grant" that Kyttaro Games set up.

It is a grant that uses some of the money earned by each bundle ($15 for each 100 sales to be precise) to support an indie developer, who gets chosen by vote. Pretty simple really, but it does work and the devs seems to love it. We are also trying to help promote each and every IDG as much as we can via the bundle, our social media outlets and of course the IDG site.

Among the winners of the grant so far, both Maia and 99 Spirits have done brilliantly in their crowd-funding endeavors and have let us know that we really did help, which feels as fantastic as it sounds!

6/            Tell us a bit about Droidscape: Basilica

Well, Droidscape: Basilica is the very first game by the Kyttaro Games team and it is indeed an iOS app, designed to run on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

It is a story-heavy and actually/properly unique (well, the reviews have been saying so so far) arcade-puzzler, sporting stop-motion animated graphics and the rather groundbreaking option to play by turning your head. It's something that, to my knowledge, hasn't been done on iOS before. 

7/            How long did it take to create Droidscape: Basilica, from initial concept to full release?

Can't be absolutely certain, but it's been in development for over 16 months. On the other hand, the last 3-4 months demanded 70+ hours long work-weeks (some times more) which is as exhausting as it sounds.

8/            What’s next for Kyttaro Games?

First of all, we really have to focus on getting the word out on Droidscape: Basilica and work on its updates. If everything goes according to plan the game will get much added to it and many improvements.

Secondly, we are also working on two more games, only one of which has been so far announced (Artfully Framed), while trying to actually better organize the studio.

We are of course also working on new bundles and thinking of ways to further improve Bundle In A Box and the Indie Dev Grant.

9/            What advice would you give to aspiring indie developers? 

The obvious bit: do it only if you really want to and be prepared for a hard ride. Being an indie developer is stressful, difficult, financially taxing, but you get to create the things you've always wanted.

Thanks Gnome for the interview, and all the best with Droidscape: Basilica and your future projects!

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