Recently, I was able to sit down with an acquaintance of mine named Ian LaBrie. Since the last time I saw him, he has been hard at work on a game called Arcturus Proving Grounds, for his company N-Logic.
GI: What kind of games do you play in your spare time?
LaBrie: I’m really big into Starcraft, Dota 2 and Counter Strike. I enjoy playing strategy based games, both video games or otherwise. Most recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Infinite Crisis, made by Turbine, a company I used to work for.
GI: What was your first video game system?
LaBrie: My first system was a Texas Instrument console. The first game I played for it was a game that made games using code.
GI: You’re all done with school for now correct?
LaBrie: Yes, I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Project Management.
GI: How much did school prepare you for this project? How much did you have to learn on the fly?
LaBrie: 90% of the knowledge had to be self-taught. I had to teach myself how to use model and animation programs. Additionally marketing was a major unseen aspect.
GI: Aside from yourself, who else works for N-Logic?
GI: Has anyone been brought in to help with the game’s creation.
LaBrie: Yes, we’ve used 4 freelancers in the past, mainly for model creations.
GI: Which came first: the company or the game?
LaBrie: The game was what came first. Kind of a chicken before the egg scenario, as we knew we were serious about creating a game, but then quickly realized we needed a company to support it. This included marketing for the game and legal reasons. APG went into development in February 2012, while N-Logic was officially formed in April of 2012.
GI: Aside from APG, does the company have any other projects under development.
LaBrie: Currently APG is the only project on our mind.
GI: After the completion of APG will you try to build more games to support the company or have you considered joining larger studios to work on bigger projects?
LaBrie: We’re okay if APG is financially unsuccessful. Personally, I’m more focuses on creating great games rather than a great company.
GI:What ideals does the company follow?
LaBrie: The company was born out of the world. The 1% movement was big when the company was started. Finances influenced the company making us want to make free-to-play games and have transparency with the community.
GI: What advantages/disadvantages did you face creating an independent game?
LaBrie: The advantages and disadvantages were the same. There is great free software for creators to use, but the software is available to everyone. With everyone having an even playing field, there is a ton of competition. Additionally, without support from Steam or without any recognition, there isn’t any financial success.
GI: What kind of game is APG?
LaBrie: APG at its core is a First Person Shooter. Additionally, there are Action and RPG elements built into the game. This is done by per game leveling systems and (up to 6) activatable items.
GI: The game is multiplayer only, so how many people can play at a time?
LaBrie: Currently the game can have up to 24 players. However, there is a possibility that number could go up to 32. Despite the final amount of players, there will be 2 teams.
GI: How does a team win the match?
LaBrie: Players create their own objectives through the challenge system. The first team to complete enough objectives wins. You can also take on other player’s challenges, steal their market access and place bounties on them. This allows players to starve their enemies from new weapons, items and objectives.
GI: How many maps will there be?
LaBrie: Currently 3 maps are done, with another in production. Ideally we’d like to have 4-5 maps at launch.
GI: How much time has gone into the creation of the game?
LaBrie: As of this interview we’ve clocked in 7000 towards the creation of the game. This number of course does not include any work done with the website or the company. In general, the entire process took much longer than expected.
GI: What software was mainly used for the game’s creation?
LaBrie: The game runs on the Unreal Development Kit. 3D studio and Photoshop are used for the rest of the visuals. Audacity is used for recordings, nDo2 is used to help texture mapping, Flash created the menus and Z-Brush was used for some modeling.
GI: What influence the feel and play style of the game?
LaBrie: Counter Strike custom games influenced the fast paced mechanics that the game uses. The MOBA genre influenced the in game item mechanics. Tron definitely influenced the setting as we wanted high contrasting colors, which is a neat feature as players can use this to their advantage. Basically, we wanted to make a game with deep mechanics, brighter colors and an intense meta. A somewhat counter culture FPS shooter game.
GI: How will the game be priced?
LaBrie: The game will be free to play, with the option to purchase costumes and decals.
GI: When will this game be available to play?
LaBrie: Currently we’re waiting to see if the game can launch on Steam via their Greenlight program. We’re hoping that we can start early access in Q1 or Q2 of 2015. Of course after launch there will be updates made until no one else is playing.
GI: The game currently runs, what additional work needs to be done?
LaBrie: The in game store needs to be completed, allowing players to purchase items. Going along with this, we’d like to make more items for the players to use. While play testing it, we’re looking into more game modes to play. Finally, the mechanics for the A.I. need some serious work.
GI: What was the easiest part of the game’s creation? The hardest?
LaBrie: The easiest part was designing asymmetrical items. The hardest part was marketing.
GI: How can others help you with your game?
LaBrie: Every Sunday we hold public play tests at 3 p.m. EST. Anyone can join and they normally go for 1-2 hours. A huge help would be votes for the Steam Greenlight program. We’re big on what people think so we read all of the comments and feedback that’s given. Finally free free to visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and IndieDB pages.