Kickin’ it with Robert Busey – Sword ‘N’ Board
This week we kick things off with Sword ‘N’ Board by Robert Busey, a promising game that needs your support!
4cr: Thank you for joining us! What can you tell us about yourself?
Well, I’m fairly new to the indie scene, though I’ve worked at bigger casual game companies in the past, I kind of grew out of that scene and really found indie development to be more up my alley, I guess you could say. I’ve drawn my entire life, and always wanted to do artwork for games, ever since I got my first video game – Wizard on the Commadore 64 – and Sword ‘N’ Board is my first real attempt at game development on my own. Before working on Sword ‘N’ Board I also worked as a concept artist and UI designer for Hashbang Games, on their game “Gravi”. So if anyone happens to check out that game, I did the UI design for that.
4cr: Sword N’ Board is a hack-n-slash adventure game that reminds us a bit of the top-down view Legend of Zelda releases. What sets Sword N’ Board apart from similar releases?
I think the item system of Sword ‘N’ Board is really special, which in turn makes the puzzles that much more difficult. Currently, you have 10 main items that you can find throughout the game. So each item has it’s own singular purpose, but then it can also be used with 4 other items, and when used with different items it changes that items effects! What this does is helps not only make older items that you’ve found more useful, but makes newer items that you find that much more exciting! You really never know if that new item you just found can be combined with another older item and make it that much more interesting. All in all, you end up with something like 50 different item combinations.
For instance, you have mortar shells that you use as bombs, but you can also find a sling shot along the way. But if you use the SlingShot with the mortars, you can fire them across the screen!
Another instance is with the SnowGlobe, which gives you a protective shield around Sidd. You can use it by itself, but if you use it with another item like the Axe, it will then give you a shield made of 3 axes, that spin around you! Making it more of an offensive item, than a defensive item.
And, some items you can equip, use and then swap out for others. While this isn’t true for all item effects. You can mildly abuse this and create your own play style with it!
Not only that, but I look at Sword ‘N’ Board as kind of a return to the old days. There’s secrets and puzzles in Sword ‘N’ Board, and you’re never really told they are there, its up to you to find them! Games these days look to really show the player everything, and kind of treat gamers like they’re stupid, which I hate. I want to show the player exactly the basics of what they need to know, and then encourage them to experiment and try new things as they go. Kind of what it was like when I was young and just started playing games.
4cr: You’ve been very active in the comments section of your Kickstarter campaign for Sword N’ Board, and you’ve already used the feedback from the community to make some changes to the game (such as going from movement in 4 directions to a full movement in 8 directions). Are there any other community suggestions you’re considering for your game?
Absolutely! I mean, up until now I’ve been 1 person locked away in my office working on this pretty much on my own little island, so there’s tons of things that people have seen or suggested that I honestly just didn’t think about! People have made some suggestions for smaller, purchasable items for the shops that can give you temporary bonuses and things like that which I’ve definitely considered! Another suggestion was to have a sort of inventory system, so say you pick up a roll of duct tape, but your shield has full durability you can then store it and use it later! Things like that. Another great idea, was to make it so you can use both the O and P keys to attack, or the left and right click mouse button, so I may make that possible. This way PC users can choose which one works best for them, and Mac users (who sometimes don’t have a right click mouse button) can still use the keyboard.
4cr: Have you considered releasing Sword N’ Board on Wii U since indie devs get a free Unity Pro license along with their Dev Kit?
I definitely have! I’ve always wanted to get a game on a Nintendo product, so getting it on the Wii U would be an absolutely amazing thing for me. The engine that I’m currently using just mentioned that they are getting a Wii U exporter, so it may make it even easier to get the game on the Wii U. I’ve also been in contact with someone at Nintendo of what all is entailed with becoming a Wii U developer! Unfortunately with the Wii U dev kits being rather expensive right now, that’s going to be definitely on the table, but will probably be a stretch goal if the Kickstarter campaign gets funded.
4cr: Since you’re focusing on digital rewards, it will be easier to deliver rewards on your end, and now you’ve even added a free PDF of an “Art of Sword N’ Board” to all backers at $25 and higher. What will be included in this art book?
Quite a lot actually! It’s going to be mainly a lot of concept art, for Sidd, enemies, bosses and assets, and then also show the different iterations of each up until their final look that’s in the game. It will also show my original on paper puzzle designs and behind the scenes development artwork for the game, even if that artwork doesn’t make it in the game.
4cr: You’re basically the only person working on the game. Won’t this hinder your progress in order to have the game ready by August 2014?
It’s definitely going to be a long hard road, that’s for sure. But with the way the game is set up, the assets are basically put into a “kit” so for the most part a lot of the assets and things in the game are re-useable and can be combined to make up new things as well. The only things that would need to be done from scratch are any elements needed for the puzzles, which would be smaller objects and things for Sidd to Interact with. Also, with a lot of the animations, once they are “boned” and animated a lot of them can be reskinned and tweaked slightly and reused, which definitely helps when designing new enemies, so as the production goes on things actually get much easier. Also, since it’s largely just me working on the project, I don’t have an issue where the game runs into bugs from having “too many cooks in the kitchen” I guess you could say. I’ve seen bugs crop up because someone was using the wrong naming convention for assets and things like that. I don’t have that issue since its all set to my own standard, and I’m the only one putting the assets into the game.
4cr: Would you like to add anything else to conclude this interview?
I just want to thank everyone that took the time to check out the Kickstarter, and also took the time to read this interview! The support that I’ve been getting so far from the community has been absolutely amazing and beyond anything that I could have ever imagined! The people with the Adventure Game Revival Movement especially have jumped on the project and turned it into something absolutely awe inspiring for me. Their support alone could fuel another 15 games. So thank you everyone!
Thanks Robert! You can check out Sword N’ Board at their kickstarter page and play the demo right now!