(last updated 25th April 2018)
Q. Are you still working on Deep?
A. Long term, YES! Currently? Unfortunately, no. I’ve shifted focus to a smaller independent video game project called ‘Limiter!’ which I’m hugely excited about. Limiter! is slated for release in November 2018. Being an adult with a manager job 5 days a week turned out to take up too much time in my life to possibly also be creating a game as large and ambitious as Deep. Deep is still my passion project and I still have all the faith in it I’ve always had, and I’m excited to return working to it when my lifestyle better accommodates its development cycle. The best way you can help bring Deep to life sooner is by supporting other projects I take on in the meantime (if you like the look of them!).
Q. Will Deep cost money?
A. Yes, it will. Not a lot though! I’m considering maybe doing one of those things where you can pay however much you want for the game, but I’m not sure! If I go with a fixed price, then nothing is really set in stone, but I don’t imagine wanting to charge more than $10-$15 for the game.
Q. Can I pre-order Deep?
A. I’d love you to! I haven’t set that up yet, but I will when we get closer to the game’s release. I’m very new to the whole ‘selling software online’ thing. I don’t think I’ll do any kind of pre-order discount though, because I find that aspect of ‘hype culture’ to be rather harmful to the game industry and especially the consumer.
Q. So when will the game release? What’s taking so long?
A. I don’t have a solid release date yet. You’ve got to remember that I’m the only developer for the game, and it’s pretty large. That means I’ve got to do all of the art, programming, testing and graphical effects, as well as come up with all of the actual ideas! It takes a long time to do all of that stuff by myself, and I work at a bookshop, so I can’t be focusing on Deep all of the time.
Q. Will there be a demo?
A. YES!! I have no reservations about releasing something playable for free prior to the release of the game to give everyone a taste of what Deep is like. It will likely consist of the starting area of the game, right through to the first boss fight. It might even include some randomly generated elements to keep you entertained over and over until the full game releases.
Q. What about Early Access?
A. I won’t be doing Early Access of any kind with Deep. It isn’t the sort of game that makes a lot of sense for that, in my opinion.
Q. Are you a professional game developer? Is this your job?
A. No! I don’t have any formal education in programming or game design, and I’ve never worked a paid job in the field. I’m one of two managers at a bookshop, which is a full time 5-day-a-week job.
Q. What other games have you made? Is Deep your first game?
A. It’s not my first! My most notable game project is definitely Super Smash Flash 2, a fan-made iteration of the popular Super Smash Bros series designed entirely in Flash, for which I was previously a Lead Developer. Chances are, that project is the reason you’re here on this site now! I’ve also written a million and one tiny “games” that haven’t ever been released to the public over the course of my learning to program, and about a hundred million non-game pieces of software that do various specific tasks. Deep is the first game that is both entirely by me and intended for release to the public, which is pretty exciting! But it also means I’m still very much fumbling my way around distribution and marketing, so you’ll have to bear with me throughout that. I’m also currently working on a much smaller game project called ‘Limiter!’ which I’m not ready to share much about yet.
Q. What was your first game? Can I play it?
A. I wish!! My first EVER game was called ‘Tid-Pong’, and it was even more exciting than you might imagine. I mean it was literally Pong, but it had a few different game modes and deliberately obnoxiously loud Death Note music playing. You could also pick several different colours/costumes for the paddle you were playing as. I made it in Flash and I don’t have a copy of it anymore, but it might be sitting around on one of my old laptops. After we got laptops in high school, there was a point where everyone in my class would be playing Tid-Pong with the person sitting next to them, so I guess that was my first successful game release!
Q. Which programming language is Deep written in?
A. I’m writing Deep in the C++ programming language. I’m also using Allegro 5, a wonderfully versatile and open-source software library designed for game developers to minimize the amount of excess overhead code that needs to be written in order to perform necessary tasks like drawing graphics to the screen, and accepting input from keyboard/mouse/etc.
Q. Which programs do you use to create Deep?
A. I create the graphics, artwork, etc. with Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended Edition. Since the project’s outset I have written my code in Visual Studio 2010, and I upgraded to Visual Studio 2013 in March 2014. I use Bfxr to create sound effects for the game. I use an EXCELLENT (and free!) program called GifCam to capture high quality animated .gifs of Deep, and Open Broadcaster Software to record longer videos.
All 3 of those last things are totally free to use, so if you’re interested click those hyperlinks and try them out!
Q. What platforms will you release Deep for?
A. Right now I’ve only been developing for Windows, because that’s what I own. However, as far as I know, nothing I’ve coded into Deep uses any sort of Windows-native functionality, so I’m quite confident that I’ll be able to port the game to Mac and Linux without too much hassle, and I know for a fact that the Allegro 5 library I’m using is compatible with those other operating systems. It depends on how well Deep performs, if it doesn’t do well enough I’d rather focus on a new project than porting this one to other platforms.
Q. What about console/handheld releases?
A. It’s always been a dream of mine to release a game on a Nintendo platform, and I have a really sentimental connection with Deep. I’d really love to pursue releasing it on the various big publisher indie marketplaces (nintendo eshop, ps4 etc) at some point in the future, but it all comes down to how successful the game is to begin with. Like I said above, if the game doesn’t do well at all I’d like to start work on a new game entirely.
Q. Is there a story in Deep?
A. Yes! A lot of it is sort of implicit though, I’m a big fan of games that tell you the story through gameplay rather than through cinematics or out-of-game explanations. So in light of that I’ve decided to not reveal anything about the story until after the game has actually been released. I think more people will enjoy the experience that way. There is a story though and it does impact on the experience in meaningful ways.
Q. How big is the game?
A. It’s really pretty big. Deep, even. It seems like this game is taking forever to develop, but it really is with good reason. Right now because the game is so far from being finished it’s hard for me to give an accurate estimate in terms of how many hours you’ll get out of a single playthrough, and with all of the randomly generated elements I feel like that number will vary at least a little from player to player anyway. Rest assured though that the game WILL be quite extensive, and because of the way it works, you’ll have just as much fun on a second or third playthrough as you will on your first. I promise you’ll get your money’s worth out of Deep.
Q. How hard will the game be?
A. Pretty hard! I think hard games are by far and away the most enjoyable experiences because there’s a learning curve, and it encourages you to try the game again after you’ve beaten it to see how much better you’ve gotten. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop replaying the classic Mega Man series or the first Castlevania for example, because it’s so much fun to play them quickly and proficiently, while remembering how much trouble I had the first time through. I want Deep to be the kind of game where you have at least a little trouble with every new thing you encounter for a little while, and slowly become more able to deal with it as you take it on again and again. That said, I’m not aiming for Deep to actually be a Mega Man or Castlevania game, where you’d use the term ‘hard’ as a defining trait. I think it’ll start off in a way that keeps you on your toes, and then become really quite difficult as you reach the mid-late stages of the game.
Q. Will there be multiplayer?
A. At this point it’s not looking particularly likely. I get that multiplayer is often a big selling point for games, but as it stands, Deep’s gameplay and concept don’t really lend themselves particularly well to a multiplayer experience. Nothing is set in stone though! I’m the only developer and the game isn’t even nearly finished, so I won’t rule out the possibility of multiplayer entirely just yet. I think a sort of asymmetric multiplayer would work best in Deep, something a little different from traditional co-operative or competitive play. If I end up deciding on something concrete you can be sure I’ll make a blog post about it!
Q. Can I play test Deep?
A. For the sake of quality assurance, I will have a team of playtesters run through save files of Deep several times before the game comes out, to make sure there are no major bugs or issues with the game, but please stop e-mailing me and asking to be on this team! I already have a group of people selected who I either know personally, or have worked with on previous game development projects, and I’m not looking to expand the size of that group.
Q. What about Super Smash Flash 2?
A. Here’s a question I still see a lot of variations of! I’m no longer a part of the McLeodGaming game developer team (by my own choice, I left on good terms). You’ll have to pose your SSF2 related questions to someone other than me from now on!
Q. I have a question that isn’t answered here!
A. Feel free to ask me yourself! Just check out the Contact Me page up the top, or try to get a hold of me on Youtube, ask.fm or Twitter. E-Mailing me is definitely the best method though. If you ask a question that I think a lot of people might want to know the answer to, or I see a question asked a lot, I’ll add it to this page!