Nardio Interesting Interview
A little while ago I was lucky enough to stumble across Jane Wilde in the app store. After playing for just a few minutes I was addicted. Check out my review to read about how much I loved playing the game. Level Bit raised the bar on what a fun game should be. The fact that that the game is Freemium is just amazing. After some emails back and forth with Milos the Managing Director, and then spending some time beating the newly added hard mode I found myself even more impressed. I have to say I really respect this team. Level Bit produces quality, cares about its fans and constantly works to make their games as awesome as possible. I am very thankful and excited that they agreed to do an interview with us.
Level Bit Interview Questions:
Milos can you and your lead members tell us a little about yourself ?
Milos Zivanovic (Managing director): My background is in software development and mathematics, but after high achievements in those areas I started looking additional challenges. That’s how I ended up in game production and management.
Branislav Vajagic (CTO): I have been playing games since I was 5. Entering game industry completed my software developer circle. I am a Tai Chi practitioner J
Goran Rajsic (Creative director): I used to be in comics and film, but games unite all my artistic aspirations. I feel right at home.
Can you tell us how Level Bit Games got started?
We were united by a joint idea – to develop a unique game Rise to Fame. As huge fans of RPGs and rock music, we wanted the gamers to be able to experience an out-of-this-world combination of genres. We hired the best people in the country and ventured into the unknown. Our enthusiastic vision was what got us the support of our friends, investors and others.
What do you look for in new team members?
Firstly, the person has to be totally into game development. In addition, besides the necessary technical knowledge and experience, we highly appreciate complete dedication to work.
Above all, we are looking for unique people. We are a small team and everybody needs to bring some magic to the game.
What inspired you to jump into the gaming industry?
Gaming industry has no rules when it comes to technical development, there is no pattern, the possibilities are limitless.
The feeling you get when you make something new is the best ever. Games are miniature works of art that continue living in the virtual world long after the developing cycle is over. The opportunity to create living worlds is the closest you get to playing god.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the gaming industry?
If you still haven’t learned how to finish what you started and if giving up is an option for you – don’t venture into game developing. Playing games is easy. Making them is hard. Be prepared, and listen to those more experienced then yourself.
Did you go to school for game design?
No, but our advice is: practice makes things perfect. Learning about games will not make you a good developer, making them will. Start doing and stop reading.
How do you feel about the recent popularity and subsequent proliferation of game development schools?
We don’t have enough experience in that field, so we can’t really say. We think that it will definitely take some more time before these schools start producing real game developers on annual basis.
What inspires you when making a game?
Almost anything. Good ideas can come from books, comics, other games, movies and real life experience. We wouldn’t be able to pin anything down.
Can you tell us a bit about Jane Wilde and its creation? How long did it take, thought process behind it, funny stories, etc.?
It started as a small shoot‘em up game with vampires in Transylvania. Once our concept artist suggested a girl as a lead character, we completely changed the setting and ambition. Wild West proved to be a refreshing take on the undead shooting genre, giving us interesting inspiration for western-themed enemies. It took us 11 months to finish the game.
What is the most challenging part of making Jane Wilde?
Creating a nonstop shooting game without any platforming, puzzles or any other kind of breaks from carnage was tough. Pacing and balancing was the key.
Can you tell us if there is a Mr. Wilde? In the game’s intro she introduces herself as Mrs. but at the end of the game and on her Facebook page she is referred to as Ms. If she is Married will we be able to play Mr. Wilde in upcoming content? Will he also be having sexy costumes?
We will include more costumes as the game receives more updates. As for Jane, her relationship status is complicated. Wait and see 😉
I love the comic like intro and outros you use to tell the story in game. What made you use that as a story telling method? Will there be a feature that lets you see all the opened comics in the main menu soon? (please say yes! :P)
Comics are simple to make, and players can read them at their own pace. It’s important to tell a simple story that doesn’t distract you from the game. We are thinking about including a read-all-comics button in the future.
You have created a very interesting universe with seemingly endless possibility. Any possible content updates coming for Jane Wilde such as an expansion pack or just more levels and playable characters and villains. Maybe even a web comic?
We are working on a large content update with new comics. You will be the first to know. Web comic is a thing that we have considered, but at this moment, we simply don’t have the time it requires.
Can you tell us a bit about Rise to Fame and its creation? How long did it take, thought process behind it, funny stories, etc.
It started as a browser game idea. Once we saw that it will focus more on action RPG elements then band management, we shifted the platform. It was tough creating a new RPG genre, since there were no predecessors whose experience we could use. We had a lot of gameplay thrown out until we reached a satisfying formula.
What is the most challenging part of making Rise to Fame?
The most challenging part was creating an audience that acts as a threat that the players can easily understand. Their reactions to the band’s music had to be clear, as well as their intentions.
So far you’ve done a shoot em up and an Rock RPG. What other gaming directions is Level Bit curious about exploring?
Before LevelBit, a lot of us worked on a RPG/Strategy game Genesy Rising. It was a long project, the biggest of the sort in our country. We are sci-fi fans, so, who knows what’s next 😉
How does it feel when people you know are playing your games?
Our friends always get to try out our games during testing, so we get a lot of opinions and sincere advice. Friends will always play your games simply because they are your games.
The best feeling is when we accidentally discover that they also play our game in their free time without being asked to – it’s then when we know that the game is addictive and truly great.
What were your thoughts and feelings after you started reading over the first batches of user and web reviews after Jane Wilde was released?
Well, you know, before we dive into reviews we usually take a really deep breath 😉 Just joking… There probably isn’t a developer in this world who doesn’t feel great when reading a good review. We are glad because the game is having the impact we expected.
Can you explain your process of making a game?
The first thing is seeing what we feel like doing, and then finding out if there is a market for that. Then we brainstorm, and when we pick a good idea, we see if it sticks for a few weeks. If it doesn’t start stinking, and we still think it’s cool, we start developing design and artwork. Then we start creating a demo.
How hard is it to submit a game for approval in the iOS app store?
The process itself is not complicated. What creates the pressure is the last check, whether everything is in order. The entire team is included in the final QA.
People from Apple can be very harsh, so each mistake costs us another 7 days of waiting for the new review cycle.
How do you feel about the iOS app store?
Should we give an honest answer? We think that it’s common knowledge that iOS app store functions according to certain principles. The games that are not featured by Apple, are the candidates for “the strongest fighter” in the game world – if they survive. iOS is a gladiator arena!
Congratulations for releasing Jane Wilde on Google Play. Can you tell us about that process and the challenges that come with it. How does it compare for to the iOS app store?
Except for the advantage of getting a fast approval on Google Play store, we couldn’t really say, we are still in the process of gathering that experience. What strikes us as a difficulty is the fact that there are so many devices that support Android and have to be included in the testing. Also, the game can be really unpredictable and act out on certain devices.
I would absolutely love to play Jane Wilde and Rise to fame on my Plasma. Any chance you will be porting to Roku or even Ouya?
Not in the near future.
Any thoughts on the evolution of tablet/ phone gaming and its effects on the larger game industry?
It has a lot of effect on the gaming industry. The mobile games are getting bigger, and they have an audience of their own. However, things are still chaotic, and quality does not always win over stupidity. Controls still need a lot of improvements.
What was the first app you can remember playing that just wowed you?
First Infinity blade was a perfect gamers’ game with great touch controls.
How do you feel about in-app purchases & Freemium gaming? Can you explain how that helped shape Jane Wilde and Rise to Fame?
Freemium game model allows a game to reach a broader audience easily – people can try the game without paying for it and then they can decide whether they really want to finish it or not… These games don’t have any hidden tricks, if you don’t like it, you just move forward to another game. We are strongly against the freemium model that uses deceit to shake down players and separates people who can play from people who can pay. Our games are balanced in such a way that good players can finish the game without spending a single cent. After they’ve had their fun, they can leave us a tip by buying an outfit for Jane.
Many reviewers stressed this as the main quality of Level Bit’s approach and supported us because of it.
What apps do you enjoy playing?
At the moment Kingdom Rush Frontiers is a real rush! It’s as perfect as it gets.
What else do you play/ do for fun when not making a game?
Watch movies and play anything that catches attention. Bioshock Infinite was very enjoyable lately.
What video game companies do you look to as an example?
We like Glu mobile for their range of genres, Bioware for their storytelling and Blizzard for addictive formulas.
What is your dream type of game to make someday?
An RPG space sandbox game with gore.
What is your favorite snack when making a game?
Chocolate oatmeal treat :))))
What is your favorite advice you have been given?
If you’re not having fun making games, don’t make them.
Thank you again Level Bit for taking the time to do this interview with us. Developers like you are the reason I love being a gamer. Be sure to follow Level Bit on Facebook & twitter @levelbit