This week in Indie-Ana Co-Op, Jesper Kristiansen, Audio Lead and Communications handler at BetaDwarf Entertainment, shares with us the lessons learned from the development of their 2013 hit, Forced. Every game's development has its share of triumphs and losses/difficulties, but the story of Forced is one that is all of its own.
Forced Post-Mortem by Jesper Kristiansen
If you had asked me when I was 10 years old, I’m pretty sure I would have outlined a situation akin to how game developer BetaDwarf has operated for the last three years as my dream scenario. Living together in a big house, working on our own game by day, and by night playing other peoples games, and then do it all over again the next day.
My adult self can now say that while it was an incredible experience to create our game, Forced, under such special circumstances. it was probably also somewhat different from what my 10 year old self would have imagined. In both good and bad ways.
BetaDwarf gets it start
Forced, and BetaDwarf, got it’s start at a university campus in the outskirts of Copenhagen in 2011. The original idea came from a group of university students, who saw an opportunity to combine learning, game development and a future job, by simply making a game and a game development company during the last part of their education.
With this mission in mind, they set about poaching the best people from the other classes. Potential candidates was invited in secrecy to a meeting, where the plans were revealed and soon, work on the project got underway.
An early vision of the gladiators and the weapons
On the university, they were lucky enough to find an unused classroom, and thus claimed it for themselves and the game, which at this point was known by the slightly more generic name Faith of the Guardians. And soon, people began to work on the game on more, much more, than full time. This meant that mattresses were brought into the room, so people could spend the night.
It was about this time, that I joined the project. They needed someone to do sound FX for the game, and acknowledging the not-so-impressive quality of the improvised office, I was recruited at a café far from the campus. And thus - the story of Forced and BetaDwarf was changed from them to we.
Slowly, the lived-in quality of our unofficial office only increased. People began to terminate their apartment leases and moved into the converted classroom for real. We actually thought we had some pretty good stuff going at that point. Looking back now, it was a horrible clumsy mess, but we were convinced that it was a unique diamond in the rough.
We were even brave enough to send in an application to the national game funding programme. The accompanying video was completed in the last minuted, and featured BetaDwarf co-founder Steffen lying through his teeth on the voiceover, brazenly explaining bizarre NPC behavior as the result of advanced AI routines.