During our recent Indie Event at Game City, GC Editor, Bernadette Russell got the chance to meet up with Mark Mennell from Gnomic Studios to talk about Square Off, and their upcoming multi-player title, Square Heroes!

I’m here at Game City today with Mark from Gnomic Studios. Hey, how are you doing?

Mark: Yeah, good thanks!

So, you’re one of the programmer’s for Square Off, is that correct?

Mark: Yes, I’m one of the programmers at Gnomic Studios. We’re working on Square Heroes currently; Square Off was our previous game that’s out now on Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and Xbox Live Indie games.

Wow, it sounds like it’s been doing very well! However, what we’re playing today is actually your upcoming title called Square Heroes, which we’ve been trying out on the Xbox today?

Mark: Yes, Square Heroes is our latest creation, and essentially, it takes Square Off in a multiplayer arena direction. That was one of the most requested features with the original game, and thus, our current direction for the series. Although, just for the purposes of the demo, we’re actually showing the game on a PC today, but it is still the Xbox equivalent, and that’s why everyone is playing with Xbox controllers.

Absolutely, I’ve had a long go on the game and as a multiplayer, its bang on perfect and really addictive! I can’t wait to have it on every platform, and with that being said; what do you need to change, or what else do you need to do to make it ‘complete’?

Mark: Well, as it’s a different type of game, whereas Square Off was more a single player work your way through the levels to the end with swarming survival type single-player mode, Square Heroes is more an arcadia/arena shooter that you would play with your friends. We’re bringing network multiplayer to it so you can play with your friends from home as well. It’s really more of the arena type feel, just jump in and blast your friends away!

Fantastic! As a Perth developer or programmer what do you need to do to get your games out there? How do you get started on something like this?

Mark: Well, I can speak for myself from a programming perspective. I was first a programmer doing business applications, and well, I still am!

Okay, that’s a bit different!

Mark: Yeah, so that’s what I do during the day, normal applications/desktop applications, but obviously my passion is gaming, and so, that’s what I do at night-work for Gnomic Studios.

How to get in there? Get your foot in the door any way you can! That’s how I did it, and by joining and attending local groups. Just do it, make your own stupid little silly game, just start by doing it! Once you start attending events, once you start speaking to people, you find your niche, that’s how I did it!

That’s why days like today are really good, we’ve got several developers here, people from graphics, IT, editors; everyone comes in and we can actually see everything here. It seems to be that networking is one of the few things in Perth that we actually have!

Mark: Yes!

Now, what about in the future? You’ve got Square Heroes, is there anything else coming for Gnomic Studios?

Mark: At the moment only Square Heroes in on the horizon, hopefully, depending on the success of that, we can go on to even bigger and better things, but we won’t count our chickens before they hatch!

Fair enough, if it’s a good game then stick to one and do it well, its working.

Mark: Exactly.

Now, speaking personally, would you consider yourself a gamer?

Mark:I used to be, but to be honest, I’m not so much anymore. I’m first and foremost a programmer; I love writing code, and as such, they were actually beating me in there today!

Yeah, I can vouch for that!

Mark: [Laughs] Yes. You were beating me as well!

Well, I’ve had a bit of practice as I recently reviewed the game; and I have to confess, I put in several hours on Square Off to get that good at it and STILL did not get top spot!

Mark: [Laughing] I was a gamer, and I still game sometimes, but to be honest, I really spend most of my time programming.

Fair enough, it is a balance, and you need to have time enough for everything. Now you’ve given us advice on how to go about getting involved, but what do you see for Perth in the future?Mark: I think Perth is going places, I really do. Why? Because you’ve got scenes like this and per capita Perth is doing very well in terms of this sort of thing, if you just scratch below the surface, you look for these things then they will come to you. My theory is that Perth is the new Silicon Valley, and because of the isolation it brings people in to look within and it’s really got so much going for it.

That’s a good way to look at it, we are so confined here that we network and make it work!

Mark: Exactly, you’ve got to make it work.

Well Mark, thanks for talking to us today, it’s been ridiculously fun getting to play your new game, and it goes without saying that we’re looking forward to the release! We hope to hear a lot more from Gnomic in the future!

Mark: Thank you so much!