As we all spilled through the doors at Perth Games Festival, the very first booth I saw was for Thwart Geo – a game akin to classics such as Space Invaders and Asteroids, and contemporary titles such as Geometry Wars. After talking to Jez, one of the developers from Outback Pixels Game Studio – it’s easy to see a lot of love and reverence went into making this game. Thankfully, OPGS have agreed to answer more of my questions about the game and their studio!
What was the inspiration for making Thwart GEO?
Thwart GEO is born from when a Vectrex, a Commodore 64, and my brain get smashed together at an early age. It was originally just an idea I was having some fun playing with on an afternoon, just for myself, in between developing some other game ideas.
Have there been experiences with your past games (such as Roid Rage) that you’ve taken over into making Thwart GEO?
Every game we’ve worked on, whether it was a game jam, a dirty, quickly thrown together, barely playable prototype or a released title gives us experience that we take onboard with the next idea. Every iteration of any idea, code, art and any other process in the development pipeline gets carried through.
For people considering getting into game design, what advice would you offer them in setting out on that path?
Identify what it is you’re passionate about, the thing you want to wake up to every day that provides constant positive challenges, and go for it.
Are there any future plans for content/design changes to Thwart GEO that you can share with us?
Sure. Kim’s stuck into developing new skins to compliment and challenge the current geo and neon skins. I’m always poking at new ideas and trying new things within my vision for the game I want to play. We’ll keep updating Thwart GEO to keep it fresh and make it better in any way we can.
Being that your team is based in Kalgoorlie, what sort of challenges have you faced around launching Thwart GEO?
The distance which translates directly into financial challenges when participating in events to increase the exposure and profile of our games. For example, Playup events, the Perth Games Festival, PAX Australia, and Melbourne Games Week.
What do you feel separates Thwart GEO from other arcade style shooters such as classics like Asteroids and Space Invaders to contemporaries like Geometry Wars?
As soon as I read this question, it reminded me of a quote from the recent exhibition.
“It starts out feeling like the Dark Souls of the Asteroids/Space Invader genre, but then it turns out to be the difficulty of Street Fighter… the difficulty everyone loves and wants” – Awesome Perth Games Fest attendee.
I like the fact we can be compared to some of these timeless classics. We would describe Thwart GEO as all of the above and more… more fun… more challenging! Unique controls that will help to rip you up and spit you out. Keep playing and wrap your brain around the super simple controls, and you start to see improvements every game which will translate into a real feeling of achievement when you pass a level.
Do you think that there’re things that could be fixed with Thwart GEO, and if so – what are they?
As Thwart Geo was released in May 2016, fixed? No. Improved upon, always! We’ve had a few updates recently, and there will be more.
Can you offer any insight into your next project, Out of Range, for those who don’t know what it is?
I really appreciate the fact you guys did your research, but we’ve tricked you. Out of Range is a PC title that’s seen approximately eight months of solid development before Thwart GEO. We took some time off OOR to follow some other ideas before tying ourselves into a much longer development process. We will go back that way, but it’s all about sustainability for both business and our creativity.
How was the trip to Perth Games Festival for the Outback Pixels Game Studio team in terms of player feedback and engagement?
Since it was released in May 2016, our aim for Perth Games Fest was to lift Thwart GEO’s profile and get it into as many hands as possible. It was a very positive experience and our devices were in use the entire day. We had to peel a couple of people off them so others could play.
What are the future plans for Outback Pixels and Thwart GEO following on from Perth Games Festival 2016?
Thwart GEO is blasting into PAXAus 2016! We’re always polishing and thinking of new features for Thwart GEO, so that will be our focus leading up to the Melbourne Games Week 2016. After this exhibition, we’re looking forward to maintain Thwart GEO’s development while getting back into the trenches and developing from our long list of ideas.
Thanks for taking the time and giving us the opportunity to talk with you!
Support Thwart GEO
Here are some other places where you can show your support for Thwart GEO and Outback Pixels: