Despite being such a tight-knit community, there are still plenty of games in Perth that fly under the radar. I – and probably most people attending the event – had never heard of Project Wingman until PGF had rolled around. To be honest, it’s almost criminal how little coverage the game has received, so like hell I was going to let it pass me by on the show floor. After having a go and discovering it’s just as good as it looks, I had a few questions for RB about how he made the game.
What is Project Wingman?
Project Wingman is a combat flight action game that brings the player to the skies without the complexity of simulators.
What made you want to make Top Gun?
Being in the skies, manoeuvring, and overcoming your foes in a fighter jet definitely makes you feel cool as hell. Besides, Who doesn’t want to be Maverick? Haha.
Did you set out for the game to be a sim or an arcade game?
I’d say it’s more of a blend with the two but with a bias towards the arcade side. You have fully manoeuvrable aircrafts that act in an authentic manner but with the fun of the arcade side of the combat and gameplay.
How long have you been working on the game?
As of November 2017, it has been exactly two years since I started work on Project Wingman.
Have you made any games before this?
Not quite, only a tiny prototype in Unreal Engine 4 that eventually turned into Project Wingman.
What have the main challenges been developing the game?
Definitely learning everything involved in game development. Whether it was learning how to efficiently code (still can’t), learning 3D modelling software, doing animating and texturing, learning what is involved in actually marketing and publishing a game. Thankfully with the internet and the abundance of learning materials available on it, it has never been easier to pick up these skills and apply them to my game.
Have you ever flown a jet? Do you even have a pilot licence, young man?!
No to both, unfortunately. But if anyone wants to hook me up with a jet ride I’ll be more than happy to take that ride, haha. (Please.)
As you mentioned on the day, you’ve never flown any of these jets before. How do you make sure they feel true to life (enough for the game, at least)?
Well, I’ve been on a lot of commercial planes if that count? Hehe. But on a more serious note, it’s all about references, references, and references. Watching how jets fly and viewing onboard videos has been somewhat enlightening and gave me enough information to convey what it would feel like.
How important is realism in a game like Project Wingman?
I don’t believe realism is extremely important for a game like Project Wingman. However, having a certain degree of realism definitely helps players get immersed in the game, as long as it does do not interfere with what would make the game fun and feel good. So while it’s not important, it is beneficial to have to a certain point.
What’s been the best part of working on Project Wingman?
Definitely the part where people tell me that they’ve been having a lot of fun with the game, even with its limited content in the alphas I’ve published to the public and the showcase I did at PGF 2017.
How is it working on the game on your own?
It gets tedious at times, but the tradeoff is that you can have a high amount of creative control albeit limited with what I can and can’t do skill-wise. But I’d like to point out that with some members of the community volunteering their spare time with helping me in smaller aspects of the game has definitely helped offload certain aspects of the game’s development and gives me an outlet to receive and share feedback quickly. So It’s definitely not a full one-man effort. There’s also my composer Jose Pavli from London, and he has been wonderful to work with.
How was the feedback from PGF this year?
The feedback from the floor demo was extremely positive. I was surprised people were enjoying it immensely despite the fact that I made the level too hard and people couldn’t really finish it. Still, though, that’s a lesson for me to learn for next time.
Had you had much interaction with the Perth scene before PGF?
Not as much as I’d like. In fact, the latest Perth Games Festival was the first time I’ve truly introduced myself in person to the Perth game development scene. I wish I’d done it earlier though because they have been extremely helpful and extremely fun to talk to. I’m looking forward to future interactions!
Where are you planning on taking the game? More planes, more missions, anything else?
I have a lot of ideas still for the game, but the main thing will be addressed in the future is increasing the replayability of the game. One game mode that we’re developing right now is going to address that goal in mind. We’ll have more to say about it once it’s ready.
Here are some other places where you can show your support for Project Wingman:
Tumblr: http://rb-d2.tumblr.com (dev log)
You can also download and try the latest alpha for yourself here: https://rb-d2.itch.io/wingman