The Perth Games Festival is just one week away, and is set to showcase some great games being made in Perth!
In an effort to highlight some of our local talent in advance, we’ve reached out to several developers who will be attending the festival. AltF4 Interactive is a new start-up studio who are about to debut their new mobile title, Rift Runner. To tell us more about the project, we caught up with Michael Mckie, the lead developer of the game.
As a Perth-based developer, could you tell our readers a bit more about AltF4 Interactive?
Michael: AltF4 Interactive was started at the beginning of 2014 to act as publishing platform for games and apps I create. The idea behind the name came about while I was finishing my degree in game design at SAEQ (formally QANTM College), and started out as a bit of an inside joke as pressing alt+f4 is what many of us felt like doing at the time.
As a new start-up, work on the company’s first title Rift Runner started production in January this year. It has been on a part time/casual basis to allow us the freedom to work on other projects and pursue other commitments (like finish studying for those helping with the development who hadn’t finished their degrees yet).
What was the primary source of inspiration behind your debut game, Rift Runner?
Michael: Rift Runner is actually based of a prototype that I worked on during the 2013 Global Game Jam called Adventricule, which was nominated and received the judge’s choice award for best game at the Perth jam site that year.
At the beginning of this year, I arranged a get together with the guys that I worked with on Adventricule, and presented a plan to take it from the prototype to a released title. In that meeting it was decided to change a few things to make it more appealing to a larger player base, these changes are what Rift Runner has come to be now.
How would you best explain Rift Runner to someone unfamiliar with the game?
Michael: The easiest way I have found to describe Rift Runner to people, is that it’s an endless side scrolling platformer where you need to survive as long as possible while collecting objects to increase your score and avoid the obstacles.
Could you outline the objective of the game, and how players will be able to earn points?
Michael: Rift Runner’s primary objective is rather simple: collect as much algae as possible while avoiding the obstacles. In order for a player to increase their score, around each of the platforms spawns a series of objects that we have taken to calling algae.
When a player collects the algae, their score will increase. We have just recently implemented a multiplier that will increase the players score even more depending on how fast they can collect the algae. This mechanic was implemented to try and encourage the player to keep moving forward as quickly as they can while avoiding the obstacles in order to get the highest possible score.
Navigating the waves can be tricky! Could you explain how that will impact the gameplay?
Michael: Yeah, the wave mechanic has probably been one of the more challenging mechanics to get right during the development process and has changed considerably from the way it functioned at the begging of the year.
The biggest impact on the gameplay I’m seeing with the wave, at the moment, is that it tends to act as a very large speed bump. And is one of the few ways that can actually break the multiplier streak for gaining score.
It’s hard to say exactly what type of impact it’s really having at the moment as it’s really only the developers that have played the game. We designed the system, so we don’t have trouble navigating the waves. If we find during the Perth Games Festival that the wave mechanic is having a really negative impact on gameplay, then we will need to look at revising it again.
Are there different levels within the game that can be unlocked, or is it one main stage?
Michael: It’s one main stage. We had discussed the idea of other levels, but in the end we felt that they would be all too similar so we have decided to keep it to one main stage.
What has been your biggest challenge so far since you began working on the game?
Michael: Aside from balancing the wave mechanic, probably the biggest challenge has been the Facebook integration so that players can share their score with friends.
Admittedly, this has only been a challenge as the game was originally coded in Unity JS. To implement Facebook, however, it needed to be done through Unity C#, so we had to go back and re-code some of the systems. We’re still working on this feature and are hoping to have it implemented in time for the festival.
What do you feel makes this game stand apart from other well-known titles in the genre?
Michael: I would like to think it’s the art style, but I think the wave mechanic is what sets it apart. I can’t vouch for every game on the market, but I can’t think (off the top of my head anyway) of another endless platformer that uses a mechanic that works in the way that our wave system does.
You’re going to be at the Perth Games Festival this month, will we be able to play it there?
Michael: Yes, Rift Runner will be playable during the Perth Games Festival.
We are currently looking at having a number of Android devices that will allow as many people as possible to be able to play the game, as well as a couple of laptops that people will be able to play it on too.
The laptops use a slightly different control system to what the mobile devices will use, but it will still provide the player with the same gameplay experience. We are also looking at a number of promotional options to help generate attention for the game, but will need to wait and see the festival layout to determine which material we can use.
What is your current release date, and what platforms will the game be available on?
Michael: Currently, we haven’t set a date for the release as we want to test it and see if we need to change anything, as well as finish implementing the couple of features that are still missing. All things going well though, it should, hopefully, be released before the end of the year.
As for release platforms we are currently planning on releasing it on Android, and are also looking at releasing it on IOS, but to start with it will at least be on Android devices.
If you would like to keep up to date with the development of Rift Runner, please visit the AltF4 Interactive website.