After a shortstop, we are back on track with the 10 Turns Interviews. Today, I had the pleasure of chatting with Luis Regueira, eclectic and talented indie developers currently struggling with an interesting turn-based strategy RPG. Many entertaining details have emerged as well as some useful advice for aspiring indie developers. Scroll down to discover more.
Hi Luis, thank you for the time you are dedicating to me and TBL. Could you please introduce yourself and the Sinister Siamese Studios?
I played around with making dice and card games my entire childhood really and decided almost twenty years ago that I should learn programming and graphics so I could become a ”real” game developer. It didn’t take me long however to get turned off by the whole idea because I saw how poorly people in the industry were treated (bad salaries, constant overtime etc) and I ended up working in IT as a software tester and making small prototypes on my spare time.
Somewhere along the way I felt that I should pick up programming seriously again and I learned iOS Development which is what I work with today 8 years later. In 2016 I teamed up with a friend to finally make my first commercial game and we made ”Rogue Knight: Infested Lands” for iOS and it was during that time that the name ”Sinister Siamese Studios” was born. The name is after my two cats who are not siameses
What does it mean to be an Indie developer? Especially during this worldwide pandemic
It probably means eating bread and water every day for most 😂. I work full time though and only do game dev on my spare time so I can enjoy the occasional slice of cheese and glass of wine 🤪
The pandemic hasn’t affected my game development at all, to be honest. I haven’t attended any social gatherings or conventions before the pandemic either but I guess that’s where most developer would notice it. As to what I means to be an Indie Developer… For me personally it means having less time to work on things than I would like and I think that’s true for most Indie Developers regardless of how much time you put in.
Could you please introduce your project?
“Guardians of Gridvale” is a TRPG with timing mechanics where the enemies telegraph their moves in advance and update them as the player performs actions.
“Picture Into the Breach, Fire Emblem and Paper Mario having a threesome with XCOM sitting next to the bed with a camera”
People sometimes ask me about how these games inspired or influenced my game so here’s a breakdown:
Into the Breach: The tactical gameplay with enemies showing their moves and the focus on abilities that do more than one thing as well as smaller, more focused maps.
Paper Mario: The tone of the writing (not so serious) as well as the timing mechanics
Fire Emblem: The theme and the graphics, the focus on different classes and the dialogues. XCOM: The game structure outside of the tactical missions…
How the idea of Guardians of Gridvale came out?
I was tired of doing small mobile prototypes and wanted to try my hand at doing something squad-based a la into the Breach / XCOM. “Guardians of Gridvale” is basically a mishmash of all my favourite turn-based games.
How about the length of the game? Will it be structured in missions? Will there be something secondary to do?
The basic idea is that there will be scripted story missions with side missions in between. Similar to Gears Tactics if you’ve played that? The side missions will be procedurally generated and give different rewards like XP boosts, gold, new items, or similar. In between missions I hope to implement a camp system where you take care of your units wounds, eat, select which units to bring and what items and skills to equip for the coming missions as well as simpler dialogue between the heroes.
I have a bunch of things I want to try out here but I haven’t yet implemented all of them and I don’t want to promise to much since I don’t know how much this will “cost” in development time. This part could easily balloon and become too big so I tend to not talk about it too much…yet.
How is development going? At what point are you now?
The game is still earlier in development than most people think. I’ve been focusing hard on setting up the “skeleton” of the game so I can get to the next phase of development which will be filling it with more content. I still have lots more enemies to design (there will be more than just Goblins in the game I promise 😂), tilesets to draw, levels to design, and don’t tell anyone but there will most likely be more than 4 heroes… 🤫
I saw you are working hard for a first playable demo? Any predictions about that?
I had the goal to release the demo Q1 2021 but I’ve realized that won’t be happening. I have another daughter coming which gives me less time in the months ahead and I also don’t want to make the mistake of showing something too unfinished. My experience is that first impressions tend to last so even if it’s early I want to polish this a bit more to not disappoint anyone and turn them off completely on the game. I would say that I’ll have something out before or during the summer.
Do you have any plans to start some crowdfunding campaign for the game?
There will be no crowdfunding for this. I will keep on making the game in my spare time and do my best to maintain a healthy balance between “real life” and game dev. Crowdfunding would be too stressful for me…
Have you set on the agenda an approximate release date? And what platforms will the game be distributed on?
I am hoping to release in 2022 although I won’t kill myself to make that date. If it comes out in 2023 that’s fine too. I am aiming to release on steam first and consoles after that with the Nintendo Switch being my ultimate goal. Mobile is definitely a possibility too but will be saved for last.
Before the final bonus question, usually, I like being able to leave some interesting insights to other indie developers in my interviews and so I ask you, how is your working day organized? Do you have any particular routines, habits, or strict rules that you respect?
For someone that works on their spare time, the hours are very limited. It is crucial that you know exactly what to work on and that you try trimming out all the “fat” on every task. Work on what’s most important, always. My golden rule is this: do something every day no matter how small. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, that still gets you closer to your goal. The other thing is that I always try to work in the morning when everybody is sleeping and I haven’t started my day job yet.
Bonus question: The last Turn-Based game played?
Currently I’m playing: Gears Tactics, XCOM 2, Into the Breach (I already have all the achievements but have a couple of medals missing) and Mario & Rabbids. The last turn-based game I finished was Mutant: Year Zero a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks Luis it was a huge pleasure talking to you, we will keep following Guardians of Gridvale development and I take this opportunity to remind everyone your official website and also your Twitter profile. Wish you the best.