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How are Indie Games surviving? We talk with Melonhead Games

September 10th, 2019 by Geralt of Australia Comments

With consoles getting better and better and more pressure from the public for games to do the same in both quality and quantity, we’ve seen a huge rise in gaming across the world and with releases such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man with hyper-realistic graphics it’s easy to see why they’ve done so well.

So, how are small indie game companies not only surviving but thriving, and what does it take to get started in the industry?

Not many people think of Australia when they think of video games, but maybe they should, with titles such as Bioshock, LA Noir and Fruit Ninja all developed there.

This week I got talking to Patrick and Sam from Melonhead Games based down under in South Australia to talk about starting in the industry and their current game in development, Rooftop Renegade.

So, first off, let’s talk a little bit about Rooftop Renegade: “We started Rooftop during a game jam at the start of 2018 and it was a bunch developers in a room with next to no sleep,” they tell me.

“So the goal was to come up with a prototype and to get as much stuff out as possible, it came out as a multiplayer platform with our female character running across the screen and the others shooting at the scenery trying to slow her down and it just went on from there. With it being a multiplayer game it became a bit hard to do solo tests, so from there we created a single player version where an AI destroyed the obstacles in the way.”


Why a game like this in particular? “Really, it all started with nostalgia, we’re all big into old classic games like the original Sonic and thought a platform would have been easier, but we couldn’t have been more wrong, coming up with a lot of issues.

“Also, as artists we wanted to do something a little different like adding the multiplayer aspect and destroying the course.”

“It came out as a multiplayer platform with our female character running across the screen and the others shooting at the scenery trying to slow her down and it just went on from there”

What is it about your game that makes it different to others of this type?

“Well firstly the multiplayer element is a big part of it, along with the idea of the hazards with the level being destroyed cos you don’t know where the enemies will shoot and it keeps you on your toes and wanting to play more. Another thing is with the speed running, anyone that plays it can be a speed runner and it gives you an introduction to that style of game, we want players to be satisfied and feel like they can get better and better while still feel like you can be great at the game from the start.

“Probably our favorite aspect though is that it’s a 3D platform indie game rather than all pixels and Minecraft styles, we’re all trained 3D artists so we can use this style to get better quality.”

What are some of the challenges that come with development and actually getting your game out to the public? “Well the biggest one has to be marketing, we have a lot of training in all other areas of the business but the actual development is the hardest, we have all the skills and qualifications but that doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get your product out to the public and gauge their reactions and build from there.”

So how do you think indie games and smaller companies are not only surviving, but thriving in this industry when you have competition like Red Dead 2 and Spider-Man? “Something that we’re leveraging is the pick up and play element where you can just pick it up and have a good time without having to go through hours of gameplay first. Also when you get to the big corporate games they can be quite predictable, I mean you look at the new Spider-Man and you know exactly what you’re gonna get, whereas with indie games you have a lot more creative control and never know what you’re gonna get in the end.”

“Probably our favorite aspect though is that it’s a 3D platform indie game rather than all pixels and Minecraft styles, we’re all trained 3D artists so we can use this style to get better quality.”

“As for release dates we don’t really want to give any numbers right now, we’re still scoping out our avenues and looking at funding. This being said it will be a premium game that will hopefully be released across all major platforms in the three major countries, AUS, UK and USA. Ideally we want to get it everywhere but its balancing that scope of getting it to the people and doing it right.”

With gaming development on the rise in Australia and with government and state interest escalating it’s no surprise that companies like this are popping up everywhere, and with events known around the world like PAX being held right here in Australia it’s easy to see why. Anyone attending PAX will have a chance to talk to the guys at Melonhead themselves as this will be their first major appearance at an interstate event, and even if you’re not going you can keep up to date with their work via their website or through their FB page Melonhead Games.

Either way, I look forward to seeing what these guys do next.

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Geralt of Australia, holder of the One Ring of Sauron, mechanic to the Millennium Falcon and council to the Avengers, has been diagnosed as a nerd since falling through the wardrobe and being crowned king in Narnia. While fighting Boggarts and watching Storm Troopers miss everything, he has made his way back into this world through the portal in 221B Baker Street just to bring you all the news and reviews of the games of this world.