A big thank you! to Rusty for taking the time to talk with us about his latest game, Astro Duel!
0. Tell us a bit about yourself and team.
I run my game company Wild Rooster out of Austin, Texas. Lately I’ve been making a lot of local multiplayer games like Astro Duel and Bloop. I’ve been working on games for about 5 years now. Sometimes with a team, sometimes solo.
1. Tell us where you came up with the idea for this game. What were your inspirations?
The original idea for Astro Duel was to make a Super Bomberman-like experience for iPad. But I wanted four people to play around the iPad. Like a cocktail arcade cabinet. An asteroid-style game design was born from this.
2. What version of cocos2d-x did you use?
Astro Duel for Steam is built with Cocos2d-X 3.3. The desktop platforms don’t change or break as quickly as iOS. So just sticking with an older sable version makes a lot of sense.
3. How did you decide to use cocos2d-x instead of Unity, Unreal Engine or SDL?
The original Astro Duel was built with Cocos2d-ObjC v2.2. I considered porting it to Unity for the PC release, but Cocos2d-X made way more sense.
4. What features did the engine offer you that made development easy?
I was already familiar with how Cocos worked from years with the ObjC version, so I didn’t need to learn a new engine when I started Cocos2d-X. Just some workflow things like building the Windows version with Visual Studio.
What do you wish the engine did better?
I wish the engine was more modular like SDL2. With SDL2 I can just init the modules I need.
5. What tools did you use besides the engine?
Nothing fancy. Xcode, Photoshop, Texture Packer, Dropbox and Github. That’s pretty much it. I like to keep things simple.
6. What 3rd party libraries did you need to use?
I used SDL2 for input and audio. Astro Duel for Steam can use up to four game controllers. The best library I could find for controller support was SDL2. I love it! It even has support for controller rumble.
I had pretty light needs for audio on Astro Duel. SDL2 offered a solid, stable audio engine for PC and Mac. But I probably could have used anything for it. I mainly used it because I was already using SDL2 for input.
7. Did you create the art yourself? What tools?
Yeap, I made all the art in Photoshop.
8. Did you create the music yourself? What tools?
Nope, I didn’t make the music. But I did make the sound effects. Most of it as made with cfxr (the mac version of sfxr).
9. Will you continue to make games in the future?
Of course! I’m working on some exciting projects now. I wish they weren’t secret. ?
10. Do you use SDKBOX? If so, what plugins are you currently using?
Nope. I think all of these are for Mobile? Didn’t see any desktop plugins here.
11. This game is on Steam. Can you tell us about how you accomplished this?
Astro Duel is my first desktop game with Cocos2D-X, but it’s far from my first desktop game. Previously I co-created Retro Game Crunch, which launched on Steam through their Greenlight program.
12. You have made several games. How do you stay motivated to continue making games?
Motivation isn’t really an issue for me. I’m able to work on projects I love for years. And I love making games.
13. Lastly, any advice for those also making games on how to get to a release point?
I think of releasing games as a loop. You get better the more you do it. So start small. Cut features so you ship. Finish a game. Release the game. Get feedback from players. (So important!) Then do this again. Once you’ve built confidence with smaller projects, maybe do a somewhat larger one.
Also, maybe ignore this advice? Make a huge game! Just make sure you ship it. (Or if it will never ship, know when to abandon it!)