Mechajammer - Developer Interview @ TBL
The Turn Based Lovers interviewed the devs of Mechajammer:
10 Turns Interview with Mechajammer devs
"When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart."
- William Gibson,
The first time I saw Escape From New York, my initial thought was “What the f**k!” and the second one, more elaborated, was “this is so fu****ng cool!” (well, at that time, I was not so polite just I am now…).
The truth was that, after watching that fantastic movie, my opinions about it were, let’s say, a bit confused. A part of me was convinced that “living in a future like that would have been great“, but the other part, the sane one, thought that living with a life expectancy of a fly was not so… amazing.
The point was exactly this, the movie provoked a strong contradiction in my emotions but, instead of trying to solve it, I simply decided to live it, in my dreams or in my nightmares.
It was 1981, John Carpenter was my new messiah, and I was one of the happiest nerd in the world.
Blood, gratuitous violence, memorable lines and, above all, a bad and surly lead character, a “dead on arrival” who had nothing to lose but also nothing to gain. Undoubtedly, Escape from New York is still one of the main reasons why I’m very proud for being a 80s kid.
Why I’m talking about this movie, are you wondering? Quite simple, because the setting and, partially, the mood of Mechajammer it’s almost the same. Not by chance, Escape from New York is one of the sources of inspiration specifically declared by the devs. So if you plan to try the demo of this little gem, it could be a good idea to watch first our beloved Jena Plissken back in action!
1st Turn) Your Studio is small, but this is not – for sure – your first game, so what have you learned from your previous works, especially from Serpent in the Staglands?
Yeah we keep it cozy, it’s the two of us doing the design and game production, but we have some wonderful assistance from our composer Kevin Balke, who’s generously helped us for nearly 8 years now, and some voice work now and then from the great Caleb Merrick.
Serpent was a fun exploration of making something atmospheric. I think Baldur’s Gate was the first game we played together when we started dating (that multiplayer was just a joy to set up like 10 years ago), and while we love turn based games, we didn’t know what we could add to that genre at the time, and instead wanted to play around with world building and more of that RTS-style gameplay.
It was hard but exciting to work on, especially with the quick deadline we had for it. We learned a lot about a pipeline that works for us development wise, and certainly improved our knowledge on how to build these projects.
2nd Turn) First there was “Copper Dreams”, then Kickstarter’s campaign, and finally Mechajammer. Now, the question is how has your project changed since the beginning? I mean, it isn’t only a matter of name change, I guess.
The main thing that we’ve iterated on over the development cycle is the combat system. Our original concept for the project involved integrating these cool sensory mechanics and simulation-aspects into the turn-based model in a fluid, organic way. The initial project had a sort of Grandia-esque turns bar so we get some time-simulation in, but as we implemented more systems we found that it was too nebulous for the combat we were going for.
To give it a more crunchy feel, we changed actions to play out over ‘ticks’ of time, had actions be composed of multiple turns, and prompted those to play out immediately instead of queuing them. It’s a similar idea to the original concept but without the abstraction of the timeline bar. It also let us get more of those immersive-sim elements that can be based on familiarity with reality that abstract tabletop rules.
The story has undergone some small improvements, but overall the project has stayed true to the original vision.
Genre: Tactical RPG