The Centre for Digital Media is chock-full of creativity and talent. Because of this, the Master of Digital Media program often sparks side projects amongst students and many alumni continue to work on these projects after they’ve completed the program.
Daniel Nascimento, a Technical Artist and Game Developer, came up with a game prototype while in the program last year and has been developing the game since. Now he’s launching his game Rocket Fist on Steam this Thursday May 12th.
Rocket Fist is a multiplayer party game focusing on intense arena battles for up to 4 players. The project was born as a test on how a local multiplayer game would work in a PlayStation Vita with one player holding each side of the device.
The game has been showcased at many events, including Seattle Indies Expo @ PAX, Power of Play Indie Expo, Gamepolitan 2015, and the Xbox One Lounge Expo @ The GDC 2016.
Rocket Fist launches on Steam May 12th and on consoles August 2016.
I spoke with Daniel over email about the Rocket Fist launch, goals for the game and surprises in the game development process.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Daniel Nascimento (A.K.A. Daniel SND), an indie game developer based in Vancouver Canada. I have a background in 3D Art & Animation and picked up programming as a hobby a couple of years ago trying to make my own games using Unity. Nowadays I work a lot more with programming than actually doing art.
2. How did the idea for Rocket Fist come about?
After making several game jam games and smaller projects over the years, I wanted to make something more complete with a longer development cycle. I was studying at the Centre for Digital Media at the time and in one of the projects we were working on we were tasked with coming up with games for the PS Vita that made good use of it’s physical interface. I was working on a lot of small prototypes in the Vita and had the idea of making a 1 vs 1 game in which each player held one side of the device. It didn’t really fit the project’s premise but I wanted to try it out anyway since I hadn’t seen a game doing anything like that on the PS Vita.
And that was the first ever version of Rocket Fist. It was a very simple greybox—as we learned to do at the CDM—some spheres in an environment made of cubes throwing little cube missiles at one another, and even at that stage it was already pretty damn fun. Each player only had one button and one analog stick to play with, it was simple and addicting. I started playtesting with my classmates and it was a success. Everyone I introduced the game to would play for a long time and would have a hard time giving it back. At that point I was sure that it was THE ONE, the project I should pursue to be a long-term commercial project.
3. Who's Rocket Fist for? What are your goals for the game?
When I'm making my own games, I usually develop things that I enjoy myself. I'd say Rocket Fist is mainly for myself, it's the kind of game I like to play. Thankfully the game is being very well received at expos and hopefully will be well received at the release.
My initial goal with the game was learning the whole process of making and releasing a game and proving to myself that I could do it, a secondary goal now that I'm getting to the finish line is to be able to sell enough copies to cover my living costs for a year so I can start another project.
4. Was there anything that surprised you in the game development process?
One thing that surprised me is how much time the little details take. I spent over 6 hours the other day creating little achievement images for the achievements. When we're writing down the tasks it takes to complete and release a game there is just so much stuff we don't think about it.
A good surprise was how much what I learned about project management in the Master of Digital Media program helped me manage myself during this project. I tracked my time which helped me keep my motivation up and recognize when a task was becoming a time-sink. I kept a schedule with milestones to make sure things were on track for release. And I kept a prioritized kanban board on my wall just like we did in the project rooms of our projects at the CDM. As I moved forward with the project and organized my time I definitely kept in mind the useful lessons I learned working in projects at the CDM.
5. What made you decide to move to Vancouver from Brazil and take the MDM program?
I had lived in Vancouver before and I loved the city. I heard about the MDM program from a friend of mine that had done the program and I became really interested by the hands-on projects approach. I've wanted to pursue a master’s degree for some time since I always liked teaching as well, so it seemed like a great fit for me.
6. What's next for you and Rocket Fist?
I'm looking forward to making my next game :) I really enjoyed going indie and developing a game by myself, I'm hoping Rocket Fist will sell enough for me to fund my next title.
For Rocket Fist, I still have some things I'd like to add to the game which I'll add as future free updates, mainly some extra game modes, power ups and costumes.