When I first contacted Vladimir asking if I could interview him for my upcoming website I was warmly greeted and told " Please feel free to send your questions and I'll try to answer them. But remember that English is not my first language, so you'll have plenty of things to edit in answers later!" As you'll discover in the interview his English is very good and there was very little editing required.
The description of Foxus?
"Head off on an adventure in the magical forest and resolve its mysteries in the new action-adventure game. Along the way, you'll hunt wild rabbits, battle enemies and collect different bonuses which will help you on your adventure.
Take a walk through the serene forests and valleys of Arlandria. Over time more of the world opens up to you; there are challenges, obstacles, and secrets littered everywhere. Along the way, you will meet new quaint characters, and each of them has its own story to tell. They will become your friends, guiding you on your captivating journey. Discover new quests, items, and activities as you progress through your adventure; collect apples, strawberries and other fruits to use them later."
One of the first things I noticed about Foxus was its unique aesthetic. It looks really friggin' cool! It also has a great soundtrack that lends itself perfectly to the dreamlike quality of the game.
So let's dive into the interview and get to know Vladimir a bit better...
How long have you been working on this project?
I’ve been working on it full-time since April 2017, but some early concepts of Foxus could be traced back to as far as Summer 2016. Back when I started experimenting with low-poly style visuals and Unity3D, which eventually lead to a prototype that we all know now as Foxus.
What was the inspiration that started you working on it?
I made a popular trivia game True or False (over 7 million views on YouTube and over 200,000 players) and I was brainstorming new ideas for a third game in the series. My creative process is very intuitive, so I just followed the intuition.
I believe there are thousands of things that affect the creator. I quickly understood that Foxus is a thing on its own, that this is an action-adventure game, and followed some modern trends with it.
How long have you been developing games for?
I’ve made my first game over 10 years ago, but it was never published. After that, I was busy with the development of high-performance web applications.
I’ve been working as an independent software developer and indie developer since the end of 2015.
What is one early memory of a game that made you go “Wow, that's something I'd like to do”?
Those games would be Heroes of Might & Magic 2, Diablo and Age of Empires! I remember seeing them when I was a kid, and those games made me dream of making pixels come alive.
I was always very passionate about games. I think I had ideas for survival games when I was still learning in school, 10 years before they become a thing. Back in the early 2010s, I had a break from gaming for over 5 years, and what brought me back was the Dark Souls series. I really liked both game-play and incredible atmosphere.
But when I finally got to make Pythagoria, my first commercial game, it was very different from what I would expect game development to be.
What makes this game different from others?
Many players feel like the greatest thing about it is that you play as the fox. The game feels like a tale, pretty chill and relaxing. It’s also a collection game, where you need to collect different items.
It’s a unique game because it’s both mainstream and an artistic personal project, and I’m very happy about that. Developers rarely get a chance to express themselves on such a big project, so I’m happy to have such a chance and to put all I have into it.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you've face so far?
Back in Autumn 2017, we were hit by some law changes, and I’ve spent 3 stressful months researching laws, etc, just to allow us to publish the game on Steam. I didn’t want to do cancel the game because I love my players and didn’t want to disappoint them, so I just kept pushing forward each day and eventually everything became all right.
Was there a time you considered giving up? If so why didn't you?
This is very rewarding game to work on, it simply won’t let you give up when you work on it.
What are you building it with and why?
I’m using Unity engine, and we’re squeezing everything from it. People barely can believe it’s Unity. It’s a great engine for such kind of games, though Unity 2018.1 will be even more amazing engine so I’m looking at the future with hope for more!
Is there anything you'd have done differently looking back on it now?
The game is shaping up nicely, so I don’t feel like anything was worth changing at the moment.
Have you worked with other gaming companies?
I know plenty of other people who work in game dev, they are all very talented and creative persons.
Do you have a “day job” and if so what?
I prefer to work on one thing at the moment, so basically working on Foxus is my day job currently. At least until the game will get released.
Did you go to school for what you're doing and/or how did you learn to do what you do?
Absolutely, I’ve spent 2 years learning mathematics on the advanced level at school and 5 years mastering computer science. I advise everyone who wants to make games to both practices a lot and take their time to learn some theory. Education allowed me to see many more ways to make our world a better place.
Where did you grow up?
Russia, quite a bit far from Moscow but not too far. I’ve traveled a lot across the country when I was a student.
What were your childhood interests?
It’s the same things I’ve put into my games: history, astronomy, math, programming. Well I’m also a guitar player whenever I have enough time.
Do you have any advice for other indie developers?
Always try to work on something you love with all your passion because after all, the love you get from players is equal to the love you give to them.
What platforms are you releasing your game on and why?
Steam, no plans for other platforms.
What would you say is the most interesting aspect of your game?
From what I see, our players enjoy exploring the locations and trying out different things in Foxus. Every now and then people who playtest Foxus stop and shout out loud “Oh, that’s beautiful!”
I believe it’s going to be a great game for such kind of players who enjoy peaceful and relaxing experiences.
What, if anything, do you feel needs more work?
I’m already working at least 10 hours per day even on weekends to make sure everything will be all right on the release.
Are there any other people or designers who have influenced your work?
Part of my job as a developer is to keep up with the industry, so I have to spend a lot of time reading and playing other games, but after all you want to make your own game.
There are thousands of cool professionals and companies out there who are doing very impressive things. To name a few, Valve, Blizzard, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Guerilla, From Software and Nintendo are all great at what they do, you can never go wrong with their games both as a gamer and developer.
What would you say is your best attribute, game related or not?
I think I don’t have an answer to this question, sorry! Maybe getting things done? I know that many devs are unable to finish what they do, but I always try to finish things I’m working on.
Do you use any specific methods to evaluate progress at different stages of development?
Play-testing is the best tool for this task. Just give a game into the hands of a new person and watch how it plays – don’t ask, just watch. You’ll quickly understand what has to be fixed/added. Developers always should focus on being able to play the game early and rapid prototyping of the new features, and play-testing will come to the rescue with the rest of the problems.
If you don’t have anything to playtest, then you don’t really have time to read this and should hurry up and go work on your game! (Sorry for the interruption. Me here. I just have to say how much I love that answer!)
In your own words, what's a brief description of your game?
It’s a tale about adventures of a fox in the magical forest and its surroundings.
Quite different from what they usually write in gaming magazines, but gives a good perspective of what to expect from the game.
Keep up to date on the progress of Foxus here:
Foxus is coming to Steam early in 2018.
Add it to your wishlist by clicking here!
Since this was first written I've received an update for the launch date! Foxus launches on Steam February, 27th
The game will be available in English, Japanese, Russian and German language. We plan to bring more languages to the game in the future.
Foxus debuts on Steam on February 27th for $9.99. For a limited time, anyone can get it at 20 percent off, bringing it down to $7.99. If you own another one of our games, that discount jumps up to 50 percent, and that brings Foxus' price down to just $4.99.
My advice... Wishlist it, follow it and then get it... go on. Do it now!
This interview first appeared @behindtheindies https://www.briancschneider.com/single-post/Foxus on February 10, 2018