First thanks for taking your time out of your busy Schedule to come and talk to us here and Invision Community, we very much appreciate your time and hope we the question we ask you are not to time consumer or hard to answer.
So to get started, please introduce yourself,
Hi! My name is Enrique Corts and I’m part of Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, a group of four game developers that just finished Rise & Shine, our first title for consoles and PC.
Nice to meet you Enrique, First off wow ‘Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’, what a name, who came up with such a name and why?
Well, I think it was me who came up with that one. It was simply a matter of standing out of the crowd. People rarely know our complete name, but they always remember us as the guys with the longest and humblest name ever…haha.
It’s hell when filling up any legal forms, though.
With that name I can see no issues standing out in any crowded room, filling out forms, no thanks. So what made you or team want to get into the gaming industry? Is it always something you’ve wanted to do because of a game you played growing up, or do you just like working with technology?
In my case, I have always been a hardcore gamer since the Sinclair Spectrum times. My brother and me could spend years saving on to be able to afford a new console, but we always got the ones we wanted after a while. Always at the price of selling the old one, of course.
I also was into comics and drawing all the time, so being an artist I think lit the spark at some point in my life to send my CV to a videogames development company and start there my career 16 years ago at Team17 Software. It was a dream job for me that I thought I’d never be able to reach living in Spain, where we did not have any kind of games industry at all. So I’m very thankful for that first opportunity.
Sinclair Spectrum, damn even I remember that system, showing our age a little now and ‘Team17’ come on, Worms and Alien Breed, always games I enjoyed back then and still enjoy now.
Still can not get over the name ‘Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’ that’s one hell of a name, but need to move past that, What was the motivation behind setting up the company, what sort of games do you focus on making and why?
When the smartphone revolution started, suddenly it was possible once again to be able to make and market your own games with a small team and lots of passion. Before that it was only a matter of millions of dollars, a huge team and office space. Now it looked like it was back to bedroom coding just as it was in the eighties, so we took the chance.
My partner and I were working full time as game artists for the same company and one of our programmers was a friend of mine and a clerk at PC City really wanting to get out of there. We bought a couple of iPhones and an iMac and made our first game for mobile platforms, Pro Zombie Soccer, on our free time. The game was a small hit that allowed us to quit our 9 to 5 jobs and start our own dev team.
Our focus has always been making really polished hardcore games that add something fresh to the table. We believe in making things properly since day one, so we only launch our games when they are completely ready and as much bug-free as possible, even if that means we risk our financial health. Sometimes is really tough having our own quality bar so high, but this is the only way to success we understand.
Quality before financial gain, I wish more AAA studios would do the same, instead of releasing poorly optimised Bug ridden games for stupidly high prices.
I see from your history the team comes for many developer backgrounds, like Team 17, EA, POPCAP just to name a few, what was it like working for such, well-established companies was there any good memories that you can recall that standout.
I remember when I was hired to do some concept and background art for the original Plants VS Zombies. I didn’t know PopCap or their games at the time I was hired (I know!) and I thought the game I was going to work on probably was just a small project within the company. When the first playable builds started to arrive and me and some close friends tried it, we thought: ”Ok, this game is pretty cool. Maybe this is going to be an ok game for PopCap after all.” Then I finished my work on the title and didn’t know anything about it for almost a year. I was worried it had been cancelled or something, so I sent an email to the Lead Designer of the project asking about it. He told me: “Oh, no worries, it’s coming out next month.” and then was a HUGE hit! So much for my sales prediction skills…haha.
LOL, Go figure, some plants mixed with zombies could do so well hey? who would have thought, but PopCap had a winner, even I got hooked to it for a while, such an addictive and easy game to pick up and play.
Moving from well-established companies to going indie, how did you find the transition? Also what sort of obstacles stood in the way?
Well, transition was fun. Suddenly I did not have Leads or Producers telling me what I had to do for the day, so that was kind of refreshing, but also a lot of extra work on my plate.
The fact that suddenly I had a voice within our projects was awesome too and it is basically what makes it all worthwhile.
About obstacles, well, the biggest obstacle in the life of an indie dev is probably the money or the lack of it, to be more specific…haha. We are always struggling and live from project to project. As I said before, we have our quality bar pretty high and that plays against us all the time. I mean, we could always make less polished games that would mean less development time, but that’s against our philosophy.
I feel your pain, running Invision Community is a full-time job, and without the support of my partner who is a teacher, I would not be able to keep things running as well as the do.
What are the biggest achievements and challenges you’ve had to face as a studio starting up and then creating games that keep to a standard that gamers now expect?
For me personally, it’s been to learn a lot of things that I could not do in the past. Suddenly I had to do a lot of things that were made by very different professional profiles, like talk to the press, taking care of our social networks, a bit of production, game design, making trailers, writing scripts or even animate when I’ve never made animation before. But that’s what you encounter when you are a tiny team with zero budget. Suddenly you have to learn a lot of things on the job, you like it or not, because somebody has to do them.
Also, I’m very happy we could realize the idea we had of treating the levels on Rise & Shine as a giant illustration. We thought it was crazy at the time because the amount of work required (each level is a 3 meter wide illustration with 12 depth layers), but it all worked in the end and looks great, I have to say. The technology on current gen consoles to make this happen is already there and makes the game so much richer, instead of always repeating the same tiling textures or elements for building the levels. On this case, every step you take in the game is different and I hope players will appreciate all the incredible care we put into all of it.
Apart from that, obviously today’s standards are very, very high. There’s a fierce competition out there and good isn’t enough anymore. So you have to keep pushing yourself over your limits as a professional. That’s exciting, challenging and a bit stressing sometimes, to be honest. Keeping a high level of quality is not an easy business, but we believe in making things properly and taking our sweet time until our games are ready for the public. Maybe we’ll always starve or maybe someday all this sacrifice and effort will pay off. Until then, we’ll keep making things as good as we possibly can.
When I started Invision I first thought it would easy, Create a site, grab some free games from some publishers that support me, review their games, chuck in some interviews, to make me look special and then spend a little time covering some news that I randomly had chosen to publish. But damn there was much more, and University opened my eyes to this, I needed to learn web code, SEO, Social Media, Google Analytics and much more, there was a lot more work involved that I first thought.
So what’s a typical day in the office like when working for ‘Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’?
Well, for starters we don’t have an office! Haha. My partner and me decided more than a year ago to sell everything we have and start a nomad life, so we’ve been travelling the world and working everyday on Rise & Shine. You can actually see a bit of our life on this short video we made for our Youtube channel which you can watch below;
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]But yeah, it usually involves waking up quite early, have our breakfast, dealing with the local fauna in case a giant spider has decided to take a look at our rented apartment in Thailand and start working until the Spain-located team members wake up at our 17:00 for a little Skype chat about the issues of the day. We work a couple of hours more and then it’s relax time.
I have to say although we’ve been travelling a lot this past year, we barely had any time to enjoy the scenery, so it’s been a lot of indoors time and hard work for us. Less glamourous than it sounds![/quote]
No office, I love it, seems to be similar to my world, get out of bed roll into my office with a nice cuppa coffee and some toast, love it.
Let’s talk about your latest game Rise & Shine heading to Xbox One and Windows, Tell us about it?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]Rise & Shine takes some of the best mechanics from other games and mixes them together to create something truly unique. You haven’t played anything like this game before, I have to say.
This is not simply another run’n’gun or puzzle platformer (not many platforms in this game, actually) as the pace is very different, although all the action lovers will feel right at home with this game anyways.
Rise & Shine is by far our most ambitious title. It tells the story of Rise, a kid of Gamearth (the planet where the old videogame characters live) that finds himself in the middle of the Space Grunt invasion, a race of big, muscular, full of guns guys from Nexgen Planet. He must use Shine, the legendary gun that can shoot different kinds of bullets to be able to solve all the situations he finds on his way.
We are big fans of games like Another World, Limbo, Inside, Metal Slug or Gears of War, so I think there is a bit of all those on our game. It’s an intense mix that we think defies categorization on one single genre and we believe people will enjoy as it works really well together.[/quote]
Interesting I might have to have a dabble myself when the games gets released, but for now have a look at some of the great screenshots.
What inspired you to create the game?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]Inspiration comes from very unexpected places. In the case of Rise & Shine, I remember doing a drawing of a little kid sitting down on a rooftop, contemplating a destroyed city. So it all started with this illustration.
The gameplay itself, we always want to add something fresh to every new project we tackle. I’m a big fan of action shooters and also of classic games like Another World or the what Playdead does (Limbo and Inside), so I wanted to try and mix both genres. It took us quite a while to get it right and some publishers and the time passed on the project because they thought we were crazy trying to mix skill puzzle situations with pure action and shooting, but it all worked in the end like a charm.[/quote]
Well from what I have seen via the trailer and what my artist Lewis Hallam has told me, you certainly reached those goals.
Why did you create such a game?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]We are pretty hardcore gamers ourselves, so we always believed we’d be more at home making games for the platforms we use the most to play everyday and where our more hardcore potential audience is.
We were really looking forward to make the jump to PC and consoles and produce something really ambitious and polished on these platforms.[/quote]
How do you think your game will stand out in a crowded room?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]We put a lot of effort into the visual aspect of the game. I think it looks very unique and if you see it on a crowded room your eyes would get instantly attracted to it.
Being two artists on a team of four people makes us to give the artistic side of a project the importance it deserves.[/quote]
Were there any difficulties you faced during the development?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]For us it was a big change from mobile as we transitioned to Unity 3D as an engine coming from Cocos2d, an open source engine. We had to learn all the ropes of the new software, plus graphical power was not an issue anymore working towards PC’s and next gen consoles, which was awesome.
Also, I had to personally learn to animate characters with Spine, a new skeletal animation tool, which was fun but took its sweet time to start getting things with the quality I wanted.
Also, the have elongated the game’s budget like bubble gum, but that has meant lots of economical struggle for us. Nothing that probably every indie out there has faced with every project, I guess.[/quote]
I remember my first time running looking at website code, Mind Blowing, but after months and months and learning I soon got there glad to see you did as well.
In one sentence, please sum up why the visitors to Invision Community should download and play Rise & Shine?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]Rise & Shine mixes the best mechanics of different genres to create a truly unique experience. [/quote]
With Rise & Shine almost released what’s next for ‘Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]We are starting to do some pre-production work of our next game, which is going to be pretty different to Rise & Shine.
Still very early stages for this, so we probably won’t be able to show anything for a while.[/quote]
Now one finally question, as Invision Game Community is powered by students and as they’re our target audience, what advice would you give to budding young students wanting to get into the gaming/developer industry?
[quote style=”1″ “Author”]I don’t think I’m the most qualified person to be giving advice…haha. But I’ll try:
First, make something you can tackle as a team, get to know each other well, learn the ropes of your tools and put your game out there to see how it all works. Build from there.
And second, I wanted to say something that pretty much everyone overlooks out there: Take care of yourself! Pick your sport of choice, get some sun and eat properly. You’ll be far more productive and creative![/quote]
Well, thanks a lot Enrique for taking our time out to come and talk to us, I would like to wish you all the very best with Rise & Shine on PC and Next Gen system, Hope it does great. We shall soon have our review up for the game and an awesome giveaway thanks to yourselves, which is highly appreciated.
Before we shoot off checkout the trailer for Rise & Shine below
and finally grab the game on steam from the 13th January 2017 here – http://store.steampowered.com/app/347290/
You can follow the team on
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/SuperMegaTeam
- Website – https://supermegateam.com/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/supermegateam/?fref=ts
Oh yeah… out