Husband and wife together to make Covid Tale: Ignorance
In this dev story, we are interviewing Petr Hudecek an Indie developer who together with his wife developed an incredible indie game. We asked him the standard questions to understand all of his secrets to make his game.
But let’s start with the interview.
Covid Tale: Ignorance
Covid Tale: Ignorance is a witty story about how the events surrounding COVID19 may or may not have happened according to the internet. And as we all know the internet never lies, right? You can (hopefully) enjoy half an hour adventure in 2D tolerable pixel art with inappropriate and politically incorrect humor.
Which platforms did you target?
PC and Mac. I was kind of limited by the game framework that I created it in.
How many copies did you sell?
It’s free to play the game so the correct answer is none. But as of right now over 1300 people have it in their Steam library and it’s growing every day.
We launched just recently (Jun 1st ). Now you might be wondering how exactly are we monetising this. Let me explain. My wife and I are making personalised video games for a living. We make games for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or even as a marriage proposal. Not many people know that something like this is even possible and affordable. We wanted people to have some laughs during the COVID19 crisis (we could all use that now) and at the same time raise awareness about personalised video games. If you’re interested in how it all works, you can check it at bdaygame.com.
What kind of skills did you already have when you started working on the project?
I was a pretty good cook. But game-development-wise – I had a rich experience in the game framework that I used and I knew several programming language basics. Nothing fancy. Just enough to get myself over obstacles in the way.
Do you have any past experience in the game dev industries?
Yes. I worked for Warhorse Studios for three years.
Which software tools did you use to make this game?
I used RPG Maker MV. It has sometimes an ill-deserved bad reputation among game developers. The way I see it – it’s just a tool and as any other tool, you should use it for the right job. And it serves me well to this day. It really depends on what you want to achieve.
Have you found any plugins or tools absolutely amazing to speed up your workflow?
Apart from asking my absolutely amazing wife for help with graphic assets, which speeds up my workflow tremendously, no I don’t think so.
When did you start to develop your game?
I started during the COVID19 crisis in Europe. I don’t remember exactly when that was.
How long did it take?
It took me a week to design and create the game. Then I ran a few iterations after my friends and family play-tested it.
What was the most difficult part you faced during the development time and how did you overcome these difficulties?
I constantly asked myself: “Is this too much?” COVID19 is no joke and a lot of people suffered for it. And yet some amusing things happened. It’s funny and sad at the same time sometimes. I had to find the best possible balance. That’s why I let my friends and family play-test it. To be sure that even though I might cross some lines for certain people I didn’t cross all the lines.
Do you receive any external help? If yes, how do you find collaborators and which criteria do you use to find the best ones?
External help was my wife. But my criteria for finding the best one may not be best suited for you.
However I work on other unannounced projects with a group of people so I’ll pretend you asked about them.
For me finding the right collaborators is like finding the right heroes for an epic boss fight. You want their skills to be diverse enough so each one of them brings something different to the group. Something that no one else has. But in your hearts, you must be the same.
Game development is (just like the boss fight) a long and difficult journey with obstacles and problems coming your way.
You don’t want them to run away at the first sight of trouble. And believe me. The trouble is coming. Chances are you’ll spend more time with them then with your family. We are always people first and everything else second. You should all have a good time making the game. Otherwise – what’s the point?
Did you have other jobs or did you work full time on the game?
I worked almost full-time on it. But since I do the personalised video games for a living I could organise my own time.
Do you have any tools, software, or books you want to recommend?
Recently I’ve discovered Affinity. Which is a great simple-to-use graphic tool for a reasonable price.
It can help you a lot along the way. Especially if you’re an indie game developer. About the books – don’t believe everything you read. History is written by victors and game dev books are written by people that believe themselves as the reason behind the project’s success.
But you’ll never know if the success was thanks to their efforts or despite their efforts. Or maybe it was just the right time and right people working on that project. It won’t necessarily work out for your project.
Which marketing strategy did you use and do you have any special tips to share?
The theme itself is a good marketing strategy. I didn’t plan to do something out of the box here. I hoped for the game to be shared naturally among people and that seems to be working for now.
Now you have launched this game, what do you think about the future, would you continue to make games or “you’ve had enough?”
I’ll definitely continue making games. Either personalised video games or smaller projects like this. As long as it brings me joy.
If you wish to play the game, click the following button: