In this interview, we have the pleasure to interview the guys from Creepy Jar and Indie game studio that has just launched their recent game Green Hell on PC
But let’s start with the interview:
Tell us more about your game, what is it about?
Green Hell is a realistic survival game set in Amazon Jungle. We focused on micro management of physical and psychological. The psychological aspect adds another layer to the decision making of the player.
Both the mind and the body’s needs create a feeling of constant struggle, where decision making is crucial.
All the gameplay mechanics are mixing — sure, you can survive eating just worms, but it will drive you crazy.
Leeches attached to your body? You won’t lose HP, but they are irritating, decreasing your mental health if you don’t deal with them. Every decision is a tradeoff, waste time sitting next to a fire to gain sanity, eat chocolate to gain energy or increase sanity. We believe that combining different mechanics together and allowing the player to balance between them is the way to go.
Which platforms did you target?
For now Green Hell is only on PC, but in the nearest future also Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PS4.
What kind of skills did you already have when you started working on the project?
We had all the skills needed to develop a game, we have already made many, but we have never published any so that was the main skill we were missing.
Releasing game on Steam (in Early Access), adverts, influencers, Community Management and giving interviews was something we have never done before and we started gaining the experience when Creepy Jar was founded.
Do you have any past experience in the game dev industries?
Most of the members of our team have been working in gaming industry for years, the first members of Creepy Jar are former employees of Techland and were working on such titles like Dying Light, Dead Island.
Which software tools did you use to make this game?
Green Hell was made on Unity engine, its kind of simple to use so when we just started using it we bought some tools on Unity Store, which helped us speed up prototyping. then we started writing our own tools, for example systems that are vital for story mode or placing balance spawners on the map.
Have you found out any plugins or tools absolutely amazing to speed up your workflow?
As we said before, most of the tools were created by us during the development.
At first we used recommended basic tools for example map tools recommended by Fire Watch creators. But soon it turned out that our game needs more of a self-made solutions. Most of the tools we made were written to be used in this specific project. Thanks to that we created a set of tools that are ‘lightweight’ reminding the tools that are written for wider audience.
When did you start to develop your game?
Creepy Jar was formed in late 2016 and consisted of 4 people. We slowly started to invite more professionals throughout the development and now we have 16.
How long did it take?
Green Hell was released as Early Access in summer, 2018. 1.0 release happened on 5th September 2019 and last month we released cooperation mode. Green Hell is being worked on even now and will be in the future, that’s for sure.
What was the most difficult part you faced during the development time?
Combining development with marketing – for example – sometimes there is a brilliant spot in between big releases in which we would have a better chance to be seen but the date is too soon for us to make the content on time.
Do you receive any external help? If yes, how do you find collaborators and which criteria do you use to find the best ones?
We had some external help, we still have 2 external PR agencies. We had some of our plants modes outsourced as well as voiceovers, music or translations. As we mentioned before we were working in the gaming industry for many years so throughout this time we met many brilliant minds and experts in different fields.
How did you organize your work/daily tasks?
We work in Agile methodology with parts of Scrum. As we have years of experience in the development industry we are able to quickly self-organize with a little help from our producer.
Did you have other jobs or did you work full time on the game?
We all work full time.
Do you have any tools, software, or books you want to recommend?
From our experience, it is not too good to trust the recommendations blindly, because every game is different, and what fits in one may be useless for others.
We jumped ahead into unity as it was the fastest prototyping engine at that moment. Was it the best choice? We will never find out, we made Green Hell on this engine not on another. Some of the issues we have in here might not be present but some others might pop up.
The only thing we can recommend is to think carefully about what do you want in your game, focus on what you want to do and if the engine is suitable for it.
Choose wisely because you will be stuck with your decision for the rest of the project.
Going back to day one of the development, is there anything you would have done differently?
As our team was very small at the beginning everyone had to do 3-4 times more than in usual work in different fields. Although hard, it taught us a lot and opened for so many possibilities. Maybe we would have hired more people if we knew that the title would be such a success, but to be honest we look into the future and don’t reminiscence about the past.
Now you have launched this game, what do you think about the future, would you continue to make games or “you’ve had enough?”
We have just released new roadmap with 4 new updates (2 of them are Achievements and Story mode in coop highly requested by the community). We are ahead of a big project – porting the game to consoles. Green Hell is a never ending source of ideas for features and mechanics.
How did you feel on day one of the launch? Can you briefly describe your emotions?
Every bigger update feels like the launch day to be honest. We are excited to share our work with Players and always look at their suggestions while preparing the next roadmap. We choose some ideas that would fit the concept and setting.