I want to announce my new idea: I want to do interviews with indie-developers, guys whose make all those games you like. These interviews will be made especially for our gamedev community. Original ones I will publish here on my blog. And you can read Russian translations on http://gamedevblogs.ru/.
The first interview is with Mateusz Skutnik, who known as the creator of Submachine series.
If you don’t know his games, just visit his web-site; they are amazing.
Here is Russian translation of this interview.
Igor Krutov: Hi, Mateusz. Please introduce yourself and tell a little about what you do.
Mateusz Skutnik: My name is Mateusz Skutnik, I’m the creator of Submachine, Daymare Town, Covert Front and so on. I also create comic books, most known series are Revolutions and Blaki.
Igor Krutov: What did you do before the moment you’ve become a full-time indie? Did you work as a programmer or an artist somewhere?
Mateusz Skutnik: I was a flash animator at a learning software company. I guess I was an artist.
Igor Krutov: Did you first game have a commercial success? It is the game called “the Morphs”, isn’t it?
Mateusz Skutnik: No. The Morphs is one of my comic book series. As for the first game – of course it was not a commercial success, because it was not meant to be. Anyone who goes into this business and expects his or hers first game to be a commercial success is in it for the wrong reasons.
Igor Krutov: Which games do you play? Please point the best flash portal games and the best big desktop games as for you. What is your inspiration?
Mateusz Skutnik: I don’t play flash games. As for regular games, some of my favourite games lately have been Dishonored, the Witcher 3, Far Cry 4, the Talos Principle, Alien Isolation. I’m also waiting for the upcoming Fallout 4.
Igor Krutov: You make both an art and a code for your games. So, who are you? A programmer or an artist? What do you like more?
Mateusz Skutnik: I’m both. There’s no need to divide those two. I also get similar questions about comic book, whether I’m a writer or an artist. I just do different things, that’s all.
Igor Krutov: Firstly people knows you as the creator of Submachine series. How successful is this game? How many people does play Submachine? Which part does have maximal number of plays?
Mateusz Skutnik: Those numbers are totally irrelevant by now. The landscape has changed completely with the advent of mobile market. I could tell you that each Submachine had over ten million views, but what does it mean? Probably nothing at this point.
Igor Krutov: How long does it take to develop your game? How many work months per game?
Mateusz Skutnik: Usually about three months, however there are some longer projects that can take up to six months.
Igor Krutov: Point and click adventure isn’t an easy one for a game-designer. If you make puzzles too much hard, you lose an auditory. If you make puzzles too much easy you lose them too. How do you find a balance between hardcore and casual level of difficulty in your games?
Mateusz Skutnik: Honestly I don’t know. I just assume, and that assumption turns out to be the perfect one almost each time.
Igor Krutov: Making point and click games implies that you can’t play your games (you can’t solve puzzles because of fact that you are the creator of them). Do you regret about it?
Mateusz Skutnik: Not really, because I don’t play point and click games. I just create them.
Igor Krutov: Do you ever want to make a full-length game? Something like Machinarium or Luminocity if we talk about a game length.
Mateusz Skutnik: That’s funny, the length of a game. Daymare Town 4 is several times longer than Machinarium (which I love), so from my standpoint I already have created full-length game. The only difference is not being on steam.
Igor Krutov: Let’s talk about a developing process. Do you have any moments of absence of inspiration, procrastination etc.? How do you struggle with it? When you’re making a game do you ever have such mood when you want to give up and erase all source files?
Mateusz Skutnik: No, I never go so low as deleting game files. That never happens. When I hit a rough patch in some project I just do another, or a comic book, or write something completely different, just to take my mind off of the problem at hand.
Igor Krutov: Do you have a lead person who sees your new games? Maybe this person is your wife or a friend? Who does test your games?
Mateusz Skutnik: I do. I consider creating games as an art form, therefore it’s only me who is involved in this process.
Igor Krutov: Once you said that a book may give all answers about Submachine universe. And you say that you do like to tell stories. Do you ever want to write a book? Or even a script for a movie?
Mateusz Skutnik: No. God forbid. A movie about Submachine would have to be a movie without any characters. That doesn’t make any sense.
Igor Krutov: I can mention that you have very good English as for non-native speaker. And I know that in Poland not a lot of people knows English. Did your learn English especially for your career?
Mateusz Skutnik: No, I learned while in primary school and somehow got good at it. Also your sources are a bit wrong – almost everyone in Poland knows english.
Igor Krutov: How do “death of flash” affect you and your income?
Mateusz Skutnik: Not much. I don’t depend on millions of plays anymore. I don’t run ads on my games. They’re free.
Igor Krutov: Do you have any plans to do games not for web-portals? You started ported Submachine to iOS. Tell about your plans. Mobile devices? Maybe Steam? Consoles?
Mateusz Skutnik: No, there’s no Submachine for iOS. And there’ll be no mobile versions of my games. I hate current state of mobile gaming with oversaturation of free games that spew ads in your face on every step. Luckily I don’t have to follow that suit, and I won’t.
Igor Krutov: What is your role in Pastel games? Tell a little about it. How many people does work in the company? Do you have an office in Poland? Or maybe they work distantly? How many games does the company make per year?
Mateusz Skutnik: I’m the co-founder of Pastel Games. It’s a company based in Krakow, currently creating mobile games, however I don’t work there anymore. I just own a part of shares in that company.
Igor Krutov: Do you make games for web-portals? I mean a primary or exclusive sponsorship. Or you monetize games by yourself? How do you get money from your work?
Mateusz Skutnik: I don’t. That business model died long time ago. Also – gentlemen don’t talk about money.
Igor Krutov: Which your game earnt the biggest money for you?
Mateusz Skutnik: No comment.
Igor Krutov: You said in interview to Jayisgames: “I’m doing nothing but my games to put food on my table.” Aren’t your comic books the commercial project? Do you earn any money from that?
Mateusz Skutnik: No. In Poland, almost noone reads comic books, and people that create them – do that only because they love the medium.
Igor Krutov: Please tell about Patreon. Are you satisfied the result? And how long did it take to reach 1500$ per month?
Mateusz Skutnik: Probably about two months. I’m very satisfied because Patreon gave me complete freedom over what I do.
Igor Krutov: Are you satisfied your career? Are you happy to do what you do? Do you get enough money?
Mateusz Skutnik: Jesus, what’s it with you and all those money questions. Yeah, I’m satisfied, I’m happy with what I do, because I’m in a position to do whatever I want.
Igor Krutov: Do you have a game of your dream? Let me explain: a game which you want to make so much but can’t do it for now because you don’t have all necessary resources for it or it’s risky etc. If you do, describe this game.
Mateusz Skutnik: Yes, an open world rpg set in the Daymare Town world. That might be worth doing and witnessing.
Igor Krutov: Please give some advice to beginner developers.
Mateusz Skutnik: If you’re thinking only about making money – don’t do games. If you love creating games and willing to work in an ever changing environment regardless of how much money you get – then yes, create games. But remmeber – this might never tun into commercially succesfull career.
Igor Krutov: Thank you for your answers!
Mateusz Skutnik: You’re welcome.