I love talking to game developers, and here I found an interesting case… a digital collectable card game and a Kickstarter campaign. How did things go?
Do you mind introducing yourself, Isidro (Tellez)?
Hello, My name is Isidro Téllez I’m 32 years old and I’m the co-founder (together with Marc Tormo and Christiand Gascons) and producer of a new indie game studio from Barcelona (Spain) called FrozenShard Games (http://www.frozenshard.com/). I’ve been in the games industry since 1999 first as a professional Counter-Strike gamer and the last 7 years working in different videogames companies (Blizzard Entertainment, Digital Chocolate and now FrozenShard Games).
What can you tell us about World War II: TCG?
World War II: TCG is our first game as an indie studio, it’s been in development since December 2012 and it is a free-to-play multiplatform digital card game inspired by the Second World War historic events.
The strong points of the game will be a cross platform PvP matchup system, meaning you will be able to battle with Android users or Facebook users while playing on your iPad, an engaging single player campaign mode where you take the role of a survivor soldier who has to climb the ranks and recruit his own army and of course a unique card game battle system mixing military strategic concepts with features from traditional trading card games.
Overall the game should be a great reference for all those players seeking a great digital card game with an original gameplay and theme.
Where did the idea come from?
We knew one thing: we wanted to make a trading card game as we’re all trading card gamers and we had some good ideas about possible game mechanics. But the difficult choice we had to make was what kind of trading card game, so we decided to go for a WW2 theme because I think it’s a genre that has never had a clear role model in terms of traditional trading card games, and it was a challenge that we were willing to take.
What problems have you ran into in production? How did you overcome them?
Well, as an indie studio you can imagine we have faced lots of problems, the first one would be the one all indie studios face is financial. We are a self-funded studio, we did not accept any external investors. All has been paid with our savings and friends and family help. That gave us a pretty tight budget to work in our first game, but I have to say that I’m really proud on how we have dealt with this… great project planning, tons of design documentation and the will of the three of us to work extra hours since day one, resulted in not wasting a single day of production. This compared to big company studios where several days or even weeks of production are usually thrown away due to bad planning has made a difference for us.
The other big problem we faced as small studio is that we did not have any artist – Marc takes care of the design, Christian takes care of the programming and I’m dealing with the production. This initially seemed like a very important setback, but in all honestly it couldn’t have worked better for us. We managed to contact an incredibly good freelancer artist that takes care of the card illustrations, at the same time that we found an art studio that takes care of the UI. Both have done an incredibly good job so far and always understanding the limitations we had as an indie studio.
So my principal tip for everyone willing to do the jump we did would be: Don’t be shy to explain your situation, be as honest and transparent as possible. If you have a good project behind and you have the will to make it successful you will surely find people willing to help you even in your difficult situation.
How was the game designed? Was a non-digital version used?
That’s correct, before jumping into the digital version, we first made sure that we had a solid gameplay, so we created a physical prototype and played it through a couple of weeks as it’s easier to refine things in pen and paper then afterwards changing the game engine.
The game objective was to use traditional features of trading card games like magic, but also we wanted to implement military strategic features that gave the game its own personality. It was a great challenge but I think we succeeded in it.
Any tips to collectable card game design wannabes?
Making a trading card game is not specifically difficult, but there are lots of TCG out there. The core of the gameplay is already very well defined but what you need to have in mind is the fun and personality of your game… you need to give your game your own personality based on the theme you decided and afterwards make sure it’s actually original and fun to play. This is definitely the hardest part.
This can only be achieved by adding new features to the gameplay. So my tip would be this: Design your unique and original features. As many as you can imagine – don’t be afraid of that, then start playing with them. Decide which ones synergize better with the traditional gameplay and start discarding and combining features – if you play with those combinations in your game long enough you will get to a point when you will say “This is it, this is the game I wanted.”
Why did you need the Kickstarter? What has your experience been with it so far?
The decision to go to Kickstarter was economical. As I explained before we have done miracles with our budget and we currently have a pretty good alpha… from the beginning we knew we had a budget that will last until September, so we face our last economically viable development month. We could definitely rush the game and launch it on September but we wanted to avoid that and we wanted to make sure we have every feature really covered, polished and bug-free, and we can only make sure of that by delaying the launch to October. Our campaign, estimated in $15,000 will cover the studio costs for 2 months giving us the time we need to polish everything.
The campaign is, as we expected it was going to be… is exhausting. We started really nice and we are just in our first week, but we still need all the help we can get. We still do not have the visibility I would like to have as we do not receive that many visits, so all the help we can get with this is really appreciated, you can check the campaign in this link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/664636839/world-war-ii-tcg-digital-card-game
Anything else you wish to say?
Not much… all the help in our KS will mean the world to us but don’t hesitate to reach me in firstname.lastname@example.org in case you want to discuss or ask anything. We are living our dream and we are willing to die for it, if you have the same feeling, don’t doubt, go for it, the future is for gamers! Also, here is a link to the game’s official site: http://www.ww2tcg.com/.
Interesting Articles From Other Sites
- The toll Steam Trading Cards take on indies (gamesradar.com)
- Mojang’s Next Game: Less Minecraft, More Magic: The Gathering (wired.com)
- The List of Over-Cost Cards – From a Constructed Perspective (hextcgshuffle.com)