Summer Islands for the Gamescom with some Interview Q&A

In the following there are some Q&A from the Gamescom.

1. First of all, let’s talk about the inspiration for the game. You mentioned on your blog that you were inspired by the game Holiday Island and you wanted to create a game to expand on their ideas and pay homage to that game. However, what is specifically that draws you towards this type of simulation game? Why the holiday resort niche?

The pure holiday niche is just a genre that hasn’t really made it into the gaming world in the last few decades and yet many players have missed it. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to take a vacation. I’m not talking about holiday games that have integrated other aspects such as politics. Unlike many big games that are designed after market research, we put a lot of emphasis on details and take the necessary time. We want to fill the niche with an equal successor to our childhood favorite. Therefore Summer Islands will be built from the ground up as a multiplayer game to have fun together.

We have been working on Summer Islands since about 2016. At first I was busy with it alone and took care of a powerful engine with multiplayer capability. That took a lot of time and led to some dead ends. Over time it turned out that there was so much to create. So one person created textures and the other created the BOTs and i myself then brought everything together, the architecture, functionality, the GUI and so on.

3. You also mentioned that you decided to use https://createjs.com/ to build your game. You decided to use createjs over Unity. What were the main features that inspired you to use createjs that you either couldn’t find, or found lacking in Unity for the needs of your game?

I had tried many engines at the beginning. But at that time there weren’t any real tutorials with all the methods that also produced powerful results. Not to mention the multiplayer module. When I started with createjs on the client side and Nodejs as a server the engine was always at about 50-60fps even on an old Surface pro 2. That was quite impressive. So we were able to create a powerful game with simple fast ressources.Because we developed client and server separately, you could also develop a standalone server that runs somewhere else than the game. It gets even better. Because you could also develop another client in Unity that is really realized in 3D. For the people who think it’s 2021 everything has to be in Ploygon 3D graphics. They could even play together with the others in 2D. So to speak crossfunctional Unity and createjs on one Server.

4. What were the biggest developmental challenges using createjs as your game’s engine?

Even if it doesn’t look that way. But Summer Islands is only a 2D game. This results in some difficulties with the implementation. You have to build an architecture with several layers to present a 3D world to the viewer. In addition there are some tricks and limitations you have to do in some places. For example the textures of the cars must be smaller than the street textures. Just to keep it in 3D view. Therefore some players think the game is only retro graphics and runs on every computer. But this is unfortunately not so. Many calculations are done in the background and more will be added in the future. Because Summer Islands will become more and more complex.

5. How did you learn how to program video games? Do you attend a game development school, or are you and your team members self taught?

Two of us learned programming with JAVA at the university. During this time, i have been realizing small projects from time to time and started Summer Islands at some point. We studied Embedded Systems, Architecture and Industrial Engineering. So not really something to start a game developer career. We just have fun realizing a project till the end. We are currently programming Summer Islands only in our spare time next to our day job. That will remain so in the future. Mass production is not the case with us. But yes to your question. We taught ourselves Javascript and other programming languages.

6. How are you planning to market Summer Island? Will you be keeping the video game marketing aspects of the game in-house, or will you outsource the promotion of the game?

The eternal dilemma with indiegame and marketing. I have to admit we could do even more in this direction. But I think, it would be too risky to put this in other hands. Because, in order to promote a product, you also have to understand the vision and what the product is supposed to become. I think there are also people who would like to implement Summer Islands as a mobile game with ingame purchases, etc. With that you can make fast money and you could also market it well. But it’s not really what we see in Summer Islands. We would like to have Summer Islands as a game for steam or other markets. Later on we can think about a mobile game or other parts.

7. What are your plans for after Summer Island has been completed? Do you already have other games slated for production?

Yeah, it’s crazy. But we constantly have new ideas that could be implemented. Shooters, or another construction games. We really have a lot on our minds. Also in the direction of VR. But Summer Islands really has the highest priority. Our todo list is still long. So you can’t tell yet what comes next.