Irish Developer Week : Interview With Dan Kenny Of Eyesodic Game Studios

Irish Developers Week

Interview : Dan Kenny

Studio : Eyesodic Game studios

Date : 29th Nov 2011

Eyesodic Game Studio is made up of 3 good friends who initially started out building free games just as a hobby, when those games became hugely well received they decided to set up properly and start working on a commercial title. We had a chance to catch up with Dan Kenny Game Director at Eyesodic about how they got started and what they have coming down the line.

First question, tell us a little bit about your studio, when you started out, who is involved and what was your initial mantra?

Well Eyesodic Games was set up in 2011 as a result of developing some small games that got a lot of attention from indie gamers, and after realising that a lot of people liked what we were developing Eyesodic Games was set up to start developing our main projects.

What games have Eyesodic Games already released so far and how have they been received?

So far we have developed and released a number of free games such as Reapers End and Blood of the Divines. Reapers End is a mini game in which you are trapped in an area and have to kill waves of zombies until the reaper appears at the end and you must kill the reaper to win. People really seemed to like the Reapers End games, I think it’s because there a lot like the Call of Duty zombie mode so it was a free alternative to it.

In Blood of the Divines You play as Esequiel a young mage, One night the castle in which you live and are thought in comes under attack from necromancers as they attempt to assassinate the arch mage. They nearly succeed the arch mage is gravely injured and is dying and it’s up to you to save him. You must find the blood of a divine god to use to save the arch mage. Blood of the Divines was a risk to develop we’re huge fans of fantasy but never developed a game like it before but once it released we were really surprised with how much people liked it, in fact people liked it so much that i would love to write and develop a follow up to the game.

Have you any projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?

Yep at the moment we have two commercial games in development. The first game is Haunted Dreams a survival horror in which you play a detective who after being shot dies for 3 minutes before being saved. You are now haunted by demons that are trying to take you back to the afterlife, so you must solve a string of strange murders that seem linked to your hauntings before its to late.

Our other game in development is Days of Extinction. This is a big project for us because its our first open world RPG. The idea for the game came from the thought of an alternate event, the idea was what if there was a UFO crash like the Roswell incident but in our alternate event it was never covered up and the alien DNA mixed with Human DNA and an outbreak of mutations began and the world was lost. You play as a researcher who in an attempt to save your wife from a virus you both go into cryostasis in hope that when you wake up there will be a cure, but when you do wake up from cryostasis due to a power outage you find on a computer log that your wife woke up 3 days before you and she’s missing. So you have to search the world to find out what’s happened to her and what else is going on in the world. The game is the largest game environment we have ever done at 13 square miles of open world that you can go anywhere in. There are lots of side quests and random encounters and for the side quests and random encounters we have developed an AI system called Branching tree quests that means you won’t have a random encounter exactly the same as the last, the AI manager watches what ones you have encountered and will set up an encounter in different ways. We want this game to stand out from what we have done in the past, it has its own unique feel to it and its presented in a much more grand way to past games its almost cinematic in its presentation.

What made you decide to move to Ireland/set up in Ireland and remain in Ireland?

I think it’s really important for Irish devs to show how much talent Ireland has so in our case we want to show that an Irish studio can develop a game as big and grand as any other studio in the world.

How difficult did you find it starting out?

The most difficult aspect of starting a games studio is trying to stand out and get people to see your games and play them, but if you try not to stress about getting seen and focus on developing a game that you yourself would love to play then people tend to see the game.

Who/what was the biggest help while finding your feet?

Honestly the biggest help for me starting the studio and finding my feet was the support of my friends and my wonderful girlfriend, it was that support that made me push myself to make the studio work.

What was the biggest obstacles you faced in the initial start-up process?

It’s hard to get your name out there and that takes a lot of time before people will notice your work it won’t just happen overnight. The other thing is getting all the tools you need to develop your games, that all costs money and once you get them you need to develop a game that folk will buy and allow you to make your next game bigger and better.

What was the best piece of advice you got from someone else, when starting out that proved invaluable?

Another dev from another studio in the states told me “forget about making a game that everyone will like that’s just not possible, make a game that excites you and you will find an audience” That advice has proved to be so true in all I’ve done so far.

Taking in your own experiences, what would be the best piece of advice you could now give to others looking to set up in Ireland?

Talk to other devs in Ireland to get an idea of what you need to do and network with people, and always keep true to your vision don’t try and make a copy of another game in the hope that it’ll be as big, make your own unique game and you will find folks that will love playing it.

How have you found other studio’s is there a good community between the developers in Ireland?

All the other devs in Ireland are very nice and are very willing to help by giving advice and help out.

Is there any support groups or associations that Irish developers should join to get the help form the community?

I’ve found that IGDA Ireland has been a great group of people to network with and help get your name out there.

Where do you see the Irish scene going in the future especially with so many big studio’s now setting up shop here? 

We as an industry will definitely go from strength to strength over the next few years with more studios starting up and creating more jobs.

Huge thanks to Dan Kenny for talking to us if you want to learn more about the studio please read our feature article published earlier today.

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