Eyehook Games is responsible for a recent indie release; Epic Dungeon, the first installment in the Indie Games Winter Uprising. Mike Muir (the one-man team of Eyehook) was kind enough to answer a few questions about Epic Dungeon, game development, and upcoming projects.
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Zach Diemer: Thanks for being willing to take the time and answer some questions! Where did the idea for Epic Dungeon come from?
Mike Muir: Mostly from the fact that I love dungeon crawlers. There’s something really satisfying and addictive about them that has had me hooked since my old C64 days. Heck, now that I’m thinking about it I remember some crazy sleepless nights after playing Adventure for the 2600.
So, maybe it’s just nostalgia. But I really wanted to create a game that would be fun for me to make. And, I’ve had a lot of fun making Epic Dungeon.
Zach: Some aspects of the game are really unique, like identifying items and the choose your own adventure portions. What games inspired Epic Dungeon?
Mike: Roguelikes had a major influence on the game, of course. I like to think of Epic Dungeon as an “Action Roguelike.” Of course, it adds a definite twist when leaping from turn-based gameplay to real-time. But things like cursed items and randomly generated levels are definitely drawn from the long line of great roguelikes out there.
As for encounters, I really wanted to add some character to the game, but also stay true to the randomly-generated roots of roguelikes. So, that’s what I came up with. All of the encounters have multiple branching paths that can change depending upon your choices, stats, skills, or just random chance.
Zach: Is there anything that you would change about the game, in retrospect?
Mike: I’m really happy with this release of Epic Dungeon, and I think it offers a great experience. But, I’m also looking at Epic Dungeon as a work in progress. It’s my hope to continue development on it and hopefully add more features as time goes on. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the player community has to say about it and hope to really make it the ultimate dungeon crawling experience.
On a larger scale, though. There are things like co-op, separate class skill trees (maybe even new classes) that are probably going to require some more extensive changes to the underlying engine. So, those will probably have to wait for Epic Dungeon 2!
Zach: Did you have anything that was cut from the game, or did you achieve all of your development goals?
Mike: I actually delayed my release a bit, so I could participate in the Indie Games Winter Uprising. So, to be honest I was able to sneak in some extra polish and content. The “Scroll of Protection,” for example, got snuck in because of the extra time.
Zach: 80 Microsoft points is an impressively cheap price for so much content. Were you always going to price it at 80 points, or did you think about other price points?
Mike: Ha ha. Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of feedback about the price.
Really, I just want people to be able to play my game and have fun. Beyond that, I play a fair amount of games on mobile platforms, and there’s some pretty amazing content available for $1 as well. So, it just seemed like a fair and accessible price point.
Zach: What kind of reaction has Epic Dungeon been receiving?
Mike: It’s been great so far. I’ve been getting really positive feedback. It’s a bit crazy working by yourself on a project for almost a year and then suddenly getting the amount of attention Epic Dungeon has been getting. This is a bit of a new experience for me.
Zach: Has your involvement in the Winter Uprising had an effect?
Mike: I definitely think the Winter Uprising has had an effect, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the releases that are coming out soon! I really think it’s an outstanding lineup and does a great job showing off the talent in the Xbox Indie community.
Zach: So… “Eyehook Games”; does that name have some significance?
Mike: It catches the eye.
Zach: How did you get into video games, and more specifically, video game development?
Mike: I’ve played video games my entire life, so making games was a pretty natural extension of that. I was a software developer for a long time before this, so when I downloaded XNA on a whim this January, I thought to myself that this is something I could do. Maybe not make money, but something I could do.
Zach: Do you have any future projects that you’re willing to talk about?
Mike: My near future is going to be spent on Epic Dungeon. I really want it to be as great as it can be. After that, I honestly don’t know, but there’s probably a good chance of me beginning work on Epic Dungeon 2.
Zach: Again, thanks for answering all of these questions, and good luck with Epic Dungeon’s sales! Do you have any closing comments?
Mike: Thank you so much for covering Epic Dungeon and the Indie Games Winter Uprising! More information is available on my website (www.eyehook.com) and the uprising site (www.indiegames-uprising.com). It’s been a great experience so far.