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Bibz, the maintenance droid, is faced with an unexpected challenge at an old, derelict factory in space. Apart from its routine jobs, the central mainframe has given Bibz a task of an entirely different nature.
Bibz, the maintenance droid, is faced with an unexpected challenge at an old, derelict factory in space. Apart from its routine jobs, the central mainframe has given Bibz a task of an entirely different nature: it must seek out and eliminate foreign technology invading the station. This is quite daunting task that must be performed alongside its troubleshooting jobs, not to mention that its maker didn’t design Bibz for such tasks, so it’s time to arm it!
Carebotz recently debuted on the Steam store. It offers a blend of gravity shooter game play, platform dexterity and Metroidvania-like action. There’s plenty to do, but that’s the beauty of the game! Carebotz doesn’t fit into any single popular category or genre, but it still succeeded in utilizing a number of well-known tropes and it comes together into something entirely different that I hope will be unique among other available games. I’ve been working on my pet project, the adventures of Bibz the maintenance droid, for about 5 or 6 years and during this time I’ve had the chance to get a fairly thorough overview of the current game development scene. With the release of Carebotz, I feel I have reached the milestone I was aiming for, so it’s time for me to summarize my experiences.
Does anyone still remember Asteroids, the space-themed arcade game? You had to use a ship consisting of a few pixels to destroy asteroids and enemy ships coming at you from all directions. Familiarity with this game sets generations apart. It was released in 1979, originally on the larger Atari game consoles and after a while, it was followed up by a Commodore version.
Well, the truth is that the development of Carebotz is closely tied to this 40-year-old game. Quite a few years ago, I was having a couple of beers with a few friends and someone wondered whether it would be possible to create the same game just with modern tools. “Challenge accepted!” I said at the time, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it took us about 8-10 hours of work to finish making the game. Yet I became so engrossed in game development that I just couldn’t stop and I knew that I wasn’t finished with it.
That was about five years ago. In the meantime, with the help of a graphic artist at first, and then mostly on my own, I spent a lot of time developing, expanding and streamlining the Asteroids remake. After a while, I could tell that this would lead to creating an entirely new game. As a developer, I had no issue with the programming and my friend, Balázs Gyimesi, helped me create the music and sounds for the game. I had a range of fully developed, and more importantly, free engines to link and manage the various visual and audio assets, so I didn’t have to deal with any complex graphic programming.
Carebotz is based on the Unity 3D game engine that is so easy to use that I often had the feeling that to a certain degree nowadays, it’s actually easier for a graphic designer to develop a game than for a programmer. The success and impact of the end result greatly depend on the aesthetic appeal, but the coding element doesn’t really require any deep technical skills. I’m actually not particularly proud of coding as I was far more interested in the mechanics of the game and the inventiveness of the various challenges. That’s important as this is one of the main ways independent or indie games developed outside the studios of major publishers can be truly successful.
Interestingly enough, around 7 years ago, about a thousand new games were released a year for the gaming platform Steam. This has now increased to about 6-8 thousand games a year, with the majority being the products of major publishers. Although everything beyond the scope of high-budget “super productions” is deemed to be indie, this field is still highly diverse. There are a lot of games that are produced by game developer studios with a large staff of 30-40 members. In order to achieve good results in this playing field with a game produced with a minimum investment, it’s important to place an emphasis on aspects that don’t require a lot of resources by being creative, experimental and using progressive approaches.
The genre-defying, innovative game design logic of Carebotz stems from these unique circumstances.
Whether or not Bibz will receive a sequel depends on the reception it gets from gamers. While major publishers mainly focus on mass demand, the indie category is more oriented towards hardcore gamers who appreciate innovation and love being challenged for hours on end. If the game is received well on Steam, I intend to publish it on Nintendo Switch. In fact, a previous version of Carebotz was green-lighted by Microsoft, so theoretically it could also come out on Xbox too. If the fans like it, I would like to follow up with an expansion containing some extra missions. However, I am also prepared in case the game doesn’t really pan out, I have a bunch of new ideas up my sleeve ready to be turned into games.
Would you like to read more about indie game development? Read Peti's other article.
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