Dare to be Digital 2011 team Fatdog Games talks exclusively to Develop about working on their entry title The Tale of Yog.
What’s your game?
Our game is called the Tale of Yog. It’s a 3D isometric-dungeon crawler being developed for the iPad 2. The player controls Yog, a Viking who is pretty underwhelming in the eyes of his fellow warriors. The game revolves around the player using Yog to recruit a whole host of wacky characters to help him progress through the game. What we think makes our game fun is the way the player uses the iOS to draw paths for companions to follow and execute abilities along the way. For example, one of our companions is a Goblin named Grizzle. Grizzle has a large backpack and will launch rockets out of this pack and send them down the path the player has drawn which will deal damage to enemies and blow up obstacles.
The player can also use this hands-on control method to combine the various companion abilities and use them as tools to defeat enemies, complete puzzles and gain access to previously unreachable areas of the map. The player needs to use the abilities of Yog’s companions together to find strength in numbers overcome various obstacles.
This allows for strategies to develop naturally by letting players decide how they want their companions to work in a fun, easy way.
What has Dare been like?
It’s been great! It’s really rewarding as aspiring developers to see something that came from the conjoined minds of five game nuts from Sheffield and see people having fun experiencing what we’re working on…as well as spotting any and all of our bugs! Dundee is a really nice city and the studio makes for a great work environment.
Obviously, the work is intense and I don’t think any of the teams have done anything less than work themselves to the bone to make the best games they can. The upside to that fact is that the quality of work is pretty amazing. There’s a lot of time and creativity being placed in the games and we can’t wait to play the finished titles at ProtoPlay this August. We had the luxury of having worked with each other on previous projects and gained a lot of great experience with Steel Minions (Sheffield Hallam's in-house game studio). That experience has allowed us to enter Dare fresh from industry development work and given us the team dynamic that lets us enjoy what we do… and keep fatalities to a minimum.
What have you learned from Dare?
I couldn’t list the sheer amount of industry knowledge we’ve gained from our time spent with the mentors. As cheesy as it sounds, being able to talk to developers from companies like Rockstar and Crytek has been a dream come true for us. Having such successful people take time out of their schedules to share some wisdom is fantastic, and nothing feels better than seeing something you worked on shown interest by the people who make the games we love.
I think one of the biggest things a team learns from the experience is what exactly their game is. I know it sounds obvious, but when you spend so long working on a project, you get too close to it, and I think you lose some scope, and then when you have some feedback from outside the dev team it allows you to take that step back and really look at the project as a whole. They notice things you didn’t and, often, what you think your game is may not be what others think. Bridging that gap between developer and player is the hardest and most rewarding part of the experience (for us anyway) and is something that we look forward to developing. Also, we learned that the Fatdogs look great in kilts.
Are you looking forward to ProtoPlay?
Did Han shoot first?
Seriously though, we can’t wait! When you spend most of your weekdays (and often, weekends) working in such an energetic atmosphere, it’s very easy to get hyped up about seeing everyone’s games being played. We certainly are looking forward to not only seeing our game played by the public, but also being able to have a go on what all the other teams have taken so much time and care in crafting.
However, the prospect of attending ProtoPlay is bittersweet. Although we’re so excited to be there, it also marks the end of the competition and with all the people we’ve met both within and outside of the industry, we’re going to miss everything and everyone that’s been a part of the process at Dare.
Team information and videos can be found on the Dare to be Digital team profile.
Also, we have a team Twitter account: @Fatdog_Games