A new game has launched itself into the atmosphere of pixel platformers;
“Heroes of Umbra” !
With technology upgrading and outdating itself every day, video games are attempting to break new records in how advanced, hyper-realistic and complex they can be; pushing the limits of just what is possible. While plenty of people are excited to see the outer edge of new graphic and engine capabilities, some people still enjoy and actively seek out some more ‘retro’ styled games. The producer and main developer of “Heroes of Umbra,” is one of those people and set out to turn a dream into a real project. His name is Andrew Keturi.
— Steam Trailers in 6s (@microtrailers) June 1, 2018
I got to sit down and talk to Andrew today (also because he is my best friends’ fiancé) and interview him a little bit about his process and how the launch has gone so far.
Me: “So today is day two; how has the launch gone so far — is it what you expected ?”
Andrew: “I kept very low to realistic expectations and goals going into launch. It’s gone really well! I sold more than expected and made back what I spent on marketing day [one]. And more importantly I was able to bring together people interested in the game–so there’s more of a sense of community.”
Me: “That’s super important! The gaming industry needed a good, fresh take on a classic game style. How long did you work on this project in total? When did the dream become more of a reality ?”
Andrew: “I started it in late 2012, but it always felt like more of a prototype, even when I had implemented basic netplay. At some point after implementing half of the first two skill trees, I played with a few friends and distinctly remember feeling like everything was starting to come together as we slayed waves of skeletons in the first dungeon. After that I committed to giving the project more attention.
In 2014 I started working for a startup making mobile games. They were impressed with the work I did and I’m convinced the project landed me the job. However, working full-time did slow the momentum of developing the game. I ended up commuting and working on the game a lot on the train rides into the office. ”
Me: “Smart! Saving time and getting ideas along the way I’m sure. What was the hardest thing that you had to learn in the process of creating “Heroes of Umbra” ? ”
Andrew: “I followed a lot of bad programming patterns and ugly software engineering principles, so the codebase got messy quickly. As I learned more, I realized I got urges to rewrite the game or start other projects. Maintaining the discipline to continue working on the project — even when making minor changes inadvertently caused frustrating bugs — was one of the hardest experiences.”
Me: “Re-writing must have felt tedious but totally worth it. I’ve seen some reviews and your following on Facebook; for only being out a day, it’s been successful. Do you hope to have updated or new content in the future ?”
Andrew: ” Yeah, part of driving the development by myself is not really doing diligence to fully test all changes I implement, no matter how small, so I do have a bucket of bugs to prioritize and take care of. After the most pressing bugs are handled I have some in-progress ideas and content in mind I’d love to add. ”
Me: ” Don’t spoil any ideas though! Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me during day two of your launch! ”
Andrew: “Thanks so much for your interest and support in HoU. It means a lot to me.”
While this game is definitely not ‘HD’ in the graphics, there is no shortage of awesome mobs and bosses to defeat. From evil plants to the classic skeleton, and a giant frog boss, changing mechanics as you progress through the levels and New Game + (re-birth or in CoD terms, “prestige”), ” Heroes of Umbra” is addicting to play. Initially, what drew me in was the very Maplestory-like gameplay and story, but I stayed for the easy to follow skill trees and silly hats! You can use a blacksmith to upgrade your weapons with gems and so much more.
I definitely will continue to play and enjoy playing with friends. Out now on STEAM !