A lot of children claim they “want to make video games” when they are asked about what they would like to do when they grow up. Some kids change that opinion later on, while others stick to it, and out of those who stick to it, not everyone makes it in the gaming industry – a tough and unforgiving task by all standards.
I spotted a young and talented developer, Ivan, who managed to release his first Early Access game on Steam yesterday (February 27, 2023) and decided to hit him up for an interview and to take the game for a spin to see what it looks like, given that it’s an Early Access prototype at this point. Although this individual is young, he has a very mature perspective on things.
We hope that this interview will motivate more good people to enter game development and we wish them all the luck and success.
Manual Overcycle – What’s This Game About?
The game is developed by Fallen Few Studios and the Manual Overcycle Steam page is live, where you can see the short trailer and choose if you want to support this project. This game is, in short, about riding bicycles and jumping around the city.
The game is still in its early stages and, naturally, unpolished and in development, but this “demo” of some sort is still impressive when we take into account that it was made by a 17-year-old individual. Great proof of concept, and we are yet to see where it will lead. There are some bugs and there’s not a hell of a lot to do in the current handful of levels designed by Fallen Few Studios, but some fun can be extracted for a small price tag attached to this project.
The Actual Interview With Ivan from Fallen Few Studios
We’ve got Ivan to answer a few questions that most young aspiring game developers who are just starting out might want to ask him, and we hope that they serve as some sort of motivation and guidance.
Nikola L, Prima Games: What got you into game development? Did you have any influence or role model that drove you into this line of work?
Ivan, Fallen Few Studios: “When I was a kid I was always on mod forums for different games. Eventually, I’ve always wondered what it looked like, so I started researching it a bit. Eventually, I came across a few videos about the Unity Engine. I liked the concept of making games. I always thought it was much harder and not everyone had access to engines. To be honest, I never had role models in this profession.”
From my perspective as a gaming journalist, I am well aware of how difficult it was back in the day to obtain some skills and how few opportunities existed to actually work on this magical thing called “Internet” (and how underdeveloped everything was). Nowadays, you can obtain a lot of useful courses online for free, or for some pocket change, so it’s much, much easier to invest in yourself and your future, by improving your skill set. And it’s not just for programming or game development. A lot of video editors, audio engineers, designers, and what have you have sprouted worldwide because, in today’s era, they have the means to develop their talents everywhere in the world, remotely. Ivan came across a “few videos about the Unity Engine” and now we see where it took him.
How long did it take you to obtain the skillset necessary to build the game?
“Well, I started learning game development sometime around 2018. That’s when I specifically started learning C#. I finished the first project in 2019 and it was the first game that was fully functional. Of course, the Manual Overcycle is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. I learn something new every day, and documentation is the most useful, in my opinion.”
This is a great supportive argument for my above opinion. Naturally, you can’t go viral and become a millionaire such as the Flappy Bird developer with your first game. Success does not happen overnight, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into any career journey. And most importantly – you never stop learning. If you got your PhD, it doesn’t mean your education is complete and over.
Was it difficult to make a decision to build a game from scratch all by yourself? What were the biggest challenges en route to the finish line? Did you get any outside help?
“Honestly, I got the idea quite by accident when I was walking around the city during the summer of last year and saw a man doing tricks on the BMX. What helped me the most was that I was playing SKATER 3 that day and it’s kind of a game whose atmosphere I strive for.
There weren’t any big obstacles while I was working on the game. The only thing was that my free time was significantly reduced.
I don’t ask for help because I want to create something of my own, to try my hand at different things, and even in those that are not my thing, my parents, friends, and professors from school gave me the greatest support.”
As you can see, inspiration can come from many places, even if you do not have a role model. And similar to a lot of hobbies, projects, and businesses, game development takes commitment, especially when you’re technically still in school. You are forced to renounce a lot of your free time and sacrifice it for something you believe in. Not a lot of people have the capacity to stay on this track for a very long and sometimes do not see the fruits of their labor at all.
Ivan luckily has the support of his environment for these endeavors. Some young people, unfortunately, do not get any support for such aspirations, or even worse, get outright sabotaged for the most ridiculous reasons. Some youngsters falter under such conditions, while some go against all the odds with 100% determination and stubbornness, and manage to prove everyone wrong. Sadly, some members of the older generation do not understand modern technology and I oftentimes find a lot of parents of my closest peers shrug in dismay when they resonate that their child is making twice as much money as both of the parents at the very beginnings of a career in some IT job.
If you’re a parent reading this and you see that your kid is good with computers and loves all of that tech “mumbo-jumbo”, try to help them divert that affection into something that might help them make a living out of it. Sure, they might not be the next Elon Musk or Bill Gates, but getting a head start in the IT race will do your kid a lot of favors when it comes to job hunting. Getting a stable and secure job in the current day and age is hard, so they might as well become something that’s sought-after in the society of “people who sit behind their monitors all day”.
What are your goals for the future and what are your expectations from your Steam launch?
“My first goal is to finish Manual Overcycle all the way, as for later projects I’ll see what the future holds. I hope the Steam launch goes as well as possible, considering it’s my first published game.”
We, of course, wish Ivan all the luck in his future endeavors and adventures. I feel he’ll make it if he keeps up his efforts and passion.
What advice would you give to young people thinking about getting into game development?
“I have to tell young people that the most important thing is not to start with big projects, you should start with some 2D or simple 3D game. The documentation is very useful and you can always find the answer to most things there. As much as possible, try to write your own code, and not copy it from the Internet.”
That’s it for this interview. Once again, we hope it may inspire someone to do good stuff for the gaming industry in the future. If you set your mind to it and have the basic conditions to start out, why not? Check out Ivan’s Manual Overcycle if you can. See you soon at Prima Games!