Grimm's Hatchery is now available for download. Try it today!
Aveyond is a large and detailed RPG, with an engrossing story set in a huge world. There are plenty of quests to complete, monsters to battle and interesting characters to meet. If you're a fan of old-school RPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger then you'll enjoy Aveyond.
The interview follows below, with my questions in bold.
Could you give a quick introduction - who you are, what you do (and why)?
My name is Amanda Fitch. I am the owner of Amaranth Games. My primary job is programming and coordinating the completion of games.
What got you started on developing your own games?
I couldn't find any games that I wanted to play so I decided to venture out and create my own. It's been a lot of hard work, but also lots of fun.
Your current project is called Grimm's Hatchery, could you share a some details about it?
Sure thing! In Grimm's Hatchery, you get to buy magical pets, raise them, and hatch new pets. Along the way, you must solve puzzles, create new species of pets, and keep your pets safe from danger. I've also inserted a twist of humor into the game. Once you've played it, you may think that the characters are positively insane! (In a funny way, of course!)
What would your perfect game be like?
Drats! The ultimate question, eh? I'm waiting for the day when I can put on my 3D glasses and actually walk around in a full-blown 3D RPG. I also dread this day, for no one may ever see me again…
What's your favourite part of being an indie developer?
The best thing about being an indie developer is taking risks. I don't think that big game companies have the leeway that indie game companies have. The budgets for their games are huge and each failure can cost them millions.
Conversely, what part is the worst?
Limited resources. I would love to have the amazing graphics that I see in some commercial games, but such things cost money. Lots of money.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own indie business?
Don't borrow huge amounts of money, keep your team small (1-4 people), and don't quit your day job until you have a game or two under your belt. :)
Roughly how long did Aveyond take to create?
Aveyond took 1 1/2 years.
Are there any games in particular that inspired you?
Absolutely! Final Fantasy VI and Kings Quest VI. I tried to blend the two styles into an RPG/Adventure mix.
*You used RPG Maker to create Aveyond. What were the major advantages and disadvantages of this approach? I'm guessing not getting bogged down with trying to make a perfect engine is a big advantage!*
The major advantage was saving hundreds of hours in engine development and testing. Also, RPG Maker XP has a phenomenal level editor that makes is easy to build large, complex levels, and it leverages the RUBY scripting language.
The major disadvantage is that I can't customize the level editor and I can't port my games to Mac computers.
What was the hardest part of creating the game?
Cleaning up the loose ends. The first 75% of development is a lot of fun, however, eventually you get to a point where you have to clean up all of the annoying bugs that you kept putting off month after month. The last 25% can be really irritating and frustrating because you're no longer innovating.
Some bugs can take days to resolve and it's hard to stay patient.
Which feature(s) are you most proud of and why?
The storyline and the maps. I spent a lot of time trying to make sure the story was compelling. From the feedback I've received, I succeeded. I also had a lot of fun with my maps. I made them large so that players could wander around and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.
If you could do anything differently, what would it be?
I would have created more side stories between the major characters in the game.
Aveyond has won a tonne of awards and seems to have quite a following. Did you ever imagine it would be so popular?
I didn't expect it to be this popular, but I had hoped… I still have a long way to go to make a game that truly resonates. However, I think Aveyond is a good start! :)
*There's quite an active community on the Amaranth Games website, including fan art and people sharing games they've made. What do you think has made the community section so popular?*
I think people come around because they have questions about the games that they are playing. Then, some of them stay to chat with other players and myself. I thought it was really great that some of the players liked the site, and so I decided to turn my site into a community with lots of things to do. I actually plan to roll out a new version of the site in January which is going to blow the old site out of the water. The new site lets players earn gold coins, collect items, buy a shack or a castle, and so much more!
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Thank you so much for the interview, Phil! If players want to learn more about Aveyond or Grimm's Hatchery, they should check out http://www.amaranthia.com.