Since developing the Indie sensation Q.U.B.E from University, Daniel Da Rocha has continued on the independent path, spawning titles like Mortar Melon and Water Works. He’s currently polishing off his work on upcoming puzzle platformer Hue while developing a Q.U.B.E sequel for virtual reality. Having been part of the first team to release a game under the Indie Fund scheme, as well as speaking at numerous events about the independent games industry, I thought it pertinent to grill him about the indie scene today and find out more about the indie market, and his upcoming projects.
How is Hue going? What were reactions like at PC Gamer Weekend in March?
Hue’s coming along and we’re almost done with the core development before we hand the code off to our publisher to port to consoles. People really enjoyed the game at PC Gamer Weekender and played for 20-30 minutes at a time. Unfortunately the event was much quieter than I expected, though.
It seems that you were at a very different starting point when you made Q.U.B.E. Do you think the pressures (like looking for a good turnout at events like this) are different when creating a game with publishers like Curve Digital [set to publish Hue] compared with what you were facing back then?
With Q.U.B.E we did everything ourselves, which was quite a learning experience considering we came straight from University. I think we were lucky to have backing by Indie Fund who mentored us and the indie scene was much smaller then so getting exposure was less difficult than it is now. Now that we’re with a publisher, there’s an expectation that we get lots of press interviews and consumers to our booth at events, considering much more money is being spent than if we were self-publishing. It’s nice to have support from a publisher who can handle all the organization of the marketing and meetings so we can focus on development.
In your experience, do you think the methods of getting this exposure have changed alongside the industry since the days of Q.U.B.E? As it has become more difficult to be heard above the crowds, do you note any specific changes in the way indie games are plugged into the world?
I think the methods of getting exposure have evolved with the explosion of YouTubers and the advent of live streaming platforms, such as Twitch. These channels have a much larger and direct impact than traditional press. I think the key for an indie developer in this time is to utilize all marketing methods available to them and promote as much as possible.
Do you think indie gaming will see as much success on virtual reality as it has through the Steam community? Toxic Games are planning to release Q.U.B.E 2 for VR as well, and was wondering if there was any one standout difference for you in developing for the new medium.
I think indie gaming will see success on the VR platform. This is primarily because it’s indies who are currently experimenting and making unique content, which is being picked up and promoted by platform holders such as Oculus and Valve. For Q.U.B.E 2 there is a lot to learn for VR as it’s a completely new platform. You cannot simply shoehorn VR into an existing game as it should be designed for from the ground up for the most compelling experience.
Hue has already won numerous awards for its design and gameplay, and is currently being shown off at events across the country. The game centers around a greyscale world, and one researcher’s heroic son who discovers his mother’s secret to seeing colour after she mysteriously disappears. You can stay updated on Da Rocha’s shenanigans on Twitter, or through the Hue game’s website.