It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. However, I’m happy to introduce Huw Millard, the sole dev of Warsim: The Realm of Aslona. This is an awesome little game that revolves around kingdom management, and you can buy it right here!
I will say right now, I’ve been a big fan of this game in 2019, and it’s a blast to play. I was fortunate enough to grab Huw for a quick interview. I hope you enjoy, and please check out the game. For the price of a coffee, you really can’t go wrong. It’s frequently updated by Huw as well, with new features and more!
Ahem…drunken sales pitch aside, onto the interview itself!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you do?
My name is Huw Millward, and I’m a game developer and online seller. I do a few little things online to keep myself afloat, and when I have free time I like to travel, usually within Europe as it’s cheaper!
What does being a game designer actually mean?
Well, it means developing experiences that players enjoy, in the hopes of creating a product that can resonate with those who play it.
There has been a great deal of controversy in recent years about micro transactions in gaming. Not so much an opinion, but why do games tend to cut out content to sell later as DLC and lootboxes? Is it to do with development costs? Or is it time related?
I think the root of all of this is money. Some games have made record breakingly high numbers, yet still later resort to these things. The problem with the gaming industry is that over time, with all of the money it began generating, it became hugely corporate as many wealthy people sought to get more wealthy by maximizing profits and growing game companies into billion dollar juggernauts.
And they have succeeded, however the corporate model doesn’t reward stagnation: make a billion dollars this last year? If you make the same this year then the company isn’t experiencing growth, and this is bad.
I think at the end of the day it all comes down to greed and the desire to make a much as possible and it runs against what gaming should be.
Tell us about your current project.
My current project is called Warsim: The Realm of Aslona, it’s a wacky kingdom management game that started out as a small test project and ended up becoming my road into my dream job. The game is still well in development but thanks to lots of support by the games followers it has evolved into something I could never have imagined and hopefully will continue to do so.
As anyone who creates anything, we must all deal with criticism from consumers. How do you go about it particularly in the prolific and viral standard of gaming today?
I consider myself a fairly sensetive person, so it’s never easy hearing negative stuff, but to be honest other than straight up trolls, which I’ve only encountered one or two in my time developing.
Most negative feedback is at least trying to be constructive, there are always lessons to be learned from them and if you address them, sometimes that feedback can later turn positive. Luckily I’ve had very little negative feedback in my time developing and I can only hope it stays that way!
What advice would you give budding developers into taking the plunge into game design?
Make something you yourself would want to play, it’s hard trying to make something other people would like but if you make something you yourself enjoy it’s a good starting point.
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
I love Mount and Blade, Minecraft, Streets of rogue, Stardew Valley…the Elder Scrolls games. All sorts of stuff. Don’t get a ton of time to play them these days unfortunately.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Ever since I began playing video games, I always wanted to be able to modify and expand on the games I was playing. I was always thinking of things that would make the experiences better.
I’ve finally made something I enjoy, and I am in my element working on games. There’s nothing better than seeing that other people enjoy something you’ve put your heart and soul into, it’s really touching and absolutely inspires me.
What is the hardest part of your job?
That’s hard to say. I think sometimes marketing is a difficult one, that’s one thing that I never thought would be needed, but as a solo developer its one of my main jobs, trying to get the game out there and in front of as many people as possible in a world of massive competition.
What was your favorite thing about game development? Is there anything you find difficult or challenging in dealing with the struggles?
My favourite thing personally about game development is that moment where you spend ages working on a concept or a procedural system and up until then it’s all just writing and words, then you build it up for a test and you get to see it live and working, it’s a rush.
That and finding something made by a procedural generation system that catches you offguard. I remember seeing purple orcs once in game and It totally caught me offguard, I forgot it was possible and it for a moment really surprised me, which for something I’ve been working on for 4-5 years entirely by myself is hard to do.
What lessons have you learned from your first game?
I’ve learned a lot about organisation, but I’ve also learned that the rules I assumed existed for game development don’t all nececerilly ring true, and sometimes if you can find a way to break those rules to help you make something more in tune with what you envision it can work out way in your favour.
What are your future project(s)?
I have a few rough ideas but I dont dare even give them a moments notice until I get Warsim closer to full release.
If you couldn’t be an game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
I’m not sure, but probably something either creative or positive like upper level charity work.
What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object
I had this really kick ass plan when I was younger for some massively procedural fantasy rpg based on Mount and Blade and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. But unfortunately this massive game would be borderline impossible for a small indie team in my opinion.