Find us @

Entertainment

Interview: Tyler Goodale

There haven’t been many AAA god games released in the last ten years, which is a shame. I love god games, and the releases that have come out these past years have definitely been creative and intere

Published

on

It saddens me greatly that the once-thriving AAA god game genre has been dormant for so long. The more godlike the game, the better. After the critical and commercial disappointments of Black and White 2 and Spore in 2005–2006, few new significant god games have been released. Though the independent gaming community has kept the ball rolling with games like War for the Overworld, Tethered, and The Universim, no one has yet succeeded in creating a game that can compare to Lionhead’s Black and White.

Until today, at least. Just lately, Deus Novum was released with the goal of becoming the spiritual successor to Black and White. The next episode of Indie Corner will feature my impressions of the game, but no one has ever attempted what Black and White did. I wish this person the best of luck in spreading the word about Deus Novum, despite the fact that it still has a ways to go. You may read the interview I conducted with Tyler about his goals and his new game by following the provided link.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2086280/Deus Novum/

First off, please introduce yourself. So, tell me, what do you do?

Hello, I’m Tyler Goodale, the man behind the legendary classic Black & White spiritual sequel Deus Novum. Since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been teaching myself how to develop video games from scratch, and now I’ve completed and launched my first.

So, what does it entail to work in the field of game design?

Creating video games is an artistic endeavor. Games are one of the most impressive forms of art because they integrate many different types of media into a single narrative and provide the audience a chance to influence the story through their own choices and actions.

Video games, like all forms of creative expression, are developed via repeated attempts. You’re not just adding to your own game; you’re adding to the vast storehouse of human ingenuity that has existed since the beginning of time. With this accumulated knowledge, we may combine our efforts to create brand-new and intriguing concepts.

Microtransactions in video games have generated considerable debate in recent years. Why do games typically omit stuff in order to offer it as downloadable content and loot boxes? This is more of a question than an opinion. Do you think it has something to do with the price of development? Or is there a time component?

Just plain greed. Sure, I get that developing a first-person game isn’t cheap, but the methods used by many games to make money these days seem excessive to me. This kind of conduct is completely unacceptable. Using this method, they can gradually increase your outlay over time and trick you into thinking you’re getting a better deal.

Give us an update on the status of your current project.

Just released into Early Access, Deus Novum is a physics sandbox God game with an AI animal species that learns to assault your communities in a variety of AI-directed events. The game takes inspiration from Rimworld. I’ve spent the past three and a half years developing the game.

Like many others, Black & White was one of my all-time favorite games when I was a kid, and I’ve been waiting patiently for a successor ever since. The waiting was killing me, so I decided to solve the problem on my own.

Black & White was fantastic in many ways, but it fell short as a game in a number of key areas. I built upon Black & White by doing things like making systems more robust and the gameplay more of a priority.

Everyone who puts their ideas into the world must face backlash from users. How do you go about it, especially considering the widespread and viral nature of modern video games?

Yes, I’m still getting used to dealing with this. When I initially started marketing the game, I felt like I was being attacked on every front, but now that people are really playing, the most common complaint is about bugs, which are to be expected and, in most cases, simple to solve. If someone critiques your work, keep in mind that they probably don’t have as complete a knowledge of the piece as you do. The few seconds they saw of my trailer are not representative of the full game. Even if your audience thoroughly engages with your work, you still may not be able to win their approval. Millions of thousands of people worldwide despise even the most popular games.

And most importantly, what you’ve made is not you. Rebuttals to criticisms of your work are not rebuttals to you as a person.

I was wondering what words of encouragement you could have for aspiring game designers that are on the verge of making the jump into the industry.

The common piece of advise that nobody takes is to baby steps. And like you, I disregarded this counsel and spent nearly three years on an extremely ambitious project. Can we be sure this was the best course of action? I can’t tell for sure what I’ve learned, but there’s a lot I couldn’t have known otherwise.

You can take any risk you like if you’re still a beginner and don’t know all about development. The more ground you traverse, the more you’ll learn. When you’ve finally determined on the project you intend to deliver, though, it’s time to scale back your expectations. Modify an existing function rather than adding a new one. This is challenging and requires a lot of willpower, but it will be worth it in the end. There’s always room for expansion.

What are some of your go-to games when you find yourself with free time?

There’s no denying that I don’t get nearly as much game time as I once did, but when I do, I enjoy challenging titles like Rimworld, Kerbal Space Program, Civilization V, Crusader Kings II/III, Project Zomboid, Kenshi, Valheim, and modified Minecraft.

I also enjoy Noita, Slay the Spire, and Dicey Dungeons for those times when I’m too exhausted to deal with the game’s complexity.

Just what is it that motivates you to keep going?

Being creative and analytical are two of my favorite things to do. The process of taking one of my many ideas and turning it into a finished product is thrilling. Integrating these concepts is also a rewarding adventure. Awesomeness ensues upon realizing that the newly-added tornado may combine with the fireball that has been a part of the game for a long time to produce a fire tornado. Or to weave together unrelated bits of legend in a way that works better as a whole.

Describe the most challenging aspect of your work.

Maintenance and promotion of the product.

It’s an emotional roller coaster to correct bugs. The problem you’ve been working on for hours turns out to be something as easy as a misplaced equals sign or an unnoticed function call. The satisfaction you get from solving a problem like that is unparalleled. However, it could malfunction again the next week.

To put it bluntly, marketing is a huge hassle. It’s really tedious, has an empty feeling to it at times, and seems to take forever. There’s nothing particularly tough about it, but it takes a lot of motivation to really execute it. Quite simply, I enjoy the process of creating games so much that I do it for no other reason. It’s not worth selling them. This is a whole new assignment.

Tell me about your most enjoyable experience while working on a game. Is there anything in particular that you’re finding tough as you try to overcome the difficulties?

I enjoy the creative process immensely. I love how I can take an idea and make it into a playable part of my game. I enjoy being able to make adjustments and additions to my game because I often find flaws or missed opportunities in other games.

The sheer volume of work is the hardest challenge, but ultimately I only have myself to blame for the ambitious nature of my goals. When I’m introducing a brand-new feature, for example, I have a great day, but then I have to spend the next several days finishing off my work. That might take a very long time. It’s exciting to design a brand new fireball or structure, but the effort spent perfecting it and integrating it with the rest of the game might feel like a chore.

Which first-game experiences have left you with the most profound lessons?

To be clear, Deus Novum is not my first game, but it is the first one I have officially released. Deus Novum has taught me the most out of all my projects because it has required me to deal with things like settings, saving, and loading, and a large number of assets that I had previously overlooked.

What are your plans for the near future?

Although I am currently committed on Deus Novum, I frequently get thoughts about potential new games. So that I can have a solid foundation upon which to build the next game once Deus Novum is finished, I record all of my thoughts as they occur to me.

What would be your dream profession, if you weren’t able to become a game designer?

That are these people who test mattresses? A perfect job might not even exist. Games are my favorite medium for creative expression, but I can only imagine a career in which I am given extensive freedom and responsibility in the production of original works.

If time and resources weren’t a concern, what would be your ultimate video game?

That one game that manages to incorporate all the things I love from a wide variety of games?

Take the creature maker, Spore, and add in organs, non-organic life, bionics, magic, and whatever else you can think of.

Take the procedural environment and industrial automation and drop them into a modified Minecraft universe.

Valheim, you handle the battles and the various ways that monsters can attack.

Take on the vast world in No Man’s Sky.

Monsters, magic, narrative, missions, and politics all provide depth to an Elder Scrolls universe.

Crusader Kings challenges you to negotiate complex alliances for your party and devise cunning plans to achieve your goals through deceit.

My earlier, unfinished work was a hive mind system in which leadership of the group could be passed around between the many members.

Last but not least, implement a time-travel system that allows you to take your entire country with you into the past or future to observe the impact of your actions.

Both cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes are planned.

This is an absolutely absurd undertaking, but I’d want to try my hand at a scaled-down version of this concept someday.

Promotion

Here’s the link to the Deus Novum Steam page: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2086280/

The Discord link is: https://discord.gg/WGvT3vUyj8.

You may find the subreddit for “Deus Novum” at this link: https://reddit.com/r/DeusNovum/.