Kinto Games’ bit Dungeon is a free title on Kongregate that recently made it to mobile platforms. This rogue-like tasks players with navigating a procedurally generated world full of creatures and enemies in an effort to obtain the highest level and best loot possible. I spoke with the man behind it all, Tom Heinecke, to learn how he went about crafting this title.
Tell me a bit about your development history. How did you start developing games?
I am primarily a 3D artist. I draw and paint a lot too. I just recently got into coding. I used to be a 3D artist for Budcat/Activision when I worked on Guitar Hero. I started in GameMaker and then moved over to Flash. I used to do Quake 1 skins when I was a kid. I have always loved video games and like thinking about them. I took me a year or so to learn action script enough to make games.
What’s the difference between working on triple-A titles like Guitar Hero and indie games such as your recently released bit Dungeon?
Well, working as an artist for something like Guitar Hero is just I get a high-res model and make it a low-res; it’s really just technical and just a little creative.
Working on bit Dungeon has been a crazy dream of just making whatever I want, and I design all the art so I can make it look cool and new.
Just how big is the development team behind bit Dungeon? How did you get involved with Kinto Games?
Kinto games is just me.
For bit Dungeon II I do have a level artist working with me as well. I am looking for a network programer right now.
Developing an entire game on your own is no easy task. Describe some of the challenges you went through making bit Dungeon.
It’s crazy hard. I kind of just chip away at stuff at night. I have to spend a lot of time researching things as well like how to support different devices. I do all the art as well, so it just depends what I feel like working on. If I’m in an artsy mood I will just make art all night, or if I want to see if a mechanic works I’ll just do that for a week. I actually never though I would finish bit Dungeon. I definitely never though it would end up on mobile devices.
Very cool. Now that you have a couple more guys coming on to help with bit Dungeon II, do you expect the work to be less stressful? Will there by any new features in the sequel we can expect?
I was never really stressed out about it, just obsessed, really. Bit Dungeon II’s dev cycle is very different already; all the cool features that came about in bit Dungeon are the foundation for bit Dungeon II. There were no items in bit Dungeon I until the very end of the cycle. It was only ever supposed to be a quick action game to play for like one minute and evolved into this funky RPG.
Bit Dungeon II will be a much more scripted game. I am basing a lot of the design choices on community request from Kongregate. My philosophy is if more than one person reports an issue or suggestion, then you should probably make the change. There will magic items and different special moves and designed dungeons. It is greatly inspired by Dark Souls. There will be multilayer focused on grieving, and maybe co-op, but I’m not sure yet. I have to make sure everything is in scope so that it is actually finished. It’s already taking great shape; I am insanely exited about it.
That sounds promising. Where do you see yourself and Kinto Games going into the future? Do you plan on expanding into different platforms or genres?
I’m not really sure if it is really designed to go anywhere. It’s basically just my hobby art project. I am kind of okay with just how it is now.