Battle for Candora – An OnOff Gaming Interview

In such a short space a time, I have had the privilege of interviewing so many great indie developers and to learn more about their creations. One of the aims of JumpToGamer was to give exposure to upcoming games and developers, and I am pleased that so far we have been successful on that. But thanks to that aim, I came across a project being developed by OnOff Gaming, who are a family owned and operated Indie Game Development Company. They are currently creating a digital card RPG called Battle for Candora, featuring adventure, turn-based combat and crafting elements.

What makes them really stand out is the fact that the game is being creating by the whole family, parents and kids alike! It is definitely something refreshing to see in the Industry, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the children! I would have loved this opportunity as a kid!

But what really strikes you is the level of professionalism and thought which has gone into all aspects of the game. These are people who know what they are doing, but importantly, have a huge passion for it. From the game design, to the game art to the concept of Battle for Candora, it’s a great job they have done so far.

The story behind Battle for Candora is set in the future, where the human race has discovered interstellar travel and realized they are not alone. They have also stumbled across an incredible world called Candora. The world is made of very powerful candy and has the most powerful compound in the galaxy, Gluconium-6, in natural abundance.   For the Human race this is an amazing discovery, because after hundreds of years of eating refined sugar in everything, most of the Human race is stricken with an incurable Diabetes.  Glucionum-6 just happens to cure diabetes so you are sent there to conquer the planet and bring back as much Gluconium-6 as you can.

Of course, Candora is a special planet, defended by horrible monsters that come right from your nightmares.  So the planet is not going to make it easy.   On top of this the two most powerful sentient races you have discovered also need of Gluconium-6 so they are trying to take over the planet at the same time as you.

Barry Bloom from OnOff Gaming kindly took some time out to provide us with a Q&A session, where he discusses more about Battle for Candora and what it is like developing a game with your family.

Q: When did you first start game development?

A: November of 2011 we made the decision to start making games as a family.   I’ve wanted to make games my entire life and my children were showing signs of wanting to make games by the art and play they were doing well before this.

Q: How did your family get involved with development?

A: We have always enjoyed playing games. Once we decided to start our gaming studio it just made sense to involve our whole family.   It turns out that we have a great mix of talents that make it possible for the studio to work.

Connor, who just turned 13, is the brains behind all the animations and has designed much of the user interface.   Charlie, who will turn twelve in January, does all the art.   Chandler, who is eight, helps mainly with game testing and some design.  He’s actually the best at the game of all of us.  Sheila is in charge of art production, technical interface design, and manages much of our task lists.   Barry is the game designer and coder.  We all just learned a little about PR doing this interview.

Q: What is it like creating a game with your family? Does it come with any problems or is it a walk in the park?

A: It is something we work at daily.  It’s a constant balance between working on the game, school work and downtime.  We are trying to teach the children what it means to be an entrepreneur, what running a business is like, and how hard work over a long time can pay off.  These are things that grade schools don’t do a very good job teaching.

 

Q: What made you create Battle for Candora?

A: We decided to create Battle for Candora from a simple card game we made one afternoon messing around with playing cards and sticky notes.

 

Q: How long has it been in development for?

A: The current version has been under development for the last nine months.  The first year of our studio was a great learning experience.   The work we did during that time was basically fumbling around the internet reading and watching tutorials.   When we started we didn’t know how to use any of the tools we use today like the game development framework Cocos2D or Adobe Illustrator.

We did a private beta of what we had built at the end of 2012 and based on the feedback we received we trashed most of the game and started over from scratch.

 

Q: What type of game will Battle for Candora be?

A: Battle for Candora is a Digital Card RPG.   Some of the key features are:

3 player factions at war, 1 playable at the start and 2 AI factions

3 adventure episodes exploring unique areas of Candora

10 card classes

15 vicious monsters and many bosses

More than 10 game-changing player powers

Building and upgrading bases on Candora for havesting gluconium

Two player upgrade paths for increasing power on Candora and reputation with your faction

Many recipes for creating and upgrading your cards

Many card collections with powerful rewards

100s of Missions including many repeatable missions

Over 400 cards that include monsters, factions, weapons, treasures and abilities

 

Q: Any features which make it stand out?

A: We think customizability of the cards is a very unique feature.  From very early in the game, players will be able to build each card they own how they want.   They can choose to give cards any ability they find in the game or purchase from the store in the form of card packs.  Each card can also be leveled up to more powerful versions through the lab which opens more slots for customization.

Also, unlike other CCGs we have built Battle for Candora as a digital card game first.  A traditional CCG, like MtG, was built for playing offline then made to work on a digital platform.  This makes the delivery of the format much harder because the rules and game play may not translate well for starting players and might not work digitally at all.  Because of this we are able to take a very deep game and deliver it in digestible components.  For example, you don’t have to understand any of the rules of the game to start playing.   It is basically a one button strategy RPG game. The nuances of pack building, card construction, and matchups are presented over the course of many play sessions.  Players gain powers very deliberately but at a speed that is easy to comprehend but fast enough to maintain interest. A fully playable physical CCG of Battle for Candora is a possibility, but not until we have vetted it online with hopefully thousands of players.

Finally, there will NOT be a comprehensive 10 minute tutorial you must complete to begin playing the game.   This was one thing we really hated about many RPG and strategy games on the market.

 

Q: When can people expect to be able to play Battle for Candora?

A: We plan to release the game for iOS at the end of October 2013.  Of course, this being our first App store submission we aren’t sure how long approval will take.

 

Q: What has been the best part about making the game?

A: The experience of making a game as a family is the best part.  We have a common goal that drives us all to be better at whatever we are working on.

We also learned early on that we are a bunch of noobs that have no idea what we are doing.  Every day is a new adventure!

 

If you are interested in learning more about Battle of Candora and following the progress of OnOff Gaming, you can do so by heading over to their official website: OnOffGaming.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OnOffGaming

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnOffGaming