Some of the artists behind Hollywood's greatest CGI movies are spending evenings and weekends working on original video games. Steel Wool Games has created its first mobile game, Flyhunter. Andrew Dayton, co-founder and technical director of the game studio, has worked closely with NVIDIA to enhance the platform game for Tegra 4 and SHIELD. Dayton talks about the new game in this exclusive interview.
What’s Flyhunter Origins about?
This is a platformer and a 3D chase game. We wanted to make it really pretty. With the gameplay we wanted to focus on being accessible to a lot of age ranges, so my kids can play it and adults can play it. But it’s sort of our first big step in and it’s been a lot of fun. NVIDIA’s actually been supporting us since day one.
What is the story in this game?
It is about an alien poaching group that comes to earth to hunt flies. Flies are actually illegal, but they’re highly priced in the intergalactic black market. It starts with a ship that has finished hunting and somehow mysteriously the cargo has been ejected and our hapless janitor has to figure out what’s happened. He’s forced to have to get the flies that he lost. You go through the story of Zach, our protagonist, and all kinds of things happen. But I’ll let the players actually see that when they play the game.
What are some of the environments people will be exploring?
The game takes place is Northern Florida in the southern swamps of North America. There are different times of day in the game and the environments themselves will have swamp, wetlands, insides of termite hives. But it’s still within the human world so you’ll still see smatterings of human population, but you don’t see humans. You’re not in somebody’s house, you’re on the fringe.
How have you worked with NVIDIA on this project?
NVIDIA has been working with us since day one. We pitched the project earlier to them with our publisher and they’ve been really supportive and we wanted to work together for the Tegra 4 processor. They showed us what they were planning with the SHIELD device, which is exactly what we wanted to do. The SHIELD and Tegra 4 allowed us to really push the boundaries of the visual fidelity of the game we wanted to make. It also gave us the ability to have a controller, which was really important but still be on a mobile platform. NVIDIA supplied us with all the resources we needed to get this up and running on the SHIELD and they’ve been nothing but fantastic helping support the game and support us.
When it comes to the actual game play, how has Tegra 4 enhanced the experience players will have?
It allows us to push the quality to the point where it’s as close as you can to a high-end PC, but on a mobile platform. All the visual fidelity that we liked, beautiful effects, HDR, blooms, depth of field, these sort of things that you really can’t have on a normal mobile device because of the hardware; we were allowed to turn on and use those and really incorporate that into the visual fabric of the game.
What are your thoughts on SHIELD as a new gaming platform?
It’s amazing, actually. My son keeps trying to take it from me because he wants to play it. We’ve tried to do some tests where we wanted to kill it to see how much we could put on the game before it starts to die and we were shocked at the threshold and what it had. We were able to push the game as far as we could visually. The other thing is that the gameplay, because it’s a platformer and the controls are right there, there is no sort of disconnect between the player and the game by having a touch screen and having to work with no tactile feedback. Having all of these together, it’s the perfect device.
What are your thoughts about how quickly the mobile sector seems to be exploding when it comes to the processing power?
Growing up I’ve seen and witnessed Moore’s Law, but this is surpassing that at an enormous rate. Twice a year there’s always the new and better processor that comes out and every time the new generation comes out, it’s getting closer and closer to what we consider console quality. NVIDIA with the Tegra 3 and now the Tegra 4, it’s getting closer and closer to being able to make, visually, the kinds of games that we want, but on the mobile platforms.