The Liverpool, UK developer is expanding beyond the futuristic racing of T-Racer HD with its newest game, Meltdown on Mars THD. The new NVIDIA Tegra-powered game blends arcade action with tower defense gameplay as wave after wave of alien forces attack the player. Martin Kitney, CEO, Thumbstar Games, discusses how NVIDIA technology brings to life the game’s realistic effects, real-time lighting and highly-detailed enemies and environments in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals heading into this game?
We wanted to create an action game with some elements of tactics. The game is a mix of so called "dual stick shooter" and "tower defence" with additional elements.
What were some games that inspired you?
Games like: iDracula, MiniGore, Sentinel, and geoDefense were inspirations for Meltdown on Mars THD.
What's the storyline of this game?
The action of the game takes place somewhere in the far future on Mars. You are the soldier guarding the colony. There has been a massive attack on the base and you are the last survivor. Your only target is to defend yourself from attacking aliens, at least as long as you can.
Can you talk about the game world?
The future Mars looks different than today. People managed to produce enough of oxygen and carbon dioxide for live to sprout. There are characteristic red rocks, but you will also find green plants and palms, giving the game unique look.The colony is pretty much empty, nobody is alive except the main character and a whole bunch of aliens.
What's the gameplay experience like?
In the game, the player collects points that can be exchanged for better weapons like automatic turrets, as well as barricades and mines. The player has to choose how he wants to spent his points. Different tactics may work better on different levels. The fun part is to find out what works best for you.
How did you tailor this game for Tegra devices?
The game experience is very good, especially on tablet devices because of the bigger screen. The game looks even better on Tegra device because we put an extra effort into optimizing the game's graphics. We used a lot of special effects that are usually seen only on console games.
What has it been like working with Tegra 2 technology?
It was very exciting. We had a lot of fun. Resources provided by NVIDIA were very helpful and made the whole process much easier.
What has Tegra opened up to you creatively with this game?
Its allowed us to really push the boundaries of tablet gaming. Usually, we find many restrictions. But for this game we have been able to add objects and gameplay, as opposed to cutting things out.
What are the challenges of developing for the mobile space, which has such a broad audience of gamers?
The broad audience of gamers is a very good thing. It means that there will be different groups of players with different expectations. Because of that pool, I’m sure we’ll find a large group of players that likes similar games that we do. We have been always developed the kind of games that we like to play ourselves.
What are your thoughts on Tegra 3 and what that will bring to the gaming space?
Tegra 3 is very impressive technology. Games are usually the first products that can use any extra performance available. It means that in the near feature we should see games with even better graphics, realistic physics, and better animation and AI. I am guessing it will also take some time until developers will use the full potential of Tegra 3, which means that we will see better and better games coming.
What do you think of the explosion we've seen with tablets recently?
Wherever I go, I see people walking with tablets. It is pretty amazing. We can really feel the new era of computing. I personally love using tablets for games, books, and surfing the Web. The best part is that you get the same experience whether you are at home, at the airport or in a hotel.
What excites you about developing for tablets?
It is very exciting to see this amazingly rapid evolution and feel its benefits as a developer. I have seen how game development for mobile devices has evolved in just the last few years. It is really remarkable.