Interview with 7A Games, the developer of Mars Power Industries
As usual, we were not hired or paid to feature this game. If it’s bad, we’ll tell you it’s bad.
Have you ever wondered how planet Earth’s real-life Tony Stark is planning to supply his Mars colony with power? It’s a simple question you may not have thought about, but it’s kind of important… Important enough for someone to make a game about… 😉
If you have yet to check out our review of Mars Power Industries, you can do so here!
Before we start we’d like to thank the 7A Games Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Mars Power Industries! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
Okay! We are 7AGames, it sounds fancy but it’s just us 4 friends making a game. We’re all from the same small city in Poland, and know each other from our small local game development community here in Lublin. We are freelancers doing our side projects alone and this was an opportunity for us to work together!
We got Kuba doing the art, Piotr and Łukasz doing the programming, and me (Arek) doing sound and design. It’s a good composition! Everybody practicing what they want. Sounds obvious, but the way we got here is quite long. We all had a couple years of experience, my personal journey being the longest.
I’ve been involved in the gaming industry for 10 years now, designing and programming games. I’ve been watching the market change ever since the time of fantastic Flash games. Obviously, I grew up on old-school games, but it was these small games that had a huge impact on my life and steered me this way.
These games inspired me and convinced me I wanted to make games for a living.
So while working for SUPERHOT and EA was a nice experience, it just wasn’t for me. It seems that small weird games are my calling. And that’s why I’m here, making small weird games with a great team!
Ok, let’s start talking about Mars Power Industries… What are the highlights of your latest release?
Mars Power Industries is like a child to us. A small puzzle for everyone. Power up houses on Mars!
We tried to keep it a relaxing, fun experience and I think we succeeded! Surely, not a strategy game, even if it looks like one! I put in a little story in the game, with the limited resources that we had. Some people picked up on it, it’s entirely in the environment, I was worried people wouldn’t notice, but they did. And we’re all happy they did!
We’ve managed to create a fun functioning game with no budget, entirely in our free time. It’s a great achievement for us!
What was the core idea or inspiration behind Mars Power Industries? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
The inspiration came during Global Game Jam 2018, we got together to create a simple game. Essentially, we all wanted to make a mysterious ambient game, an interesting experience to be around.
Obviously, ideas don’t come out of thin air, and after a few hours debating, we had absolutely nothing to work on. We were stuck and didn’t know what kind of game we could make. The answer came, as it usually does, during a walk. I thought of Mars and the rest kind of fell into place. It was a veeery different game back then. It wasn’t very good, but it worked.
The important process here was the constant improvement. It took a great number of walks, but after a few months, I got all the ideas I needed. Going outside is best for gathering ideas.
How long was Mars Power Industries in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
It took us more than 6 months to finish it. It started on the 26th of January and was released on the 15th of August. We all had jobs at the time and we mostly did it in our free time. I quit my freelancing gig after a few months when Mars was close to the finish line and I had no time.
There were 4 different versions of Mars. Ever since the first version we were in the “it’s almost finished” mindset. Each version was harder to implement and demotivated us further. Eventually, the stars aligned just right and our 4th version was received warmly by our friends and we decided it was THE ONE.
Out of the 6 months, it took us to make Mars Power Industries, 3 months were spent prototyping and changing things up, 2 months were spent making content and we spent 1-month polishing.
To tell the truth, we just had a good time. I’ve had enough experience designing small games that there were no major hiccups. But it was a crazy stressful for me to lead a team without knowing if the design would actually hold up this time. Usually, I have a good prototype ready before the content but here both the prototype and the content were done at the same time!
The best part was the release day when I realized we had a bug and I had to make a few levels out of thin air because one of our mechanics failed. And players caught on that some levels are the same… We sat up until 2am preparing the game to be released, it was a crazy experience, also very fun!
What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Mars Power Industries? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
We used Unity and Adobe Creative Cloud to create basically everything! We communicated with Slack and Asana. But the most important resource was a pen and paper. Just sitting and thinking about possible ideas, possible problems, and solutions. The theme, the story, and the soundscape all came as just random ideas I wrote down on paper.
Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
Oh, the most important advice is to plan things out. Prepare first, then work according to the plan! The plan is the crucial element. All team members understand parts of the plan, but someone has to understand it all, there must be a clear and unified vision. And the theme of the game will usually dictate everything.
The mechanics are nice and sometimes might be fresh, but it’s the theme, the tone and the experience that the game provides. If players are to experience the feeling of solving tiny relaxing puzzles in outer space, then the developers must invent a way to create that feeling!
What can we expect to see in Mars Power Industries or from 7A Games in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
Well, first there’s a big update coming soon. We’ve had our holidays, we’re rested. Time to keep pushing!
On the 26th of September, we will launch the Ancient Artifacts update for Mars Power Industries. We listened to our players and we’re adding more levels, more mechanics, more interesting puzzles. Along with some quality of life things that people expect. We’re hoping to bump the playtime to over 2 hours!
Mars is coming to Android and Steam per popular demand in October.
And we’re working hard on our game making simulator – WORKidle. We hope to have open beta tests soon and release this year!
Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to our awesome team of Writers, Developers, and Patrons who keep Edamame Reviews up and running?
Thank you for your time!
It’s super important to keep independent sites like Edamame Reviews going. You’re doing a great job! Who else will search for hidden gems among games?
(Edamame Reviews) Thank you for your support!
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