Interview with Gang of One, the developer of Math and Sorcery
Do you remember our review of Math and Sorcery by Gang of One and Crescent Moon Games? It has been a while since we last posted about the game and so you may want to check out our original review (which can be found here!).
Today we would like to share our interview with the awesomely humorous Juergen from the Gang of One team! Even this sentence is almost a joke! 🤣
Before we start we’d like to thank Juergen for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Juergen!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Math and Sorcery! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
As my studio’s name GANG OF ONE hints, I am currently a one-man show. My name is Juergen, I live in Europe/Austria and I am a software engineer; developing business applications since 2001.
I grew up in the NES, SNES and Amiga era. Making a game was on my to-do list for years and after several unfinished prototypes, I finally managed to finish and actually release my first game called Vito Jump ‘n’ Roll in 2016.
I was very excited to see people around the world play my game, even if it were just a handful in the beginning. Driven by that feeling, I continued making games in my spare time and I am very grateful that my girlfriend supports me by listening to my (often crappy) ideas, testing my (mostly crappy) prototypes, giving me (super brutally) honest feedback and of course letting me “waste” my spare time creating games.
(Edamame) Haha! You’ve got a great girlfriend! 😆
Ok, let’s start talking about Math and Sorcery… What are the highlights of your latest release?
Math and Sorcery was featured in the “New Games We Love” section as well as other sections on the Apple App Store nearly worldwide. That’s what the publisher Crescent Moon Games and I were working on the last few weeks before release, so we’re very happy that we’ve achieved that goal.
What was the core idea or inspiration behind Math and Sorcery? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
It all started with me being bad at mental arithmetic. 😅 So I started to try a few math games but they were all more or less tasks presented in a black font on a white background and that’s where I started to think that adding some RPG elements could juice it up so that practicing math would be a bit more fun.
The game’s art is heavily inspired by the RPG games I played in the 80s and 90s.
I am browsing the App Store every now and then to get some inspiration but the best inspiration is real life, there’s inspiration for games everywhere.
How long was Math and Sorcery in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
Hard to tell. Since I am doing game development in my spare time as a hobby, I don’t count the hours I spend on my projects. I started prototyping in the fall of 2017 and the release was in August 2018, and I’d say I’ve spent between 5 and 20 hours a week developing the game.
Math and Sorcery was the first game where I decided that I couldn’t draw the graphical assets on my own like I did for my previous games. So I went on a search for a pixel artist and found Fabio (@akipainter) on Reddit. After chatting a bit and sending him the GDD he started to mockup the environmental graphics of the game and when I first saw them I was like “THAT IS IT!”.
Then there’s Elliot (@ElliotKrasny) who I also met on Reddit. He was playtesting my previous game Jelly Inc. and sent me some sounds for it that he had made just for fun. When searching for audio for Math and Sorcery I remembered him and asked him if he would like to do the audio for it.
Working with Fabio and Elliot was a real highlight as it was very uncomplicated and the development was organic and adaptive.
Another exciting moment was when I was presenting the nearly final game to my good Twitter pal James (@deadjam) after developing the game incognito for so long. He just seemed to be overwhelmingly excited about what I had been working on for the last few months.
What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Math and Sorcery? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
The game was made with libGDX, a relatively small framework to create games but I really like it because it’s heavily code driven and that’s what I am used to because of my full-time job as a software engineer.
Black-magic? I would say being an indie developer itself is pure (black-)magic. It’s so much easier to just give up than actually release a game. There are so many hurdles to jump over before releasing your game that even if there is just one guy telling you that your game is great then it totally makes it worth it 😃
Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
Oh no, that question makes me realize that I’ve completely forgotten to implement some easter eggs … but wait, did you know that Mathew will buy all your fish when he’s hungry for fish soup?
(Edamame) What!? We can sell Mathew fish!?
…says the guy who has only just realized why Mathew is named Mathew… 🤯
What can we expect to see in Math and Sorcery or from Gang Of One in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
We’ll continue tweaking and balancing it in order to make Math and Sorcery more accessible and fun.
One of the most difficult things when it comes to balancing was to make the game fun for both children and adults. Expect an update with something like a new game mode or a special setting that addresses that. 😃
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?
Thanks for giving me a chance to talk about Math and Sorcery and thank you for reviewing it. My first game Vito Jump ‘n’ Roll got B+ and Math and Sorcery got A. So I’ll give my best with my future games to keep that trend going. 😆
Hey writers, fellow devs and patrons, keep up your professional work! It provides invaluable coverage of all the indie games out there.
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