Interviews with developers Fishlabs - creator of Galaxy on Fire
At this time we interviewed Fishlabs, in this interview we talk with the developers of Galaxy on Fire 2, Galaxy on Fire 3 and other applications. This interview was very long, you will not believe I waited long enough for him, as much as 4 months. Our questions answered Marketing Director, Kai Hitzer, for which he thanks a lot!
Русская версия интервью с Fishlabs об Galaxy on Fire
John Singer (iDow.ru): How did you get the idea of creating such an interesting series of games like ‘Galaxy on Fire’?
Kai Hitzer: Since everyone here at Fishlabs is a dedicated gamer and most of us are also sci-fi fans, the idea of creating an epic sci-fi shooter in the tradition of vintage classics such as Wing Commander, Privateer, Freelancer and Elite seemed pretty natural to us. And since there haven’t been any other space sagas on mobile devices before, which could be compared to Galaxy on Fire™ in terms of amplitude and complexity, we’ve found our own niche on the market right away.
John Singer (iDow.ru): Describe the process of creating games in your company, starting with appearing of idea, and ending with releasing of the game.
Kai Hitzer: Once the basic idea for a game (e.g. the main story of a new installment of the Galaxy on Fire series) has been pitched, our art director will usually come up with a first bunch of sketches, story boards and concept arts, on whose basis our graphics artists and developers then create the in-game assets and gameplay mechanics. This is a rather lengthy and complex process which ultimately bears fruit in the completion of the game and the submission of the app. From there on our marketing team takes over and promotes the new title through our various social media channels, PR platforms and press networks, while our developers keep working on further updates and improvements of the game.
John Singer (iDow.ru): You know, the game ‘Galaxy on Fire’ was known only on java platform, but now on iOS too. Was it difficult to start creating games for another platform?
Kai Hitzer: Yes, it always requires a lot of time and effort to bring a game across platform boundaries and port it from one system or device to another. For the iOS version of Galaxy on Fire™ we have not only vastly improved the title’s graphics, effects and gameplay, but also ported our underlying game engine ABYSS and the whole game code from Java to native C++ code. With that in mind it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to you that a lot of work was necessary before the game was finally ready to hit the App Store.
John Singer (iDow.ru): How are you creating music for your games? Do you have special people in the company or hire them, depending on the project?
Kai Hitzer: Our audio director is in charge of everything sound-related. However, for certain tasks such as the recording of the dialogues, the special effects and the orchestral background music, he teams up with freelancers or external studios.
John Singer (iDow.ru): About ‘Galaxy on Fire 2 - Valkyrie', do you plan publishing new mods to the Galaxy on Fire?
Kai Hitzer: Keith T. Maxwell, the hot-shot protagonist of the Galaxy on Fire series, is still way too young to go into retirement and hence we’ll make sure he won’t find time to rest his head too soon. In fact, we’ve just announced his next adventure, the upcoming add-on Supernova, a couple of days ago! Production on that add-on has already started and it’ll include tons of new content, features and missions!
John Singer (iDow.ru): What do you thing about porting game “DEEP” on iOS?
Kai Hitzer: Of course you should never say never, but right now an iOS porting of Deep is not planned.
John Singer (iDow.ru): On what projects are you working now? I think you have got some ideas about Galaxy on Fire 3. Tell us about them.
Kai Hitzer: Currently, we’ve got a couple of original IPs, as well as a bunch of new ad-games, in the making. In the future we will not just place our trust in well-tried strategies and business models but also take a couple of new ideas into consideration. We’ve definitely got a couple of nice surprises up our sleeves! So stay tuned and keep your eyes open.
John Singer (iDow.ru): We know, that you support the Russian players, are you going to continue that, knowning that Russia is famous for piracy? (Using programs, but not paying for them)
Kai Hitzer: Actually, we are convinced that the Russian market bears a lot of potential for a company like Fishlabs and we will definitely continue to support it in the future. Russian gamers have always been very fond of our titles and we’ll make sure that they can get access to all our current games and upcoming titles as easily as possible! Since Java is still quite prominent in Russia, we’ve meanwhile also made quite a few of our Java titles available for free. That way a lot of Russian gamers, who still own Java devices, can already check our games out and get familiar with Fishlabs and the high quality of our releases. Right now, there is not a lot of money to make from that, but nevertheless we’ve figured that having the Java gamers on board will surely come in handy once they switch to iOS or Android. In the future we will release a number of F2P games as well which are much better suited for emerging markets like Brasil, Russia, India and China. We wouldn’t be surprised if the BRIC countries would someday turn out to be as important for us in terms of revenues as the developed markets.
John Singer (iDow.ru): Can you tell us a story about creating the company?
Kai Hitzer: Fishlabs had been founded in 2004. At the beginning the company consisted of not even ten people and today there are more than 50 employees working at our office. Right from the start Fishlabs has always been very eager to create hardcore 3D titles for cellphones, smartphones and tablets and max out each generation of mobile devices’ capacities with spectacular graphics and unique gameplay! For us mobile is not just an industry, but a true passion and we strongly believe that this platform has far from reached its peak yet!
John Singer (iDow.ru): How do you know that your game become popular and successful? Do you celebrate such moments in your company, and how?
Kai Hitzer: In an industry as lively and fast-paced as mobile gaming, it’s almost impossible to predict whether a title will be successful or not. An established and highly popular franchise such as Galaxy on Fire™ is surely helpful when it comes to winning over gamers from all over the world, but even here we cannot say with certainty whether a new add-on or a porting to another device will really end up being a good (i.e. lucrative) business decision. Hence we are of course always happy when we find out that one of our games turns out to be quite popular among the gamers and we celebrate such achievements with little events in which the whole company takes part. For example, when our new brand game Sports Car Challenge finally hit the App Store after many weeks of hard work, all our staff members met in front of our office and we ate hot dogs together and had a couple of drinks.
John Singer (iDow.ru): Are you going to develop games for other platforms? Will we see your games on PC?
Kai Hitzer: Of course we want to support as many different platforms and devices as possible and, by doing so, give a huge variety of gamers the chance to enjoy our titles! A PC version of Galaxy on Fire 2™ would be amazing, but right now it is still too early to reveal any concrete news about such a release other than we plan it for Q2 this year.
John Singer (iDow.ru): Definitely a series of ‘Galaxy on Fire’ is the best space game on iOS, how do you think, what was the reason for that?
Kai Hitzer: I think the success of Galaxy on Fire 2™ can be attributed to the simple fact that it is not merely another video game for us but a true labor of love. All people involved in the making of GOF 1 and 2 are dedicated gamers and sci-fi fans themselves and hence they all put a lot of passion and dedication into their work. And this can be seen in every single aspect of the game. Consequently, in case of Galaxy on Fire 2™, not only the graphics, controls and sound design are truly state-of-the-art but also are the game’s ambition and complexity absolutely unrivalled on mobile devices! Throughout the main storyline you get to fly dozens of unique ships, visit a huge number of different planets and meet all kinds of eccentric but all the more sympathetic characters, such as Mkkt Bkkt or Khador. And once you’ve finished the game itself, you’ve still got many hours of fun ahead of you, because there is always another blue print to find, hidden system to discover or pirate hide-out to destroy! Over the years, we’ve got lots and lots of mails from fans that have put 100+ hours of gameplay into Galaxy on Fire 2™ and are still not bored or tired of the game at all! And that’s something you cannot buy or “fake”, because you simply cannot create such an intense and long-lasting gaming experience unless you absolutely love what you do! And that’s definitely the case for everyone who works on the Galaxy on Fire series… we all love the game and give our very best to make it the most amazing outer space adventure one can think of!
John Singer (iDow.ru): What should we wait for in ‘Galaxy on Fire 3’: new spacecraft’s, new heroes, new galaxies or new graphics?
Kai Hitzer: Actually, it’s still a bit too early to talk about GOF3. Right now, we’re rather focusing on the new add-on Supernova, which will be Keith’s most exciting and ambitious attempt at saving the galaxy so far.
John Singer (iDow.ru): Thank you for your time. What can you say, wish to our readers?
Kai Hitzer: First of all many thanks to the idow.ru crew for the awesome support and lots of nice words about our games! You guys are great! Of course we would love to meet as many of your site’s visitors on our forums (http://forums.fishlabs.net/en) and our official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/fishlabs)! See you around, Russian space pilots!