Being an indie developer is no small feat. It can feel like an uphill struggle. Almost like climbing a mountain, you might say. Wink wink. This is why I wanted to pick the brains of Elliot Cook, about their upcoming indie game Spike Mtn. So readers, pack that grappling hook as we embark on the adventure that is this WorldForm interview.
I reached out to Elliot via email, after receiving a pre-release copy of WorldForm’s latest game. Check out the Q&A below!
The WorldForm interview
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
EC: My name is Elliot Cook, and I’m the solo developer behind WorldForm! We’re an indie game developer from Australia, and I hope to create some fun games for people all over the world to enjoy. I’m currently working on Spike Mtn, a mountain climbing 2D precision platformer.
What were the most exciting and most challenging things about creating Spike Mtn?
EC: Spike Mtn is an interesting project for me. I’ve been a hobby-dev for nearly a decade, but I felt I really needed to release something to move Gamedev beyond being a hobby for me. Spike Mtn is that project – it’s the first game I’ll be releasing, and the first project I’ve seen through to the end. The most exciting thing has been knowing that this is a project that will actually get released out into the world (releasing on 30 March!). The most challenging thing has been burnout. It takes a tremendous effort to release a game (not only game development, but sound engineering, marketing, and setting up a business). The past few months have required a lot of effort, so I’m feeling pretty tired!
The most challenging thing has been burn out. It takes a tremendous effort to release a game (not only game development, but sound engineering, marketing, and setting up a business).
Why mountain climbing though?
EC: The setting for the game really came as a result of the mechanics I wanted in the game. I wanted to take basic mechanics that are common in 2D platforming, and to try and refine the movement and gameplay to the point where it feels good and creates an interesting gameplay experience. After testing a few options, I landed on implementing a grappling hook and refining how it could be used. Refining the grappling hook resulted in the mechanics that are in the game now – the player has two grappling hooks, which allow the player to swing back and forth and launch themselves further once they build up momentum. As a result, of that process, the mountain climbing setting really came naturally!
What programming language/game engine do you use?
EC: I use Unity as I’m familiar with it (though I’m using a pretty old version at this point!). Unity is extremely easy to get started with as a Gamedev, and it also allows the developer to use as much (or as little) of its existing feature set as it allows. For example, while it has inbuilt systems for animation and UI, I have rolled out my own as this affords me more control. As a result of using Unity, I program in C#.
Without spoiling anything, what’s your next move after the release of Spike Mtn?
EC: With the release of Spike Mtn, I will have proven to myself that I can release a game (hooray!). I’ve learnt a lot from seeing a project through from start to finish. I’ll be using those learnings in my next project, which I think at this stage, will be more creatively aligned with my game preferences. Traditional roguelikes, CRPGs and strategy games (likely some sort of blend of these genres!).
And that is the end of this brief but enjoyable WorldForm interview. It was a pleasure to hear what Elliot had to say about both WorldForm and Spike Mtn. The game itself releases on 30th March 2023, 5 pm PDT. If you want to purchase it yourself, then head over to the Steam page. It costs USD$4.99, €4.99, £4.99, AUD$5.99 respectively.