Hello Rafał, and thank you for taking some time off to do this interview with us! For everyone who has never heard of Rejected Games, please tell us a little something about yourself, your company, and your current projects!
Hello guys! First of all, thanks for the opportunity to say a few words about ourselves and all the things we are doing right now! We at Rejected Games started creating games under this name in the beginning of 2011 when we were still university students. Our core development team consists of only two people right now.
We met at Silesian University and then continued studying game production at Jagiellonian University. This is where we started using the Unreal Development Kit and made a few projects with it – among other things there was a “Salvador Dali Tribute” and “Universal Library”. These were just separate levels without almost any gameplay at all.
Working on these projects helped us realize that UDK just was not for us, it was simply too big, too hard to learn and not flexible enough. This is where ShiVa really stands out. We installed it and were able to make a simple scene with some basic gameplay almost instantly, so we decided to go ahead with it :)
We just finished polishing our ShiVa projects “Cutting Edge Arena” and “Bonsai Benchmark”, so we decided to release them at the same time.
I follow the ShiVa community for many years now, but your latest game, Cutting Edge Arena, came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. It thought it looked amazing. Then I saw screenshots for Bonsai Benchmark, the second App we want to focus on for this interview, and I could not believe my eyes how breathtaking they were. Both applications are clearly not your first attempt at 3D Games. How long have you been in the industry, and how long have you been working with ShiVa?
Thanks for your kind words. You are right about the experience – these projects are not our first attempts at game design. Our first finished game was “Island Fortress” – a free Android game which was made using AndEngine, a simple Android engine. It is still available at the Google Play Store. This was a good opportunity for us to learn how the game industry business works. Apart from that, we have made also a game called Crazy Santa with that engine, until we finally decided to move to ShiVa.
Cutting Edge Arena really is our first project created with ShiVa, and Bonsai Benchmark is the second one.
Tell us more about Cutting Edge Arena! From your website, I can see that it is primarily a realtime multiplayer game, which is still a rarity among ShiVa games – and mobile games in general. Please describe the game’s development process for us, and how did you handle the multiplayer part?
It is indeed a realtime, action multiplayer game, where legendary warriors are taking the souls of their enemies during a never-ending war. Each player can choose between 9 different characters and fight with other players in (for now) 4 different arenas. Victorious players earn soul coins which they can use to buy new weapons, skills and upgrades. One of the most interesting things is our control system – it is a rather unique solution we have not seen in any other game. The player can move the character using a standard “touch joystick”, but it is the attack/block system where the interesting part happens. Players can perform different attacks and blocks using different touch gestures. It is great fun really, and we are quite proud of it.
From start to finish, this game took us about 11 months, more or less. The game is quite complex and required a great amount of work, while the multiplayer part was certainly one of the hardest problems to solve. We use ShiVa’s built-in server for handling online gameplay and our own php server for the rest: Practically, it is a peer to peer system combined with a player accounts system managed by our servers. The most difficult part of networking was definitely the gameplay.
There are not so many games of this type on both platforms (iOS/Android) – and now we can see why. Handling this type of online gameplay is almost impossible on many older mobile devices. Nevertheless, we plan to maintain cross-platform compatibility on Android, iOS and any other target platform.
When I first laid eyes on the screenshots for both your game Cutting Edge Arena and your Bonsai Benchmark, I could not believe that those applications could run on mobile devices. Your scenes are loaded with special effects, the textures look very high-res and the lighting is fantastic. Especially Bonsai does not look like a mobile title at all and more like a console game. But we all know how limited current mobile platforms can be, in terms of performance. Can you share some of your tricks with us?
It was definitely a demanding task. One of the most difficult things in developing for mobiles is the rich variety of devices, especially on Android. This is why we had to be very careful with every visual feature of our game. We ran a lot of tests to be sure, for instance, how many triangles can we render, how many drawcalls can a scene generate, how much transparency can we use… and so on.
We are creating every asset for our games, and that is why we can keep control on every performance aspect of our projects. To reduce drawcalls, we build our scenes using only a very small number of big static meshes with carefully dispatched materials. As for Bonsai Benchmark, performance was not that much of a concern, since it is a benchmark app and its main purpose is to test a device. We were free to use all the nice features – normal mapping, specular mapping, post processing and many others.
You are the first Polish developer on our blog. More and more great development studios are based in Poland, like CDProject (The Witcher), PeopleCanFly (Bulletstorm), and Reality Pump (Two Worlds). Still, video game developers are rarer outside the United States in general. Could you give us a little insight into the Polish game development community?
Nice of you to notice! Yes, we are based in Poland, Katowice to be precise. You named only the biggest software development companies here, but there are many smaller studios, even in our area, like The Farm 51, Infinity Dreams, Artifex Mundi, just to name a few. Regarding the Polish game developer community – we are just newcomers there. We initially tried to create something like a “developer sub-group” in one of the bigger studios, but they were not interested – this is how we got our name :)
Thank you very much for the interview! We wish you all the best with Cutting Edge Arena and Bonsai as well as your future endeavours! When can your fellow ShiVa co-developers get their hands on your Apps, and where can they get them from?
Thank you very much, it was a pleasure! Our apps are available at the Google Play Store and the Apple AppStore, but thanks to your latest UAT release we also got interested in the Windows Phone platform and will probably release our present and future apps for Windows mobiles too.
About Rejected Games
Rejected games is an independent games studio created in early 2011. It consists of core developers Rafał Kula and Łukasz Stąporek, as well as Maciej Latocha, and is located in Katowice, Poland.
For their complete games catalogue and further information, please visit http://www.rejectedgames.pl