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Catching up with Gerd Surey

Just over twelve months ago we chatted to mobile indie game developer Gerd Surey of Hoo Games. Today, we catch up with him to find out what he’s been doing and to see how the industry has changed over the past twelve months.

I’d get you to introduce yourself but we’ve already done one of these just over a year ago. So, instead, why not tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to since we last chatted?

So, I’ve been working on some new projects lately and as you can remember there was a game where I was inspired by an old AMIGA game. The name was PP Hammer and the Android game “Dan the Dungeon Digger – Trap Adventure” was created. There was another collaboration with a pixel art artist named Colin Cook, who lives in Perth, Australia. I’ve also worked with a great sound designer who gave me the background music for Dan the Dungeon Digger, his name is Rene Breitbarth and he currently makes music for games. You can download the game in the PlayStore by clicking HERE.

We’ll get onto your latest games in a second, but first, we have a couple of personal questions for you. With another year of game development experience behind you, how would you say you’ve improved personally over that time?

What I have learned in that time is not to trust everyone who wants to make you known. FULLSYNC was always there for me and I am always looking forward to a Q&A and as you can see, to pay without money :). I have noticed that many people want to earn money and want to know again and again what they earn.  I say again and again without a big publisher and a contract you won’t even be able to pay your monthly bill. But I enjoy designing games more than having a Porsche in the driveway, ok ok I don’t like a Porsche a good Audi does it too. What I’m saying is that everybody wants to earn money with it, but if you only go with the attitude to “your hobby”, it will never become a profession.

Is there anything you would say you could still work on improving?

I always say yes to the question, one should always try to improve oneself and create new ideas. I learn from mistakes and also from reviews since my two children (Phoebe, 12 and Lisandro, 6) are my biggest critics, I try to avoid direct mistakes with their help.

Has anything changed in the industry within the last twelve months that has meant you’ve had to change the way you work?

Yes it is changing all the time what in the industry people want more and more simple games and the industry is responding to simple click and win games. I personally don’t like this kind of games, but I will continue to react to them in the future and bring out simple games. But I remain faithful to the platform games 🙂 in the hope that one day a big publisher will discover me.

And before we get onto your specific games, are you still heavily focused on developing mobile games or have you looked at making something for console?

First and foremost I like the simplicity of a smartphone, but the interest is also in the Nintendo Switch (my son got a switch). I’m thrilled with the console and I have to say that Nintendo did a great job. The future will show what’s to come 🙂

Moving on, let’s talk about your most recent release, Dan the Dungeon Digger. What kind of game is it?

As told above Dan is a little man who has to fight his way through the levels, but Dan also has his helpers, their name is Fred, but the Freds don’t just help, they are like lemmings and also make chaos. You can expect 30 levels of action, funny stuff, fighting with Fred and what was new for me, boss. Fred has a jackhammer with which he can remove certain stones and hide treasures. With the treasures “Diamonds” he can buy faster jackhammers and thus remove the stones faster. You can also expect countless secret rooms and puzzles. I had a lot of fun working on this game.

What was the inspiration behind developing this game?

As mentioned above, I always like to play old games and my favorites were Amiga games, PP Hammer I loved and wanted to make something PP Hammer would like. PP Hammer had only one drawback, he smoked cigarettes and I didn’t find that suitable for a kids game in the present time.  Dan has become a non-smoker and chews chewing gum in the time where he is not moved.

A bit of a repeat from one of our above questions, but how do you think this game has benefited from your past releases? Have you done anything differently during development?

I did a lot of different things in this game. I used to just go for game design and there were way too many mistakes in the game at the end. In Dan the Dungeon Digger I first created a plan of how the level should look like, then added some funny elements. Let the level test (by my kids and what was new also by beta testers).  You should rather have a large group test something because this group can find more bugs and also improvements.

Why should our readers download this on their mobiles and invest their time in your game? What will it offer them?

As described above a lot of fun, but I claim that write many. But there’s a lot of me in the game and a lot of time in front of all, I always say if designing a game isn’t fun, then playing the game isn’t fun and I hope the readers will have the same fun as I am creating the game.

This isn’t the only game you’ve been working on though, you also have Chipy the Squirrel currently in development. What’s this game about?

Chipy came up as a spontaneous idea, I wanted to take a break first because Dan the Dungeon Digger had taken a lot of time. But I wanted to make another game and there I came to a super Pixel Art Designer Names Ansimuz. I only saw his art and already saw the game Chipy. The design of Chipy went so fast that I forgot which sound I was using. That’s when I learned an aspiring artist named Eric Tugyi (Disko Lips), he’s just like me and we got along great, even though the time difference between Germany where I come from and Australia (Sydney) was big. So now back to the gameplay. Chipy is like the others also a platform game.  A lot of people wrote to me, it has something of Sonic, but I wrote it back, again and again, it’s not as hectic as Sonic. You can discover a lot in this game, but you should also find all the nuts. You can finish the levels without all the nuts, but you need 3 stars (find all the nuts) to unlock extras. So let us surprise you.

And what was it that made you want to create this game? Especially after only having just released Dan the Dungeon Digger. Did you not feel like taking a break from development for a bit?

Yes, as I wrote above, I didn’t feel like doing anything anymore, but if someone has already developed games or has so much fun with something, he won’t be able to take such a long break. My children already asked for a new game.

Following on from that, with another game being developed so soon after your previous release, does this mean that big fixes and other developmental issues for Dan the Dungeon Digger will be put on the back foot whilst you work on Chipy the Squirrel?

I always try to finish a work, it is clear that there are always bugs in the old games, but the older games also get fixes and updates. Magic Traps I made 25 additional levels after the release.

I remember from our last chat you said one of the reasons you developed games was because of your children. How much of an influence do they still have on your game development?

My children play a very big role, especially when I got sick and discovered designing games for me and my illness. In the meantime, I’ve done all the surgeries and that’s positive, I’ve used the time and developed some games.

And final question on your games; which of your games so far is your kid’s favourites?

My son likes all my games, but my daughter prefers the click and win games, so Angry Cubes. Angry Cubes has something of Doddle Jump, my daughter says again and again.

And a little topical question for you now; something that is always talked about in the UK is Brexit and the impact it could have. What impact could the UK leaving the EU have on developers like yourself based in Europe? Will it potentially make it more difficult for people to play your games?

I’d say rather not, games are played everywhere. The Brexit should have no impact on the games market. The only thing that will make it more difficult is if someone wants to work in England or in the EU. I find far too much EU regulation just superfluous, but much good came out of the EU. I think it is a pity if the Brexit comes and England does not belong to the EU.

And finally for a bit of fun; if it was your last day on Earth and anything was possible, what would you spend it doing?

With my wife and the children I also have a lonely island beam, where everything you need is available, spend the day with them on the beach and spend the rest of the day in the most beautiful place on earth.

And that concludes our chat with Gerd of Hoo Games. Nice to see that he hasn’t lost that game developing bug and is still doing what he loves. As usual, if you wish to check out more of Gerd’s work or stalk him on social media, find the links and such below:

Website

https://gerdlysan.wixsite.com/hoogames

Social Media

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hoogames/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Hoogames
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hoo_games/
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi-1lBpbYGHnsFL2yBeGjpQ

Google PlayStore

https://play.google.com/store/apps/dev?id=5829956558821998657

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