It’s been a little while since we’ve done a Q&A on the site, but a new year will hopefully see more of them cropping up over the next twelve months. Our first of the year sees us chatting with Alexander of NezhySoft, the creator behind the 1980s Soviet Union-based point-and-click adventure, Alexey’s Winter: Night Adventure.
Now, we have a review of this game coming soon as well, showcasing what we thought of our playthrough. But to whet your appetites a little, we decided to have a quick chat with Alexander and learn a little more about Alexey’s Winter and the story behind it.
To get the ball rolling, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, and where do you come from?
Hello Josh! Nice to meet you! My name is Alex, short for Alexander (not Alexey =) ). I am a software developer by day but I also love art and drawing. I have spent my childhood in the Soviet Union, but am located in the EU now.
What was it that got you into game development, and why did you choose to start up as an indie developer?
To combine my two hobbies – programming and drawing I started making Android games some years ago. Made a few of them but only one suddenly became popular and had a lot of good reviews. It was the first part, a very unpolished part, of Alexey’s Winter: Night Adventure.
Four years have passed and seeing the game still being downloaded I decided to do a remake of the game for steam.
I gained a huge amount of feedback from users (thanks to everyone!) and the game changed dramatically.
Not only did the story get changed and extended, but also the graphics were completely redone and hence the steam version was born.
Being an indie developer, you obviously don’t have the same kind of resources that AAA studios do. What are the benefits and the disadvantages of creating a game by yourself as opposed to working in a large team?
You have to make everything by yourself, while drawing the game art was really fun making things like promo images, logos etc was quite a learning curve for me and should still be improved. The good part is all the decisions are your own and even if the game does not become a big hit making it is still very much fun!
How do you go about finding funding for creating your own indie titles?
There is no funding and I am just working on the game in my free time. I do hope to get some funds from the sales on steam eventually.
Talking of creating your own titles, let’s move on to your first-ever game release, Alexey’s Winter: Night adventure. Tell our readers a little about what the game is all about?
The game is a typical point-and-click adventure game that takes place somewhere in the Soviet Union. The protagonist, Alexey, is a young man that has lost the keys to his apartment.
The idea was to convey the typical atmosphere and small anecdotes of a typical person’s life during that time while keeping the main story light.
The game consists of 3 episodes with a few different locations and steam achievements can be gained.
Why did you choose to create a point-and-click adventure for your title? Were these a specific type of game you enjoyed playing when growing up?
I tried making other genres before, but I guess I missed the passion and had no “fresh idea” to make it popular.
Adventure point and click games were always my passion and combined with a theme that is known to me it all made sense.
And what inspired Alexey’s Winter’s story set in the 1980s USSR? How were you able to ensure that you created a realistic atmosphere?
I have spent my childhood in the Soviet Union, so “the feeling” is still there. I tried to make sure typical attributes that would be very recognizable are in the game. Some story parts are inspired by actual events I remember or from friends and family.
We’ve been fortunate enough to play Alexey’s Winter ourselves, and we’re impressed with all the hand-drawn artwork in the game. How time-consuming was the decision to go with this art style?
Thank you for playing the game!
The art style is actually the only one I could produce, but I thought a pencil-drawn, dark and a bit rough setting would transfer the emotion better and make it a bit more “dreamlike”.
We really enjoyed some of the puzzles in Alexey’s Winter, although admittedly it took us a while to solve some. How hard is it to get the right balance when creating puzzles for your game?
In the initial Android version (back from 2017) a lot of puzzles made no sense. Based on the user’s feedback I replaced a lot of them.
And of course, a lot of friends helped test the game.
Maybe you can notice a style change within the story between episode 1 and episode 3.
Episode 3 was written from scratch in 2022 and I got some help there, while the story of episode 1 is an adaptation of the old Android game.
We also noticed a bug that kept closing the game window down when clicking on a certain part of the screen. How difficult has it been to monitor and fix issues like this when you’re such a small indie studio?
Since the number of users on windows is not that big some bugs are pretty individual. I am trying to fix the bugs people report, but often I do not encounter them myself (like your bug) and am struggling with recreating the bug before fixing it.
I had this issue before with a video card not being recognized for a user, while it all worked fine on my test devices. So yeah, sometimes it’s a bit tough.
Besides press outlets like ourselves, how does it feel to finally have Alexey’s Winter: Night adventure released and to see people downloading and playing it?
It feels amazing! And even if it’s not a hit (yet =) ) each download makes me want to continue working on it.
We’ve seen a few big updates to the game since launch. Is there anything that we can expect to see added or removed from Alexey’s Winter in the future?
Currently, I am working on an extension of episode 1. It will have a small prequel of what happened before the lost key and will include one or more new locations. I am working on the drawings now, but can not give any dates, unfortunately.
Right now, we know the game will be available to play on Steam. But are there any plans to bring it to other platforms at a later date? Or will it remain a PC only title?
It came to the PC in 2021 from Android (2017).
Do notice – the android version is a “light” version now as it contains only the first episode. And it will not be updated any time soon. The PC version will have full prio for now.
In the future, a Mac release might be possible.
And moving on slightly from Alexey’s Winter, do you have plans for any more indie games to be released in the near future?
There are no plans for other games yet, but there are plans for DLC’s and extensions.
What have you learned from developing the game as an indie studio? What advice would you offer knowing what you know now, to an aspiring young game developer?
Go for it!
And one final question for fun. If you had the chance to work on any game in history, besides Alexey’s Winter, what game would you have loved to have been a part of the development team for?
I guess any of the classic adventure games would be very cool!
We’d like to thank Alexander for taking the time out to answer our questions about game development and Alexey’s Winter: Night Adventure. If you want to check the game out too, you can find it on Steam, and we’ll also have a review of the game going live very soon.
In the meantime, we have plenty more Q&As if you want to check them out in the Interview section of our site.