Meet the developer: “Snares of Ruin” series
We sat down with the creator of the Snares of Ruin series, Matthew Ashworth of Astronomic Games, to find out more about this awesome title and more! Read on for our interview with him…
MA: I wanted to try making a romance sim for a change, because all my previous games were strictly adventure-style RPGs – usually about a small team protagonists overcoming an enemy, engaging in fights and so on – the standard stuff you might find in an RPG. I wanted to go in a different direction, and a romance sim seemed like a promising idea. But I didn’t want to just make another generic romance sim with high school girls or something similar. Instead I thought, why not make the romanceable women supernatural beings of some sort – elves, vampires, shapeshifters, etc. Mixing a detective story with romance mechanics sounded like a fascinating combination to go for, so I did!
MA: City of Chains is the first game where I implemented choice and consequence mechanics properly, where in-game choices altered story events, something I really like in games and have loved since the days of the original Deus Ex. After City of Chains was received really well by players, I understood that my future projects had to follow a similar path and build on the City of Chains formula.
The game I released after Snares of Ruin – Pegasus-5: Gone Astray – plays very similarly to Snares and has virtually the same mechanics and style, except for its sci-fi setting, although Pegasus-5 focuses more on the main plot and less on the romance sim aspect.
MA: I am a solo developer and tend to make my games on my own. However, I do hire freelancers to make some custom resources for my games that I can’t do myself, such as the pretty character busts and CGs you see in the Snares games, or some of the thematic music tracks, such as the credits song in Snares of Ruin and other important tracks in previous games of mine. But as far as story writing and development go, I do these myself. Although, I do try to get feedback from testers and friends, so I send work-in-progress game builds to them from time to time to see what they think.
MA: I’ve been doing game development full-time for about 4 years now; it’s something I’m very passionate about, although it certainly isn’t easy to make a living from it. You kind of have to commit fully to it and release games on a consistent basis.
And there can be unexpected changes in the marketplace. As of the past year, it’s been rather difficult to make enough income on game-making alone, so I’ve been also doing paid graphic design work for various clients to help out with the income. Most of this work has been gaming-related, such as doing animated character sprites and animated side-view battlers for other people’s games. I am still trying to find other jobs in other spheres I can undertake in order to increase my income. I think it helps to have multiple sources of income, because your earnings from games can fluctuate.
MA: Game-making is not an easy process and it requires a lot of self-discipline and persistence – probably even more so than creativity or intellect. This is because creating a game project takes a long time and requires consistent concentrated effort. Motivation alone will not help, because the excitement we get from a new idea early on does not stay this high for the duration of development. It subsides, and the only thing that keeps you working afterward is your vision of the end-goal.
For this reason, I think it is very important to know yourself and to set realistic goals for your game project (or any other project really).
If you find it hard to stay focused on long-term tasks, then it makes sense to work on smaller projects that you could finish in a few months, or even a few weeks. You can then build on that and make consecutive projects longer and more ambitious. Seeing yourself finish a project can give you a tonne of confidence in your ability to finish projects. And this confidence can then grow as you finish more ambitious projects.
MA: Yes! I am currently working on the sequel to Snares of Ruin. This one will play very similarly to the first game, so it will have RPG elements and romance. But I also want to include a few other elements, such as player choices having effects on the city as well, and not just themselves and the major NPCs. Most of the main characters will return in Snares of Ruin 2, and there will also be a handful of new ones introduced, including a friendly goblin guy who will help you out with investigations.
I am planning to release Snares of Ruin 2 sometime in 2019. Hopefully in late spring, but it will depend on my life situation.
I am also planning to make a sequel to Pegasus-5: Gone Astray (the sci-fi game I mentioned earlier) at some point. And I want to make a similar-styled game to Snares of Ruin, but in a setting involving pirates and sea adventures. I already have some character and plot ideas for that one.
We thank Matthew for his time and look forward to seeing more of his games very soon! Check out the Snares of Ruin series below: