Indie Talks: The First Project with Matt Rauch
I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Rauch, Daedalus Entertainment’s lead concept artist and ask him a few questions about his experience making his first video game.
Daedalus entertainment is a San Marcos based video game development start-up company. Currently they are working on a side scroller with modern day gaming elements that will ultimately bring back that classic feel of older generation games. They hope to surprise their audience with unique content that is not found in a typical side-scroller game.
What is Daedalus Entertainment to you?
What this group is to me, is ultimately a group of visionaries looking to build and share their visions with the world and do it in such a way that, we only hope, I only hope, will get other people to be inspired to do the same. what is so funny and awesome is how we are not just making a game, but we are doing our homework and finding out what makes a game successful both demographically, functionally, and stylistically, while also bringing back a classic touch to it all at the same time.
All of this ties into a group that I hope to see become a future lead in the indie game market. We are, in my honest opinion are small but a powerhouse of unique knowledge and skill. We’ve got a small, fortunate, group of knowledgeable people that can take on multiple positions it takes to make a game.
Why are you interested in game development?
As a concept artist, the trade doesn’t just stop at game development. However I find game development, alongside the film and animation industry, to be one of the most interesting places for an artist to be. Game development takes on many roles conceptually and functionally. I don’t just feel like an artist, but an inventor– and perhaps that is what I like the most about game development. I’m in an environment where I can produce stunning art for all sorts of different things. Alongside that I can put my brain into action by solving problems on levels and learning how to make them aesthetically pleasing and functional.
What are you currently working on?
I’m mainly– as it stands so far– the concept artist for environments, and bosses. I’ve also been diving into texturing as of late for assets in our game. It’s really fun, and I enjoy working on them as well as pitching my concepts to my fellow developers. Every now and then I might throw in a character concept or pitch logo ideas. By the time post-production comes, I’ll dive in as an illustrator and designer for our concept art book and other marketing assets. If I’m in the group, there will be a concept art and illustration book for our game.
What’s it like trying to start an indie game development company?
It is easier than you think– I’m serious. I thought before all this that it was going to be difficult. if you have a group of friends and they, as well as you, are committed to getting a game out there it just takes time, dedication, knowledge about what you are doing, and passion.
What motivated you to be one of the founding members Deadalus Ent.?
I’ve always had a passion for working somewhere in the video game industry. I have also been told that I have an amazing talent in drawing. I wanted to find a way to tie the two together. With my main role being a concept artist for the group, I seemed to have found a comfortable niche. I also have always wanted to collaborate in something, be it in a flash animation, podcast, an art jam or even an online community art collaboration. However, I’ve never had that perfect stream of luck to actually find or get involved in them from their very start. It’s like a hit-or-miss kind of thing and I finally hit that stream of luck this year.
I didn’t want to join this group to be called a founder of something, though the title is pretty neat. I joined to get exposure, to participate in something I take interest in, network with likeminded people and be surrounded by talent that I can comfortably relate and get along with.
What are some of the challenges associated with making your first video game?
The biggest challenges I have had are efficient time management and organizing tasks. It’s something I’m sure every single person or company has struggled with in the past, and they are skills that need to be practiced constantly. When it comes to tasks, we take on multiple roles because we are a small development team. This is beneficial because we develop and strengthen a diverse skillset other than our specified field of expertise. It can also be a little challenging because we are juggling many things at once. Finding the time to get things done, as well as managing real world activities outside of development, presents a small challenge to our group in terms of production pace.
I am also the Lead Boss Designer and am just jumping into texturing as well as graphic design. I am learning and strengthening my concept design strategies and managing my time on how to tackle these tasks all at once. Juggling three things at once is an enjoyable challenge. I’m sure once this first project is complete, taking into consideration all of the strategies and trial-and-error we have had, we will be more prepared for our next project in terms of how many people we will need and who needs to do what.
How have you overcome—or are dealing with—those challenges?
The best method for overcoming those challenges is to practice task and time management. How we organize our tasks through the short times we meet during the day is perhaps the most important thing I can think of. We break things into bite size pieces, lay out a due date, and build from there. This has been the best approach so far in our group. Since there are so few of us, we often times do not work on the same thing from one meeting to the next. One or two of us might split and work on assets, character design, level design, etc. Sometimes we will to all put our heads together and push out some interface design for our coders to work on so they have something to do when other tasks have been completed. We stick to a task for the hours we are meeting, and we accomplish as much of that one thing as we can during that time. Often times it seems very hectic– and it is– but it is the most productive thing we can do right now with such a small group. So far it is working ok for us.
What skills have you acquired since you started working with Daedalus Ent. and how have they benefited the group.
I have learned asset design and creating skins has opened up a whole new world of concept design for me. I always build assets within my environment concept art and use textured brushes. Asset design is solely focusing on the assets for that level; drawing out that particular item, from different perspectives, that the character will interact with. Ladders, doors, and boxes a a good example of this and they all have to be rendered to fit the environment they are in. I think it is a skill that I’m struggling with, but am also building. In the long run I will be thankful for what I have worked on when I head off to work somewhere else in the entertainment industry that requires those skills.
How this has benefitted the group, lays within the fact on how I can conceptualize something in high detail in a timely fashion. Creating many unique things at a quick pace is a highly desired skill in the industry, and I think that adapting well to different fields and specialties as well as time efficiency are important ingredients when it comes to contributing to a group.
What is an example of something you learned while working with Daedalus Ent.
I think it is very important that if you plan to make a game, or even an animation for example, to find out exactly how many people you need. Then from among those people you choose those that are highly skilled in one or two different fields. It can make production a lot smoother from the start. What I have learned, or am currently learning, is that the group needs to have the right number of skilled members to complete the tasks needed to make a game of a particular caliber. Otherwise the members will be juggling too many tasks, slowing production. This problem becomes exacerbated when the member is then required to balance their personal life with the project.
What do you hope to gain from working with Daedalus Entertainment?
I hope to ultimately have fun making a video game and to also help build a name for myself as a video game developer. I just want to show some one and be able to say, “hey! Look what I can do.” I want to be able to say that I am proud to have participated in creating something significant. Finally I want it to be a launching point to get involved in other interesting projects.