Fox Rogers is the creative mind behind the Kickstarter game Refuge that I am pretty excited about. There are only a few days left in the Kickstarter, I decided to pick Fox’s brain in this little interview.
Cliqist : How big do you plan to make the world of Refuge?
Fox Rogers : The more I work on Refuge, the bigger the lore and world seems to become. Depth and understanding of the world you’re playing in is key to creating a place that feels real and original.
Cliqist : What is the main characteristic that sets Refuge apart from other games?
Fox : I’ll say it now; Survival-based games have been done to death! But that doesn’t mean you can’t still try to make something original in that space. For me, Refuge was about making survival beautiful, that’s what I set out to create.
Cliqist : Why did you choose to make Refuge Turn based as opposed to Real Time?
Fox : I spent a lot of time contemplating this choice in my head and the answer turned out to be pretty simple; since both players are online, real-time play would become a death spree as opposed to being hide and seek.
Cliqist : I really like the mechanic of players leaving ‘Traces’ what inspired it?
Fox : Underlying the game’s mechanic is a battle of wits. When you are given the choice to either hide OR seek, there had to be something in game that would cause you to re-evaluate the situation. This is where traces become powerful; you could be hunting a player, find a trace of gunpowder (indicating they’ve got a better weapon than you) and then start hiding instead. The power of Traces is they cause you to make more choices to increase your odds of survival.
Cliqist : We know you launched your own website called ‘is Fox working’ do you consider yourself a work-a-holic?
Fox : Yes. Oh god yes. When I was working on this, I had a blanket at work and would sleep on the sofa (working until 5am and getting up at 8.30 to continue) – I did this for nearly two weeks straight at one point. Sometimes it gets the better of me, but it’s worth it to see something come to life.
Cliqist : How long do you spend working on Refuge a week?
Fox : Up until now (January), I’ve been given free reign at my work, EVOL, to create Refuge each day during work hours, which was an amazing opportunity. This blissful period has come to a close now, though, so I’m back to juggling my day job as a designer and working on Refuge in my spare hours.
Cliqist : What other commitments do you have?
Fox : Besides Refuge, I have a few other hobbies, I love to do personal projects. I wrote a book on my great grandfather in 2012, and my next project is in motion, too, wherein I’m creating my own language (known as conlanging) and intend to work with my friend Bella (a typographer) to help me create a typeface for it to make a book! Crazy idea but I’m determined to do this over the course of the year.
Cliqist : Do you bounce ideas for Refuge off your friends?
Fox : Yep, there’s a select few friends and colleagues (all with different professions and skills) that I’ve brought together to create a future for Refuge. We’re all now conversing and creating the world together, it’s been amazing to get fresh ideas and minds on the project.
Cliqist : What is your main motivation to make a game?
Fox : I think it’s easy for a lot of people to cull an idea simply because they don’t have the expertise to make it real. I suppose my motivation in making Refuge was simply to try my hand at something I aspired to do, I think games have an all-encompassing power to create an experience, and I wanted to make my own.
Cliqist : What encouraged you to become a game designer?
Fox : Haha, this is a term I find hard to place to my name as it would be doing a disservice to all the amazing games designers out there who have spent years learning, I think perhaps a more apt term would be ‘games design hobbyist’ for me! I’m a far cry from learning and knowing it all, but I’m eager to keep creating in this space. Maybe one day I’ll feel I’ve earned that title!
Cliqist : Do you have any plans to add the ability to play against the computer in Refuge?
Fox : I think adding AI into Refuge simply wouldn’t feel right, as it’s a hide and seek game. it’s just meant to be played with real wits. There’s no fun in knowing that the computer is effectively avoiding you on purpose.
Cliqist : How many characters do you plan on creating?
Fox : I have the backstories of about 15+ characters so far, although many of these might not make the final cut. It’s important to me that the characters have a depth to them beyond the screen, and that there’s an equal proportion of men to women, etc. Getting that balance will be a lot of fun, but rest assured there’s plenty more characters coming.
Cliqist : How will players learn the character backstories?
Fox : This will be a mix of in-game objects that slowly reveal the backstories’ of the characters. You’ll be able to read these whilst you’re not taking your turn in-game. I’m also planning to release an interactive online comic later in the year, where you’ll be able to learn more.
Cliqist : There are only a few days left in the campaign at this stage, do you have plans to seek out funding from other sources if it is not a success?
Fox : I’ve already been humbled by the feedback people have given me, and the interest the project has received has been overwhelming. Especially from the Imgur community. If funding isn’t reached, then Refuge will simply take a different route to completion. This will mean a lot of the work will be done by myself over a much longer period of time. Just don’t forget, Refuge is a vision! Sometimes the best things just take more time, and I’m hoping Refuge will be one of them!
Cliqist : Outside of Kickstarter, can fans support you other ways such as Patreon?
Fox : This is something I will consider as the campaign closes, but I’m inclined to say this won’t be the case. I’ve had all the emotional support I need and I’ve got my job at EVOL, Refuge will simply become my night job, and that isn’t something I’d feel comfortable taking the money of others’ to do! I’ve always been happy to create Refuge myself, but the Kickstarter was so I could afford a proper developer to help! So if that doesn’t happen, I’ll make it my passion project and continue unfunded! I’ll make it happen!