Eagle Island is an upcoming roguelike platformer from Pixel Nicks. It’s about a boy and his owl exploring an island to try to rescue his other Owl, who was stolen by giant Eagle. This was probably for important bird reasons. It’s a procedurally generated platformer looking to release at the end of this year. We spoke to its developer Nick Gregory at this years EGX.
Cliqist: How was your experience with Kickstarter for Eagle Island?
Nick Gregory: It was great, but stressful to say the least. It was definitely one of the more stressful periods of my life. Thanks to the support of 1,200 backers the game has come to life. They’ve allowed me to get the funding to pay for some really great pixel artists to help out, we’ve got a great soundtrack from an awesome composer, and a great concept artist on board to design some of the enemies.
Your Kickstarter had a section about the risks that can happen with a Kickstarter. That sort of honestly is a bit rare with crowdfunding, what was the reasoning behind including this?
The game is designed in such a way that if things didn’t go plan I could easily cut certain bits out, and release a restricted version of the game and try and finish it later on. The game could be played coherently with just 1/3 of the content or 2/3 of the content.
It is my first game. I didn’t know what happens during game development. I do now! But as it was my first game. So if anything bad happened, it was important that I could still make a solid game with just certain portions of it.
Procedural Generation Everywhere
Why did you go for procedural generation over traditional platforming?
Simply, that I liked Rogue Legacy. I wanted more. So I did this. A key difference between a game like Rogue Legacy and Eagle Island is that Rogue Legacy has pre-made rooms that it slots together to make a map. Eagle Island has algorithms that generate a brand new terrain in every room. You’ll never experience the same room twice.
There’s also different terrains. There are nine areas of the island and most are dived into two parts. For example, the desert area has desert on the outside and mines inside. So that actually leads to sixteen visual styles of environment. In the story mode you go through them one at the time, once you beat the end boss it unlocks more content. There’s more content after the end credits than before it. For the players who really want tog et their teeth into it and figure it out.
We’re also going to add Rogue mode. Where you’ll start with absolutely nothing. In a short run you’ll unlock an item or two then fight a random boss. In the longest run you’ll do all the environments and bosses in one long run. Fighting all the bosses in a random order and getting the items in a random order.
Boss Fights and Solo development
With levels being procedurally generated, have you made boss fights more polished? Slightly more scripted?
They are a little bit more scripted. The rooms that they’re in are a little more procedurally generated. You might be lucky and have a little bit more shelter in the corner where there’s a bit of rock sticking up. Or it might be a big open space with lots of room to manoeuvre, the bosses have patterns but they are randomised. There’s elements of randomness in the boss fights. So they don’t just do specific moves. The order might change and you might get caught out.
Has the Kickstarter given you the freedom to work with a larger team?
I’m a primarily solo developer. So I do the design the programming and all the foreground artwork. There’s quite a few others. There not full time. I contract them in as and when. So that’s where the funding went. I’ve got a publisher who has helped me personally with finances.
Eagle Island will be available late 2018, on Steam.