OC Game Studio's Founder Frank Oyer and I Talk About Their First Game, Sphere Complex
Being an indie game developer is hard work. There is a saying that goes, "if you love what you do, can you really call it work?" And the answer to that in regards to game dev is a resounding yes. In fact, one of the biggest hurdles in the game development world for indies is actually finishing your title -- the finish line that most studios will never see.
This, however, is not the case with OC Game Studio, a local (to me) indie studio in Columbus, Ohio, that just released their first game, Sphere Complex, onto the Steam marketplace. I, on behalf of GameSkinny, was lucky enough to be able to sit down for an interview with OC founder Frank Oyer and talk more about his game, his motivations, and the future of the studio. Here's what he had to say.
GameSkinny (GS): First off, thank you for the opportunity to interview you. Let's get right into it -- what was the inspiration behind Sphere Complex?
Frank Oyer (FO): Initially, Sphere Complex was a solo project of mine, where I was working on getting into game development and building my skills. I decided that I wanted to make a game with as low of a feature scope as possible so that I could actually manage it and finish it.
As for other inspiration, I really enjoy racing games and the game Marble Blast Ultra and wanted to make something a modern version of that game.
GS: Why did you choose to use the Unreal Game Engine 4 to make Sphere Complex?
FO: I think the biggest influencing factor was that it was the engine that big name studios were using. I first started toying around with the Unreal Developer Kit a few years back and it's the only engine I ever experimented with.
What really cemented the deal with me however, was the robust visual scripting system the UE4 had to offer. One of the more interesting things about Sphere Complex is that the game is written entirely in Blueprints, Unreal's visual scripting system. The whole game, including the multiplayer functionality, is entirely handled by Blueprints -- there is not a single line of code used. This is a welcome break from the coding that I do for my normal 9-5 job.
GS: Let's talk a bit more about OC Game Studio.
FO: Sure. OC Game Studio started back in 2013 as just me and that's how it was for the beginning of development for Sphere Complex. Eventually however, the scope of the game was more than I could handle on my own and the team grew to 3 people -- Myself, Jeff who did the bulk of the level designing and music, and Jason who handled most of our back-end server functionality as well as a few levels.
GS: And why did you decide to go the indie route over joining a bigger company?
FO: That's a good question. I had actually tried on a number of occasions to get my game and myself on Epic Game's radar, but didn't have much luck. In a weird way, I'm glad that it happened this way because I'd much rather do my own thing, be the captain of my own destiny if you will. Setting my own hours and doing projects that have personal meaning to me is what I really want. That is the dream right? To be the boss?
GS: There's no arguing with that train of thought. So where do you see OC in the next 5 years?
FO: Well, at that point we should be well finished with Sphere Complex and the additional content that we've been working on for it. I imagine that we'd also either be finishing up our next title and doing some content for it as well.
As of right now, we're really excited about what the future holds and we're looking forward to working on our upcoming game -- exploring new technologies and game concepts.
GS: Alright Frank, you've hinted to another title a few times now... Are you willing to talk about it? Share a little something about what OC has in mind for their next project?
FO: I don't want to go into too much detail about it. I will say that it has something to do with VR and possibly guns. I know it's kinda vague but perhaps we'll come to you when we have more to talk about. Maybe with a demo for you to try.
GS: After playing Sphere Complex I'm totally game to see what else OC Game Studio has up their sleeves. Speaking of games, what are you currently playing in your free time?
FO: I'm actually really into Motorsport Manager. I really like racing and fast cars, as well as the management / simulation types of games. What are you currently playing?
GS: I've been playing a few early access games, most recently 7 Days to Die with my roommates because who doesn't love a good zombie shooter?
Anyway, last question. If you could collaborate on a game with any other studio out there who would it be?
FO: Bethesda, 100%. Even though their games are buggy on the initial release I really, really like their games. It would be interesting to work with them and the experience would just be amazing.
Once again, thank you very much for your time Frank Oyer, and I look forward to seeing what you cook up next.
I had a great time interviewing Frank, as well as playing Sphere Complex, which I will be writing a review of very soon. If you're interested in learning more about Sphere Complex then check out the Steam page.