Interview with Mr.Grak!

Hello everyone! We recently got a chance to interview Mr.Grak about his game Astro4x! So please climb aboard and let’s take an interstellar journey to this interview far far away!

Could you please tell us about Astro4x?

“Astro4x is a mix of Chess and 4x, wrapped in a futuristic sci-fi interface.”

Alan Turing, Bertrand Russell, and J. Robert Oppenheimer are currently your AI in the game. Why did you decide to go with these 3 people?

“The first Ai, Alan Turing was chosen because he was a prolific computer scientist, and it seemed fitting that he should be the first ai in the game due to his contributions to the field. The second Ai, Bertrand Russell was chosen based on the idea that the 2nd should have a different playstyle, a defensive playstyle, and Russell’s philosophy mapped well to a non-imperialistic or expansionistic playstyle. In addition, Russell contributed a great deal to the fields of logic and math, which all computer science is based on. The 3rd Ai is actually Kristian Birkeland, and uses a quote from Oppenheimer, as an allusion to the packet-based playstyle that this Ai uses. Kristian Birkeland invented the electromagnetic cannon, the precursor to the modern railgun, which uses electricity to accelerate objects to high speeds. In the game, there are packets, which essentially are massive chunks of matter that are hurled at incredibly high speeds towards stars and ships, for offensive and defensive purposes. The 3rd Ai’s playstyle is heavily packet based, so I wanted an Ai portrait that represented this playstyle – the oppenheimer quote refers to a warp 9 packet’s ability to destroy stars that it collides with.”

Who will be the 4th person?

“That’s undecided right now, and I was hoping that feedback from the community would drive who is chosen. The selection of portrait and person must reflect the playstyle of the ai as well, and that playstyle has not been decided.”

Do you have any other projects you’re currently working on?

“I am the maintainer of the Monogame Getting Started guide, along with several other Monogame related applications and games.”

Do you plan on adding multiplayer to the game whether it’s online or local?

“I plan on adding local multiplayer.”

What made you want to go to the Space style for Astro4x?

“Growing up I played a game called Stars! that really captured my imagination, and since then I’ve always wanted to make a space 4x game.”

What was the hardest part of developing Astro4x?

“Convincing other developers that global objects/classes are useful design tools.”

What was your favorite part of developing Astro4x?

“I loved designing the UI, which was based heavily on Gmunk’s UI work with Joseph Kosinski on the film’s Oblivion and Tron.”

What is some advice you’d like to give to people who are just starting out as a game developer?

“Start with a small project and finish it and then reflect on what was learned and accomplished. Promote the small game. It likely won’t be successful, but will give new developers an idea as to what it takes to make, sell, and promote indie games. If they’re not interested in selling games, and instead just want to focus purely on game development, they should be aware making games takes alot of time and commitment and is not financially viable at first. New developers should have a day job, in other words.”

What is your dream as a game developer?

“My dream as an indie dev was to make a game that I was proud of. I’m proud of Astro4x, so I have accomplished that dream. So now my goals have changed – I’m working on fostering a community of game developers that want to create new and interesting games as art. Alot of games are made these days as mediums for profit with various psychological hooks to control and maintain users, and I don’t agree with that type of development approach. I want to return to the 1990s, where high quality single player games (with local multiplayer) ruled. I’m just a simple 90s kid that loves Link to The Past and Super Mario World.”

Now that we’ve made it through out incredible journey through space! Please go check out Astro4x on Steam!

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