Arena 3D interview Mike Bushell

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Interview with Mike Bushell by Peter Ward


Mike Bushell (born 5 July 1989) is a British racing driver. In 2013, Bushell competed in the British Touring Car Championship for the first time, driving for IP Tech Race Engineering in their Chevrolet CruzeNGTC car at Knockhill in place of Andy Neate. He returned to the series in 2015 with AmD Tuning, after winning the Renault Clio Cup United Kingdom in 2014.

Bushell has since returned to the Renault Clio Cup United Kingdom for 2016 after failing to secure raise the budget needed to retain a seat in the British Touring Car Championship.

Alongside racing, Bushell is a keen programmer and is developing solo the upcoming title ARENA 3D, which is set to be released via the Steam Store in 2017.

ARENA is an on going solo development from one man team MBSquared Entertainment and aims to be a collection of fast paced Arcade Game Modes set within a seamless world bursting with colour and vibrant audio.

New features are being added all the time and currently two game modes are playable,

  • Exosphere – Top down view, twin stick shooter. Prepare for Fireworks. This game play is the love child of Geometry Wars™ and Super Stardust™ Delta
  • Fathom – Stealth based with no weapons, skill and strategy are your ally here. This would be the Pac-Man™ nightmare. Jump scares ahead

Upcoming game modes that are currently in development,

  • Commander – 1st Person Turret defence. Take control of powerful weaponry to defeat your opponents, but you’ll most likely die trying.
  • Velocity – High speed racing. Take to the track and pump up the velocity. 3 Dimensions make for mind bending courses
  • Stranded – 3rd Person Flying Combat. Fully fledge space based combat. Skill and accuracy will help you master ARENA‘s skies

Other features which are already included with ARENA,

  • LeaderboardsARENA is fully integrated with Steam Leaderboards so that you can keep track of not only your score, but your friend’s too. Come back to your favourite levels time and time again and see how close you can reach the top
  • Achievements – There are many to collect, each with their own unique in-game Medal to view. Who can be first to unlock them all…

As this is a solo development, and also a first time game for MBSquared Entertainment, progress can be a little slow at times and extras features such as Multiplayer and Dock (where you can customise your game play with the stars you collect) will be added at a later date and most likely be a part of the final release.

What is your first gaming experience?

My first gaming experience, which is about as far back as I remember was Wolfenstein 3D by ID software. I must have been only 3 or 4 at the time as it was in 1993 or 1994. I used to sit with my dad and play with him, and sometimes when I would go to bed he would pretend to be a boss which had a big chain gun!! Great first gaming memories I think?Mike Bushell

What got you into programming games?

I’ve always had an interest in how games were made, but for the most part my own experience with making games went as far as making little basic levels for Half Life using the Worldcraft editor, which became the Valve Hammer Editor for Half Life 2. Once I had finished school at 18 though, all my gaming interests went largely dormant as you explore what the rest of the world has to offer as a young man.

What development tools or coding did you use?

In between the time I turned 21 and now, 27, I have forged a successful racing career and was the 2014 UK Renault Clio Cup Champion, Vice Champion this year and in 2015 I raced in the UK’s top level championship, the British Touring Car Championship

What hurdles did you have making your current game?

So where in this time frame did I begin coding and making ARENA 3D?! In 2015, I had a huge accident that dislocated my hip, shoulder and damaged the ligaments in my left leg and in the time I was recuperating I looked into how Mobile games were made and I created a really basic little twin stick shooter on my phone in Javascript. No one else could play it, it was just a little something that I could say to myself I had done. It was called ARENA.Welcome to the Arena

After the completion of the game what game will you make?

Development largely went dormant after this time until the 2015 Racing Season had finished and a friend suggested I take a look at Unity. The biggest hurdle I have face in all of my development was learning C# and getting the most out of it. I actually had a little 3d modelling experience in the past when I was playing with Half Life 2 and I found creating my assets quite easy. The Major highlight for me was getting Greenlit on Steam in February of this year. I am a one man team and did not have access to any promotional tools at the time, but my basic idea seemed to sell itself and I was Greenlit in just 11 days. This has been the real driving force for me to develop ARENA 3D.

I am really pushing on with Development as we speak as the racing season is now over and I am desperate to get something out to players, to reward them for their support, input and interest in ARENA.

What other games have you made you made?

ARENA is my first game and I have learnt to code, design, sound engineer, promote and everything else involved, by myself and largely down to using Google and various forums and groups for feedback and solving certain issues.

After ARENA I don’t know whether or not I will continue to make games in the future, I have put my heart and soul in so far and it can be quite draining at times, not to mention a lonely experience as I am the only person making ARENA and I have spent many long nights in my office slaving away.Image 16

My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?

My old Playstation will always have a special place in my heart, my dad got me one in late 1995 and it was one of the first in the country and it was the model actually still had big parallel port on the back. I had no idea what it was for, but it looked awesome! Being from a racing background, I used to spend hours playing Formula One on it, along with a generous helping of Crash Bandicoot. 

What is your favourite retro game?

I used to spend a lot of time playing on the PC as well and I would have to say one of my all time favourite old school games was The Case of the Serrated Scalpel, which was a Sherlock Holmes game released in 1992. Along with Monkey Island, I’ve been great fan of the old point and click story driven adventures. I think it would be great for Retro Games Master to maybe have a look into how there is a hole in today’s market for these once great titles which were from a time when imagination made a fantastic game, not the most dazzling visual effects and graphics.Image 14

Do you still game on the current consoles if so whats your favourite game?

Today however, when I have a little spare time, me and my best friend meet up for some Split Screen Gears of War action and we’ve recently upgraded to an Xbox One and Gears of war 4. We have just completed waves 1-50 on hardcore difficulty on horde mode and are preparing for Insane mode!

Whats the worst game you have ever played?

I don’t have a ‘worst’ game that I’ve ever played, I can appreciate all the good points as well as the bad, but there is one that really does still in my mind for the most confusing gameplay with no clear clues as to what you’re meant to do… Lost Planet 2 on the xbox 360, me and a friend became so enraged with attempting one level, his controller ended up going through the open window into the neighbours apple tree!Image 13