Interview with Patryk Stępniewski by Peter Ward
gameDNA, an independent game development studio based in Warsaw, Poland, focuses on drawing on the DNA of classics to create awesome games that will delight players like good old ones but with a modern twist. So far gameDNA is a two-person team well known among Unreal® Engine 4 developers thanks to its successful plugins. CHASERS, studio’s first mobile game, was released on August 16, 2016, on the App Store and Google Play.
CHASERS is a 3D endless runner full of magic and a pinch of humor in which you’re the one who chases, not the one who runs away. As Chase, his sister Chasy or one of their friends who have been robbed, you have to rush as fast as possible and dodge obstacles to collect coins and knock out goofy gnome robbers and giants to get back what they stole.
- Run through a town in which goofy gnome robbers and giants await to stop you.
- Dodge obstacles, avoid dangerous traps and throw magic stones at your derpy enemies to get back stolen coins.
- Play as Chase, his sister Chasy or one of their friends.
- Cast powerful spells that make you even more unstoppable on your running adventure.
- Complete quests to level up chasers and unlock rewarded achievements.
- Feel the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of knocking out robbers.
- Get caught in an addictive and dynamic gameplay with smooth and intuitive swipe controls.
- Explore a spellbound, vivid and breathing world with a unique atmosphere.
- Experience fabulous 3D graphics with beautiful and colorful hand-painted textures as well as amazing visual effects.
- Run past your Facebook and Game Center / Google Play Games friends’ high scores to become the best chaser ever!
We love endless runners, so when we started to make our dream come true, we decided to develop exactly such kind of a game on Unreal® Engine 4. We wanted to put our own spin on the genre and make the whole think more like a fairytale, thus we imagined a fantasy-themed world full of magic in which a protagonist would be the one who chases, not who runs away. That’s way, at the end of the day, we called the game CHASERS! Basically, it was developed in the spare time but now we are completely devoted to it and our plugins. We can’t wait to put our ideas into practice and share our creations with the world. We’re going to update CHASERS on a regular basis so get ready for new cool characters, amazing spells, awesome worlds to explore, and much more. We still have a lot of tricks up our sleeves!
First of all, welcome to Retro Gamesmaster.
Patryk: Hi, thanks for having us!
Mateusz: We’re glad to have the opportunity to answer your questions.
What is your first gaming experience?
Patryk: I’m not sure but I think that my first gaming experience was playing SimCity 2000 on my… well, my parents Amiga computer. I spent so much time on building and managing cities and, in fact, I still like simulating and tycoon games. There was also a console called Pegasus on which I played such games as Super Mario Bros., Tetris and, of course, Contra.
Mateusz: Yeah, Pegasus was extremely popular in the 90s in Poland and you could buy it at almost every flea market so in my case I think that playing on this NES clone was my first gaming experience ever. As a kid, I spent hours with mentioned Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Contra but also Adventure Island, especially the third instalment of this game, and on shooting with a light gun in Duck Hunt. I will never forget that laughing dog!
Patryk: Ah, I remember Duck Hunt and the dog, too. It was so annoying yet fun!
What got you into programming games?
Patryk: It seems that the ability to create my own virtual worlds. I built a lot of applications and websites but none of them can compare to game development. None of them brings so much satisfaction and joy. I’ve always dreamed of being a game developer so basically I’m fulfilling that dream.
Mateusz: Well, I’m a graphic designer, not a programmer, so I can’t say what got me into programming but I can admit that for me working on games is also a fulfilment of one of my dreams. Yes, it’s a hard work but it makes me happy.
What development tools or coding did you use?
Patryk: We use Unreal Engine 4 from the very beginning. We knew it’s amazing and powerful tool but it turned out that it’s even better! While working on CHASERS, we also use Visual Studio to support the development because performance is crucial on mobile platforms and C++ is faster than Blueprint visual scripting language. Let’s say we first create a game or its part in this language and then I rewrite the code to C++ in Visual Studio so that it’s a bit more efficient. That’s how the magic happens!
What hurdles did you have making your current game?
Patryk: Maintaining good performance and graphics quality at the same time.
Mateusz: For me, in turn, the most difficult was to keep the whole thing in a consistent graphical style. CHASERS is my first game and basically I learned texturing, level design and so forth on it. Sometimes it was tough but it seems that it came out very well.
After the completion of the game, what game will you make?
Patryk: It would be awesome to develop a VR game. We even consider creating a VR version of CHASERS in which the player could be a protagonist.
Mateusz: Yes, and it would be cool to test our skills in the production of computer and console games as well. We have some ideas but now we are focused on improving and updating CHASERS.
What other games have you made?
Patryk: A long time ago I made an online version of a classic Battleshipgame and I also practiced on a variety of small projects which have never been released.
Mateusz: Well, I’ve never made a game before. As I’ve already mentioned, CHASERS is the first title I’ve worked on.
My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive. Do you have a favourite?
Patryk: Hah, my own PC!
Mateusz: I could also say my own computer is my favourite one but I must confess I will always remember my old Pegasus console with fondness.
What is your favourite retro game?
Patryk: I think it’s the original Prince of Persia because of its well-designed and challenging levels. You had only an hour to complete the game and save the princess which was not so easy as it might seem.
Mateusz: Oh, I can’t choose only one because there’s a lot of retro games I can call my favourites… Super Mario Bros., Adventure Island III, Silent Hill, Hype: The Time Quest, to name a few. Each of them is special for me in some way.
Do you still game on the current consoles? If so, what’s your favourite game?
Patryk: Yes, I do and it seems that my favourite games are Grand Theft Autoand Mafia series.
Mateusz: Me too and I also like Grand Theft Auto but I’m more a fan of the Fable series.
What’s the worst game you have ever played?
Patryk: I’m afraid I can’t indicate such. You know, I don’t play games that don’t interest me so even if I’ve played a bad game, I can’t recall any right now.
Mateusz: I can’t mention any title too, although I would say there are so many terrible and unpolished mobile games that pretend to be good. You install such one encouraged by screenshots or description and it turns out that’s a fraud.
Finally, what game or feature would you like to see on Retro Gamesmaster in the future?
Patryk: I would like to see one game which was released about 16 years ago. It’s called Kao the Kangaroo and it was aimed at children like me at the time it was launched. I chose it because it was produced in Poland and after years I even met one of its creators.
Mateusz: I remember Kao the Kangaroo very well, but I would like to read something about Hype: The Time Quest, an adventure game released in 1999. I enjoyed it when I was a kid and in fact I still like it so it would be nice to reminisce a bit.