Toadman Interactive’s Robin Flodin talks with Steve Waskul about developing games on multiple platforms simultaneously.
For a new zombie game in the works, “Killing Floor Calamity,” Toadman has partnered with Tripwire Interactive “to make something else with the Killing Floor franchise,” to publish it across multiple platforms, and to collaborate on marketing, publishing, and development from concept to final execution. (Toadman mainly handles the software development.) Steve Waskul asks if Robin can elaborate on the game and what makes it a different type of zombie game. Each zombie in the game, as he describes, has unique abilities, and the game is largely about choosing the appropriate weapon and approach based on each zombie’s ability. But a big part of the design is that it is being developed for multiplatform use all at once.
It is very complicated to create roughly the same experience when working across a range of potential devices the players may use Flodin explains. “The hardest part is that we needed to employ three different ways of controlling the game.” Needing to deliver roughly the same experience across the different controlling mechanisms is proving interesting for the team.
Waskul next brings up their work with Intel. Intel came into the picture on this project working to assist in making the seamless experience Toadman was looking for providing consultation and performance reviews on the hardware usage. This helped the team understand how each device was performing on the front end of development allowing them to tailor the code as they progressed. “It gives you a different perspective as a developer to have that consultation,” says Flodin. Waskul agrees and asks, “How many lines of code are there?” It turns out there are roughly 100,000 lines of code to “Killing Floor Calamity.” Waskul follows up wondering how one manages the differences in game play between a PC that’s plugged into the wall and a phone that runs on battery. For “Killing Floor Calamity,” Robin says there are four or five versions of the engine and seven branches of the code which makes things a bit complicated. He remarks that Intel has helped with the QA and Waskul responds “I can only imagine how helpful the relationship’s been” having Intel involved in the process.
It’s challenging enough to create a sophisticated game for a single device category and its many iterations think of the many iterations of mobile alone it’s another thing to work for multiple devices, “It’s huge,” Waskul states. “Then to change the game,” he continues, “you have to change the code in each branch. Keeping track of that is pretty tricky,” he commiserates. Both Flodin and Waskul remark on how impressive it is that there are coders who can handle such complexity. Flodin is happy to have great ones on his team.
Throughout the interview you can see that Robin believes in the potential of seamlessness across multiple devices, but you can also see that this comes with fairly significant challenges.