Check out the following interview with Wulves team leader Julia Voortman – and see Julia demo Wulves live at DemoCampHamilton18 this Monday September 29th at McMaster!
Wulves has also recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finish and improve the game!
How did you get into indie video game development?
When I was 10 years old, a friend introduced me to Horseland.com, which was/is a horse simulation game where you could breed and race virtual horses. I was absolutely crazy about horses at the time and spent hours playing, but eventually got bored and decided what I wanted to do was make a horse sim game myself. I knew absolutely nothing about game development at the time, but started writing down my ideas and looking for people to learn from and partner with. A girl from another sim game I played at the time could code and we found a couple of artists and after a few months we had a game: The Ultimate Horse. It was very simple and the graphics were terrible, but by the end of the summer we had about two thousand players and a little community of people who actually enjoyed playing what we made. I’ve been hooked making games ever since!
What is Wulves?
So Wulves is primarily a virtual pet simulation, the goal is to successfully raise your wulf pups to adulthood by training and feeding them. It’s a creative game as well; players design their wulves themselves, choosing from the (currently) dozens of marking and body modification options and any colour available in a hex code. Eventually we’d like to release a feature giving players the ability to draw their own markings directly onto their wulves in the browser, and give them the option to save and share their new markings with other players. Wulves that make it to adulthood can then be bred with other wulves to create new wulf pups that draw characteristics from their parents (and grandparents, great-grandparents, etc). We have a pretty cool genetic system that make for some interesting offspring outcomes.
Secondarily, it’s a capture and collect game. The game currently has about sixty ‘wild wulflings’ that can be battled and captured while exploring. Wulves also has a few RPG elements; players enter the world of Elm, create their own citizen, join a professionhood to earn currency and level up through it’s ranks, interact with NPC’s, and participate in hidden object quests.
Who is working on Wulves and how long has it been in development?
The ideas for Wulves have been kicking around for quite awhile, but we started actively developing about two years ago. A number of people have contributed over that period, but the main team has been myself and two developers from Albany, Patrick Warner and Beau Breedlove, as well as two really talented artists, Rennie Florence and Isabel Baele, from the US and Belgium respectively.
What is new and exciting about Wulves compared to other browser-based pet games?
I think what’s cool about Wulves is that it gives players the fully fleshed out fantasy world of Elm to explore, with it’s own history and lore and a cast of characters to interact with. The focus is still definitely on the pet simulation aspect of the game, but I think it lends a special extra dimension you don’t find in a lot of games in the genre.
How are you planning to monetize Wulves?
Wulves will be completely free to play; our plan is to monetize micro-transactionally by offering small upgrades and special items.
Can you tell us about the Kickstarter campaign for Wulves?
Sure thing! We’ve just launched a Kickstarter to help fund us on the way to our first beta release. Our goal is to raise $6500 over the next 30 days to help cover the cost of developing our battling system, as well as any additional art assets, and a server upgrade. We’re aiming for a Wulves 1.0 in mid-February.
What advice do you have for people creating indie video games?
I feel like I haven’t been doing this long enough to be a giver of advice, so these can be taken with a grain of salt. But these are a couple things I’ve learned along the way,
1. At the outset, define the absolute necessities for your game to function, and then finish that before touching anything else. This is something I wish I’d been more disciplined about while developing Wulves, instead of letting myself get carried away polishing little side details, or redirecting development efforts toward cool new features as we thought of them or alpha players suggested them.
2. This one is equally applicable to projects other than game dev. Try not to make announcements about what you’re working on or plan to make, until you’ve made it. This was an eye-opening article for me: http://sivers.org/zipit. I break this one pretty consistently, but I’m working on it.
Editor’s note: woah, totally fascinating read!
3. Do your best to always be refuelling your ‘creativity bank’ by reading, watching movies, taking nature hikes, playing every game you can get your hands on. Sometimes the best game ideas or solutions to a problem come from really unexpected places.
What is your long term plan for Wulves?
See #2, haha! A couple shorter term plans would be increased interactivity between the player and their wulves, and taking the game mobile.
How has Hamilton and Platform 302 worked out for you as a place to create Wulves?
Platform 302 came for me at a point where I just could not go on working in my pajamas, feeling constantly like being ‘at work’ while at home, and chair-hogging at Starbucks just to get out of the house. I really can’t say enough about the value of being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs; the people there are just incredibly supportive and encouraging, and it’s very motivating to watch the growth of other young businesses. Currently I’m working for a company in Oakville as a web/graphic designer, but I’d love to eventually come back to Platform. We’ll see how things go!