War Tech Fighters // Developer Q & A – Drakkar Dev with Green Man Gaming

The Green Man Gaming community Discord was lucky enough to be offered a Q&A with Manlio from Dakkar Dev, one of the creators of mech brawler War Tech Fighters. See what we talked about here!

Please note: In order to improve readability I’ve changed the order of some questions and deleted some duplicates. Beyond that, my only edits are spelling and punctuation.

Disclosure: Green Man Gaming is the publisher of War Tech Fighters and this Q&A was hosted by their community.

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Hello, this is Manlio Greco of Drakkar Dev, nice to meet you all. Hi, I’m one of the developers of War Tech Fighters. Programmer, specifically.

The Gamer Scot
Welcome!

GMGOlly
Hey Manlio!

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Hi Oliver!

HotShot
What made you think of making games like these?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
We loved action games, we always made action games in the past. We love mecha, we love sci-fi. That’s it!

Sevanon
What got you into programming to start with? Not just with War Tech Fighters but in general?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Me? Programming? It was the late 80s… It’s a long story, sure you want to hear it? πŸ˜‰

Sevanon
I love a good story. Gives people time to think of more questions :p

Mirta
Of course we want to hear it! As a software dev myself, it’s always interesting to hear why others ended up being a programmer πŸ™‚

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Okay. In the late 80s I found a very small and old book about programming… We’re talking about Commodore 64. From then it was a roller coaster. My mind just burst into flame and I wasn’t able to think anything but “coding”. It’s something very creative and technical at the same time and this is what make it so appealing to me.

TaintedTali
With all those years of experience, do you have any pro tips for someone who want to get into that same path today?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Both myself and my colleague Domenico came from other experiences in different software houses here in Italy.

Sevanon
Does that mean you can read the Matrix?! πŸ™‚

Kisuke
Inspiration!

Mirta
What language is War Tech Fighters written in and why?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
War Tech Fighters has been developed with Unity. So, in terms of language, it’s mostly C#.

Mirta
Was there a personal preference for choosing Unity and C#, or was that the best tool available at the time?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Well, Drakkar Dev has developed other games in the past with Unity, mostly mobile ones, so we have a deep knowledge of that engine.

Endyo
Was the intention of launching the War Techs out of a tube by detachable rocket just 100% coolness factor?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
The launch sequence is mostly an homage to 80s giant robots πŸ™‚

Kisuke
Is there any particular 80s giant robot inspiration for the game, like the Gundam series for example? Or is it just a general love of big fighty bots? πŸ™‚

Drogith
What brought you to name the game War Tech Fighters? Was part of it the play on ‘WTF’ and how easy that would be for some to remember?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
War Tech was the name we chose for our robots (just to avoid the usual “mecha”). The WTF acronym came out just after and it was a fun way to remember the game’s name!

Mirta
How big is the studio? Are all of you Italians, or mostly international? Do you work in the same office? How long did it take to make War Tech Fighters? And god I am nosy πŸ™‚

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Drakkar Dev is a 2 people team. 1 programmer, 1 artist. We worked with other people for the sound/music, voice overs etc. War Tech Fighters took about 2 years.

Drogith
What genre of mech fighters do you pull most of your inspiration from? Gundam? Macross? Transformers?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Gundam, Macross, Mazinger were on the top of the list.

Kisuke
I haven’t even heard of the last two!

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Yes, you probably know Macross as Robotech.

Mirta
Did you guys have full time jobs at the same time? Mad respect for making a game on such few people!

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
DrakkarDev is our full time job.

Sevanon
Any particularly difficult bugs to track down? Would love to hear an example of a funny bug/glitch during development πŸ™‚

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Funny bugs?! Where should I start…? Actually many of them πŸ™‚ I can make an example of one bug but it’s really funny for its Italian translation. Basically when we finished a challenge in the game, we finished it in the exact same frame the maximum time was over….so it basically wrote something like challenge “camllete” …. a mix of “complete” and “failed”! Of course it was fixed that day.

Sevanon
Haha! Yeah I can see that being pretty amusing.

TaintedTali
That’s amazing!

Mirta
Did you go to uni for programming, or did you just do lots of hobby projects and ended up in a career that way?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Univerisity did a poor job on it. I studied engineering at uni but it was my first job that made me choose this kind of work.

Sevanon
I find it interesting, especially where people start from programming. I remember hearing stories of people actually writing code with pen and paper to type up when they got home or the next time they got to a computer.

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Pro tips? Well… What I always say is “the best in making video games is…making the game”. I mean all the other collateral stuff like contacting publishers, marketing, etc. is the tough part for me. Not so notable I’d like to mention them πŸ™‚

Mirta
What are your future game plans?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
We’ll follow War Tech Fighters for other contents creation and updates by now.

Endyo
Any plans for putting WTF on the ground?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Putting WTF on the ground would be awesome. It’s something we’re thinking since a while.

Endyo
Some Armored Core feeling…

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Actually WTF is quite different from Armored Core, its very purpose is not the same. WTF tends to be easier to grasp and more action oriented with less buttons to press or complicated bonuses to handle. It never wanted to be an AC replacement.

The Gamer Scot
Already gets a +1 from me. I’ve seen the custom AC controllers on the market. It’s madness.

Kisuke
Same Scot πŸ™‚

Endyo
Yeah I felt like it was more in line with Zone of the Enders as far as gameplay, I was just thinking of Armored Core being on the ground

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Of course when/if we’ll make WTF on the ground we’ll look at AC as a model to follow…

Endyo
Stomping on tanks is like the single most rewarding mech-related activity.

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
I agree.

Sevanon
Is there anything you wanted to add to WTF but couldnt due to time constraints?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
A lot of things actually. But not just for the time constraint. We should talk about budget and the team size.

Mirta
Did you make a comfortable profit on WTF? How well did selling on steam go? So many indies go overlooked.

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Comfortable on profit is a massive word! Well… It’s better now than the Early Access period, but it looks like it’s getting better over time. I know a lot of indies pass basically unnoticed.

Sevanon
What would you say the budget overall was? Where there any tough times during development?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
It was funded by our own games already published. No external funding.

Endyo
Did you guys ever consider allowing sword combat outside of the duel structure?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Yes, we considered it. We even made a custom build with it, but it ended up like trying to catch flies with Chinese sticks. WTF’s ships and robots move very fast.

Mirta
If you were to make an expansion, is there something that you really want to expand upon when it comes to WTF?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Actually we have a lot of good ideas for those things in game called “unique sets” that are custom built robots with very peculiar visuals and weapons. We’d like to add some more of them.

Sevanon
Are there any easter eggs/hidden nods to other things in the game? Happy to go looking but just wanted to know if they were there :p

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Actually there are a lot of references to many sci-fi sagas. Also a lot of dialog will result very familiar to those who like movies like Star Wars, Star Trek and so on. And the main characters are inspired by actual actors….the Admiral Venger is the easiest to recognize.

The Gamer Scot
Were there any non-mech games that influenced WTF? Any surprises?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
A lot. We’ve taken into consideration games like the Batman Arkham series, Shadow Of Mordor, Darksiders (1 & 2), Ace Combat. The large frigates came from our love for Battlestar Galactica.

Sevanon
What would you say is one of the most important things you have learned during the development of WTF?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Most important thing: it’s impossible to please every single player! πŸ™‚

GMGOlly
How was the Early Access experience? Would you say it was beneficial to the development?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
It was great! We learned a lot from it. Most of all we learned how people react to every single change we made in the game. And how pleased they were when we followed any of them to improve the game and make it more similar to what they expected. Of course, when the change was not “just make a different game” πŸ™‚

GMGOlly
Ah, so the community got to influence the development quite a lot?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
You can say that! The community was really great! Actually the community is still great. A lot of things changed during development. WTF started as a quite different game. Now it’s nearly 3 times deeper and bigger than we thought it to be in the beginning.

Kisuke
That’s great πŸ™‚

Sevanon
Were there any tough decisions between staff on possible changed to make during development?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
I don’t remember one single difficult decision – there were many! Maybe cutting down the “free blade” mode that we were developing. Even if it was asked by many, it really was very bad in terms of gameplay for WTF.

Kisuke
Was there anything you had to cut from the final game for various reasons? Maybe one of those hard decisions?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Let’s say being a 2-person team we had to carefully choose what to try to develop and what to cut. Because any loss in terms of time would mean a huge loss for our small company. We decided to invest in making the game more polished rather than try out new features and “modes”. But they’ll will eventually come…in time. We didn’t want to game to stay in Early Access because it’s what people usually say about EA games… That they never land to the final version.

Kisuke
Very understandable! No matter how good the concept of a game, eventually interest in it will die off if it doesn’t keep pushing forward.

Kisuke
How frequently were you updating? Did you try to have a set schedule – like every two weeks for example – or was it just as new developments became available?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Considering all the things we added/changed in the game since its first release in EA, it took us just less than 1 year. But we released 24 updates during that period. That is quite challenging. Also we invested a lot of time trying to fix any bug as fast as possible. The fastest was one that took just one hour from the bug reporting! πŸ™‚

Drogith
Oh wow.

Kisuke
That’s awesome!

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Updates strongly depend on the period. In this last week we pushed out 3 updates – small ones. Of course, after we finish an update it’s more a matter of testing it before releasing to the public. I could say a good inspiration for updates and fixes is to watch people playing WTF on YouTube and Twitch. We often yell things like “why didn’t he see that?” so we understand there’s something that might be not perfectly clear to the average gamer.

Endyo
Have you worked in larger dev teams? What’s it like working with just one other person? Do you guys just sit across from each other in silence?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Yes, we worked in teams of 14-15 members. In silence? No, we talk a lot actually.

HotShot
Coming from someone who wants to create a game so badly…… how do you go about bringing it to steam?

Manlio [DrakkarDev]
Steam is a quite good platform to work with. It’s rather easy to manage

Manlio [DrakkarDev]
When we entered for WTF we did it with Green Man Gaming publishing that allowed us to enter directly.

HotShot
So I love to code and design games in general what are your thoughts on finding a way to incorporate that in a project/job

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Designing games and programming can be two very different things. Maybe designing games should come after a bit of experience of making the games as a programmer or other figure.

Kisuke
If you could do it over again, would you go into this process with a team bigger than just the two of you? Or would you rather keep it that way?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Being in two may be a blessing or a curse; it strongly depends on that aspect of the development we’re talking about. It’s a blessing because we can go really fast in production. A curse because we had a total of 4 hands πŸ™‚ And of course it’s a matter of budget and people you can pay.

The Gamer Scot
Most important question: When will you be making real life mech suits for all of us?

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
We’re building one of them in the backyard πŸ™‚

GMGOlly
Thanks Manlio, we’ll let you go now. Thanks for all the insights!

The Gamer Scot
Thanks Manlio, good luck with ongoing support for the game!

Kisuke
Thanks again Manlio! πŸ™‚

Manlio [Drakkar Dev]
Thanks to you! Bye!


Watch the War Tech Fighters Trailer

 
War Tech Fighters is available right now on Green Man Gaming (affiliate link) and Steam. You can join the Green Man Gaming Discord channel here.