Interview with Inca Studios - Camped Out

Interview with Inca Studios - Camped Out
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At PAX Aus 2019, we were fortunate enough to be able to speak with Andrew from INCA Studios about their local co-op camping game – Camped Out.

Alex: Hello, this is Alex from Switchaboo here and I’m joined by Andrew from Inca Studios. How are you today, Andrew?

Andrew: Fantastic, thank you. It’s been a fantastic few days at PAX, really busy, and such a great reception we’ve had so far here.

Alex: So tell us a bit about Camped Out.

Andrew: Yeah, sure. So Camped Out is a couch co-operative game where up to four players work together to set up camp before nightfall. This means you’ll have to set up four tents, one tent for each player; you’ve got to build a campfire, you’ve got to find resources from the natural environment, cook some food, and then get to sleep before nightfall.

Alex: Beautiful. So what made you guys think to make a game about camping?

Andrew: Good question. So, my co-developer Ian and myself used to go camping a lot just after high school. We’d catch up every year and go camping, so it kind of naturally evolved that we should make a game about camping.

Alex: So it’s like your own personal hobby and you’ve turned that into a video game?

Andrew: Exactly, so we’ve had a bit of experience with it and we love camping. We’re all gamers so we all used to play first-person shooters like Quake, Doom, Doom II and all that. Not that that really relates to camping as such, but we had a big gaming background and it’s sort of the fusion of those two interests.

Alex: When I was playing through Camped Out, I quickly learned that communication was key, so was that your intention and how does that relate to what you’re hoping to achieve with Camped Out?

Andrew: Yep, so it was definitely an intended consequence of trying to develop a co-operative game. We’ve always had an interest in co-operative gaming over competitive or adversarial gaming, and really getting people to work together for a common objective was something we had set out to achieve. That game itself can only be properly beaten, I suppose, by playing with enough co-operation and collaboration on shared objectives.

Alex: Beautiful, and is the game strictly local co-op? So, no single player?

Andrew: At the moment, we’re gonna be supporting one to four players, with local co-op as the current mechanism, but we’ve heard that Steam is supporting Remote Play, which will allow local co-op games to be played remotely, or with friends over the internet, so that’s a big time-saver for us. We would like to have full online multiplayer, but there are a lot of challenges with an engine like Unity where the physics engine is simulated, so if it’s simulated on one particular host, then you’ve got to sync it up with all the other players online. There are challenges with working with the physics engine, which is a big part of our game, with all the quirks that come with things flying everywhere and such. Ideally, we’d be on online multiplayer as well, but local is the current plan.

Alex: Gotcha. So obviously we’re focussed on Nintendo Switch, so a big part of that is the local multiplayer. I guess online is something people might look forward to in the future, but as you said, that’s in the works for later on. So being a local multiplayer game, it’s a perfect fit for Nintendo Switch and it’s Joy-Cons. Have you thought about HD Rumble to go along with that?

Andrew: We haven’t gone into too much detail about each specific console and what their respective controllers can support, but it’s already a very visual game, so feedback in any form, visually, by audio, and tactile feedback is of great importance to us. We believe the game should feel alive, so we’ll definitely consider things like HD Rumble, and really try to support that tactile, live feedback as much as possible.

Alex: Definitely, because as I was playing through the demo, I was thinking that cutting down the trees would provide perfect feedback, as well as the fishing.

Andrew: Feeling the fish be pulled out, hitting the trees and feeling the resonance; yeah, totally!

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Alex: So how long has the game been in development for?

Andrew: The two of us have been working on Camped Out very part-time for almost three years now. We have full-time jobs elsewhere, but we’ve been working on this in our spare time, so it’s a real passion project. I guess you could probably say a couple hundred dev days. Given some amount of interest or publisher funding, we could really ramp up development and get it finished sooner than we’re expecting.

Alex: And within those three years, have you had any roadblocks or issues along the way?

Andrew: Not specific roadblocks that I could call out, but I guess we’ve worked for the last six or seven years on almost a dozen different prototypes, so we’ve definitely found the hurdles and stumbled over a lot of projects due to over-scoping and under-scoping. Our technical skills have increased so we’ve really come a long way from the first prototypes we had in Half Life 2 or in Unreal Engine where things were hilarious, and it’s just a natural progression of learning the tools that we use, and also us as developers understanding what we want to produce and what other people want to be able to play.

Alex: Absolutely. And we’d like to acknowledge everyone that’s been working on Camped Out, so can you tell us about your team?

Andrew: Yes, absolutely. So, myself, Andrew, and Ian is my co-developer, co-founder of Inca Studios. We’ve also commissioned the beautiful key art from an artist in Canada, Michael Guimont. The music has been produced for us by an American composer called Brian Holmes. But otherwise it’s all been the two of us, we’re the main driving force.

Alex: Camped Out is a big passion project for the both of you, so when can we expect to play Camped Out on Nintendo Switch?

Andrew: Ooh, very good question… We’re aiming for it to be releasing early to mid next year on Steam. Switch is a huge priority for us – everyone at PAX, both this year and last, were asking for Switch, so we can’t ignore it as it’s obviously the console of choice, and it really suits the style of Switch games – it’s family friendly. So it will be very soon afterwards.

Alex: Beautiful, and does it work well with the Joycons and its simple button layout?

Andrew: Yep, absolutely. The game is primarily based around two buttons. We have a positive button for picking up things, using tools, putting items in blueprints, and a cancel button. A couple of sprint buttons, shoulder buttons, but otherwise very simplistic, so yeah, it should suit all different controller styles.

Alex: That’s good to hear! And is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know?

Andrew: No… [laughs]  I don’t think I’ve got anything in mind…

Alex: Just play the game?

Andrew: Yeah – please! [laughs] Have fun and co-operate.

Alex: And where can readers find you to follow the game’s development and to get more updates?

Andrew: Sure, we’re on Twitter as @campedoutgame, we have the website, and we’re also on Steam, which you can find through either of those points.

Alex: Thank you so much for taking the time out to chat with us, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you very much.

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  • Belinda Cubitt