Egotastic! Interview With Alina Digital

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bill-swift - June 16, 2012

It's no secret that the video game industry is booming. Video games are growing and evolving into a new form of entertainment that doesn't only apply to children and teens. Society is beginning to see gaming as more than sitting in front of a screen watching pixels dance. They are workout videos, healthy lifestyle coaches, family game nights and interactive experiences that really make you part of the game itself.

It's also no surprise then that many entrepreneurs are trying their hand at video game development. One such example is Max Sprin whom has created 'Alina Digital' in an attempt to take the video game industry by storm. Based out of Montreal, Quebec, Alina Digital is currently in the process of making their first PC title, 'Rise of the Tycoon'. I sat down with Max to get a taste of what is was like to wonderfully stressful world of video game development.

EG!: Alright, so Alina Digital is a brand new game developer, straight out of the womb so-to-speak. As the new kid in school, how does it feel to be taking your first steps into the world of video game development?

AD: It's extremely exciting.  I've never been afraid to jump into something new, which is why I feel great about joining the gaming industry. I'm enjoying the fresh feeling of something new before the workload eats me alive. *laughs*

EG!: While we're on the topic, what was it that made you suddenly decide, ‘I'm going to make video games."?

AD: About 20 years ago when my parents bought me my very own Commodore 64, I was really intrigued by the idea of these video games and how they could turn boredom into complete amusement. I would always play these games and think "oh, that should be done differently" or "this feature would be really neat here". I'm definitely ecstatic to now be trying my hand at making video games 20 years later.

EG!: You're currently in the process of creating your first game, Rise of the Tycoon. Tell me a bit about the idea behind this game and why you chose to start off with a real life simulator of sorts. Why that genre?

AD: There are two things that actually influenced my choice. One is that I've always wanted to design the type of game that I'd want to play. I've played all sorts of games throughout my life but I've always taken a strong liking to strategy titles. I love the large scale management and the real thinking that's involved. The second thing is the idea of playing it safe. This is my first game and I wanted to stick with what I knew. I've been playing strategy games for years and I like to think that I know them inside and out. I noticed that the industry is lacking in any real ‘fun' geo political games so I thought I'd be the first. I also took the chance to focus on the multiplayer aspect of the experience, which is why I decided to make it an MMO title for PCs.

EG!: Being based out of Montreal,Quebec, do you find it intimidating to have some of the world's largest names in game development like EA or Ubisoft right next door?

AD: Yes and no...I originally sent my 20 page pitch to Ubisoft but they weren't interested. After that rejection I decided to just do it from scratch myself. Large companies like Ubisoft are always going to be a large form of competition but they're on a completely different level so I try not to think about it so much. On the other hand, having big companies nearby means there's a lot of video game developer students, and having many programmers in the city is always good for little companies like mine. Everyone's looking for work so employee searches are much easier.

EG!: Will Rise of the Tycoon be a free-to-play title or are we looking at monthly charges?

AD: ROTT will be free to play, but the free accounts will be limited in their in-game options. There will be optional premium accounts that require monthly payments but will give complete access to every aspect of the game. Like I said before, I wanted to make a game that I would want to play so, based on this logic, I designed ROTT so that whatever price you pay will be very reasonable for the amount of fun you will get out of it.

EG!: How far into development are you on Rise of the Tycoon?

AD: It's hard to judge because it's our first title and there are a lot of surprises that wait around every corner but I will say that we've accomplished quite a bit to date and we're aiming to release it sometime in Q4 2012. Before we release the game, we do plan to have our beta ready to play in about four months. Our contributors who participate in our kickstarter and indigogo campaigns are going to be lucky people who will have full access to it.

EG!: You mention briefly on your site future upcoming projects after ROTT is released. Can you shed some more light on exactly what we might be seeing from Alina Digital in the future?

AD: Well it's only possible if ROTT is successful enough to survive and make a profit, not to mention keep us all fed! Under the right conditions we will be keeping our focus on MMOs largely. While ROTT is mostly a political and business game, our next two titles will be oriented on logistics and units production and will most likely be on a larger scale.

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