Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.


Heroes, Multiplayer, Beta and More… the BIG Towns Interview

We’ve covered Towns here on in the past. It’s a rather unique city simulation/RPG/Dwarf Fortress-type game that has really caught on with the indie gaming community. And for good reason too! It’s quite fun!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to sit down with Alex Poysky, the lead designer, to discuss the inspirations for the game and where it will be heading in the future. Check it out!

Note: Towns is developed by Alex Poysky (Lead Designer), Xavi Canal (Lead Developer) and Ben Palgi (Lead Artist).

DIYGamer: Can you please tell us who you are and what you do on the development team?

Alex Poysky: My name is Alexander Poysky. I’m a 29 year old soldier in the Spanish Armed Forces who just happens to be the lead designer behind the game Towns.

DIYGamer: In your own words, how would you describe Towns?

Alex Poysky: Towns is a strategic towns building sim with heavy splashes of rpg thrown in there. Think Diablo meets Dungeon Keeper, with a dash of Majesty and Guild 2, mixed with Dwarf Fortress’s delicious building schematics.

DIYGamer: What were your primary inspirations for creating Towns?

Alex Poysky: Inspirations? Do you mean what inspired me to start working on indie games, or what driving force serves as Town’s muse?

DIYGamer: Both, preferably.

Alex Poysky: Okay. When I was a kid. I once had an awful, terrible day at school. I got home and was in a relatively sour mood. My father ushered me into the computer room, and sat me down in front of a brand spanking new 486 and said, I got you a really neat game.

I had never played video games before so it was all new to me. He popped on a game who’s music has been my personal theme song ever since. Monkey Island. Ever since I saw Guybrush on that lookout tower I have wanted to make games. Just like that, my awful day was gone, I was in a bright and cheery mood, and have used games as a way of disconnecting from whatever might be plaguing me.

As for the driving force behind Towns, well. We want to make the game we want to play, not the game that’ll make us more money. We would be foolish if we thought we were bringing something truly unique to the table, we aren’t. What we are doing is taking many unique aspects of other popular titles and mixing them together for the first time. That in itself is unique, and so is the presentation we are giving it. We always listen to our fans, and they are our heart and soul in this project. What they say goes.

DIYGamer: Your most recent updates has brought a new unique zoning method similar to the old SimCity games. Why use that method of building as opposed to just point and place?

Alex Poysky: I woke up one day and thought, jeez, the buildings we currently use are really boring. Some of them were even placeholders from previous art. I then thought, wouldn’t it be cool to see the little townspeople go into the buildings, use the buildings, and have the buildings actually be “Building” sized?

We wanted to go for an old school JRPG town feel and it just wasn’t happening with the old system. With the new system, however, you can make towns reminiscent of games such as Ultima Online, or Final Fantasy (the older ones).

DIYGamer: One thing that I noticed was that the current zones are broken down into multiple “types” for example a carpentry zone or a furniture zone. Why have multiple zones for each type of utility or item instead of just a couple broader zones where one could, for example, place a carpentry bench inside the same zone as a bed?

Alex Poysky: Well, once again, we want a really awesome looking town. The end product will look like an old school JRPG town, with the workshops separated from the housing, stockpiles near each of the stores, a large central tavern. The new system fits, and it fits very well with the upcoming hero system as well.

DIYGamer: Upcoming hero system? What can you tell us about that?

Alex Poysky: Well, we are almost done with the base construction system (by done I mean ENGINE done, not CONTENT done.) Which is why we are going to move on to the new hero system. It will make this game a full-fledged RPG.

Currently you send soldiers down into the dungeons, it’s a bit slow and clunky. With the Hero system, you will build a large tavern and attract random adventurers who will stay for three days. If they like it there they will stay longer. You can give quests to these powerful heroes, who all have their class and personality traits.

The dungeons (which are currently simply full of monsters) will have many types of “rooms”. These rooms will have to be conquered individually using the quest system.

You will send heroes to the dungeon rooms to conquer them, bringing back any precious loot to be used in building or furnishing, or even paying your soldiers.

DIYGamer: Will you be able to follow along with your hero as her does his questing? Or is it more of a system where you send em out and they come back after a specific time with either a success or failure type message?

Alex Poysky: Nope, you will see them. Currently you can see the underground dungeon if you mouse scroll down.

You can forge armor, weapons, and even craft advanced sets. Instead of using soldiers, you would right click an area of the dungeon, and set up a quest to conquer it. We have been adding MANY new monsters just for this reason.

Imagine a gobline throneroom. You would offer a large broadsword as a reward and get a barbarian enticed, you would see him go to the tavern and hire a few of your soldiers to accompany him in a party.

You could watch him clear out the room and then send citizens to haul the loot back up (you would probably want to send a soldier or two along to defend them!)

DIYGamer: So beyond the hero update what’s else is next for Towns?

Alex Poysky:

Multiplayer. No joke. It’s in the works, it will be in, assuredly.

DIYGamer: Can you explain a bit how that will work? Competing towns?

Alex Poysky: We are currently getting the initial system set up, but there are a few different options. Competing towns, co-op towns, meta-map with questing, etc. It’s quite green at the moment so we wouldn’t want to say something we might later regret, but rest assured, multiplayer in some form, preferably co-op will be in.

DIYGamer: Finally, one last question, do you guys have a timeline on when Towns will see a beta or full release?

Alex Poysky: Well, I feel we are about a quarter of the way through, and it was the hardest quarter. We are going to see increased momentum from here on, which means we might finish it in a brisker pace. We don’t have an exact date, and wouldn’t want to peev people off by not saying anything so let’s give an estimate of 6 months shall we? That will be beta time, more or less.

DIYGamer: Thanks for taking the time today to speak with us.

Alex Poysky: Oh, no worries. I always have time for my friends!

Also, a big shout out to everyone in the indie of the year competition. It doesn’t matter what place we end up in, we are all winners here. Each and every one of us is doing what he or she loves most, and there is no competition there.

If you haven’t voted yet, please, do so! Not for us mind you, but for whoever you think should win!

Super big thanks to Alex for taking the time. If you’re interested in towns simply follow the links below for more information. You can also buy into the Alpha right now via the Desura link below.

[Towns, Desura]


DIYGamer Holiday Give Away! For each and every article we post we’re giving away an indie game.

This article’s game is OIO: The Game for the PC (code is redeemable on the official site), byUncanny Games!

Leave a meaningful comment below to enter into the drawing.