This interview with the Indoor Astronaut team is part of an interview series carried out by the Swiss Game Developers Association (SGDA). It was conducted by Philomena Schwab (Vice-president of SGDA).
On 9 September Indoor Astronaut launched their first game «Unrailed!» on Steam Early Access after working on it for about one and a half years. «Unrailed!» is a co-op multiplayer game where you have to work together with your friends to build a train track across endless procedurally generated worlds. The game is published by Daedalic Entertainment and bilibili.
P.Schwab: Congrats on your game’s successful Early Access launch on Steam!
When did you first start to work on Unrailed?
Indoor Astronaut: Thanks! We made the first prototype of «Unrailed!» during our master studies at ETH, in the game design course. People seemed to like the game a lot and we decided to keep working on it. However, some of us had already agreed to do an exchange year at that point, so it wasn’t always easy to progress at the pace we had set. Thanks to Pro Helvetia, we received a grant to keep working on Unrailed! and we were able to attend various game events and pitch the game to publishers there. We then worked on the game full time with four people, while also still finishing our master at ETH, and now the game has finally launched on Steam Early Access!
P.Schwab: You decided to add online multiplayer to the local multiplayer prototype you first made at ETH. Was it worth the effort?
Indoor Astronaut: Yes, absolutely! When we talked to publishers, it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to make a good deal without having an online multiplayer mode. We believe that for a multiplayer PC game, online multiplayer is a must. And it really should be planned from the beginning, otherwise it’s a lot of rebuilding work to add it in retrospective.
P.Schwab: «Unrailed!» seems to do very well in China, can you tell us why?
Indoor Astronaut: We published the game with bilibili in China. They have been amazing, making China our number one country for Unrailed! sales. We met them at the SwissGames booth at GDC. They already knew about our game and told us they were interested in working with us.
P.Schwab: What are your tips for someone who wants to create games and make a living with it?
Indoor Astronaut: Don’t quit your job right away, make sure there is enough interest for your game first. Start it as a hobby project and try to get funding from publishers or institutions like Pro Helvetia. Also make sure to attend any trainings you can! It helped us a lot to learn how to pitch our projects. Also, think carefully about what engine you want to use.
P.Schwab: What’s next for you?
Indoor Astronaut: We will keep working on «Unrailed!», adding content and polishing the game further. We also hope to port it to consoles and want to add a single player mode. The full release on Steam is planned for 2020 and there’s still so much to do!