8BitUndead recently had the opportunity to interview Nelson Sexton, lead developer of Smartly Dressed Games. Nelson began his career at the age of sixteen when he created Unturned. You can follow Nelson’s develog here. Unturned is a Free to Play game, available on steam, with 316,205 Very Positive reviews, and is self-described as the following:
You’re one of the few not yet turned zombie. Keeping it that way will be a challenge.
Go in guns blazing and attract the attention of everything, living and dead.
Take a subtle approach sneaking around and making use of distractions.
Confront and learn to counter special abilities ranging from invisibility to fire-breathing to lightning attacks.
STRUGGLE AGAINST NATURE
Zombies aside nature does plenty to make life hard.
Forage wild fruits and vegetables.
Hunt animals for pelts and meat, or in some hostile environments become the prey.
Fish for food and garbage.
Plant a crop and make sure it gets rain.
Seek warmth and take shelter from blizzards.
Q: Would you mind introducing yourself to the readers of 8bitundead.com?
A: Hello! I’m the indie developer of Unturned, and now Unturned II as well.
Q: What does the future hold for Smartly Dressed Games?
A: Continued support for Unturned while developing Unturned II closely with the existing community. It should become available in beta to long-term players sometime this year.
Q: Out of all the games you could have made, why Unturned?
A: From a development perspective it’s a lot of fun to work on because I get to wear so many hats. Switching between visual effects like shoreline waves to quest design to new vehicle physics keeps things interesting.
Q: How has Unturned changed from the original plan/vision/design?
A: I would say it’s fairly on-track feature-wise. The scope has exploded tremendously though: I never would have guessed features like NPCs or dynamic destruction would be added.
Q: What is something neat in your game that is important but nobody really notices?
A: Being a sandbox game there are a lot of in-depth features you might never run into. Off the top of my head, a couple of my favorites are the secret boss quests that send you all over the map ending in a boss fight for unique powerful weapons, and the two-way radios that let you tune-in to different frequencies for group voice chat.
Q: Discuss some background on Unturned and where did the idea come from?
A: Primarily DayZ. I was enjoying playing the mod with my friends at the time and was interested to take my own spin on the open-world PvE/PvP genre. Following this, I got the chance to hang out with Dean Hall multiple times at GDC 2016 which was quite exciting for me.
Q: In which platforms is your game accessible?
A: PC, Mac, and Linux on Steam
Q: What was your biggest challenge with Unturned, and how did you overcome it?
A: This took some thinking… I would say burnout, as I have a hard time limiting the amount of time I spent working. It’s been hard to keep going several times, but so far I’ve persevered. I’ve been trying to improve my work-life balance which fluctuates a lot. I spend about ~80 hours working each week on average.
Q: What indie games are your top inspirations?
A: Factorio is a big inspiration for me right now! I love how customer-focused they are, how well they treat their community and it’s inspiring reading their blog posts.
Q: Do you have any advice for beginners who wish to make games like you?
A: Get started today! I learned everything online, and it’s only gotten easier over time. I think it’s important to start with small attainable goals e.g. create a snake clone in gamemaker, and actually, follow through on them by finishing games.