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Interview with a M.A.R.S. developer!

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So GOL has it's first interview, first up is a developer of the frantic arcade shooter M.A.R.S

So first question:

[Q] Tell our readers a bit about yourself and how you got into game development.

Simon is living in Weimar/Germany and currently studying Media Computer Science. He likes both: Programming and designing. Therefore M.A.R.S. is ideal, because much has to be coded and a lot of artwork has to be done. For programming he uses Code::Blocks under Ubuntu, for creating textures, he employs Blender, The Gimp and MyPaint.

Felix lives in Weimar, too. He studies together with Simon and has always been interested in how to develop computer games. He uses both, Ubuntu (for development, creative stuff etc.) and Windows (for tests and gaming). Felix designed first little games in his school time and now is happy to be able to enlarge his knowledge with the development of M.A.R.S. .

[Q] How did you come up with the concept of M.A.R.S. ?

Everything started with an exercise in our course "Programming Languages". We had to draw very simple shapes with OpenGL. This was fun, therefore Simon decided to draw some more complex shapes and to make them move. Since we had a physics course at this time, the shapes moved according to the laws of gravity.

image

It was even more fun, when some of the shapes could be controlled with the keyboard. This was, when PISS (Platform Independent Space Shooter) was born.

image

Even if it was really simple, it was quite entertaining and so Felix joined the development. From there on, many things have been done. We renamed the game to M.A.R.S., implemented sound, an interface, artificial intelligence, rewrote the game from scratch using SFML, and, and...
At the moment we are working on something that one could call a trailer ;)

image

[Q] How would you describe M.A.R.S. as a game?

It's a new game with an old concept. It combines the great ancient arcade gameplay with some astonishing graphics and adds some fresh new game modes. Furthermore the two of us share a strange but funny humor and try to put it into this game. The steampunk-look in combination with neon is the best proof. Simply ridiculous. ;)

[Q] What differs M.A.R.S. from other frantic arcade spacey shooters?

Besides the unique style, the concept of gravity differs from most other 2D shooters: Instead of everything falling down, there are several sources of gravity which makes it far more complex. This is why M.A.R.S. looks and feels kind of special and (hopefully) is kept in mind.

[Q] Will the game as it is now stay relatively the same as the development goes on or do you have plans for some real big changes?

M.A.R.S. in its basics will not change too much in further development. Of course there will be a lot of features to complete the gaming experience, but we want the game's concept to stay as it is. Maybe some
things have to be changed with the network mode, it's hard to tell.

[Q] You recently introduced a new weapon to the game named "Fist Of Ali", do you have any plans for any more awesome weapons?

We definitely will include more things that will help the gamer being absolutely powerful.
The problem is: the more weapons you have for choice, the harder it is to keep them balanced. So we agreed,
on maybe one or two more weapons and on a new resource of destructive and even constructive power:
specials (this may sound not as impressive as it should be, we are working on a better name for this).
These little helpers will come with the next Release and are going to be epic ;) Stay tuned!

[Q] If people wanted to contribute to the game, how could they? What would you want/need?

M.A.R.S. is becoming more and more international because of many committed people who translated it into
their language! This is really a good way of contribution and we appreciate every translation that reaches us.
Furthermore we are very busy with things concerning the development of M.A.R.S., thus there is no time to concern about providing related things. Especially we would really like to have a PPA of the game. We are not
experienced with building this ones and feel very happy for every help we get.

[Q] Something our readers will no doubt be wandering - what is your primary OS of choice? (And why ;)).

We both use and like Ubuntu most, because it is free, fast and save. Felix also uses Windows 7 for gaming and compiling the Windows versions of M.A.R.S. .

[Q] Where there any major roadblocks/setbacks in making the game crossplatform.

Yes, unfortunately. For example we had some trouble with CRLF (carriage return / line feed) which is not supported of all systems in the same way, but absolutely necessary for saving files. Besides there was some trouble with UTF8 encoding. Furthermore, Windows does not provide OpenAL out of the box, so we had to put in a precompiled version and so on.
There was a lot of trouble and a lot more will be, we think.

[Q] Any plans to create more crossplatform games?

We have got some exiting ideas we will put emphasis on in the future. M.A.R.S. will probably not be our last game.

[Q] What is your favourite game at the moment?

Hard to tell. We both are fans of MMO games and therefore spend some time playing WoW. But most of our time is put into testing and developing M.A.R.S., so it might be correct to say: we are building our favourite game at the moment ;)

[Q] Any words of advice for all the other open source developers out there?

Keep it up! You are doing a great job.

Thanks a lot to the M.A.R.S. team for the interview.

If you would like an interview feel free to contact either myself or Rustybolts on the forum, via the contact link on the main website or emailing liamdawe [at] gmail [dot] com. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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