Indie game developer interview with Perry Monschau
14 Mar, 2020
This week we completed an indie game developer interview with Perry Monshau. Perry is part of Nysko Games and currently working on The Dwarves of Glistenveld, which is incredibly awesome and available to play now. We caught up with Perry to hear more about the game and the studio.
Introduce yourself, your game and studio
We’re Nysko Games. The founders, Martyn and Perry, have been working together for 5 years. We’re aspiring game developers based in Essex (UK not US), and our passion is to make fun and inspiring games!
Can you tell us about The Dwarves of Glistenveld, what makes it awesome?
The Dwarves of Glistenveld is a light-hearted real-time strategy game. With dwarves as the theme, we’ve spent a lot of time developing quirky relatable dwarves, who gain experience, unlock abilities, and have unique personalities. Combined with a number of elements of colony-management, we’ve found this to be an interesting mix for the RTS genre. This is however an RTS at its core, and that means command and conquer!
The game is set underground, and one of the core elements is mining. The cave walls of each level can be mined out! Dig one way, you might stumble upon a gem cave. Dig another way, a warren. You can block off a tunnel to a goblin base and mine out a new one, and then attack them from the sides! Or fortify your base and economy-boom safe in the knowledge that your ballistas and traps will make quick work of anyone that wanders in.
TDoG has a campaign, skirmish mode, sandbox mode (we call caverns mode) and a level editor. In the campaign, you’ll follow the story of how these dwarves were driven underground. Caverns mode is a ‘develop as you explore’ underground world, in which you build up a grand base, amongst other clans, and see what the RNG gods throw at you. In skirmish mode, you configure a level to your liking, which then generates with a set number of enemies.
We’ve built both the game and the engine to be flexible. If you want to make a level about mobbits (our little rabbit-like critters), you can! In fact our first mini-game, lovingly titled “Mobbit Run”, does exactly that, and here’s the catch: it was built entirely using the level editor.
While our level-editor could do with a few more bells and whistles, in the future we plan on expanding on map creation and mod support with documentation and tutorials for getting started. We always knew our vision was greater than our craft, and so we hoped our more enthusiastic players would one day join us.
All of this said, the game has recently released in early access, which means we still have lots of new content to add, refinements to make and new chapters to come.
What has your journey been like making this game?
To summarise: Long, difficult and certainly not for the faint of heart.
We started out as two guys wanting to make a game that we were passionate about, would give us experience and might one day land us a full-time job within the industry. We were bedroom developers for the first year whilst we created the engine for TDoG.
Then, we saw a broadcast on our local evening news about a ‘Games Hub’ at the University of Essex. We decided to go down and pay them a visit. This is where we met Steven Huckle who, without his help and support, we wouldn’t be where we are now. After meeting Steve we were invited to join the 3rd round of the Games Hub. What is the Games Hub? Kind of a games company incubator or a shared workspace specifically for budding game developers.
The Games Hub allowed us to grow and develop our game from a small passion project into a viable product. Likewise we found other talented individuals who we took under our wing and are still working with us to this day. With the help and guidance from the many guest speakers who shared their expertise, we made connections and were able to turn TDoG into something bigger and better than we could have imagined.
In 2017 we founded our company: Nysko Games. We wanted to not only establish ourselves as an independent developer, but also to help grow the local talent in the east of England, in the hopes that more studios might exist outside of London. We experienced first-hand how difficult it is to get into the industry, and we figured we might be able to play a role in opening up opportunities for other people.
Nysko Games went from strength to strength as the team grew in size. We’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some amazingly talented people over the years. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had our fair share of long office days, heated debates and late night meetings (not to mention those stuffy showroom floors).
It’s all hard work, but that’s part and parcel of being an indie developer; in some ways the most rewarding part of the job. There’s something special about putting your game out there for the first time in the public eye waiting anxiously for their verdict. Then afterwards, meeting up to discuss changes because something so obvious was missed in the process.
The months prior to launch however were the most stressful and challenging. With deadlines left and right, working part-time jobs and with only a shoe-string budget, I recall one weekend we pulled two double shifts back-to-back to stay on target. Still, we managed to release our dwarven babies to the world, (proudly on time), and we organised a local event to celebrate our first game release to the world!
Although our journey is not yet over, and we’re still going through a few struggles now, I’d just like to say how proud I am of the Nysko Team. I’ve cherished every single moment developing this game, and I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that there isn’t another team I would rather work with.
What got you into making games and making indie games in particular?
I think we all play games for different reasons and I think this is also true for making them. Some of us make games purely for enjoyment, some of us as a stepping stone into the industry, acquiring that key experience, and others because they have a story to tell, or perhaps a combination of the three?
For me, I grew up on awesome and unique games. Back then genres did not seem to define how games were going to play. It felt like there was so much creativity poured into each one, it was inspiring! These days, it feels like going indie is the place to be if you want to be that creative, which I admit is a little melancholy. I hope one day that changes, but I will always continue to follow my heart and my passion.
While I can’t speak for everyone on the team, I do know we all have a love for this industry, as it provides us with a unique and unparalleled creative outlet.
What have you learnt from making games?
Game development is an incredibly hard, yet incredibly satisfying industry to work in, and you’ve got to be humble. Over the years you see devs rise and fall, some seem to have a knack for it, but what you don’t see is their long history of failures. We discovered promoting a game is just as hard as making it, and when all is said and done, every developer is a hero in my eyes, whether they make it or not.
If you had advice for indie games makers, what would it be?
Know your product inside and out and scope it according to the skills of the team you are working with. It’s good to have ambitious goals but you have to be realistic with yourself and ask, ‘Is this something we can realistically accomplish within X months?’.
The challenge you’ll have working on a shoestring budget is team drop off. If people are working in their spare time, how long will it take for them to lose interest and lose sight of the project? Someone who is passionate is always more trustworthy than someone who is skilled. If someone is passionate about their craft, even if they don’t have the right skillset, that person will do whatever it takes to get to where they want to be. Someone who is talented but lacking that passion is mostly after their next paycheck. I’m not saying that one is better than the other, it depends on your situation, but it’s something to bear in mind.
I’m also aware that many developers, including us, lack the marketing know-how to make their game a success. Without marketing, you’re relying entirely on luck to get noticed. It’s not just about reaching out, it’s about reaching out in the right way, and that’s hard! We’re not there yet, so I can only advise you to do your research, fill yourself with marketing knowledge, share it with friends and family for critique and don’t leave it until the end of development. It is hard to develop the skills for an area you might not be passionate in, but reading and reading more will get you there.
How can people support you and your game?
You can follow us on social media (links below), buy the game, or spread the word. Any criticism or feedback you have, do share! The more people we have playing and sharing their experience, the more we can improve on it. We believe in the power of the community and with a little help we can deliver a great game and create fond memories for people!
Where can people buy/play the game? And learn more about your studio?
If you’d like to know more about Nysko Games and what we do, feel free to visit our website. Alternatively, if you’d like to keep tabs on what we’re working on, we have a mailing list where you can sign up and keep up to date on our latest dwarvish news. You can also find us on Twitter. If you have any feedback for us or would like to chat with the team, we also have a public discord channel.
TDoG is currently available for Windows and Linux, and can be found on Steam: We’re working towards launching on Mac in a future update.
Thanks for reading our indie game developer interview with Perry Monshau. If you are interested in more interviews with Indie Game Developers the feel to visit our features pages for more insight into indie games development.