Grid Masters Interview with Jonathan Egbert During MomoCon 2015, the convention created a showcase for indie game developers, allowing them to demo their products on the showfloor to over 25,000 attendees. Over 130 applied, and the panel of judges narrowed it down to less than 20 development teams. One of those teams selected was Angry Hangar Games. Angry Hangar brought their first project as a company (individual members of the the development team have experience on other commercial products), Grid Masters, to illustrate their coding abilities. Grid Masters, influenced by Mega Man Battle Networks matches, takes place on two 3×4 sections where fighters launch attacks on the opposing team. I played the demo during MomoCon and thought the game showed a lot of promise. The four characters had a unique fighting style, the design aesthetics matched the tone of the project, and it was able to capture the couch-competitive vibe of an SNES title. Jonathan Egbert, Project Manager at Angry Hangar, shared his insights into Grid Masters current development as well as their future plans to build this first entry into a franchise that crosses genres. Egbert was excited to share Grid Masters with MomoCon guests; especially the opportunity to elicit user feedback on what people liked or thought could be improved about the game: “It’s a game that combines the fast-paced action of a fighter and strategic positioning of battling on a grid. Gameplay is focused on competing in a match, picking new characters and then playing again.” After demoing the game, I commented that the characters felt like they could take a lot of damage, and Egbert admits that they changed the damage modifiers for the convention. This strategy would allow players to have a longer match before needing to pass the controller to the next in line. Besides the Mega Man Battle Network feel, which fans shouted across the room that it reminded them of, Egbert calls out Super Smash Bros. and MOBA’s as sources of inspiration. “We really like all the modifiers such as slo-mo mode and plan to add it to Grid Masters. We also take influence from the MOBA genre. There are different characters with cooldown abilities and unique combinations of playstyles.” Just like in a MOBA, each character has their own backstory, agenda and loyalties within the universe that Grid Masters take place. The story won’t impact the player experience in Grid Masters, which is solely focused on combat but will be fleshed out in future releases such as a planned side-scrolling beat-em-up that will bring in the same characters. The current cast of characters is diverse, pulling inspiration from comic books in that they all can stand apart and tell their own stories, but don’t look utterly ridiculous when placed next to each other. Egbert calls out the aesthetic design is “a futuristic setting where the world is controlled by large corporations. It sets the stage of having this crazy battle arena where they fight for power to see who has the largest influence.” Grid Masters is currently on Kickstarter and seeking funding to continue development at their current pace. Egbert spent the last six months working on Grid Masters without pay and is honest about Angry Hangar’s plans if funding isn’t secure. “If we don’t make our goal, it will just slow down development. We will absolutely keep this project going; we have no plans of stopping. If we fail now, we will try again later when we have a larger community and have more visibility.” “This is something we want to do. Waking up and doing this as our jobs is a wonderful experience. It’s not going to stop, it’s not going to go anywhere.” Grid Masters is currently available as a beta download from their site or Kickstarter. Egbert calls out that they are seeking user feedback and received some great suggestions during MomoCon, and now the team needs to determine what improvements make the most sense within the game. If you are interested and have a chance to play Grid Masters, Egbert encourages your feedback (positive or critical) at firstname.lastname@example.org. This attitude of open discussion between players and the developer ties into the design philosophy at Angry Hangar Games. “We focus on iterations; nothing is ever truly finished. We keep coming back to aspects that were coded and re-evaluate things that are finished to ensure it makes sense for the character, their gameplay style and the world.” Grid Masters is planned for release in December 2015 if the Kickstarter is successful. It is currently on Steam Greenlight. Level Up, Friends!