Interview with Simon Roth (@SimoRoth) developer of Maia, the exciting new space colony simulator

In case you didn’t see it yesterday, I’m pretty jazzed about Simon Roth’s upcoming simulation game  Maia. While there was more than a fair amount of information on the official site, I also had a lot of lingering questions regarding the game, many of which I’m sure will be resolved in time. Nonetheless, I reached out to Mr. Roth with some of the things I was interested in regarding Maia and these were the responses that he gave me. Definitely look for more information regarding Maia soon, including the official announcement of pre-orders:

FP: [Previous articles have]  mentioned hopes for Dungeon Keeper in space, but the game also has similarities to Dwarf Fortress and Startopia. What were your inspirations?

Dungeon keeper and Theme Hospital are huge influences on me. The way Bullfrog created games that allowed you to play around with different ideas and systems was just fantastic.

The Startopia comparisons, on the other hand, really came out of nowhere for me. I was vaguely aware of the game, but have never played it. I’m going to have to buy a copy and give it a go.

Although I’ve played only a modest amount of Dwarf Fortress, it is a big influence. Every player has their own amazing stories, and that really appeals to me. Indeed this is what I love about the our medium and why I make games.

FP: How long has Maia been in development? How long ago did you have the original idea for the game?

The game has been in development part-time for a few months. I initially had the idea when I was working on VVVVVV for the Humble Bundle. I was unsatisfied with my side project at the time (a voxel based survival and exploration title) and was struggling to find a solid game inside it. After speaking with fellow indies in the pub, I decided to focus on what I really found fun.

I had a few sleepless nights thinking about making a sim game that would be a game I wanted to play, but due to my doctorate and move to Mode 7 games had to shelve it for a time. At the start of the year I found myself with some free time and got up the nerve to push forwards with my idea. The company have been very supportive of the project which is really awesome.

FP: Have you taken anything from the projects you previously worked on and brought it Maia? Anything from particular games?

Yeah. I have learnt so much from every game I’ve worked on. Even Kinectimals!

I’ve taken a lot from VVVVVV. Especially how to a simple idea can be used in hundreds of different ways to engage a player, while not having to teach them an entirely new mechanic.

FP: Will there be different units in the game, or will the units be assigned tasks (a la Dwarf Fortress)? Will units gain skills over time?
The colonists will be complex human AI’s, so they will fill roles organically and learn skills from a branching tree. 
FP: Do you have a planned release window for the pre-order options? How long after the pre-order will the Alpha be available?
I’m looking to start the pre-orders in slightly over a month, once I am happy with how the game is playing. I think the alpha will go out as soon as that round of funding has completed and I’ve invested in a little polish.

FP: I noticed that a first person view is listed as a feature. Will there be different gameplay in the mode, will it be for touring your facilities, or will the game play similarly to its third person mode?
It will allow you to explore your facilities from the point of view of one of your IMP bots and even perform some basic actions. If the funding is successful, a multi player mode will allow you to become a bot inside a friend’s colony!

FP: Do you have any more pictures or videos you can share at this time?

Currently only what’s on the site. I will be releasing an image of the first person mode very soon.

FP: What is the thing you are most excited about having people see about this project? 
I’m looking forward to seeing players trying things in the game that I’d never even thought of. I love seeing people being inspired by a game.
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About Michael

Michael is an enthusiast about a lot of things, including indie games, roleplaying games, board games, and comic books that wanted to help create a place where he could bring things to the attention of those with similar interests. Futile Position is a true labor of labor, which he hopes continues to grow through the support of the great readers who have come upon this page.

10. July 2012 by Michael
Categories: Interviews, Video Games | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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