Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Disrupt.
I am Lekë Dobruna. A 20 year old student based in Kosovo. I am also the one-man team behind Disrupt, handling everything that the development requires, from programming to designing.
How did you get started in developing PC games?
I have been developing software for quite some time but I was always attracted by the idea of game development, mainly due to the inspiring people in the industry. So I started researching until I felt I was ready to start developing an actual game. Which happens to be Disrupt, my first project.
Where did the idea for Disrupt come from?
At the time that I started the project, Watch Dogs had grabbed everyone’s attention with it’s hacking concept. And it definitely grabbed mine too. Me being also a long-time fan of Uplink, put those two together and the idea of Disrupt came out.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing Disrupt?
It’s hard to say since I haven’t finished the development yet. But I can say that I’ve really grown out of the experience. I’ve been learning new things every day, varying from the technical aspects of game development to the business side, and everything in between and beyond. However I do think that failures are somewhat an important factor in this aswell, since that’s one of the ways you can grow out and become experienced in it. You have to iterate until you’ve reached your goals and learned the process of it.
In its current form, how close is Disrupt to your initial vision?
Interesting enough, I first envisioned Disrupt as a hacking MMO. However the tough and rough realization hit me that making an MMO as my first game would definitely be a bad mistake, financially and technically. Apart from that, I believe that Disrupt fits my idea of a hacking game perfectly. The player needs to have a certain power and freedom and I believe I’m going towards that direction pretty well.
Some devs admitted their games were too hard upon release because they became experts as they developed the game. Talk about setting the difficulty levels for Disrupt and if you faced a similar challenge.
The developer is the worst player and the only way to avoid that is to have a tester team to go through the levels and give you, the developer, the feedback. Regarding Disrupt, I haven’t yet reached the stage where I need the difficulty feedback yet, but once I am there, I need to be selective on picking external people on it, people that can be harsh if they need to because that’s the feedback that a developer needs.
Were there any challenges you faced in ensuring Disrupt would run on the various PC system configurations?
It is always a challenge to ensure that the game runs on various configurations, but it is definitely doable. Thankfully Disrupt doesn’t require a high-end PC configuration so I’m very happy about that, it has made the development easier in this aspect.
Please talk about developing the art style, level design and music for Disrupt.
Thankfully Disrupt is more of a text-based game, so art isn’t the main factor that the player is looking for, but of course there still needs to be a degree of visual representation on the game. This is why I decided to go with a simplistic, clean and smooth look, something which a lot of people have noticed and approved.
The music has some sort of importance in this type of game because it can entice entire range of emotions, emotions which you need to compensate for the lack of intense graphical situations. I’ve had some great people show their interest in helping out with the music so I’m very excited about it.
And last, the level design. It is one of the most challenging things in a game like this so I’ve been doing a lot of iterations to achieve a good balance between different functions in the game. I believe I’ll be doing more and more of it until I reach the level where I’m pleased and believe that the players will certainly enjoy it.
Outside of creating the game itself, what is the toughest aspect of being an indie developer?
Probably getting the word out for your games and making them visible for the press and players. But if the developer has set their goals properly and are prepared, both technically and mentally, every obstacle can be passed.
How did you go about funding Disrupt and did you receive financial or emotional support from friends and family?
Disrupt has been financially supported pretty much by myself and family. However I’ve received a lot of emotional support from my friends and family, a lot of positive attitude which has kept me going until now, and I hope it will keep me going for more.
Tell us about the process of submitting Disrupt to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
Ever since I announced Disrupt, I’ve talked with couple of digital distribution platforms and the reaction has been nothing but great so far. There hasn’t been any resistance in this aspect and I hope it continues with the Greenlight campaign as well.
Did you research similar titles when trying to come up with the launch price?
I did and am still doing research in this matter. And not only for similar titles, I’ve looked into a lot of indie games because it is important to charge for the game in a fair manner.
Will there be a demo for Disrupt?
I actually haven’t released a demo yet. I’m not sure if there will be one but there’s still time so there’s chance.
How important is it to get instant feedback about Disrupt from users through online message boards and other social networking sites?
It is very important because it can be used catalyst to fuel the passion for the game even more or just to get technical feedback to learn, change and adapt. The feedback for Disrupt have been nothing but amazing so far and I am very happy that there is a large audience that wants a game like this.
How much value do you place on the opinions of those who review Disrupt professionally?
They are professional reviewers for a reason and I believe every review needs to be read in an objective manner so you can learn from them and adapt in the future.
How do you feel about the various indie bundle promotions and the “Pay What You Want” pricing methodology? Would you be interested in contributing to a project like that in the future?
These sort of promotion are nothing but amazing. A lot of money is being raised for charity, a lot of developers are getting exposure and also getting financially improved, the players are happy. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. And I’d love to be part of a project like that in the future.
What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
It is definitely a controversial topic. A lot argue that DRM is only a protection from piracy, but at the same time there’s the argument that the piracy comes from DRM. So it’s an egg-chicken situation. Personally I don’t believe the risk of punishing a player that has bought your game legally is worth. Which occurs a lot of times with DRM systems, so I’d rather prefer a free-DRM environment for my games.
How do you feel about individuals posting videos and receiving monetization of Disrupt?
I absolutely have no problems with it. These videos can cause your games to reach larger audiences and communities which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
How do you feel about DLC and its current implementation in the PC gaming industry?
It depends on what kind of content is the DLC offering. A needs to offer new content which the players can enjoy and thrive on it, not just simple items like new weapon skins.
How do you feel about the online modding community in general and specifically if mods were created for Disrupt?
This is one of the things I am most excited about in Disrupt. I believe a lot in User Generated Content and that is why Disrupt is coming along with a content creator built in. I want the players to be able to tailor totally new experiences, create new stories and share them with the rest of the players. And that is going to be a wonderful experience.
What advice would you give up-and-coming indie PC developers who are trying to break into the business?
Make games. That’s the most important thing every indie developer should know. Just make something, anything, and ship it. And then make some more, because that’s the only way you can break into the business.