Remember the 16-bit role-playing games, such as Final Fantasy 3, Dragon Quest and Phantasy Star IV?
Indinera Falls does, and as the founder of Aldorlea Games, the veteran video game developer has made it his goal to bring users unforgettable and rich RPG gaming experiences in the vein of those classics, complete with huge worlds, exciting stories and fantastic characters.
Indinera began making games in 2001, and Aldorlea’s first release, Laxius Force, was met with both critical and commercial success. Numerous games have followed, including a pair of sequels to Laxius Force, the acclaimed Millenium series, Asguaard, The Book of Legends, Moonchild and their most recent release, Undefeated. As a natural consequence of Aldorlea’s constant growth, three of their games were included on Steam in 2014, the latest with the first episode of the popular and greenlighted saga Millennium.
I started making games when I was only a teenager (i.e., a long time ago!), but at the time it was only on paper. My favorite style was tactical RPG; I would draw a battle board and have my brothers play. I always liked making games, coming up with characters, writing a story, etc.
When in 2001 I discovered RPG Maker, it was a dream come true. My paper characters could become actual video game characters. I did the big leap of faith and released my first freeware, which met great success. It was only later down the road that I started my commercial venture along with my first release, Laxius Force.
Now Aldorlea has grown up and developed in total more than 15 games, including The Book of Legends and Millennium.
What aspects of the development process did you struggle with the most during the creation of your early games?
Typically the visuals. It’s not my best skill, although I always take care to come up with richly detailed areas that are exploration-rewarding. But I’m not a good pixel artist, and I always have a hard time with cut scene making. These two are easily my main hurdles in game making.
When making a new game, what is your creative process? Do you start with the story and build your game around a finished script? Or do you begin with building the world and write the story as you go?
First, I have the story. Maybe not in detail, but good enough to follow a main thread. Then, I have the characters. Who they are, how they look, what they like and dislike. Once I’ve got this, I can become quite chaotic in the way I work: jumping from mapping, to implementing a new feature, to filling up the database, to testing the game.
The thing is, I get bored quite fast — as in, when I’m doing the same thing for 10-15 minutes, I get bored with it. So I switch to doing something else. It keeps me going. But at the source of any game of mine are always a story and its characters.
How has your creative process evolved or changed over the years?
Mostly in the overall polishing. I believe my games are now cleaner, as well as boasting higher production values (it’s blatant if you look at the evolution of the artwork from 2008 up to now). The gameplay is also more in control, with more interesting features, like the possibility to choose a difficulty mode (present in most of my newer games), or to choose whether you would like visible or invisible encounters. So yeah, I would say the polishing is what has evolved the most during all those years.
How many people work on any given game that your company releases?
Very few. Aldorlea is mostly a one-man venture. This said, I do work with freelancers, sometimes over several years, such as Zeriab, my main programmer, and a true talent at what he is doing, or Arseniquez, a fantastic artist specializing in artworks. I also have made several collaborations with other developers, the latest one being Undefeated, a joint release with Gemelle Games. But in general, no more than 3-4 people are involved.
Have you ever had an idea for an in-game feature that you had to abandon because neither you nor your programmer could figure out how to make it work to your satisfaction?
Yes and no. I tend to drop ideas if I do not believe in their feasibility. According to my programmer, I’ve got a good grasp at understanding what’s possible. Generally, I’m quite happy with telling a good story and implementing traditional, yet addictive, RPG mechanisms. I tend to see myself more as a storyteller anyway and when it comes to story writing, everything is always possible, that’s the good thing about it!
Which game of yours are you most proud of? Or do they all hold a special place in your heart?
Well, to be honest, they all totally do. Like my own children. There is not a single game of mine I don’t hold dear in my heart. Yet, I do have some sort of belief that my best games are The Book of Legends and Asguaard. Others might disagree, though. Some love the Millennium saga, some love the Laxius Force saga.
What classic role-playing game do you wish you had made?
Obviously my favorite games in the genre. Be prepared for a flashback in time!
Phantasy Star IV, Shining Force, Daggerfall and Might & Magic 6 are my all-time favorite RPG experiences, all for different reasons. Phantasy Star IV had the great plot and characters, Shining Force had the tactical battles and the big cast of characters to choose from, Daggerfall was that gaming “UFO” with a stunning sense of immersion in a new world, and Might & Magic 6 was just so unbelievably rich and long.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Spend some great time with my girlfriend, hang out with friends, listen to music… tons of web surfing, too. Oh and I love going out for dinner.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Do you know that food is one of my passions? For this reason, this is one so impossibly hard question to answer. I’ll just name what I had a few days ago and that was absolutely delicious.
Picture an Italian restaurant specializing in food from Tuscany. I had some kind of eggplant lasagna for starters (a wonder!) and then “magret de canard” with honey and potatoes — absolutely delicious. All with two glasses of red Chianti. Doesn’t get much better than this. :)
What’s next for you and for Aldorlea Games?
Not sure what’s next for me, although I do have some great plans (that I will keep private for now). As for Aldorlea Games, I hope to release many from my catalog on Steam, first and foremost. I have already released two, The Book of Legends and 3 Stars of Destiny, and am currently working on preparing the full 5-part Millennium series, so that takes up quite a bit of time. I’m also working on several new games, with interesting new takes (at least for me), plot and gameplay-wise. Mind you, they will still be RPGs, but set in a different type of world and/or with a fairly different gameplay approach.
I just love creating stories and characters, and I can’t seem to ever slow down with it!