Today we meet the Parabole team who is developing Kôna, a first-person adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux. In Kôna you will explore, investigate and survive in a VR-powered interactive tale, which takes place in the wild and cold of 1970’s Northern Quebec.
1/ Hi Alexandre, can you tell me how this adventure started ?
At the beginning we basically made a snowmobile simulator just for fun. After a while playing around with it we realized we could build a world around the vehicle and that would be pretty cool. We believed that an adventure game where the main protagonist would travel on a snowmobile had some serious potential. We tried many things and after months of experimentations we had the first building blocks of Kôna 🙂
2/ You offer the possibility to play Kôna on the Oculus Rift, that is awesome. How do you think virtual reality could transform the way we play video games in the future ?
The Oculus is certainly part of the future of the videogame industry. In our point of view, it will not replace the standard display, but will certainly enhance a lot of experiences as well as create new kinds of games. It is like having access to a new controller: It opens up a lot of opportunities and we are looking forward to see what other developers will create with this amazing new technology.
3/ Creating a game is a long journey, what are the main problems you encounter today in the development of Kôna ?
Money. That is really the biggest – if the the only – problem we have with the game development. We learned a lot of things doing work for other businesses and we have a pretty clear plan of what we have to do before releasing the game. The thing is that most of these tasks require money investment. We are really happy we could raise money on Kickstarter since it basically saved the project. We pay ourselves approximately $1000 a month each to do the project, that is a really tight budget and needless to say that having access to more capital increase both the quality of the project and our quality of life.
4/ So what would you recommend to someone who wants to start video game development ?
To have money to at least survive a year and a half (or more if possible). Unless some miracle happens, an entrepreneur always hit some walls he did not anticipate. We have hit a lot of walls, made a lot of mistakes and the important thing is to accept those and not repeat them. You can’t really think everything will be perfect. In fact, for most of the entrepreneurs I know, it is quite the opposite. Creating a company is hard and takes sacrifices as well as a lot of time and money investments.
5/ I guess it’s not fun everyday then. Do you take some time off during the day ?
We don’t really take long time to eat nor any kind of official pause, we really focus on creating the game. Our reality is that there is a lot of work we have to do in so little time, so we simply focus on creating the game. In fact, the fun part is really about showing off our work to the world. In the future we might have the resources to have a bit more free time at work, but right now it is mostly all about work.
6/ Finally, can you tell our techy community what software your team uses to develop Kôna ?
On the engine side of things, we use Unity 5 with the SpeedTree middleware. For code, I (Alex) use Monodevelop on my Macbook and the other programmer (Max) use Visual Studio with some plugins. For art, Etienne mainly use 3DS Max and Photoshop as well as a lot of small plugins to make things easier for him such as DDO and NDO. For the UI and company branding, I use almost all software from the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
Check out Kôna on Steam Greenlight
Note : Kôna means “snow” in the Cree langage. The Cree are one of the largest groups of First Nations/Native Americans in North America, with over 15,000 living in the Quebec province (Canada), where the game’s story takes place.
Thank you Alexandre, and all the best with Kôna!