Earlier this week I wrote an article about the free release of Mini DayZ for PC and how many in the gaming community vehemently objected to the modest but ambitious game. Many of these detractors came from Reddit and even the game’s own publisher forum. On the heels of this criticism I had the joy of being able to interview the developer of this awesome tiny hardcore game!
I want to thank Mike for taking the time to answer my questions. From this interview I hope people get a sense of someone who not only enjoys making games but who is a gamer himself. Without further adieu, the interview:
DEAD PIXEL CULT: About yourself, what is your name, what’s your background, where did you study and why do you like video games?
MIKE AZOVSKIKH: My name is Mike Azovskikh, I’m a designer and game designer. 🙂 I followed the classic Russian path – school -> college -> army -> work. I got my first PC at around age 7 and started with X-COM and Star control 2, later Fallout 2 and other similar games. At the same time I was making handmade boardgames and played with friends. All of this created my love for games and game development.
Did you play the Standalone version of DayZ before embarking on the creation of MINIDAYZ?
Yes, and mod variants too, especially Namalsk.
How did MINIDAYZ come about?
On my birthday this year (April 3rd) I decided – I need to do something, create a small game, it was an idea without any commercial thought, just for fun. At first I was thinking about a mobile app with DayZ SA item base were you can generate characters and things on it. But then I tried to draw a little DayZ.
First public gifs of WIP:
After publishing gifs and getting good feedback I started developing.
Am I correct that Bohemia Interactive was not supporting the development of MiniDayZ financially? And how did the game get Bohemia’s blessing?
Bohemia support started in August, when Dean Hall (Creator of DayZ) spotted MINIDAYZ, contacted me and linked me with Bohemia.
Was it just you who developed the whole game or did you have a whole team?
I started alone, but then my friend Kostja from Estonia started to help me with the pixel arts. And now we’re a “team”, Kostja draws, and I do all the other stuff.:
How much time did it take to develop the game?
I started April 3rd and released the first public playable version April 16th. (It was fast because of using high level framework Construct 2). If counting from the start to the released on the Bohemia store, it took about 7-8 months.
So, I have read some of the comments from Reddit and the MINIDAYZ website. I have to say that generally, there are more positive than negative comments and those people who have been negative have been told by other fans to step off. How do you feel about some of the minor criticism?
For me criticism must be based on constructive arguments or comparisons with a better option or solution. After release I saw negative feedback based on people’s hype about what it could be (when the game was hidden under a timer on the store). Also it was a little strange for me that people can get angry from something that’s free, when they can simply ignore it.
You’ve posted a response on reddit to the “haters”. I’m sure you appreciate feedback and constructive criticism but what was different about the kind of criticism you received from some of the players?
I normally accept all criticism if it’s based on good arguments. I can’t do anything with haters; they’re part of the gaming industry 🙂 Also my game is hardcore, because I like games that are challenging.
I keep seeing comments about a comparison to the Project Zomboid game. Am I crazy because I do not seem to see any type of relation between the two games? Was Project Zomboid influential to the design of MINIDAYZ?
Maybe it’s fun, but I’ve never played Project Zomboid, I heard a lot about it but don’t pay attention to it in particular. When releasing the first version I was thinking that people will compare MINIDAYZ with Project Zomboid. But I think they’re different games (yes similar in some ways but still different). And also Project Zomboid needs Steam, Steam account, money and installation to play. MINIDAYZ needs only a browser and Bohemia account.
Is it hard to stay motivated in developing a game, when you’re confronted with unpleasant comments about your game?
It’s absolutely normal and doesn’t negatively affect the development, it’s impossible to deliver fun to everyone. As I said earlier it’s part of game development.
Other than the SA version of DayZ, what other games inspired your design choices for MINIDAYZ?
Hmm, I wasn’t inspired by anything in particular. I needed to create my own unique style of tiny DayZ. Maybe a little inspiration from Fallout 1&2. All must be tiny and easy to identify with the original DayZ.
Are you currently working on anything else we should know about?
On MINIDAYZ updates. 🙂 There are a lot of things that must and can be added.
Do you have any Youtube Channels, Facebook, Twitter we can check out?
Last but not least anything you want to say to the fans of MINIDAYZ out there?
Keep calm and wait for game updates.
I want to thank Mike again for his time. If you are up for challenging games GET THIS GAME ITS FUCKING FREE!