FIST OF AWESOME initially caught our attention due to the frankly mesmerizing animated screenshots its creator Nicoll Hunt sent across earlier this week (seriously, take a look midway down this page).
But then we looked past the hypnotizing pixels and spied it’s a scrolling beat ‘em up featuring lumberjacks fighting dinosaurs. This is the sort of premise that warrants further investigation, so we sat down with Hunt to find out *KAPOW*
What’s your story?
I started making games when I was 14 years old. I’m 32 now and I’ve worked for some big games companies like Codemasters, Visual Science and Realtime Worlds. I’ve worked on titles like Colin McRae Rally, an unreleased version of Carmageddon and the monumentally unsuccessful APB. I’ve been everything from a Lead Programmer to a Graphics Programmer to a UI Programmer and everything else in between.
I now work in London for a company that makes tools for movie post-production, and spend the rest of my time making computer games in my spare room. Last year I developed an iOS game called Hard Lines along with Spilt Milk Studios, and now I’m stepping out on my own with FIST OF AWESOME.
Describe your game in 15 words or fewer.
Streets of Rage mixed with lumberjacks, time travel, bears and aliens. On iOS.
What made you think: I have to make this game?
I’ve wanted to make a fighting game since I was 15 and fell in love with games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Punisher, Aliens vs. Predator, The Simpsons…
That was definitely a golden era for the form…
I could go on for AGES about scrolling beat ‘em ups, I just adored those games and desperately wanted to make one. I was 15 though and quite rubbish at making games, so it’s taken until now for me to build the skills and finally make the game I’ve always wanted to make.
How long have you been working on FIST OF AWESOME?
I started working on it in March this year, so roughly 4 months of my spare time.
That’s fast work! So, where did the name come from?
The name came to me in a dream
No really! For the longest time I couldn’t think of a game concept to deserve the outlandish moniker though. I tried various concepts but none quite worked until I remembered the scrolling beat ‘em up I wanted to make when I was 15. From that point everything fell into place and FIST OF AWESOME became the most obvious game in the world for me to make.
What did you do before making this game?
I worked for various game companies for just over 10 years. After Realtime Worlds collapsed I realised I was tired of being a cog in a machine making other people’s games. I really wanted to make something that was mine, and had more of my personality and humour in it.
Name one way in which being an indie developer is better than your previous job.
It’s better than working for a big games company because nobody says: ‘No, you cannot put that slightly camp deer in the game.’ I can put whatever I like in my game, and I can take chances I’d never be allowed to take otherwise.
So it’s better in terms of camp deer-to-game-ratio. How about one way in which it’s worse?
It’s worse in the way that I’ve got to squeeze all my development into my spare time. That leads to me not sleeping as much as I’d like, and I REALLY like sleeping.
Is that a come on? Hookshot is not going to sleep with you. The deer? That has potential. Anyway! How did you go about designing the game?
At it’s heart FIST OF AWESOME is a scrolling beat ‘em up, so I looked at every other beat em up currently on iOS. They universally they all have terrible virtual controls, and that was the first thing I wanted to fix. FIST OF AWESOME uses a gesture based system that I *think* I’ve invented. Everyone who’s played it thinks it’s a revolution and can’t understand why it’s never been used before.
After that I just started thinking of more crazy stuff, e.g. rabid deer, grumpy bears, neurotic dinosaurs, and put that into the game. It’s great fun and I love being able to create all these amazing scenarios from scratch.
What is your favourite moment in the game so far?
I think the rush attack from the deer. I’ve not released any images of it yet, but it’s a thing of beauty and I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I saw the AI bust it out during an attack.
What’s the dream? Where are you headed next?
The dream would be that FIST OF AWESOME does well enough that making indie games becomes my main source of income. I’ve started a company called ‘I Fight Bears’ in preparation, if nothing else it’s going to lead to some great business cards.
What two pieces of advice would you give to someone wanting to get into independent game dev?
Make a simple game and release it. It doesn’t matter if the game is rubbish, the experience you gain from the process more than makes up for it. Repeat that until you’re good.
Also, grow a beard. It’s a bit harder for girls, but people take you much more seriously when you have a beard.
Even though we cannot see your beard across the internet, we are now taking you much more seriously. Best of luck with the launch!