To kick off a new series of interviews concerning Macintosh game development, Inside Mac Games has cornered Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel for a conversation about his take on the platform's current direction, how he continues to be successful in the face of growing competition, when we might expect Avadon: The Black Fortress, and more. A generous excerpt:
JC: Spiderweb started all the way back in 1994. What was your inspiration for creating RPG titles, and what keeps you going today?
JV: I've loved fantasy role-playing games, both paper and computer, for as long as I knew they existed. I started playing Dungeons & Dragons about thirty years ago, which seems like a crazy long time. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of making games for a living. When I was an unhappy grad student, I finally had the time and motivation to give it a try. Amazingly, people liked my work enough to pay for it. It was my childhood dream come true.
But working hard at anything for fifteen years can be tiring. These days, what keeps me going is the need for money to buy food for my children. Writing games is my job. A rewarding job that I have a real knack for, but it is work.
JC: As an Indie studio, how do you keep afloat in the progressively crowded game development market?
JV: To be honest, the market doesn't feel any more crowded to me that it did five, ten, or fifteen years ago. There have always been a ton of companies, making a ton of products.
What keeps me afloat is the fact that I have an under-serviced niche market. There aren't a lot of plot-heavy RPGs being made out there, and there are a fair number of people who really love games like that and will buy them. As long as those two circumstances continue (and I have every reason to believe that they will), it doesn't matter how crowded in the industry becomes. My little corner of it will treat me fine.
JC: You are currently working on Avadon: The Black Fortress. Why should RPG fans be excited about your latest project?
JV: Avadon: The Black Fortress is the first all-new game series from us in ten years. It has all new graphics, setting, game system, story, everything, and all the stuff I've learned over the last decade has gone into this game to make it as cool as possible. The setting and storyline are really neat, and the action is fun and full of strategy.
It will probably be out for the Mac in February, 2011, and it'll have a nice, big demo. Anyone who likes RPGs should definitely give it a look.