Nathan Hurde talks PawByte’s indie game “Fields of Fresh”

NES X Kickstarter is proud to bring to you another Kickstarter that deserves your attention. Though farming games have traditionally been either very niche, casual fare, or gussied up dating sims, Nathan Hurde of PawByte believes the genre can aspire to something more. Hurde is hoping to distinguish his game from the rest by focusing squarely on narrative and character development within the realm of farming. What more, it’s a 2D side-scroller! With less than 2 weeks left until the Kickstarter expires, Pawbyte is hoping to raise the last bit of their target goal in order to get their vision off the ground. Read more about the game in our exclusive interview below and be sure to check out the game’s Kickstarter page.


 

1. Hello. Before we start talking about your game, could you give us a bit of your own history? How long have you been making games and how did Pawbyte come about?

That is a good question. About 5 years ago, I started Googling about my passion and dreams, which is creating video games. I found this awesome tool and program called GameMaker.  I made small games and fan-games just to test my skills. I then became obsessed with Game Development and the Indie Gaming scene. I even began to write my own “online magazines” to help other game developers. It has been a great journey from GameMaker to Java and C++. Some of the best times in my life are when I’m eating in front of the computer and coding and researching things for games.  Over time I started PawByte as the studio through which I and many others can develop good experience for people.

 

2. Farming games have been around for decades but it is not a very saturated genre.  What inspired you and other members at Pawbyte to create an RPG centered around farming? Could you tell us a little bit about how you developed the concept for Fields of Fresh?

What I saw about the genre was the missing of the story element. I believe Harvest Moon does well in trying to balance management and story, but we wanted to go a different route of doing this. We wanted to give people the feel of a story that they get when they play their favorite televised drama. The concept of Fields of Fresh was drafted to give players someone to relate to if placed in the shoes of a farmer with an emphasis on capitalism in the 21st century. I know that when I get my groceries, there aren’t thousands of Big Farming businesses out there in the United States and the reason is because of the tough competition in the field. If we are able to give gamers a taste of how brutal this competition may be in a fun way, I think our job will be done.

 

3. When most people think of farming games, they think of Harvest Moon or Farmville. However, those games generally tend to be top-down three dimensional games whereas Fields of Fresh appears to be played on a two dimensional plane. How does the gameplay in Fields of Fresh further differentiate itself from other well known farming games?

Yes, the choice to make Fields of Fresh a side-scrolling view was made because we’re tired of the same view being used over and over again in this genre. The main element we’re adding to differentiate from other people is to power of the storyline influencing everything in the game. I know people like to relax when they play farming games, but  we plan to keep you on your toes throughout every second.

 

4.Your Kickstarter page promises that the characters in your game will have rich stories and lives. So far, you’ve talked mostly about Jezebel who appears to be one of the antagonists in Fields of Fresh. Could you tell us a bit more about other characters you might encounter in the game and we’d be playing as?

Due to there being so many characters in the game I will only talk about two for now.  Zambna is Mark’s ex-girlfriend that still has feelings for him. She comes up in the player’s motives for how he runs his farm since she does not approve of Mark running the farm. They had a rough-breakup with Mark texting her to end the relationship that lasted for 2 years. Another character I will like to talk about is Simon Seed. He is the grandfather of Mark. He has experience with running a farm even during the Cold War years. I hope that when you play Fields of Fresh you will somehow equate him with being the Chuck Norris of the Fields of Fresh universe.

 

5. Currently Fields of Fresh has not yet been fully funded and is attempting to raise $1000 through Kickstarter. More than two-thirds of your goal has already been met with plenty of time to go, indicating there is definitely interest out there for Fields of Fresh. Once your project is properly funded, what is the next step in the development process? How much more work is required for the game’s completion?

I’m shocked at the numbers too. I will like to thank gamers from all over for their support. Next in the development process is to finish coding the cut-scene systems as well as the graphics needed to give the game the graphics it deserves. Another part we have to finish doing is voice-acting of each character. We plan to get a Beta out by December, but we made sure we set the Final Deadline for a completed game to June. I don’t plan on breaking the game release’s deadline. I don’t know the future, but I believe we’re well along on our way to completing the game before June 2013.

 

6.Does PawByte have any idea for stretch goals that might be undertaken if you exceed your initial requested amount in funding?

I haven’t even thought about posting such a stretch goal, until after we reached 100% funding. Nevertheless, since you asked, I will like to mention that we will love to get multiplayer on Fields of Fresh to work. Another thing that we would love to do with stretch-money is to fund better music and additional art to make the game become even more alive.

 

7. How do you plan to distribute Fields of Fresh once it is completed? What platforms will the game support?

The initial distribution of Fields of Fresh will be via digital downloads of the game. Physical copies will cost more since we do not have a factory to produce them. On release date we plan to support Linux, Mac and Windows. OpenPandora is supposed to be a charm to port to, so we will work with other developers to help make sure that process is easy. Many people are asking about the OUYA, and I will have to say that there is no guarantee that this game will port to the OUYA.

 

8. Thank you again for talking to us about your game. Before we end this piece, is there anything else you’d like to say to the gaming community about Fields of Fresh or Pawbyte?

Well, I will like to say thank you to every gamer out there for being a gamer. Also to those game developers out there, stay the course? Games provide so many opportunities to build friendships, explore terrain that other media cannot and fun to so many people.  It is already good to think ahead too. We should live from day to day, but I hear that many people perish from a lack of vision. The vision of PawByte is to eventually make a next-generation console and we’re already working to make it happen. For those interested in the next-generation console we’re designing (different from OUYA) you can check us out at nextgen.pawbyte.com. It will be wise to sign up for the mailing list, as we send out updates primarily through there, since we’re trying to keep things under the surface.  Thank you again for taking the time to interview me. I look forward to all that the gaming industry will experience the remainder of this year and the future to come.


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