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We interview solo dev hero Alessandro Guzzo about The Alien Cube, which launches on Thursday. Get game dev advice and find out how you can win a copy!
The Alien Cube is a Lovecraftian “cosmic first-person horror adventure” from solo developer Alessandro Guzzo and is set to launch this Thursday! In the game, you play Arthur, a lonely man whose life will change drastically after his uncle Edgar disappears and strange events occur. Tormented by nightmarish visions, you will need to embark on a journey to seek out the truth about what happened to Edgar and the occult world he was involved in and survive the darkness that haunts you too.
You can wishlist the game ahead of its release and download a free demo by visiting Steam. And you can win a copy of The Alien Cube by playing the demo, or by tuning in as we stream the game on the official CRYENGINE Twitch channel tomorrow at 17:00 CEST and answering the following question:
What mysterious object did Edgar find amongst the ruins of the old family house?
As we celebrate launch week for The Alien Cube, we caught up with Alessandro to learn more about the game and his advice for indie game developers.
Congrats on the upcoming launch Alessandro! Can you tell us a bit more about the game?
The Alien Cube is a cosmic first-person horror adventure inspired by Lovecraft’s stories and is a spiritual successor to my first game, The Land of Pain. It is a step forward from The Land of Pain in many aspects, such as more environments, better gameplay, improved graphics, and so on. There are many different locations to explore and investigate, from snowy forests to dark dungeons and otherworldly places. And survival will be a challenge. I also decided to hide some secrets to discover throughout the game for players who love exploring.
I'm proud of The Alien Cube. It is a game rich in story, atmosphere, and plenty of plot twists! I've been working on the game for a few years, and I am so excited to share it with the gaming community.
Where is the game set?
The game is set in many different locations from the late 1990s. The outdoor environments were inspired by the landscapes of Northern Italy near the Alps, where I was born. As a 90s kid myself, my childhood memories inspired much of the 90s feel to the game and specific elements in the game. For example, I loved my cassette player growing up, and one appears in the game as a way for the player to listen to some mysterious tapes that they find throughout the adventure.
I took inspiration not only from my memories, but literature also played an important role as well. When I discovered Lovecraft, I was fascinated by his works, particularly his short tales From Beyond and The Colour Out of Space. Another author I love is Edgar Allan Poe, and it is no coincidence that your uncle is called Edgar in the game.
You’ve already shipped one great game. How did that help the development process for The Alien Cube?
During the development of The Land of Pain, I learned how to use CRYENGINE in depth which helped me a lot with this new title, and I was able to create a more powerful experience. With The Land of Pain, I started from nothing. I learned and discovered new things every day. When I began The Alien Cube, I had more knowledge and experience, but I never stopped learning new things and discovering different methods and solutions to fit my workflow. Creating games is a very creative process. I think that it is important for a solo developer to be very flexible and try new things every day.
The engine features that I found most useful are Flowgraph and the Material Editor. Both of them are easy to understand, but at the same time, they are very powerful tools.
The CRYENGINE community has been very helpful, and the CRYENGINE technical support team helped me throughout the development. In particular, I want to thank Cry-Flare as he was very kind and helped me with some information about CRYENGINE code.
Releasing the demo was useful too. Since the demo came out, I’ve listened to feedback from players and constantly updated the game, sharing the improvements I made with the community. The game has really pushed on from the demo, with elements like the journal, which features drawings and hidden secrets being added.
What advice would you give to other indie developers?
The most important advice I can share is to be very flexible, both with your working methods and with your game project, as many things can change during development. You may have new goals, better ideas, or unexpected difficulties, so I think that being able to adapt and stay flexible is vital for making a successful game.
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