Having surfaced on Kickstarter last month, Rail Theory is a science-fiction survival horror made in very much the same vein as modern survival horror classics like Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space; only with its own unique twist on things. What makes Rail Theory stand out is its intuitive combat system and RPG elements, such as the facility to improve the character with increased stats, health, and weapons, answering gripes that I have personally had with many survival horror games that primarily focus on storytelling and over-emphasis on the horror aspect rather than providing players with fulfilling gameplay in addition to all the scares. Eager to find out more about this title, I sent a few questions to Tryconic Studio’s Kurt Gantz to be answered for yet another Q&A interview. Here were his responses:
What were the influences behind your game?
I would definitely say Resident Evil 4 is a strong influence on Rail Theory. The combat and gameplay of Resident Evil 4 were very satisfying and memorable. We also drew inspiration from the level design of Dark Souls. The sort of branching linear segments that reconnect make for a very satisfying exploration.
What has the developmental process been like?
The development process has been entirely a learning process. We created the demo for Rail Theory as hobbyists to get as much practice as we could as game developers. We went through about five different iterations of the demo, each representing a major improvement in quality. A lot of this was redoing systems and mechanics once we found better ways to implement them.
How close are we to seeing the finished product?
The demo was made so we could get as much development experience as possible while also showing a proof of concept. We would begin developing Rail Theory from scratch if the funding goal is met, so we are a bit far from the finished product.
What has been the most exciting aspect of development?
Definitely seeing the demo come together with just my brother and I working on it. We each had a lot of responsibilities for the demo, so seeing everything come together for the 5th and final build was very exciting.
What has been the most challenging aspect of development?
This also comes back to having just two people working on the game. We each have a lot of responsibilities and skills that we needed to practice to get to a level we were comfortable with, but it also felt very rewarding.
How well has the game been received so far?
After watching several playthroughs on YouTube, we’re happy to say that the game is being received very well. People are enjoying the combat reminiscent of Resident Evil 4, as well as the other mechanics we’ve implemented. We’ve also received great feedback on what needs to be improved in the game in the future.
Rail theory also seems to have a strong survival horror feel to it. What were the influences behind the enemy designs?
Rail Theory definitely has a lot of survival horror elements, especially the demo. The enemy designs didn’t actually have any specific influences. We played around with several different concepts and implemented them into the demo to see how they felt in the game world. These include the crystalline enemies, the toxic and fire enemies, and the larger boss enemy.
What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?
We would definitely want to bring the game to steam. We would also like to work towards releasing the game on consoles.
Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?
Choosing a project and sticking to it is the best way to learn in my experience. Watch tutorials and learn about your game engine of choice, then apply that knowledge to your project. Just watching a tutorial for something won’t cement it in your head like actually applying it to your project and seeing it work will.
Also be persistent. Try to work on the project a few days a week, even if only for half an hour or so. And don’t be afraid to redo something in your project if find a better way to do it. It will improve your skills and help when you are developing new systems for your project.
Us starting out making a 3rd person shooter with no development experience had a very steep learning curve, but the amount of practice and learning we got by making the demo made it well worth the effort. Just be persistent and always keep improving your skill sets.
Where about on the Internet can people find you?
We can be found at www.railtheory.com
Also at www.twitter.com/railtheory
Do you have anything else to add?
Thanks for having us, and thank you for reading!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kurt for taking part in my Q&A about this unique-looking game, and to wish him and everyone else at Tryconic Studios the best of luck with the project. If anyone reading would like to back Rail Theory on Kickstarter, you can o so via the link below:
Scouse Gamer 88