Old School Gamer chats with Branden Sloane (Co-Founder & CEO, zugalu) about his awesome retro-inspired Shoot-Em-Up, “Technolites’” which is currently looking for funds via Kickstarter. Discussing the development process and goals for the game, Spokane lets us know why the frenetic action in the game is only one part of the Magic.

Old School Gamer Magazine: How was Technolites born?

Branden Sloane: Technolites was born from our love of early shmups and side-scrollers such as Raptor: Call of the Shadows and Gradius. We always wanted to build our own ships – and we felt the genre needed a good story-driven campaign.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?

Sloane: No other shoot ‘em up has put in a shipbuilder that’s nearly as customizable as what we have built for Technolites – with a fully animated (and engaging) story, no less. For example, the animated story is almost 30 minutes long. That’s the average length of a full cartoon episode!

Old School Gamer Magazine: What games from the past have influenced Technolites?

Sloane: Gradius, Kerbal Space Program, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Skyforce, and Asteroids.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What did you learn during the development process?

Sloane: We learned how to make each weapon and ship part feel like they have a unique purpose, how to create a story and dialogue between five characters over 20 levels – and that getting the word out about your game (to the people who would be interested in it!) is the hardest challenge of them all.

Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories?

Sloane: A few bugs have graduated to features. When the player died and the ship exploded, there was a bug that removed those parts from the shipbuilder menu so that the player was forced to buy and select all parts from scratch. It turned out to be a perfect fit for Hardcore mode (tip: don’t die!). Recording the voices for the animated cutscenes was a great experience; it was a real thrill hearing the voices exactly how we imagined them in our heads!

Old School Gamer Magazine: Bottom line: Why must someone play it?

Sloane: If you like a story-driven campaign with cutscenes, action and the ability to build your own ship, Technolites is the game for you.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this Kickstarter special?

Sloane: For starters, we’re very passionate about the project. Technolites is our dream game – period. When we started development, there were a lot of features we wanted to add; due to budget and time constraints, we had to leave them on the cutting room floor – which is why we came to Kickstarter in the first place! If the campaign is not successful, the game will still get made – but it will take longer and ship without some of the cool features detailed in the Kickstarter campaign. Coming from a small indie studio, we’re grateful that we’re given the opportunity to do what we love: making games.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?

Sloane: Completing Technolites, then traveling to game conferences to show it off: GDC, Calgary Expo, Tokyo Game Show, and the Nordic Game Conference!


Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the upcoming book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.

Patrick Hickey Jr. Patrick Hickey Jr. (326 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of ReviewFix.com and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His book series, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the late-Examiner.com