Old School Gamer Magazine chats with game developer Andreas “Dre” Mavromatis, who discusses the creative process, influences and development cycle of “Billion Beat.”Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born? Andreas “Dre” Mavromatis: I was sure that I was going to spend my life making video games since I was 4 years old. It was just a matter of time. I went with Billion Beat because it’s the perfect overlap between everything it needs to be: proven gameplay, it’s in a genre that’s very sparse so it’ll stand out, and it’s feasible for one person to make a game like this in a reasonable amount of time. It’s easy to program so I could focus on making the fights and humor engaging instead of spending 2 years on the technical stuff. Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game? Mavromatis: I did everything except most of the music. I didn’t make the engine, either, this game is made in Unity. I funded everything by myself, as well.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?
Mavromatis: Time-consuming. I’m able to put in 50-60 hours a week when I’ve got money saved up, but then every other year or so I need to get a 40-hour day-job and can only manage putting 20 hours a week towards Billion Beat.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Mavromatis: Honestly, everything. Yes, it’s fundamentally similar to Super Punch-Out!!, but there are precious few games like that. Its setting is like
nothing else on the market, as is its overall vibe and style. It has several gameplay innovations never before seen in this type of game and is guaranteed to be bursting at the seams with personality. As an indie game that’s also self-funded, Billion Beat has extremely raunchy humor that a corporation or more cowardly developer would never in a million (billion) years put in their game. Ain’t no thang like a Dronami game!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Mavromatis: Super Punch-Out!!
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Mavromatis: I got a serious computer virus at once point that encrypted all my hard drives. Luckily I had backed up my game through multiple means so I only lost a day or so of work. It could’ve been way worse, though.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Mavromatis: Everything takes way longer than you think it will. Menus might seem trivial but even those can take a while.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Mavromatis: Well, it’s important to take classic, proven mechanics and then attempt to improve on them. I see too many games that actually dumb down old-school mechanics which is the wrong direction to go towards, in my opinion. For example, Billion Beat has a ton of gameplay mechanics not found in any Punch-Out!! game because innovation is extremely important to Dronami games.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Mavromatis: All of them were great. I’m not joking when I say the most valuable experiences are failing repeatedly. That’s when I really had to focus and show what I was made of. So, beating all sorts of very difficult games has always been the most satisfying to me. Probably the earliest game I really just forced myself to beat was Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage on SNES. The local video store had it and like ten other games so I rented it a hundred times as a kid. One day I just decided I was going to beat it and sat down and kept trying again and again even though it’s a really hard game and you get sent back to the beginning if you run out of continues. It’s a really sweet game, though.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped this game?
Mavromatis: I have a Computer Science degree, so I know how to code. However, note that the games I make de-emphasize the technical aspects to focus on gameplay instead. I specifically designed Billion Beat to require as little coding or graphics work as possible because games are about GAMEplay to me. All the art stuff is self-taught. The most important traits for indie development are hard work and perseverance, in my opinion.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Mavromatis: Fun and funny. I hope players remember overcoming adversity to gain enough skill to beat it while having some laughs along the way.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Mavromatis: Finishing up Billion Beat (it’s still in Early Access.) Then, another game. Then another one, etc. I’ll probably die at some point but until then look forward to as many high-quality games as I can manage.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Mavromatis: Play my game! It’s only $8 (with an initial discount for $6) and even if you’re not familiar with this type of game, it’s specifically designed to do everything in its power to teach and help new players to win. Even if the gameplay doesn’t click with you, I’m confident you’ll laugh a few times at least.