There’s some hard work going on still down near the bottom of our forum listings that often gets missed, one of these is the ongoing development work on Cricket Heroes by PlanetCricket member kurtkz. He took the time out to have a quick Q&A with me about what he’s doing with the game.
PC: What is Cricket Heroes?
Kurt: There is a very distinct idea of what it is *at the moment* and what I want it to be At the moment, it’s a simulation/arcade game – but in the future I hope to include complete management and career modes as well.
PC: When did you decide to start working on it and what sort of time has it taken?
Kurt: Uhm…if memory serves me correctly I started working on CH some time in 2008 (there were earlier prototypes). It’s been a bit of an uphill struggle for me as I work a regular 9-5, so I have limited time to work on the game – but I’m happy to announce that I’m more focused on this game and am putting in around 2-3hr daily now. I think I’ve managed to get more done in the last 3 months than I have in the last 2 years
PC: What do you hope to be able to achieve with the game? And how do you feel the reaction has been so far?
Kurt: I’ve been unhappy with the state of cricket games for some time now and, since my passions are cricket and programming, it was a bit of a no-brainer! I hope to give the community the most complete cricket game I possibly can. Games like Cricket Coach and International Cricket Captain handle the simulation/management aspects really well; yet others haven’t done justice to the arcade side. I hope to incorporate these modes into a coherent package that is accessible, challenging and (most importantly) fun.
PC: What tools and languages do you use to make it and how hard is the technical side of the game’s development?
Kurt: The game is being developed in C# (.NET 2) and uses OpenGL for graphics, NAudio for sound (which is missing in the current version) and SQLite as the database. I’ve developed other games before and am actually working on 2 other games currently, so I do have some kind of experience to work from. The biggest challenges I’m faced with are:
- UI <- I’m not artistically gifted. The UI needs a *drastic* overhall. This is in the pipeline, but I’ll probably only get to it in a month or two
- graphics <- Again, programmer art is my forte! The engine supports 3D models and I was lucky enough to find someone to do models for free (the models are gathering dust on my laptop), but I haven’t been able to find someone to animate them. I tried and failed dismally. Again, I’ll get around to this at some point, but I need to prioritise the game play fundamentals first.
- game formats <- There’s been so many changes in the shorter formats, that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Australia recently introduced split-innings ODIs and South Africa now allow supersubs in their domestic ODIs. Without a proper scripting language in place, all these formats need to be hardcoded.
Apart from the challenges above, development has been going fairly smoothly given the limited amount of free time I have. I felt a bit burned out early last year and took a break from development, but I’m back with a vengeance
PC: What games do you feel Cricket Heroes is competing against?
Kurt: At the moment, none CH isn’t in the same league just yet – but hopefully, with a new coat of paint and a fully working management mode, I’ll be able to compete with the heavy weights like:
- Cricket Coach / International Cricket Captain (simulation and management)
- EA Cricket / Cricket Revolution (arcade)
PC: And finally, how much is the finished game likely to cost and when do you think it will be ready?
Kurt: There will likely be 2 versions: a freeware version (with most of the features available currently) and a commercial version with extra features, a new UI and 3D graphics. The commercial version will likely only cost around $5-$10, although I might consider making it pay-what-you-want. That sales model seems to have become a little more viable as of late.
I’m a bit hesitant to mention a release date, but in all likelihood the commercial version will probably only be available closer to the end of the year. Hopefully by that time the game will have been polished enough to help me find sponsorship of some kind. Having said that, the freeware version is available right now and people can check out the on-going development of the game in the forums. I welcome constructive criticism and am always open to feature requests, so please do stop by.
I’d like to thank Kurt for his time, and recommend you all to visit the Cricket Heroes discussion thread and take a look at the ongoing work and try the game out for yourself.