Available: November 2003.
Developer: Lazy Reptile Studios
Publisher: Lazy Reptile Studios

Interview by: Dennis S.

Twitch is a power-up based combat game with simplified play mechanics meant to appeal to the casual gamer and hard-core gamer alike. Twitch is a fast-paced 3D thrill-ride designed for the action junkie who loves to fight the clock. It begs the question: can you do it? Read on for our interview with Rob Armstrong, President and CEO of Lazy Reptile Studios LLC about the game and his company. And check out some exclusive screens, taken from all the levels of the game.

Please introduce yourself and the company you work for.

Currently, I am an independent developer and publisher. I founded Lazy Reptile Studios a few months ago to promote and publish Twitch, a project that has been two years in the making.

For many years prior to founding the company, I was in the insurance, finance and radio industry, and it was not until about two years ago that I decided to make the leap into game development. I am self taught, and have spent numerous hours just pounding away at the raw code until I figured out how to make my dream come true and bring Twitch to life.

Tell us some more about Lazy Reptile Studios. How and when was it founded, what's your goal in the industry, and what are your plans for the future?

Lazy Reptile Studios represents just one of the many burgeoning independent game developers/publishers that have come on to the scene in the last few years as a result of the growth in broadband access and the commercial viabilty of the web. As the quality of 3rd party game engines available to independent developers has improved, many new companies are able to produce games that cater to a niche audience without having to invest large sums of money to produce a game that attracts large commercial publishers.

Lazy Reptile Studios, like most other independent game companies, wants to make good fun games. We make games that are different than what you can buy off the shelf. We want to be a new voice. Who wants the same game over and over, just with different graphics.

Our goal is to a niche player. Have fun making games, of course. We hope to expand our line of games into other genres in the years to come. At some point, we hope to serve as a publisher for games outside of our own studio. Currently, we plan to just publish our games over the web. We feel that ultimately this is the way all games will be distributed. Retail games from stores are just too darn expensive. Why pay for Walmart’s overhead costs?

Please introduce Twitch to our readers.

Twitch is a power-up based combat game with simplified play mechanics meant to appeal to the casual gamer and hard-core gamer alike. Twitch is a fast-paced 3D thrill-ride designed for the action junkie who loves to fight the clock. It begs the question: can you do it? The goal of Twitch is to capture 4 globes in 4 minutes, finding extra weapons, power-ups, and score balls along the way. Watch your health and shield, but the clock most of all. You only live once, but you can die many ways.

Our website, www.lazyreptile.com, has lots of great info and screenshots of the game.

Which games have inspired you to make Twitch?

Doom, Quake, Unreal, Half-Life and Pac-Man

What kind of audience are you targeting with Twitch?

People with short attention spans and the need for constant action. I personally dislike having to read a thick game manual and invest hours of time before I can be half-way decent at a game. I love games that allow you to jump right into things. We hope that Twitch is a fun little joyride before we all buy Half-Life 2 and Doom 3.

How many kinds of enemies exist in game? Do they have different abilities and characteristics?

Twitch has ten different types of enemies/traps. Each is designed to have a certain attack abilty which requires the player to learn certain skills to survive and thrive. The most important thing to remember is keep your head before jumping into the action.

Are there any plans for multiplayer support or does the full version feature that?

No multiplayer expansion is planned. This is a SOLO experience. There are plenty of great fragfests on the web right now to keep you busy at night.

Weapons in demo seem really nice. What's your personal favourite weapon?

I like the blade gun. You can nail multiple enemies in a crowded room with just one shot.

Give us some characteristics of the game engine.

Game engine is very user friendly on the developer side. Great developer community. Check out this link for more details if you are interested. http://www.conitec.net/a4info.htm

Are you planing on any addons or sequels for Twitch? Are there any other projects in works?

Based on the reception that we are getting on the game, we hope to launch an add-on pac with five levels for Twitch. Just looking to find the time to do it.

The team is thinking about doing Twitch 2 in a year or two. Right now we are starting to work on a real-world military FPS shooter that has everyone excited.

Being an independent developer is no easy task, but it's one that is rewarding at the same time. Do you have anything to say to all the would-be indie developers out there?

Things that I have learned:

1)Don’t be over ambitous. Stay focused on producing quality.
2)Make a timeline for completion and stick to it.
3)Debug. Debug. Debug. Fix a problem as soon as you see it.
4)Game test it to death.
5)Don’t start to sell your product until it is ready.
6)In the end it’s YOUR game. Build something you would like to play.
7)Enjoy being an indie developer. Big publishers are drones.

Closing: is there anything else you'd like to add that we didn't cover yet?

I think it is important for your readers to support indie-developers by trying our demos and buying our games. There are many indie games out there that are worth playing. The web is beginning to make it a level playing field with the big-time publishers. Indie-developers are the source of many great game ideas. We hope that you enjoy playing Twitch.