Behind the Scenes: A Q&A With Colin Day of Spellbind Studios

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Questions by Dustin Murphy and Answers Provided by Colin Day

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Today will be the first day of the new series we’ve decided to do, which is called “Behind the Scene” where we will sit down or even go through emails, Skype chats, Google Hangouts, or even messaging services with developers. This new line of articles will allow us to get a better feel for the developers, their games, practices, and even let you get to know the men and women behind the scenes. In recent news we have covered Rogue Wizards being developed by Colin Day and those at Spellbind Studios, which has given us a rather amazing title that has managed to succeed their Kickstarter goals in order to help the game move onto further progression and development.

With this, I recently reached out to Colin Day and asked if he would mind sitting down and taking some time out of his development time, personal life, and or even just to burn some time in order to answer a few questions for this new article segment. For this portion, Colin’s responses will be listed as CD to better provide an easier understanding of statements and questions!

DM: Colin, I remember when I first got in touch with you because of the PR team you worked with called OnePR studio, which was an amazing thing to see. When your Kickstarter hit the scene, I quickly took note on how much passion that was demonstrated during the Kickstarter campaign. Because of that I noticed you truly took a lot of enjoyment in what you are doing. To give the readers that will be reading our interview, what inspired you to become a game developer or even a gamer? What game(s) got you started in the industry?

CD: Video games have been in my life for just about as long as I can remember.  The first game I played when I was around 6 years old was Pong, which my Dad brought home and hooked up to our television in the living room… to me it was pure magic in a tiny plastic blue box.  I of course kept playing games through the years on all sorts of systems, but it wasn’t until high school that I seriously started thinking about creating games.  Back in those days my good friend Mallory and I would come home from school, rip through our homework, and then start digging through a book on the C++ programming language.  The goal back then was to learn enough programming to build an RPG we had in our heads; that game never saw the light of day, but it served as inspiration to keep learning.  Fast forward a couple of years into college I was studying computer science at Colorado State University, but was spending most of my free time coding up a role playing game demo I called “Insurrection”.  When I finished school it was that game demo that landed me my first job in my college town of Fort Collins, Colorado working with Mike Booth (who later went on to create Left 4 Dead) on a game on a game called Nox.  The team was moved out to California and I’ve been working professionally on video games ever since.

DM: With the games or reasons behind becoming a developer, I know the journey to join the gaming industry is a huge leap, and a scary one at first. What is something that you really feel was the key to your success into becoming a game developer? Was there a game that has really inspired you to do what you have done with your current or past projects?

CD: Like I said, writing that game on my own and being able to show that to people is what got me into the industry.  When I was writing it I wasn’t thinking that I can use this to get a job in the game industry; I was just some dude who was writing a role playing game because it was fun and maybe one day somebody will play it.  In the years that followed I went on to do programming on triple-a games including Nox, Command & Conquer: Generals, Diablo III, Hellgate: London, and Marvel Heroes, but these days I’m working on my own independent project called Rogue Wizards.  It’s funny, these days I feel most like I did when I was back in college writing that little role playing game; just some dude at home making a game because it’s fun and I want people to one day play it.  The difference today is that I have 20 years of experience creating professionally them so I can tackle a little bit bigger of a project on my own.

DM: I know I just popped a few game questions about you and that’s something that was bound to happen. What do you enjoy doing outside of gaming or what are some of your hobbies?

CD: I’m big into electronic music and love to get out and dance to it as well as produce tracks at home using Ableton Live under the alias Sol Voyager (http://soundcloud.com/solvoyager).  I live in the heart of San Francisco, so there are tons of clubs in the city and lots of parties all over Northern California; but I will also travel all over the world to week long outdoor psy-trance festivals, some of which occur at a one time location to coincide with a total solar eclipse such as on Easter Island or deep in the Australian outback.

DM: If gaming is part of your hobbies to pass time; what are some of your favorite games? Are you one to collect retro games or gaming novelties?

CD: I’m always casually playing something on my iPad, console, or desktop; I say it’s casually playing because I rarely finish them.  A lot of indie games are holding my attention the most these days like Darkest Dungeon, Chasm, Rogue Legacy, Star Command.  Most recently I’ve been obsessed with Geometry Wars: Dimensions on the PS4 which I did actually finish the other day, they better be creating some new levels I can download for that one!

DM: Are you one to hunt down hard to find games? If so, what are some of your favorite games or greatest finds that you’ve accomplished finding?

CD: I don’t collect physical games (or any media) anymore and have been in a download only mindset for games, music, and movies for several years now so rarity doesn’t come into play much in the digital world.  The only physical game stuff I decided to keep before are the cloth maps from all of the Ultima computer games, of which I have every one (2 though 9).  The Ultima series played a huge role in my interest in role playing games growing up and is one of the major reasons I’ve become a game developer today.  Speaking of which, when I was running the Rogue Wizards Kickstarter I was ecstatic to find out one day that Richard Garriott, the creator of the Ultima series, had backed the project and tweeted about it 🙂

DM: Personally, when I game, write, sketch, and or read a book I listen to a lot of music. What’s some tunes that you like to jam to or just chill with? Any of them that you suggest for us or the readers to check out? Personally, I find listening to Japanese rock or musical groups such as Audiomachine are rather calming to tune into.

CD: I spend most of my days coding, and I nearly always have music playing when I code.  I’m always either streaming Digitally Imported (http://di.fm) which has more electronica than you can shake a stick at or listening to a playlist I un-inspiringly call “Colin Radio”; which is just a playlist of the best of the best of any music I’ve encountered in my entire life across any genre from EDM to pop to death metal.

DM: As our readers know, you’re a games developer, is there music that you listen to just for when you are working? If so, who’s the band, group, or composure that inspires you?

CD:I do amateur music production as well and I have a lot of musical influences, but these days I’m having the most fun producing chill or downtempo stuff.  The two tracks I’ve created which I’m most proud of are a remix of “You Got To Go” (https://soundcloud.com/solvoyager/you-got-to-go-sol-voyager-remix) which I did for a Beatport remix contest and an original track called “Trust” (https://soundcloud.com/solvoyager/trust).

If you’re looking for some cool chill grooves, I highly recommend you check out Ott and Sphongle.

DM: What about the music helps inspire you do what you do? I know jamming to Audiomachine’s song Red Sorrow, it helps keep me focused and even is a bit of an inspiration. Definitely check them out if you get the chance.

CD: I think I find that there is a lot of commonality between music and programming.  They’re booth rooted in mathematics and contain a lot of patterns and layers of organization while at the same time also bringing emotion and a sort of elegance to their design and art.

DM: On the note of Rogue Wizards, which I want to say congratulations again on passing your Kickstarter goals, how has progress with it gone since the last video update that was sent out? Has it begun to really feel like a game that fans will definitely become hooked on?

CD: Rogue Wizards is still in alpha so we’ve still got a long time until it’s ready for release.  Since the Kickstarter I’ve been pushing on game systems like attributes, sockets, enemy varieties and I’ve been having Alex draw new art for the Spellbook and lots of tower structures like the material generators, altars, and vault.  The community is not yet playing the game because I expect the alpha will be ready around the fall of 2015, but we are interacting already on the forums which has been really awesome.

DM: I personally know from covering it, the game has definitely shown its unique spin on dungeon crawlers, and top down scrollers, what so far has been your biggest inspiration to make this game as unique as it is? I know the character models were amazing when I saw them. Great job on that to everyone involved.

CD: Rogue Wizards is obviously inspired by many of the rogue-like games that have come before it, but when I started the project I was particularly inspired by Dungeons of Dredmore (Mac) and Sword of Fargoal Legends (iOS).  I really wanted to create a fun, light-hearted, but deep role playing game that was designed to be played on either a desktop and on a tablet.

DM: I know the last update we saw was about the Battlemage class. Has there since been any new classes added or any new elements we can look forwards to seeing added in with a video update in the near future? If not, what gaming events can our readers go to in order to experience Rogue Wizards if they haven’t had a chance with the pre-alpha.

CD: The last couple of months have have been mostly improving subtle gameplay systems as well as adding in art content for the tower mode.  As I get further into this year I’ll be thinking about classes and if there is a way to split up the hero into other viable classes or if keeping them all as one is the way to to.  The next big visual things that fans will be able to see is the addition of NPCs and about 10 new monsters.  Alex has just begun sketching out the NPCs this week and after that he’ll start into the monster concepts … they’ll be a lot of fun after they’re animated in a couple of months.

DM: Colin, I know I’ve asked you some rather random questions, which is something almost typical of me, but I do want to ask this last one for our readers: Is there a way that our readers can go online and experience Rogue Wizards? If so, what can they expect out of it so far? Before you go; I want to thank you for taking your time for answering our questions, but also the chance we’ve had in covering your game as far as we’ve had to this date. We look forward to hearing more about it in the future and we want to wish you luck with it and your future works!

CD: Rogue Wizards doesn’t have a public demo that you can play just yet, but if you sign up for the mailing list you’ll be the first to know when they alpha and beta programs go online.  Just visit www.RogueWizards.com to pre-order the game, sign up for the mailing list, and chat with me and the other fans in the community forums.

There you have it folks! A behind the scenes look with indie developer Colin Day of Spellbind Studios who has the working project mentioned above called Rogue Wizards, which has remained astonishingly fun to look at, and highly anticipated to play! Stay tuned for future updates regarding the title! We also want to congratulate Rogue Wizards for being one of this years winners for GDC’s Best in Play of 2015. If you just happen to be at GDC this year, you can find them on the expo floor at Both PL400. Their times are as follows below:

  • Wednesday March 4th: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Thursday March 5th: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Friday March 6th: 10:00am – 3:00pm

So go by the booth, say hi, and try out Rogue Wizards!


About the Writer:

Dustin_BATGRDustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

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