CHARLOTTETOWN – A year and a half ago, James O’Halloran set out to develop a multiplayer game that would combine the nostalgia of games he played growing up in the 90’s and the camaraderie that comes from playing multiplayer games with friends.
After wanting to get into game development for several years, O’Halloran first started developing “Miner Meltdown” when the company he was working for as a software developer went out of business. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to start his own game development studio, Mighty Pebble.
“[Miner Meltdown] is a 2D team-based multiplayer game. It’s designed to be played as a team of four against another team of four,” O’Halloran explains. “The idea of the game is you’re a miner in an underground mine and you and your team need to explore the mine and try and find gold. The more gold you find, the better guns you can get because then you ultimately just try and blow up the other team before they blow you up.”
Originally expecting to develop his first game for six months and then move onto the next one, O’Halloran soon found out that the process would take a lot longer than he thought. He says while the game was basically playable after four months, he found the last 10 per cent of development took up about half the time.
O’Halloran has continued to refine the game that was recently released as a paid beta in Steam Early Access. He says the game is less about story and more about the experience of playing a quick, constantly changing game with friends.
“It’s a new experience every time you play,” he says. “When I play games now, I like playing multiplayer games with my friends … [Miner Meltdown] is just sort of [its own] own little encapsulated experiences. It’s definitely hectic, the gameplay.”
O’Halloran expects Miner Meltdown to be completely finished in four to six months. It will then be marketed a bit more by Steam for exposure. He says he’ll continue to work on the game for eight months after the full release and continue support for the game for at least another year.
“After working on one game for such a long time, you don’t want to just sort of release it and then ditch it. You want to nurture the community and listen to what they want.”
O’Halloran says he has more ideas of games he wants to pursue when he’s finished with Miner Meltdown and plans to develop a team that would include another developer and an artist since Mighty Pebble currently consists of just him with artwork and music being outsourced. He says he wants to stay true to the concept of Miner Meltdown with future games.
“It’s not really about the story for me. It’s about the shared enjoyment that I’ll have with my friends. It’s a way for me to catch up with my friends while we’re all working together on this one thing. That’s why I want to keep making multiplayer games … It’s just a way for friends to laugh and have fun together. [That’s] what I was aiming for.”