In this 30lives exclusive interview, I had the pleasure of talking to another Indie game developer, Radiant Entertainment. It was founded by twin brothers Tom and Tony Cannon about 18 months ago because they share an ambition and passion of writing video games. They have a respectable amount of experience in the coding field, having worked for companies in Silicon Valley for quite awhile before founding their own company.
Their first game, Stonehearth made huge waves on Kickstarter and has been successfully funded, earning a whopping $751,920 of its $120,000 goal. This interview was conducted weeks ago and it’s only now that I have finished transcribing this particular conversation due to other numerous interviews I conducted during the busy month of May! It was well worth it.
30: Nice to meet you Tom!
Hey there! It’s nice to talk with you! This is our first game and we’re very excited! Tony isn’t around for now so I’ll be your guy today!
Your job in the game is to guide a little band of settlers as they survive and build a city in a fantasy world. Along the way you’ll design and build shelter, build farms, and defend your town from invaders.
30: What games inspired or influenced in creating Stonehearth?
The look is definitely inspired by classics of the SNES and PS1 era like the Zelda games and ChronoTrigger. Our combat and class system is inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics. The overall gameplay is definitely inspired by the old Maxis simulation games like Sim City, and by Dwarf Fortress.
30: What does Stonehearth have that stands out compared to other games?
Definitely a very large focus on moddabilty, certainly. We’re building the game to be moddable top to bottom. So if you want to add a sword or a new monster or a new kind of gameplay, you can totally do that. For some of these things you’ll need to code in LUA, but just adding a new item or customizing the look of your settlers will be pretty easy.
Other than that, Stonehearth will have a unique mix of RPG and sandbox features. Usually in a sandbox game it’s all about just exploring the rules of the world, but we want to add some of the story elements that you would find in an RPG.
Well, let’s say NPCs will come to your town and you’ll need to decide… how you’re going to interact with them? Will you form an alliance, or maybe steal from them?
30: I’m so ecstatic to see that the Kickstarter campaign has gone to the stratosphere, with already DOUBLE the pledge goal amount and with a LARGE window of 21 days to spare! It’s a staggering feat! (Author’s note: this question was asked weeks ago, the campaign was successfully funded)
We’re really thrilled, but also humbled, by the results of the Kickstarter! The biggest thing for us is that we’re happy so many other people like the idea for the game. We asked for advice from everyone we could find who had done a Kickstarter. They consistently told us that we needed to show the game, but that we also needed to tell our personal story.
So we spent a lot of time thinking about how to talk about the game but also about the journey we’ve been on for the past 18 months, and why we want to continue to make the game.
30: I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I have identical twin cousins myself and I must say the only thing they share is physical appearance. They are totally different people!
Hahaha yeah, I agree with your take on twins!
Although Tony and I can both code, you’re right, other than that we have pretty different skills, and Tony is a stronger coder than me. So I do all of the art, and Tony writes 98% of the code.
30: I am humbled by your acknowledgment of your brother’s strength over yours. I find you very respectable.
Why thank you! We both contribute equally to the game design though!
30: It seems that Stonehearth will support only PC, Mac and Linux. How about console versions?
Yes, it’s true we’ve only announced for PC, Mac, and Linux for now. We know PC gaming the best, so we want to focus there first and put out a really great game. Other platforms aren’t out of the question, but our focus is PC first.
30: Do you have any other games in development? Any plans for the future?
Like all gamers, we have lots of ideas, but at this point that’s all those are. It’s all about Stonehearth right now.
Oh, right! Well, we’ve been hard-core fighting game players and fans since Street Fighter II. Shoryuken.com is my site, which focuses on fighting game news and strategy. Together along with our partner Joey Cuellar we also run Evo, an annual fighting game tournament in Las Vegas which gets over 5000 players every year. This is all stuff that we just put together over the last 20 years because we really love fighting games and want to support them.
30: Do they have any connection to Stonehearth?
There’s no connection between that stuff and Stonehearth. With Stonehearth we’re putting the fighting game stuff to the side for a bit and focusing on our other passions.
30: This is something I ask all my interviewees. What’s your opinion regarding 1st day DLC and DRM?
DRM is a losing game. You’re not going to stop a motivated pirate. In fact sometimes they will look at your DRM as a challenge and you’ll just motivate them more! Even worse, DRM inconveniences your paying customers. We’re just focused on making a great game that people won’t mind paying for because they’re getting a lot of enjoyment out of playing.
30: Let’s conclude this interview with one last question: what do you feel about piracy and its repercussions?
I haven’t even shipped a game yet, so I don’t really feel like my opinion on big topics like these have any weight. I can only tell you how we will deal with issues like piracy in our games. From our point of view, we’re focused 100% on making terrific games and putting them in the hands of our customers. If we do that, then I think we will be successful and have a great future.
The Stonehearth Kickstarter campaign may be over, but you can still pledge and donate over Paypal!