Today I am excited to announce we begin a two part interview with Andrew and Cory Trese the men behind Space Traders RPG. Space Traders RPG has been out on Android for quite some time and recently was ported to iOS. If you enjoy turn-based strategy role playing games, then this is one to download.  We recently reviewed the game. This was one of the first games my son downloaded on his phone.

We cover a lot so lets dig into it.

(AT = Andrew Trese and CT = Cory Trese)

Q. Tell us a little about your company

[AT] Trese Brothers is an indie game shop formed by two brothers — Cory and Andrew — who have always made games together. We’ve always created pen-and-paper RPGs and war games together, and those skills, passions, worlds and systems have all successfully translated into the mobile gaming world. Our firs three game titles are all based on worlds, settings, and systems we created as pen-and-paper games.

Trese Brothers is very small — just two brothers working on our overtime to make games. Two things that stick out to me are that we need to be very well organized and that we have to share tasks. For three games and another one in development, we have to run a really tight ship to keep up. So, we apply a classic software design methodology — namely agile development — to structure our weekly task lists and t make sure we are achieving the levels of progress we want. And then, we share tasks endlessly. Both Cory and I are software engineers, I do all of the art, and we share the marketing, administration, and other tasks of the business as needed. That part comes from agile as well, anyone on the team can “pick up” a task that needs to get done.

We are a very small company, but that is how we keep our pace!

Q. How did you come up with the idea of Star Traders?

[CT] The original idea for the Star Traders setting comes from a pen and paper RPG Andrew and I created. The original inspiration for the Star Trader’s difficulty and standbox style came from classic SNES RPG and mid-1990s Mac games like “Escape Velocity.” The ideas that would form the core of the game play came out of long discussions about at turn at a time games could mesh well with touch screens and mobile game play.

Star Traders was designed and developed during a time of great experimentation for Andrew and I — we had nothing to lose building a mobile game so we built something we enjoyed playing — because it was nostalgic, because it was hard, because you could play for 30 seconds or 3 hours at a time.

Q. What is the key difference between the different versions?

[CT] The Elite version is designed as a game changer for players who want a bigger challenge and more content. The biggest, and most immediately obvious change is the size of the map. Elite increases the size of the map from 676 sectors to 2,700 and doubles the size of the galactic economy meaning bigger payments, more resources and bigger shipyards. The map, hundreds of additional ships and planets and access to Elite only unlockable content (upgrades, officers, awards) make the one time price of Elite pretty tempting for people who love retro RPGs.

Q. I see that you have ported your games to iOS, are there any major difference between the Android and iOS versions?

[CT] Both the iOS and Android versions are developing along the same road map, however the Android version had a bit of a head start. Right now there are no major features that differentiate the two versions but the iOS edition has some catching up to do still in minor features and polish. Future releases of the games may include market specific features if that is what players ultimately request.

The iOS version does have some potential future features that would set it apart from the Android edition. For Andrew and I the port represented a chance to improve some of the basic elements of the Star Traders RPG game engine, including the difficulty system. The iOS version will eventually have a custom difficulty builder like Cyber Knights that allows the player the customize each individual difficulty setting.

Q. Did you have a hard time porting your game to iOS? Why don’t more developers do this?

[AT] Unless you started with a multi-platform game engine — and I recommend you do! — its a ton of work. It’s a completely new language, its an all new interface layer, the graphic requirements are different. It’s a lot of work! What you do see is a lot of big companies porting across the platforms, but more from iOS to Android as a second thought than the other way around. Android is ideal for an indie developer because the bar is so low to get on the platform and to get you game in front of people — its perfect. It also helps that there are a lot of indie or retro games on Android, so you can fit right in with a game that has lower-end graphics. I am not sure iOS has that same welcoming feel to aspiring indies.


Larry: Ok that is the end of part one. Stay tuned, tomorrow we get into their new game and what the future holds for the Trese Brothers.

Markets: Google Play, iTunes