Interview with Andrew Spinks, Designer behind Terraria
(Taken from Nightmare Mode)
If you haven’t heard, Terraria is the word. The game has only been in development since January of this year but that hasn’t stopped it from making waves in the Indie Game scene. I recently got the chance to speak with Andrew Spinks, the lead developer, about the new title. At the time of this interview, there wasn’t much material on just what Terraria was. There were a couple of videos but those only left more questions. Fortunately Andrew was willing to share some information that we have all been craving for.
Tell us about you.
My name is Andrew Spinks, I am the designer/programmer of an up and coming indie game called Terraria.
How would you describe Terraria as a game?
We feel Terraria is a game that calls out to many different types of gamers at once. The game itself offers more than just one play style. You can go adventure, or you can build yourself a home from nearby materials, or perhaps you simply want to battle other players in combat. Whatever the case, you’ll find it here!
Is there a story or a history to the world of Terraria?
At this time there is no real game Story or Lore. We felt that players would like to create their own home, town, city, or even alter an entire world. And on top of that, they would also create their own story to match it. So, if we had included a base story of our own, it could have interfered with their own imaginative creations.
What were your inspirations for Terraria? Did you try and emulate anything or is this a combination of many elements across many games?
We have drawn inspiration from many different games we love. There a about twenty of us on the development team besides myself. While I end up being the one to code them all in, each of the rest of the team has added many of their own ideas to the project. This had made for a diverse game with many inherited elements and themes.
The video on your site shows the game as being very combat intensive and sometimes frantic. Certainly much more combat than other world building sims. Why did you chose to go in this direction?
While our video does show some very intensive combat, you can usually choose when or if you will face such conflict. Players who wish to build in a sim aspect can avoid most combat simply by remaining in safer areas. But for those who love to explore, adventure or flat out wreak havoc on an army of monsters, they too will have that option. And I think that’s whats important. Giving players the option. No two gamers are alike, and we know that very well as gamers ourselves.
One of the enemies in the video is “Eye of Cthulhu”. Do we end up fighting the rest of him or any other of the Elder gods?
We had a discussion about it in the Testing group, and we mainly tossed around jokes about eventually fighting his foot, and arm. Perhaps even a single toe. But to be honest, we have no direct plan for whats going to eventually be in Terraria. We just know the horizon is there, and we will always be walking towards it with new ideas to add.
We noticed that there are several different characters in the video and each one was unique in appearance. Can you customize your character at creation or is your appearance more greatly affected by equipment?
Your character’s base starting appearance is customizable in a few ways. You can choose from a selection of head sprites, some of which can also be female. Then you can change the color of the following part of your character; Hair, Skin, Eye, Shirt, Undershirt, Pants, and Shoes. Once you start obtaining gear, however, your differences will be less visible. But, that is a reason we are planning on adding many different looking armors at each defense level, so players can be more unique.
One thing in Terraria that stands out from other world building sims is the inclusion of vendors. Do vendors sell items that are otherwise unobtainable?
Yes, they offer a few special items you can not find elsewhere. We wanted to offer many different ways for a player to progress, so we offered, discovery, crafting and purchasing. Some items can be obtained in a few different ways. But all in all, we feel this was important to add to a feel of a world that is actually alive around you. As being alone in a world, is quite lonely.
Are there plans for a crafting system to create your own weapons and armor?
Yes. Most of the games weapons and armor must be crafted at your homes anvil or workbench. On top of that, there are also many special items that can be made through the crafting system as well. For example, we added a Depth meter you can craft that tells you how far underground you are currently.
We have received several questions from our readers concerning the inclusion of mods. Is there any plans in place to allow players to create their own mods or textures?
We completely understand and acknowledge the community outcry for such things. That said, we will definitely endeavor to look into this feature for future updates after the initial release. For now, there is no mod support.
During development has there been anything that has changed from your original idea? Were certain elements added or removed?
To be honest, we originally set out to make a game with the idea, “What do we want to see in a game”? And we went from there. That is still our main driving force. Also, we are big on hearing what the community is looking forward to as well. We are taking a different approach then most developers, and interacting on a personal level with our fans to see what exactly is on their minds.
It seems like overnight Terraria has become a bit of an internet sensation, and people are buzzing about when Terraria will be available. Do you have anything to say to them in regards to a prospective release date or a price?
Currently we are aiming for a release sometime between May and July of this year. And the more hype we hear, the more we will endeavor to get it out even sooner. As for the price, we are leaning towards the range of 5-20 Dollars.