GRIP is an exciting, futuristic racer launched on Early Access on February 2nd, 2016. Here’s the launch trailer to get you in the mood:
Chris Mallinson, Game Director on GRIP, was kind enough to take the time to answer a series of development-related questions via email.
1. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you joined the gaming industry?
Chris Mallinson: I was actually a roofer and home renovator before starting the development of GRIP, so this is my first experience in the industry. But I did take a college course in 3D graphics when I was younger, and have some UT2004 and HL2 modding experience. Other than that though, I’m a greenhorn
2. The lead up to an Early Access release is extremely stressful. Would you say the team has settled back into a regular routine, or are you still in all-hands-on-deck mode?
CM: We’ve settled a bit, but it’s still very much all hands on deck. We want to push out updates pretty frequently, so the pressure is still there. I don’t hold normal working hours, I can tell you that much
3. Who came up with the idea of forming Caged Element?
CM: I approached Rob at the end of 2014 to start a new rollcage-inspired game, and we started truly developing it in early 2015. We figured we would need to start a company, so after brainstorming plenty of potential names, Caged Element was born.
4. Did you go through a number of game ideas, or was the game always going to be a Rollcage-type game?
CM: Nah. We had tunnel vision.
5. How much time was spent on the Kickstarter campaign, and do you feel it was well spent or wasted due to it being cancelled?
CM: The Kickstarter was no simple task. A lot of time and effort goes into those things. Sure, it was a bit of a drag when we cancelled it, but the fan base and exposure we gained is very positive, for sure.
6. Initially there were 2 people on the team, and that has now expanded. Are you planning on adding more members than the 6 your website mentions?
CM: Yes, we’re actively looking for an extra coder and level designer, as like I said, we want to push out updates with content pretty quickly
7. Did you try other engines before settling on Unreal 4, if so why did you not choose them?
CM: Well I’ve got a bit of experience with UE2, so I figured jumping on UE4 I’d be able to get to grips with it easier than others. But we really didn’t look much at other engines. We pretty much went straight for Unreal, as it’s got fantastic tools and great support
8. Are you happy with the sales of GRIP since launch?
CM: I think with the content that we have in the game, and the exposure we’ve gotten so far, yea we’re satisfied with the sales figures. Once we implement multiplayer and have a bunch of tracks, I think we’ll expect quite a lot more people to jump on
9. Do you have any marketing plans to increase awareness of GRIP, and if so are you able to share them?
CM: Not going to answer at this time
10. When you exit Early Access, do you intend of continuing to add content to GRIP, or are you planning on moving on to other games or sequels?
CM: We’d love to keep supporting GRIP if there’s a big enough fan base. We really want to put mod tools in the game, and a track editor would be awesome, although not easy to do.
11. How was GRIP funded prior to its Early Access release, and are you on-track to recoup that expense, and continue to maintain the team with Early Access sales?
CM: GRIP’s development wasn’t funded at all for most of 2015. Rob, David and I still haven’t been paid since the beginning of the project. We did have a funding campaign on our website that allowed us to pay various contributors though, so that really allowed us to bring the game to stage it’s at now. As of now, yes, we’re able to move on with development quite easily, as long as we have decent sales figures each month. And maybe the three of us will actually get paid 😉
12. GRIP was released a week prior to the Lunar sale. Do you feel this has had a positive or negative impact on release sales?
CM: The lunar sale for sure had an impact, but we’re not too concerned, as there isn’t a lot of content in the game yet, and that might put off some buyers. Better to promote the game more once it’s fleshed out, is how I see it
13. When you are planning sprints, how far into the future do you plan?
CM: Not sure what you mean by sprints. Crunch time? Ideally there isn’t a terrible crunch before new versions, but we like to pack as much as we can into each one so we end up working long hours. Every release is planned for, with specific goals
14. Would you say the team is good at estimating task lengths?
CM: We get stuff done on time, so I’d say so. But there is almost always something that causes a roadblock, stretching things out. And sometimes tasks go faster than anticipated. So far we’ve done well, or even exceeded expectations
15. Who has the final say in terms of what will be in an update, and when that update will be released?
CM: The three of us (Rob, David and myself) make a final decision. But I’m usually the one who comes up with all the tasks, ha. I’m a bit of a list maker
16 + 17. How are community relations handled? Can any member of the team jump in the forums and answer questions, or is it left up to specific people? Who handles tech support?
CM: Any member of the team can comment on the forum, but David and I run the social media to keep things consistent. Same thing for tech support. Just David and I (Q.17)
18. Do you have a cadre of community testers, or is all testing in-house?
CM: We have some guys in our community that have been with us since the beginning, and they are our go-to guys.
19. Does the community have access to beta builds of upcoming updates?
CM: The people who helped fund us via our website got earliest access to the game in the forum of a Private release. We still use it to give them a taste of the latest patch and get feedback before it goes live to the public.
Many thanks to Chris for taking the time to provide such in-depth answers. If you’d like to find out more about GRIP, here are their contact details:
- Steam store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/396900/
- Website: https://www.cagedelement.com/grip/
- YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg1HcdeKNcxteE98qBAmagw
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/gripvideogame