Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games

By Thom Compton 28.10.2016

Image for Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games
Having had the opportunity to try out Crytivo Games' very promising god title The Unversim, and teaming up with the company to offer readers the chance to win one of three copies of the game, we now have the pleasure of presenting our recent interview with Crytivo, providing more information on their upcoming PC title, and an insight into the beginnings of both the company and the game.

Cubed3: Hello, and thank you for taking the time out to speak to us at Cubed3. What are your names, and how did Crytivo Games get started?
Crytivo Games: My name's Kyle, and I do a lot of the writing and PR-related stuff for Crytivo Games. There are quite a few of us in the team now, with skills that range from programming and art to QA and writing. It all began a few years back in early 2013. Alex Koshelkov, founder and now CEO of the studio, sent out a call for game developers of all fields to join him in a new endeavour. There were so few of us at the beginning, but that didn't stop anyone from doing their best. The project later transformed into The Universim after months of hard work.
A year later, in May of 2014, our official Kickstarter campaign was launched, revealing the game to the world for the very first time. We knew there were a lot of gamers eagerly anticipating a new god game, but the response absolutely blew us away. We were funded a month later with a budget that well exceeded our initial goal, and that gave us all of the resources and motivation we needed to make the game into what it is today, and what it will eventually become. It's definitely one of those rare success stories, because so few indie start-ups manage to get through the initial stages. An idea, no matter how good, can never succeed without proper execution.
C3: What is the story behind the name "Crytivo Games?"
Crytivo Games: The name Crytivo comes from a manipulation of the words creation and creative. The word creation is very much a nod to the building of universes and worlds, which is sort of a way of saying that we are universe builders. The word creative describes our history and career paths, as well as the type of company Crytivo Games is.
Image for Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games

C3: How big of a team is behind The Universim?
Crytivo Games: The core team now stands at a respectable 22 members, with a number of volunteers and freelancers contributing on the side. The majority of the team is divided into art and programming, with the remainder filling in all remaining areas like audio, game design (which everyone usually contributes to), QA, and writing. However, many of the team members fill a number of roles and are often involved in other areas. We have a very multi-talented team.
C3: What is the origin story behind The Universim? How did you all come to decide this is the game you want to make?
Crytivo Games: Alex is the man behind the initial concept of The Universim. Once it was revealed to us what the game was and what he was hoping for, it took off from there. Most of us working on the game are god game fans, so it was sort of a dream come true to work on what could very well be the next big thing in the genre.
C3: What influences inspired the creation of The Universim?
Crytivo Games: There are so many good games that have inspired The Universim, but you can always trace it back to games like Populous, Black and White, and Sim City. Naturally, we use these games as somewhat of a benchmark, but we're doing our best to ensure that The Universim is entirely its own game. "It's not a reboot so much as it is a reinvention" is a phrase we like to use a lot. There should be enough in the game to sate the needs of diehard god game fans like us, but also enough new things to hopefully keep everyone playing for months on end.

Image for Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games

C3: How long has the game been in production?
Crytivo Games: It's been in production since May 2013, but that was with very few people who were mostly focused on creating a proof of concept and nailing down the design elements of what the final game would be. The first implementation of the simulation engine was there, which offered a great foundation, but things like the game's AI and overall visual representation were pretty basic at the time. The production really took off after the Kickstarter, which allowed us to hire additional team members, purchase assets and licenses, and focus on making an actual high-quality game. We had some issues receiving the funding, though, which did delay us somewhat. Luckily, it was all sorted out eventually.
C3: Now that the game is out in Early Access, what are some of the big updates we can expect as The Universim comes closer to a future release?
Crytivo Games: Shorter-term updates include things like the new road system (which is hugely important for future eras), the complete AI overhaul (smarter Nuggets and better performance), more dynamic events and Creator Powers (great new challenges and toys), and the load/save feature that the game has been lacking for quite some time (we're cleaning up our code and repositories to allow for quicker implementation). In the future, new eras, like the Medieval and Modern/Space Ages, will be implemented. We're still in the Stone Age now as we're getting pretty much all of the functionality ready, so later eras are implemented with more ease. This means less backtracking, which can be VERY expensive if all of the eras have been designed and implemented when a change is made.

Image for Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games

C3: An important part of any creative endeavour is knowing what to remove from a product. What are some of the biggest things that ended up on the cutting room floor?
Crytivo Games: Things change continuously throughout development in any given project. The Universim has changed dramatically since its initial reveal on Kickstarter, thanks to community feedback and internal testing. Some things just don't work out very well or end up being boring, so they're either reworked to give them new life or scrapped and redesigned entirely. One example is the balancing of player interaction vs. natural simulation. We initially gave players too little micromanagement, which resulted in a very lacklustre experience, and then we later added too much and are now scaling it back a bit.
A lot of code and art assets are basically cut out of the project when something like this happens (they're archived, of course, in case we need to revisit it). The same thing can be said for the Research System redesign, which saw a number of assets become almost redundant. However, no one really ever feels cheated or disheartened by this because they understand that it is necessary. It makes the game better, and that's all that matters.

Image for Interview | Talking The Universim with Crytivo Games

C3: As you've watched others play your game, has there been anything interesting you've noticed that perhaps you didn't expect/anticipate?
Crytivo Games: It's always a blast seeing what players do, especially since the game is very dynamic and random in nature. We've seen some pretty whacky base builds, a few players attempting to become a farming empire, and even a bit of evil where they've built a single cemetery and nothing else and slowly watched the population die out. We even saw one guy furiously attempting to stop Nuggets from mating in a previous patch that caused mating to occur too often. Let's just say he took some of his ideas to the extreme.
C3: What are your thoughts on bringing the game to consoles?
Crytivo Games: The game is definitely best at home on PC, so that's always going to be the main platform. We haven't ruled out the possibility of bringing the game to consoles in some capacity after launch, though. However, it's definitely going to require some major design changes, which will offer us some exciting, new challenges if we decide to pursue it. It might even become a completely different game from the PC version. We don't ever plan on dumbing one version down to account for another. If we ever made the game multi-platform, it would be designed to best suit the platform it's on without compromising others.

Cubed3 would like to thank Kyle and the rest of the team at Crytivo Games for taking the time to answer our questions and provide some great new insight into the past, present and future of The Universim, and wish them every success with the game.
If you're interested in this ever-expanding god simulation title, check out our impressions of the Steam Early Access build, and be sure to head on over to the Steam game page, where a free demo is available for all to try.
Want to win a copy of the full version of The Universim? Cubed3 has teamed up with Crytivo Games to give a Steam code away to three lucky winners in our simple competition. Just head on over to this page and answer the question for a chance to bag the game.
Box art for The Universim

Crytivo Games


Crytivo Games





C3 Score

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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