Interview With Astronaut SpaceWalk Creator Jorge Hernandez
The developer behind this intriguing iPhone game sends us into virtual orbit.
There are a plethora of video games featuring outer space, the majority of which star aliens from other worlds and furious laser battles to save Earth from destruction. With this in mind, Astronaut SpaceWalk is a refreshing change of pace. Created by indie developer Jorge Hernandez, this astronaut simulator tasks you with performing a variety of duties on and around the space shuttle Endeavour. On that note, we tracked down Hernandez to discuss the game, as well as future plans.
Where did the idea for Astronaut SpaceWalk come from?
I always liked space and simulators, but never found one that gave me that experience of being there. They're all about pressing buttons. I like pressing button games, but only as part of an experience, not as the main goal.
How technical is the game, and what types of missions will players complete? How do you avoid boredom in a game like this?
This is a tricky question. The game is quite complex to play if you are in an arcade mindset. If you take it easy and slow, then once you know what the controls do, I think it is quite simple.
The game is not technical in relation to what real astronauts do in the sense of pressing the right instrument at the right time. The game is more about realizing how complex it is to float in space, and how trying to move one-meter back to dock can be extremely challenging.
Was the goal to aim for realism, or is there a chance of seeing a UFO somewhere in space?
The game just uses realistic hardware, but nothing stops me from adding a few other missions in future updates. It will all depend on the game's success and any feedback I get from players.
How many people worked on this game, where are you located, and what is your background?
I developed the game on my own over a period of over two years. I work as a Technical Lead Artist at a games company in the UK. I have been creating Astronaut in my spare time as a means to make the sort of game I want.
Will Astronaut SpaceWalk debut as a universal release for iPhone and iPad? If not, how come, and when can we expect to see an update that corrects this?
It will be just for iPhone and iPod Touch at the moment. I am a part time indie developer, and need to concentrate on one thing to do it properly.
I have now completed the iPhone version, which means that I can now move to the iPad without having to split my efforts. I wanted to deliver a single good experience, not two average ones.
From what we've seen, there aren't many games like this. How does that play to your advantage on the App Store, or is it a huge disadvantage?
I guess that the novelty will play to my advantage, but mainly among simulator enthusiasts. I think that this sort of game might not appeal to most people, which is why there aren't many in the App Store. I also think that if you want to make lots of money, this might not be the best genre. I made the game because it is the game I wanted to play, and I am sure a few people out there will like it too.
Since the game is done for now, what are your plans for future updates, if any? Can we expect new missions?
I will concentrate on the iPad version and leaking its updates back to the iPhone edition. I will surely make a few more missions, but I can't really say when they will be released. It will depend on the iPad work.