MI Pixel Studio founder Michael Ingram gives us the low down on Defend from Candyland.
Tell us about your solo dev journey?
My solo dev journey started when I went to university to study Games Development. When I graduated I was employed as a software engineer for 2 years. I then started two companies. One, a games company. The other an award winning software engineering company. For a couple years I made and published mobile games on the Google marketplace. I completed game, augmented reality and software engineering contracts to finance my own projects. Unfortunately, due to poor health I had to take some time away. Most recently I have started a new company MI Pixel Ltd. I have found one of the best ways for me to manage my health was to work for myself and schedule my work in such a way that my health no longer suffered. I have decided to step away from the mobile market and move toward developing on Steam instead.
Whilst I am a solo developer, I do have support from my partner. She has input into design concepts, which is why she is credited on Defend from Candyland.
Defend from Candyland! is now fully released but I will still be maintaining it with updates and improvements. I have now moved onto my second game, which is a Rogue-like shooting game called Supernatural Hunters.
Tell us a little bit about the story behind your game?
The world of Defend from Candyland! is composed of two main places, Eden, the land of the trees, and Candyland the land of the sweets. Whilst there has been peace between the two lands for years, the sweets have grown sour! They are not so happy with the current situation and have decided to try and make a difference, they are attacking Eden! The player needs to learn from the Oracle Tree, seek Dr Dexter’s wisdom and use Mrs Applebee’s arsenal of weapons to defend from the large Candy onslaught!
What inspired you to make your game?
I decided to make a tower defence game to try and keep art constraints low, as I was making this game solo and to be honest I am not an artist and couldn’t afford to hire one. I had many fond memories of years playing tower defence games and wanted to make a game that worked in a very similar manner. Thus, Defend from Candyland! was born.
What challenges did you face when you first started?
I’ll be honest, the game started out as a simple mobile game. I learned Pixel Art from a Udemy course and practised. Kirsty, my partner, proposed the concept of sweets versus trees, in an attempt to minimise the artistic requirements. Making it a tower defence, for similar reasons, was my idea. As I invested more time into the game it developed beyond the capacity of a simple game for mobile. This is when we had the idea for me to develop it for Steam instead. This allowed for a larger screen width allowing the player to see the game in more detail. In addition I added keyboard controls to make it more playable.
If I could go back and do this again there are a number of things I would probably change. I have made mistakes with this game. I didn’t start marketing it (or even purchase the Steam Store Page) until about a week before I released the game. Neither had I set up social media accounts until that time as well. Fundamentally, I hadn’t designed the game with a particular customer in mind. However, every mistake is a learning opportunity and I will use all of this to do better with my next game.
Is your game single / multi-player or both?
Defend from Candyland! is a single player game with a public leader board for the Endless Mode. There are 120 levels in normal mode, plus an endless version of each of those levels. There is also one final configurable endless mode.
Has your game won any awards?
Defend from Candyland! won 3rd place in top 10 Game Development World Championships for May 2022 whilst it was still in Early Access.
What are the minimum software/hardware requirements to play your game?
OS: Windows 10
Processor: 1.6 Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Is your game free, a one off cost, monthly payment or micro or crypto transactions?
I made Defend from Candyland! with no intention of adding in any extra DLC. Just pay for the game once and that’s that. However some players have requested that I add in certain art packages for a price. This is not something I have done so far but I may in the future. I am still undecided.
Does your game require a download patch or update after the initial installation?
No, Steam will allow you to download/install the most up to date version. As and when I push out new content an update will be made available.
Tell us a little about what you have planned next for your game update?
Defend from Candyland! has just come out of Early Access, for the moment. I am keen to hear from players about possible improvements and additions.
Are you looking for funding/investment to further your games development?
I am not. Although I will still be maintaining Defend from Candyland! I am currently in the early stages of developing my next game.
When did your game launch?
Defend from Candyland! was initially launched on January 10th 2022 in Early Access and was brought out of that, into full release, February 20th 2023.
What platforms did you focus on first and why?
Defend from Candyland! is only available on Steam for Windows PC/Laptop. Originally designed for Android mobile but, due to design changes this was not a feasible option.
Do you have a Demo?
There is a Demo for Defend from Candyland! in two places. You can find a link to a demo that will play on your PC/Laptop browser on my own website (find out more by clicking on the related content link below). There is also a demo which is downloadable from the Steam store.
For more information, click on the showcase link below.