Mario Malagrino is not only a multi-awarded designer and photographer, but also an experienced CG artist and character designer. Starting at an early age with gaming, he quickly grew addicted to shoot em ups. He began with the iconic game Vanguard for the old Atari 2600, and didn’t stop until he had destroyed all of the classics for the Amiga 500 and the arcades at the time. All of this gaming experience has influenced the development of his current project, which does a good job of recapturing the familiarity and emotions those old games invoked. He began a few years ago by learning the ins-and-outs of game development, and when he felt that he was ready, Mario began to start his dream project: OUT-OF. This game has been in development since he was 14 years old. Now, many years later, he has developed all the skills needed to deliver the King of all Shmups !
SGR – In an Indie world that is saturated with different types of shoot-em ups, what is going to draw players to your game? What would you say are the stronger features of Out-of?
Mario – This game has some of the most freaking cool aliens and monsters ever I have ever seen for a side scrolling shmup. Not only that, but I think that there are several points that make OUT-OF a unique experience. The graphics are very detailed and the enemy designs are really unique. Same for the weapons. In my opinion, there really hasn’t been many weapons that will add a tactical feeling to a game. In OUT-OF, every weapon has its own properties. Additionally, it has a story that directly influences the gameplay, so that the player feels immersed in the experience of the OUT-OF universe. This approach helps the game avoid feeling like other shmups, in which the player is just shooting senselessly at enemies. Playing through the story, the player will use different kinds of vehicles. A few are small, a few are bigger, and some are faster or stronger depending on the level and situation. All of these things makes the game seem a bit more in depth and immersive compared to the great classics I grew up playing. There are so many more things, but to avoid spoilers I will stop there …but a few of the details are mind-blowing, that’s for sure.
SGR – The varying enemy types and bosses truly are pretty impressive, and as you mentioned you are working as a one man team. How difficult has creating this game been for you since you are working alone?
Mario – It is not easy to create all these graphics all by myself. The entire game has assets which are super detailed, especially the enemies which have many details and cool animations. This should convince the player to kill them as soon they see them. As an experienced designer, 3d software expert and photographer, I have (of course) the benefit of many combined techniques. This allows me to maximize my workflow and deliver an unseen alien world. I think that’s one of the high points of this game. Many shmups are simple clones of the great classics. Frequently these days, we have minimalistic styles or just geometric designs, I try to go beyond and create something unique. Thank GOD I like to design all this stuff. It’s a hard job but I enjoy it. The hardest thing about being in a “one man team” is that I can’t get any feedback or ideas from a traditional development team, and that is a bit frustrating.
SGR – What different types of weapons and battling mechanics can we expect to see with OUT-OF? With all the visuals exploding across the screen during combat, were there any trouble with programming or bugs?
Mario – There are over 10 standard weapons. A few kind-of bombs, and a few super weapons that can be used for short time. The player can choose from their inventory what weapon to use depending upon the situation and also from the ammo amount, since almost all of the weapons have limited ammo. This makes the game really challenging. In a few situations, the player usually expend all of their ammo. In other situations, the player must be careful at what they shoot. A few enemies can explode, and from their bodies, even worse enemies will appear. There’s even a few enemies that will be active only after they have noticed the player. There are several mechanics that allow the player to have some challenging gameplay. Sometimes there are moments where coordinating all of the special effects onscreen becomes difficult. Not all enemies have the same explosions, and each weapon has its’ own effects. I think I have managed it all very well so far.
SGR – Considering your project is still unfinished, what can we expect to see with future level designs and boss battles? Do you have any big plans for development within the game?
Mario – Like for all great shoot’em ups, the boss battles will be very hard. However, I saw in a few classic titles that the first boss can be defeated within 1 minute; this will not happen here. I think this is what the player is waiting for. Long, difficult levels with no time to have a break, and after a few seconds, the boss battles will begin. The only break the player will have is between the levels, since there will be a few briefings to explain the next missions, or the commands of new vehicles. What I will try to do is to deliver a boss that has a cool design, and have it fit into the atmosphere of OUT-OF. The level designs will bring big variations to the game not only as aesthetics, but also to the gameplay. There will be also an exploration level that is not side scrolling like the rest of the game is, but player guided, similar to a platforming game. And many other cool features (but again, I would spoil the story if I tell more).
SGR – What software are you using to develop Out-Of? What are some of the bigger challenges you face in the meantime within the development stage?
Mario – The main software that I use are 3D Studio Max and Photoshop . I think that these are really great software products, and they really allow me to create what I have in mind. Many people ask me what software I am using, but what I think is more important is which software a developer feels most comfortable using. 3d Studio Max. Blender or Maya. Unity. UE4 or Cry Engine. Photoshop or Gimp. In the end, you can create great stuff with all software. The only secret is faith, ambition and to be a great dreamer. Remember, software products are tools but, without a clear idea or a great concept, they are totally useless.
The biggest challenge for me is to group enemies in several categories, which have certain properties, and decide the individual behaviors of the enemies. I have over sixty different enemies ready, and another huge group that has still to be completed. Probably not all of them will be used in this game. This will give me material for “OUT-OF 2” should this one have enough success. But I like to have that big amount of enemies or assets simply to make an accurate selection, and use them as needed to fit a certain aesthetic any given level calls for.
SGR – What platforms are you aiming to have your game available on? Any idea of when you’ll start a launch campaign?
Mario – For sure PC, I will probably also Mac, Linux, and with a bit luck also Xbox One. It is very hard to say when the campaign can start. 2017? Later than that? I don’t know. Every day I have new ideas and enemy designs, so it’s hard to tell you when the game will be ready.
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Here is the Steam Greenlight for it! Click below to see gameplay footage for OUT-OF!