Developer Kuung Games is bringing console-style action/RPG gaming to Tegra-powered NVIDIA devices like Shield TV and Shield Tablet with Codex: The Warrior. The game boasts gorgeous graphics and deep customization, which combine with a strong fighting engine. Jaemann Joo, director of development at Kuung Games, explains how NVIDIA helped his studio bring this next generation cross-platform game to life in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals heading into this game?
More than anything, we wanted to make a truly immersive experience for the player that was fun. Given the power of the NVIDIA Shield, our strategy was to achieve that with a combination of crisp gameplay and incredible graphics.
Can you talk about how you've developed this game as a franchise?
The story of Codex: The Warrior was developed with a franchise in mind. In terms of story, we wanted to lay the groundwork by telling the initial story of the game world. We wanted to ensure that the story stood well on its own and was a compelling backdrop for the game. But yes, we definitely want to continue building the world through future games.
What did you look at for inspiration for this game?
We looked at leading games in the action and RPG genres, such as Infinity Blade and the Diablo series. Somewhat surprisingly though, we found boxing games to be very inspiring in terms of developing the 1 vs. 1 combat found in Codex. The overall feeling of 1 vs. 1 against a larger, more powerful opponent is a common theme throughout the game.
What's the storyline of this game and who's the protagonist?
In ancient times the great Guardians of Codex, the source of ultimate power, were betrayed by Tiraz, a fellow Guardian. Tiraz sought to take the power of Codex for himself, but the others managed to send it to the human realm in hopes of hiding it. Tiraz followed Codex into our world and in his lust for power, brought about untold destruction. You are the last of the Bargandians, a warrior race that was all but destroyed by Tiraz. It is up to you to find Codex to stop Tiraz from destroying our world, and to get vengeance for the destruction of your family and home.
What types of enemies will players fight against?
The game features 1 vs. 1 dungeon combat across many, many levels, so players will fight a variety of unique demonic monsters, each with special attacks and abilities. There are also special boss monsters that have custom intro and defeat animations. These boss monsters are also integral to the game’s story. We included many different specific traits, abilities, and patterns to each monster type to ensure challenging play without being repetitive.
What types of weapons are featured in this game?
As Codex: The Warrior is an action/RPG. There are hundreds of different weapons and armor that can be found, crafted and embued with various traits and power-ups that includes everything from swords to axes to shields, and full sets of armor and items. So be prepared to spend many hours perfecting that ideal combo of weapons, items, and armor.
How have you developed the gameplay for mobile devices as well as Android controllers?
While Codex: The Warrior is launching on the NVIDIA Shield with full controller support, it is also available for the NVIDIA Shield Tablet. So controllers are fully supported, but not absolutely required. The hack and slash gameplay of Codex: The Warrior is ideally suited to both controllers and a touch screen.
What are the challenges of creating games for mobile today?
Players (rightfully) expect a lot from games, and as developers we strive to impress. But even with the power of mobile devices today, there is still a large gap between mobile and traditional consoles. That's why we love platforms like the NVIDIA Shield because it allows us to deliver the experience we want to, while working on a familiar Android platform. It's difficult to reach a wide audience these days, but going multi-platform definitely helps. It is truly an exciting time to be developing games.
How deep is this mobile game?
As an action/RPG, Codex: The Warrior absolutely has to offer a deep gameplay experience to please the gamers. We have therefore included many different monster types and spent a great deal of time adding a myriad of different craftable and discoverable weapons, items, and armor. Our goal was to provide many more hours of gameplay compared to other mobile games. In the future, we will be adding features such as PVP, personal dungeons, and multiple playable characters.
How have you worked with NVIDIA on your game?
NVIDIA was an integral part of the development process, and they provided significant support in terms of hardware, QA services, overall technical support, and a great platform in the NVIDIA Shield. For an independent development studio like us, their support was essential in creating and launching a high quality game. They truly care about smaller game studios and want to see us succeed in bringing great game experiences.
What have they provided in terms of Tegra 4 tech that has helped with development?
NVIDIA gave us incredibly powerful technology to play with, and by doing so it meant that Codex: The Warrior could be shown as we wanted it to be shown, with gorgeous graphics, crisp gameplay, and fluid movement.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of Android as a platform?
Android has democratized games and game design, allowing independent studios to reach a much broader audience. Where Android excels is in bringing a platform to anyone, anywhere. NVIDIA Shield takes it one step further, by bringing an incredible console-quality experience that still has all the benefits of being on Android.
What excites you about Android TV?
In terms of the NVIDIA Shield TV, we are of course excited by the graphics potential of the platform. But beyond that, we love the fact that Android TV allows our games to be accessed by a broader audience.
What impact do you think NVIDIA Shield TV could have within the gaming ecosystem?
We feel that the NVIDIA Shield TV will help bridge the gap between mobile and console for the Core gamer. There are a lot of great mobile games out there that we would love to see on that big screen. Now we can, and also benefit from the improved graphics and gameplay you would expect from a traditional console. Moving forward, you will likely see many more games that started on mobile, move to NVIDIA Shield TV.
What do you see NVIDIA Shield Android TV opening up for game developers moving forward?
The NVIDIA Shield TV opens up opportunities to reach a new audience. Because the NVIDIA Shield TV is a platform with a broader appeal (not only to gamers), having Codex: The Warrior on there will let it be played by people who might not necessarily otherwise. It also lets us showcase our game at its absolute best.
How does it take advantage of NVIDIA Shield TV’s functionality?
The NVIDIA Shield TV gives us an incredible canvas to work with. Codex: The Warrior (Shield version) has a much improved level of graphics and higher framerate compared to the regular mobile version. The use of a controller gives another level to the experience too, allowing us to reduce the elements and buttons on the screen so that players can focus on the game itself.
What impact has Tegra X1 technology had on the gameplay experience NVIDIA Shield TV users will have?
NVIDIA has delivered incredible hardware that will allow players to experience incredible graphics at a high framerate on a large screen. We feel this will significantly increase the level of immersion when playing games such as Codex: The Warrior. From a developer's perspective, Tegra technology lets us show off the game as we truly envisioned it.