Indie dev talks exclusively to the Alienware Arena community about his early days

Recently, our Alienware Arena team was able to sit down and chat with Peter Jurkovsky, developer of the game Juro Janosik to talk about life as an Indie Developer and creating their game.

Q: Hi Peter, tell our Alienware Arena community something about you. What do you do and how it happened that you published your first game on Steam

A: I am 35 years old, and I live in Slovakia with my daughter and wife. I have started my career as a software programmer more than 10 years ago but last 4 years I am working only as a game developer, since this is what I was always dreaming of. I consider myself as a creative person, so I decided to work also on my own games and become an indie developer. I have started with smaller mobile games, and I gradually increased the complexity of my projects. My latest game Juro Janosik is my first game for PC, and it was released on Steam on 25th of October 2021.

Q: Why did you choose to create a game where the main character is known as a hero in a small country

A: Juro Janosik game is named after a famous Slovak highwayman who became a legendary hero in our country. According to the legend, he robbed nobles and gave the loot to the poor, a deed often attributed to the famous Robin Hood. So, there were two main reasons why I have chosen to use this historical figure in my game. First reason was from marketing point of view since I knew that this theme would be very interesting among people and in press in Slovakia. Second reason is that as a Slovak citizen I always like to promote our history and culture to foreign countries and I think that the game is a very interesting form how to achieve it.

Q: Did you develop everything yourself, from code to assets?

A: Yes, I am a solo developer, so the game was developed only by me. But of course, there was some collaborations with other people to help me with stuff I was not capable of doing. For example, music, character voices, translations, and some illustrations. Also, few assets were bought from Asset Store to speed up and simplify the development. I need to say that it is very hard to be a solo developer besides full-time job, child, wife, and other hobbies.

Q: What about competitors? There are hundreds of indie games published on the platforms.

A: Yes, indie game market is very saturated so it's very difficult to get some visibility on stores. Looks like it's almost impossible to be seen without a publisher or bigger budget for marketing. With a small number of honorable exceptions, indie games tend to be lost after some time among hundreds of other new released games. I was doing "zero budget marketing" consisting only with posting of developing news on social media but it's the minimum what should a game developer do. So, it was hard and time consuming to increase number of wish-list before release.

Q: Did you earn some money?

A: Not much, since I have sold approximately only 1100+ copies. But the good thing is that this project was also supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council and I have also managed to win the "Best Game" award on Game Access '22 conference in Brno, Czech Republic which comes with a monetary prize. But from my point of view, the release of the indie game itself is a success because I think that many indie developers tend to not finish and release their games.

Q: What are your plans in near future?

A: I had a small break from indie game development after releasing the game but looks like this break can't be too long because I am always thinking about some new projects :D. So, I have started to work on a prototype of 3D top down rouge-lite game. It's just a prototype and I still don't know whether I am just playing in Unity, or I am preparing prototype for my next game which will be released. One way or another I plan to work and release more games as an indie game developer. If you are interested in the development of my games you can follow me on my social media accounts or you can join my discord server.

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