Crossfire: TheGamer101 & Loleris Talk Sword Fighting
Creativity and sharing are two qualities that fuel ROBLOX, and it’s in that spirit that we created Crossfire, a series where we chat with ROBLOX game developers about their game design choices. For this outing, we interviewed users TheGamer101 and loleris, creators of Sword Fighting Tournament and Intense Sword Fighting, respectively. Both games focus on strategic (surprise!) sword fighting–though that’s where the similarities end. With the recent upswing in popularity of Intense Sword Fighting (the game is just over a week old), this Crossfire article was a no-brainer.
ROBLOX: Thanks for being a part of this guys! There seems to be a real feud going on between your two games. What was your strategy in promoting your game and making it popular?
TheGamer101: I don’t really advertise that much anymore, because being on the front page gets way more players than running ads. I also recently updated my thumbnail image, which drew a lot of traffic. As we’re speaking, there are 750 players online right now, which is more than normal (editor’s note–this was Wednesday morning at 10:30).
loleris: Intense Sword Fighting is pretty much a brand new game–I finished building it in six hours and started asking around for feedback. People seemed to really like it, so I asked a friend to lend me some Robux to run an ad. [Laughs] Needless to say I was able to pay him back double what he lent me very quickly.
ROBLOX: A fundamental difference between your two games is that Intense Sword Fight only sells cosmetic items. They don’t make you better at the game. Sword Fighting Tournament sells items that are functional and actually change your abilities. Where do you strike a balance there?
loleris: That’s a really hard question. Basically, I wanted my game to be 100% skill based. I wanted to make a go-to alternative to TheGamer101’s game. I wanted to really limit players from talking and complaining that they can’t find a real challenge because of their wealth. Game Passes shouldn’t make you powerful; it should all be based around skill.
TheGamer101: I actually once considered making a game where the swords were only different cosmetically, but loleris has brought that idea to a level I could never think of with the different kill animations. Certainly the swords in SFT could be better balanced, but I think that having a bit of variety between swords is extremely important, and leads to interesting gameplay. It also adds more strategy to the game–you’ve got to size up your opponents and take note of which sword they have equipped.
ROBLOX: While we’re on the topic of monetization: TheGamer101, you sell a ton of different Game Passes for your game. Have you experimented and decided that selling so many different types of passes generates more revenue?
TheGamer101: I wanted to make tiered VIP passes that could hit every price point. I also like throwing in different Game Passes for those who want to continue playing.
ROBLOX: We’re curious, and if you’re uncomfortable answering this question, it’s fine. How much Robux did you guys earn, say, in the last week?
loleris: I made 300,000 Robux last week.
TheGamer101: 270,000 Robux for me.
ROBLOX: Whoa. A ton of people often ask, “do top games really make that much money?” I guess there’s the answer. We wanted to do a comparison of luck versus skill. Many famous game designers, like Richard Garfield, have suggested that luck is a good thing to have in your game. Whereas a game like, say, Chess, revolves 100% around skill. How do you find that sort of balance?
TheGamer101: A bit of luck is important. I want any user of any skill level to feel like they could win any duel. I also want people to experience the thrill of winning a tournament every once awhile, even if they’re not the best sword fighter. If players are constantly getting crushed by people who are better, they may not want to play the game again.
loleris: I’ve personally never even thought about giving players higher chances of winning a battle. It was always simple for me. You win if you’re good at the game. If you’re losing a lot, then keep practicing to be better.
ROBLOX: Let’s talk pacing. The pacing in your titles is completely opposite from one another. SFT is much more of a spectating experience where users can bet on matches and wait their turn. ISF is non-stop, player versus player action. What influenced these pivotal design decisions?
TheGamer101: I really enjoy the fact that there are no waiting times in ISF. I think SFT’s spectating element makes the game more socially oriented than a lot of fighting games. It was actually a key part of SFT’s success. The betting system keeps players vested in every fight, even if they’re not a participant.
loleris: I made my game fast paced because I only get to play video games for two hours a day. When people have limited time to play, I doubt they want to spend that time waiting for rounds to finish. That would make me sad about my time spent gaming, personally.
ROBLOX: The sword fighting genre in general is very popular on ROBLOX. Why do you think that is? Is there any room left for innovation?
loleris: Fundamentally changing such a cherished type of game is like changing something that’s already a classic. It’d be really hard. But who knows? Maybe someone will make a sword fighting game where you’ll be able to perform more complex actions than just running around and swinging a sword.
TheGamer101: There’s always room left for innovation. I think that loleris has shown that with ISF, which has a lot of elements that other sword fighting games just don’t have. I have a few ideas as well, but you’ll just have to wait and look out for future updates to SFT.
ROBLOX: What could ROBLOX add or change to help you make your games better?
TheGamer101: I think the upcoming Developer’s Page will really help game developers learn more about their games and how they can reach a larger audience. I really hope you guys are continuing to work on that. An online Studio would also really help game developers work together collaboratively, which would result in even more high quality games on ROBLOX.
loleris: Sword fighting revolves around hardcore competition between sword fighters. What if you developed a global game leaderboard of some sort? I think that would really encourage people to see where they stand in the community, and encourage them to up their ranks.
TheGamer101: That’s a great idea, I totally agree with you there.
ROBLOX: Any updates planned in the near future?
TheGamer101: Unfortunately no, not for me. I’ve just started school again so I don’t have a lot of time to work on my game. When things settle down I will try to get some updates done.
loleris: I’ve made a list of to-dos:
- Custom duels, which allow you to fight over in-game points.
- A sequence of duels which, in the end, provides the player with some sort of code that proves one player is better than another player. I think this idea will trend well.
- Implement a two-versus-two game mode, as well as other special sorts of rounds without making the game less intensive.
- Enable a spectating mode due to an extremely high amount of requests.
ROBLOX: How do you guys collect feedback for your game, anyway?
TheGamer101: I normally ask people to PM me, or create a new thread on the Game Design Forum for more formal suggestions.
ROBLOX: What’s the most ridiculous piece of feedback you’ve ever received?
loleris: [Laughs] I’ve heard, “You’ll never be better than TheGamer101” a few times.
TheGamer101: Most ridiculous? One user suggested that I add a flintlock pistol to Sword Fighting Tournament. Guns in a sword fighting game. That would be different.
ROBLOX: What would you guys say was the most difficult part of developing each of your games from a technical standpoint? What part of your game did you spend the most time working on?
TheGamer101: The hardest thing for me is preventing exploiting. There are constantly new exploits coming out and I’m always looking for new ways of stopping exploiters from ruining gameplay experiences for other players.
loleris: Overall, ISF is a very easy design. Making the in-game shop took me the longest. The animations for sliding between pages were very difficult to develop. It’s also difficult sorting through map entries. I feel like I’ll never be able to see every single one submitted, and I’m very selective. I’d say about 20% of submissions make the cut.
TheGamer101: From all other standpoints, the hardest part about game development is finding a balance between making sure people who play your game are happy, while also nudging your game in the direction you want to go.
ROBLOX: We always wondered how creators of super popular games find people to make maps. Are these your friends or builders you met on ROBLOX?
loleris: I basically let anyone send me entries, but I’m re-thinking this approach. It’s just too much work to sort through them all.
TheGamer101: In the beginning it was mostly my friends making me maps, but I quickly discovered that loads of players wanted a chance to have their map in the game. That gave me the opportunity to raise my standards. I’ve really seen some great work from builders out there.
ROBLOX: So, say I’m an aspiring builder looking to replicate your success. What advice would you give me?
TheGamer101: Take feedback from players who play your game. You’d be amazed how many great suggestions you can receive that you outright didn’t think of in development.
loleris: Think about how the gamers will experience the game both as a free player, and as a Builders Club member. I personally believe that a lot of games concentrate only on paying players, which isn’t fair for everyone.
ROBLOX: This question was written specifically by Shedletsky for the both of you. What’s it like having the second and third best sword fighting games on ROBLOX?
TheGamer101: [Laughs] It’s great having the best sword fighting game on ROBLOX. I think loleris is competing with Shedletsky for the second spot, so he might need to up his game.
loleris: I don’t know where I belong in the top three–time will tell. I’m a competitive guy, and am thrilled to be fighting with the best out there.
ROBLOX: In all seriousness, you guys have great games that we can all agree are better than Sword Fight on the Heights (just don’t tell John I said that). What is your favorite aspect about one another’s game?
TheGamer101: The extremely short wait time in ISF is awesome. He really did a great job with that. I can totally see why it’s a breakaway success. It’s funny too, because “high wait times” is one of the biggest complaints I receive from players of my game.
loleris: I love how SFT, no matter how many people are in a fight, always picks a single person who’s the best. It doesn’t happen very frequently either, and it keeps everyone coming back.
ROBLOX: Guys, it’s been a blast talking to you both. Thanks so much for taking the time.