We Slay Some Guests with Spark Studios

July

05, 2014

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


Archive
GuestDefense2

The guest faces are terrifying.

Guest Defense has become a fixture atop multiple sorts on the Games page over the last couple months. It features addicting gameplay, where players battle to survive wave after wave of increasingly powerful AI attackers, and maybe more importantly, a distinct sense of ROBLOX humor. The enemies in this game are annoying, and they take the art of online trolling to a whole new level.

With Guest Defense having amassed more than 1.6 million play sessions and a hefty sum of earnings since its release in late May, I wanted to hear the story behind the game. I discovered that it was actually developed by a team of creators known collectively as Spark Studios — specifically, hoosierdaddy22, xWOWZABOYx, and BuildIntoGames. (Many others are part of the group, though these are the three who worked specifically on Guest Defense).

How this group came to be is an interesting story. When the Developer Exchange program launched, Guest Defense’s lead developer, known as BuildIntoGames, wanted to find a way to make high-quality content quickly, and decided early on he would need a team to help him achieve this goal.

The other two members of the three-man Guest Defense team stumbled into the project. xWOWZABOYx, who is now a content creator for the group, noticed Spark Studios when Clan leaderboards released and the name climbed toward the top. He joined the Spark Studios Group as a fan (there are currently 8,500+), and reached out later.

“I private-messaged one of the developers and showed him my work, and they accepted me into the group,” xWOWZABOYx recalls. “I know there’s some confusion around the Points system, but it’s done nothing but good things for me.”

Hoosierdaddy, on the other hand, is well known among ROBLOXians as a graphic designer, having created several popular game thumbnails. He is selective about the developers to whom he lends his talents, but was intrigued by BuildIntoGames’ idea for a game studio.

Having two fighters guard each portal is a great strategy in earlier rounds.

Having two fighters guard each portal is a great strategy in earlier rounds.

Together the three developers are achieving BuildIntoGames’ (who is only 13, by the way) grand vision: a game development studio that works together to make a popular game. That game is Guest Defense.

“We decided to make this game because of our pure, utter, despicable hatred for guests,” says xWOWZABOYx, as BuildIntoGames bursts into laughter.

Before we go any further, we should explain the humor of Guest Defense. On ROBLOX, we refer to non-logged-in players as guests. They’ve developed a certain reputation — and lore — over the years, despite their very limited ability to communicate in games. Guest Defense takes that reputation to the extreme, as the AI-controlled guests say hilarious things as they attack and (hopefully) succumb to players’ defenses. (For example, some will call you a hacker immediately upon dying.)

Joking aside, BuildIntoGames tells me that he felt like the “defense” genre of gaming was stagnant, and that he wanted to bring it back in a unique way. What better way to make a unique experience than to have players fight guests? xWOWZABOYx continues that train of thought by telling me that one of the big reasons for Guest Defense’s popularity is that it’s addicting.

“We purposely built the game to be replayable — there’s so much you can upgrade and improve. Weapons, the new pets, and your skill level are all constantly improving as you progress throughout the game. It’s an overwhelming amount of content.”

BuildIntoGames also mentions that any time the number of active players dips, he adds small features, such as pets for players, to bring them back. He also credits hoosierdaddy for creating thumbnails that pique player interest — in other words, doing what he’s known to do best. The three developers are from different regions of the world, but are constantly interacting.

Guest-Defense

“It’s an interesting dynamic — if any one of us is having trouble with something or needs support, we contact one another,” BuildIntoGames tells me. “Game development groups are just the best way to go.”

The three are currently hard at work on the sequel to Guest Defense — aptly titled Guest Defense 2. The team tells me to expect a drastically different game leveraging some of ROBLOX’s latest developer features.

“The sequel incorporates a lot of high-end professional API use like the universe system and CreatePlaceAPI. Also expect to see some really clever uses of the Insert Service,” says xWOWZABOYx. “The game uses low data costs and we efficiently scripted it in a way that we haven’t done before. We’re hoping the result is a professional and well developed game that’ll be even better than Guest Defense, and include much more intelligent features.”

“It also has a built in match-making system, a huge auto-updating shop and loadout, and several maps to choose from,” adds BuildIntoGames. “We’ll have a small demo for you to check out soon.”

Spark Studios encapsulates what it means to be fueled by ROBLOX — creative ingenuity, teamwork, and collaboration. We continue to hear about more and more users banding together to work as a team to bring their ideas to fruition, and like to relay these tales now and again right here on the blog. Now get out there and slay some guests!