Created by four graduates (Alex Hodgson, Chris Cullen, and Nathan Minifie & Craig Taylor), Sky Noon is a Western-themed first-person shooter with brawler mechanics. Players are equipped with a grappling hook, a lasso and an arsenal of weapons and abilities. Craig Taylor, Programmer & Project Lead, joins us to share his story.
Tell us about your journey with Sky Noon...
The Lunar Rooster team started working on Sky Noon as part of our final third year project for our Bachelor of Software Engineering and Bachelor of Creative Technologies degrees. It started as a two week prototype where we came up with a few cool game mechanics that hooked us in personally as an enjoyable experience. Developing this prototype into a full scale game just became one huge enjoyable trip.
Midway through the third year we decided to apply for the Media Design School Studios (accelerator programme), which would give us the ability to release Sky Noon as a commercial product. We were accepted, and during the Steam Greenlight phase, where the public would vote on whether they thought Sky Noon was a game they were interested in, we started seeing the potential that Sky Noon could have - as we were Greenlit in just 6 days.
Through that channel we’d started to get some interest from a few publishers, and around the same time were nominated for an award at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Me and another member of the team headed over and met some awesome people, some of whom connected us with the publishers we eventually settled on, Reverb Triple XP, to bring Sky Noon to the market. Sky Noon was also shown off at PAX Australia by the whole team last year where we won a spot on the Australian Indie Showcase corner with 5 other games, and also got runner up in the Kiwi Game Starter grant. Recently, our marketing team attended PAX East in Boston and had a huge 6 player booth that went incredibly well.
How did Lunar Rooster come to be and has it exceeded your expectations of what you thought it would be?
Initially Lunar Rooster was created by six students as a makeshift studio for getting our degree. We had no idea it could possibly evolve into the start of our career for the 4 of us that continued with the project, and how fantastically Sky Noon could have been received.
Can you tell us about one experience you’ve had while working in the industry that had the biggest impact on you?
The biggest experience for me so far has been attending the Game Awards at South by Southwest in Austin Texas. It was a cool event set up as you’d expect for an awards night, but getting to meet a bunch of industry greats like some of the directors of id Software, sitting behind the creative director of Arkane Studios, creators of Dishonored, and a lot of content creators who play the games we make, it was hugely motivating, and definitely something I will hold onto for a while.
What’s one game (past or future) that you would have loved to work on and why?
I really like the games or studios that give the developers a bunch of creative freedom. Companies like Blizzard Entertainment get to try out new things all the time, and I think that’s important for creating interesting products. So I guess working on something with them - like World of Warcraft or Overwatch - would be amazing.
How has Media Design School helped to pave the path that you are currently walking on?
Media Design School teaches you skills that help you work well with people, and give you practical space with some fantastic tutors to get you ready for the industry. You can learn a lot of stuff in any university or even off the internet these days, but Media Design School's practical approach and structured industry feel is second to none in my opinion.
What tips would you give others looking to get into your field?
Have passion. It’s becoming one of those careers that everyone wants to give a go, but the important thing is to love what you’re doing, because anyone can learn the skills. Working well in a team and having good communication skills are a great addition, especially going indie, there’s a lot you need to learn to do yourself.
What are your plans for the future?
Firstly, wrap up the production on Sky Noon and see where that takes us. More Sky Noon will at least be in our future. I know the team is keen to give some new ideas a shot, so there’s probably going to be a little of that too. Making games is our passion, and I’m extremely blessed with a hard working and motivated team to work with on a daily basis.
Sky Noon is currently available on Steam for early access, with the official launch set for later this year.
Watch the trailer here: