Full Armor Studios is based out of Seattle, Washington, and
are looking to address the casual game space.
- Interview from mid-May, 2004, primarily addressing the Walls of
- What was the motivation for your game?
- When I began Full Armor Studios, we identified nearly twenty
projects, in terms of game themes. During our first days of
operation, we narrowed these down and laid out a five game
development schedule, with The Walls of Jericho being our
first title. It seemed that the ideas for games kept flooding my
mind. We wanted to create games that are safe and fun for the
whole family and that combined history, art and advanced
technology. The Walls of Jericho is a great setting for a
- Can you give a brief background on it? Setting, etc.?
- The Walls of Jericho is based upon the epic tale of faith
and perseverance out of the book of Joshua. The object of the game
is to destroy the wall.
- What is the gameplay like?
- Gameplay is a simple, match 3-4-5 concept. That is, matching
three or more of like blocks together will destroy them. Game
pieces are randomly spawned and the user simply clicks and drags
blocks together in the 3, 4 or 5 pattern.
- How do you win or end the game?
- The game has unlimited levels so it is not possible to “win”
the game, per se. However, you win each level by tearing down the
wall completely. In order to do that, you must spawn blocks that
represent The Ark of the Covenant. Once three are spawned, you
combine them and their powers destroy the wall.
- Why did you choose the platform or genre?
- We chose to produce games for the casual gamer. That is, games
that are super-small (less than 5MB) that can be easily downloaded
from the internet. That forced us to focus on PC games, and the
genre of puzzle games is simply a start. We have released four
games in three genres: action puzzler (The Walls of Jericho and
Library of the Ages), action (Manna Munchers), and
logic puzzler (Secret Chamber).
- Does your game have multiplayer capability?
- There are no multiplayer capabilities in our games at present.
- How many different levels? (missions, maps, etc.)
- The Walls of Jericho and Library of the Ages have unlimited
levels. Manna Munchers has 40 levels in classic mode, and
unlimited levels in random mode. There are three modes in Secret
Chamber: Story mode, with 30 levels and over 100 puzzles, Puzzle
mode with 100 levels/puzzles, and Survival mode with unlimited
- What is your target audience? Appropriate for younger
- Our games are certainly appropriate for younger players. A key
aspect of all our games is to be safe and fun for the whole
family. However, we find that our distribution channels target
mostly women over the age of 35.
- Which engine did you use? (if applicable)
- We built our own engine.
- Is the engine a custom-built one or one that you
- Custom built.
- Will you allow the community to build mods or customize your
game in some ways?
- At the moment, our games do not allow mods but with a few tweaks
to our level editor, we may offer the ability to add mods to
- Does your game have "levels" in the traditional
- Yes, indeed it does.
- If so, how many levels will there be? Are they linear in
structure or will some be bypassed by choices the player makes or
- Each game has a classic linear level progression. However, we
are looking at the addition of either different difficulty
settings (ie. beginner, intermediate, advanced) for varying users
and the possibility of using AI that will adjust based upon
- Music and sound effects can add a lot to a gaming experience,
what effort was expended for your game?
- We perform all programming, artwork, sound fx, and music
in-house. Many companies outsource particularly their music
development. Because our game size must be small, we are limited
to creating music using MIDI. While not as good as MP3, our
musicians have found some ways to make use of these tools to write
outstanding music. MIDI also allows us to produce many music
tracks. The Walls of Jericho has eight music tracks. Most
games in our segment of the industry have a single, very short MP3
- Any extraordinary plans, like digital 5.1 support or other?
- We don’t have anything extraordinary planned here, except that
eventually if mp3 compression improves, we may be producing music
in the traditional way.
- What is the control scheme for the game?
- Completely mouse controlled.
- What would you say in order to encourage a casual gamer to
pick up your game and give it a try?
- It’s completely free to try it, super easy to learn, and very
engaging. We offer our games through hundreds of distribution
channels, including some of the most popular gaming portals on the
- What would you say in order to encourage a
"hard-core" gamer to pick up your game and give it a
- Frankly, most hard-core gamers find our games to be too
simplistic. Some like it, because it’s a nice break from the
many hours of learning required by a strong RPG or FPS. We have
projects on our plate, specifically arcade games, that should have
strong appeal for both casual games as well as hard-core gamers.
- What kind of packaging will it have (full box or just a jewel
case approach?). And a manual?
- 99% of our sales come from internet downloads, so a manual, box
and/or jewel case is not necessary. We have signed distribution
agreements, including Electronic Arts, who plan to sell our games
in traditional retail stores. Those distributors/publishers will
decide upon the packaging. Given the simplicity of the game, a
manual may indeed be overkill. Most people can learn to play our
games without a manual, and in some cases, without help tips.
- Are you self-publishing?
- We self publish in that we fund all our own projects internally.
However, our distribution network includes companies who
traditionally fund development projects. We may accept traditional
publishing agreements in the future.
- Do you (or your publisher) have a satisfaction guarantee
- We have a return rate less than 1/10 of 1%. Most people try the
game for free so when they buy the game, they don’t have any
potential buyers’ remorse. That being said, we do offer a 30-day
- Any specific marketing plans? Any announcement special
- Most of our marketing is on-line and for that, we spend a
significant amount of time and effort promoting our web site. We
get the occasional trade magazine write-up on our titles but there
are no significant efforts on our part for promotion. Our public
relations efforts this year will include press releases. Our
distribution partners invest heavily on promoting our games.
- What were the most rewarding experiences for you during Walls
- The most amazing thing was watching a brand new team come
together to create something they have never done before. The
speed and accuracy with which they accomplished our first project,
The Walls of Jericho, was truly magnificent. We were very
blessed with an incredibly talented and creative team.
- What were the most challenging experiences for you during
- For The Walls of Jericho, I would say that the
development itself was quite seamless. Distribution was the most
challenging, mostly because our game is super-fun but has a
biblical title. This scared some distributors but in other cases,
it was a nice differentiator. Overcoming some of the objections to
the title in traditional channels was most difficult. In the words
of one major distributor, “We're
not sure whether this game will be received as entertaining media
based loosely on biblical elements, or as a particularly
entertaining religious game.” Frankly
it is both, depending upon your viewpoint. The Walls of Jericho has
been one the best-selling titles with this distributor. Going
forward, the challenge has been following up the huge success of our
first project. After its release, we felt we really knew what we
were doing and kind of lost the love for our projects. We have been
humbled greatly. The love is back, though, and I am confident our
future titles will show it.
- What three things will you do the same on your next project?
- Keep the love. Super-fast development time. Retain our
differentiating factors: art, history and advanced technology.
- What three things will you do different on your next project?
- Build a product in a genre our team knows well. Introduce more
functionality (save game mode, multiple play modes). Be more
patient in terms of schedule. A fourth? Pray more often and more
- Speaking of your next project, what can you share about that?
- Ah, “what’s cooking up in the laboratory?” We have an
exciting new project on our plate that we’re calling David
vs. Goliath. Based upon the boy David, who is a man after God’s
own heart, this simple arcade game will hopefully be a nice
cross-over for both casual and hard-core gamers. The love is back!
Two Guys Software is a start up company based out of Western Canada looking to
bring Christian gamers an intensive alternative to secular based first person
Thanks to Mack Ponech of Two Guys Software for the interview, conducted via E-mail. Christian gamers everywhere will be eager to try Eternal War!
- Interview from mid-May, 2002
- What was the motivation for Eternal War?
- Eternal War was created after a harsh confrontation with a publisher. Two Guys Software was faced with a choice of either closing the company or working on another project. We decided to stick to the battle and not give up. My Fiancé and I thought up of ideas about an angel who
combated and helped defeat demons and then I added in some elements of my personal background, Eternal War was born. It’s purpose is to help people through problems regarding the darker issues in life without smacking them over the head with a Bible 500 times. Originally Eternal War had a story created by our assistant script and design writer Josh, but we had to cut the story due to lack of funds, time and staff. We’re hoping on still using the story for possible future versions of Eternal War.
- Can you give a brief background on it? Setting, etc.? Maybe expand a bit more than you have on the web site.
- Eternal War takes place in the suicidal mind of John Coronado a desperate teen ready to take desperate measures to escape his “personal hell”. Without opening up too much story, John screams out a cry to God as his last resort before slitting his throat. God answers by sending Mike, an angel that speaks to John about his pain and struggles and helps John out. Mike also assists in cleaning out numerous demonic strongholds in John's life and talks about alternative paths to take instead of killing himself.
- After the angel Mike "assists in cleaning out numerous demonic strongholds in John's life", what does he teach John in order to keep the demons from returning in greater numbers? Or is that the time period the game covers and thus will be reflected by the player's actions? >
- At the end of the game, Mike does talk to John about keeping his mind a strong spiritual fortress in order to keep things like this from happening again.
- It looks like a first-person shooter. Who do consider to be the "standard" Christian FPS in the market today and how do you compare/differ?
- You're correct, Eternal War is a first person shooter. We wanted to give players a fun, challenging, action packed experience, so we went with FPS. The only other current Christian FPS out on the market right now are Catechumen, Ominous Horizons, Saints of Virtue and War in Heaven. How does Eternal War compare to those games? I’ll let players decide that answer for themselves, for everyone has their own views. How does Eternal War differ? We offer players multiplayer with two team-based co-op playing modes, a character with a personality who talks during the game, a dark story with a deep meaning, 17 enemies to combat, eight weapons, and we are also considering directing players in creating their own levels and modifications to Eternal War.
- Does it have multiplayer capability?
- Yes! We have multi player with two playing modes. Players can either team up and play through levels (co-op mode) or try and stop massive floods of demons coming through mental openings by praying around the openings (utterly destroying and closing them). Both which can be frantic and fun to play.
- If you can truly deliver multi-player, that will be the first Christian game on the market with it that I know of. Was multi-player planned from the started? How fun will it be compared to the single player version? Will it play well for dial-up people or will a broadband connection be required?
- Multi player was planned from the start and if you like the intensive battles in single player, you’ll love multi player. Players can team up together and battle against the computer in two different co-op modes. One co-op mode is the traditional one, where players engage in levels and combat demons, just like in single player. The other co-op mode, called “Flood” starts with demonic artifacts creating mental openings and floods of demons pouring out of the openings. The only way to destroy the artifacts (and thus close the openings) is to pray around them, this is where team play comes in. When one player is praying, the other should either pray with them (closing the opening faster) or protect them from demons attacking them, whose purpose is to try to stop the players from praying. Multi player over a network is speedy fast and rocks. You can also play online if you wish, but as the same thing with other games “the faster connection you have, the faster the game will be”.
- Since there can multiple teams, will any team be allowed to play the evil side? I believe it was "War in Heaven" that received negative press by allowing that feature.
- Players can only assume the roles of angels in single player and multi player.
- How many different weapons? And did you give the player any ability if they are weaponless? Armour types?
- Eight different effective weapons to use against your foes. Players who are weaponless, or run out of ammo can also pray, over a course of time, a radius field develops around the player which causes demons damage and protects the player. There are three
armor types in Eternal War, light, medium and heavy. All of which offer different levels of protection.
- What is your target audience? Sounds like it may be too extreme for younger players, is that true?
- Our target audience is for the female/male, teen/adult casual and hardcore gamers. They’ll be able to understand and relate to the story a lot better than younger children. Since Eternal War features no blood, gore, swearing or even slight sexual references, I think it would be alright for kids to play, as long as a parent is there to talk to them about the story. Which in turn, could help kids deal with the problems John is dealing with the in the future when they become older.
- Which engine did you use?
- We’ll be holding that information until a later date.
- Is the engine a custom-built one or one that you licensed?
- We’re holding engine information for a later date. However to feed any hungry gamers: we’ll be releasing the source code for the Eternal War engine, so players can feel free to modify and edit it if they wish. We are still discussing the aspect of allowing players to create add-ons, levels, and such for Eternal War.
- I assume the radius field of protection (or prayer cover?) doesn't last for long in game time, is that true? So, a player without a weapon could not use their "fists" against an enemy (whether they have martial arts training or not)?
- The prayer field lasts as long as the player is praying. However, they cannot run around the level emitting damage and protection, players have to be standing still in order to pray. This is a game play vs. realism question that was raised when we incorporated the concept of praying in Eternal War. It wouldn’t really be a lot of fun if you we’re running around all the levels partly invincible and emitting a damage field. Demons will try and break the player from praying by attacking them and trying to confuse them. If the player is out of manna and a demon is trying to trick the player from a distance, the player does have a starting melee weapon, they also have another melee weapon later on in the game to use.
- Does Eternal War have "levels" in the traditional sense?
- How many levels will there be? Are they linear in structure or will some be bypassed by choices the player makes or their progress?
- So far we have 16 maps, some are linear and others are not.
- Since it is a battle within John's mind, what happens if you fail your battle? Does your avatar die and restarts weaker? Or once you lose, then it is over for John?
- If the player fails then John doesn’t right away kill himself. Since someone is there to help him, he’ll hang onto that hope....for a little while.
- Music and sound effects can add a lot to a gaming experience, what effort was expended for Eternal War? Any extraordinary plans, like digital 5.1 support or other?
- Eternal War has a great sound score. Enemies talk to each other, make sounds when they walk, you can hear the environment all around you, either it be the hollow sound of wind, the eerie sound of water dripping, the ominous faintly sounds of voices all around you trying to convince you to give up.
- No specific support for a 5 speaker system?
- Unfortunately, Eternal War doesn’t support any specific 3d audio/speaker setups.
- What is the control scheme for the game, the traditional keyboard and mouse for FPS? Will you support any other gaming input devices?
- We have the traditional keyboard and mouse setup as well as support for gamepads and joysticks.
- What would you say in order to encourage a casual gamer to pick up Eternal War and give it a try?
- Eternal War is a fun, intensive game that touches on subjects that most games don’t bother to explore. Expandable difficulty and random class based monster placement makes the game easily playable again. Cool levels loaded with traps, puzzles, plus Multi player and it doesn’t hurt your pocket.
- What would you say in order to encourage a "hard-core" gamer to pick up Eternal War and give it a try?
- If you need to blow some quick time (30 minutes), Eternal War is a fun way to blast through a couple of levels and feel like you've accomplished something. The story is realistic, adjustable difficulties that will keep you on your toes and your eyes open, levels loaded with traps that you’ll never expect, co-op multi player with your buds, plus it is inexpensive.
- You mentioned that "... Eternal War features no blood, gore ...", how will you portray the potential suicide of John? Could that concept be too much for younger children?
- Directors have used ways to portray various things without actually showing the deed done. Similarly, this is what we plan on doing.
- What is your target price for Eternal War? Will it be available online only or in other stores?
- Eternal War will be available online at our publisher's website as well as Two Guys
Software's website. In addition, Eternal War will also be sold in stores. The set price is currently unavailable, since we are deciding on that price. However, we are aiming for something much lower than most newly released games on the market.
- If available through a regular store, what kind of packaging will it have (full box or just a jewel case approach?). And a manual?
- We are currently undecided if we are going to go for the full box or the jewel case approach. The manual will be on the CD for players to click through easily.
- Are you self-publishing?
- We’ll be selling Eternal War on our website. However we are going to seek a publisher before we consider self-publishing Eternal War.
- Do you (or your publisher) have a satisfaction guarantee policy?
- Players are strongly encouraged to write or e-mail us their comments about Eternal War, which in turn will help us create better games. However, we are currently undecided on the aspect of having a satisfaction guarantee policy.
- Any specific marketing plans? Any announcement special events?
- A lot of online advertising. We also plan on doing several previews/interviews with several Christian-based magazines. Hopefully, Two Guys Software will be attending the first annual Christian Game Developers Conference and having a few machines set up for players to play Eternal War on and talk to TGS members about Eternal War and future projects.
- What were the most rewarding experiences for your team during development?
- Brining a concept that you made to life in the game is probably the most rewarding. Also, the expansion of knowledge, learning more about development, focus, team effort, etc.
- What were the most challenging experiences for your team during development?
- Stopping from putting so much fun stuff in the game and just working with what we want. Also, working with the technology and system requirements aspect of the game. We really wanted to go overboard on some stuff, but we also wanted the game available to as many Christian gamers as we could.
- What three things will you do the same on your next project?
1) Fun, fast paced action
2) A dark, brooding story with an underlying message
3) Enemies that do multiple things
- What three things will you do different on your next project?
1) More character interaction
2) More levels
3) Better technology
The interview was cross-posted at Guide2Games.org as well.