Mashinky is a strategy game, which Jan Zelený began creating by himself. The game is similar to an elderly business and strategic games such as Transport Tycoon or Railroad Tycoon. The game Mashinky should fully come out during 2017 and early access will be available during the period of Q1 2017 on Steam. Below we bring you an extensive interview about the game Mashinky directly with the main brain of the game, Jan Zelený.
For more information about the game Mashinky visit the official website of the game Mashinky here: http://www.mashinky.com/
Hi, in advance thanks for accepting this interview about the development of the game Mashinky. Tell us something about yourself first – who you are and what are your experiences in gaming industry, your hobbies and how do you spend your free time.
Hi, I thank you for the interview 😉
My name is Jan Zelený and my work in the gaming industry began, while I still was in high school, with a game U Becherů (2003) made in my own engine for the Becher Game competition. After college I started working for 2K Czech and I has helped to finish the game Mafia II. And after that for another 5 years I worked on the engine for the game Mafia III, then I subsequently crossed into Bohemia Interactive, where more than a year I’m dealing with the development of new technology and graphic effects as a Senior Engine Programmer. Furthermore, since 2009 I’m working in the evenings and weekends on my own game, a strategy game Mashinky, a spiritual successor to my favourite game Transport Tycoon (1994, Microprose).
Are you working on the game Mashinky completely alone? Alternatively, how many of you are in the team and how long are you already working on it?
So far I have worked on Mashinky alone for 7 years, the reason for such a long development is my designer inexperience and also my own engine. But in the last few weeks the team is growing and in the future the development will be significantly faster.
In which engine are you creating Mashinky? Have you ever changed the engine or was the decision difficult in the beginning?
I didn’t change the engine and by the time when I started with Mashinky commercial engines weren’t available yet. That’s why I’m making my own one and thus I have to solve everything from asynchronous rendering, streaming, custom gui, sound manager, music player, scripting and support of language Lua, moding to virtual file system and many other components.
Creating an engine is an incredible job and according to what I have seen from the game previews, it seems that it could be compared to today’s well-known brands like Unreal Engine. What’s your engine’s name and are you planning a commercial release in the event of great success of Mashinky?
Regarding the engine, it certainly can’t compete with any of today’s commercial tools. Especially in the user-friendliness and the possibilities are far from UE for miles and I really don’t plan the commercial release. So it doesn’t even have a name, but I unofficially call it 3d3 🙂
A lot of people compare your game Mashinky with the legendary game Transport Tycoon, but Mashinky reminds more the less known Railroad Tycoon, am I right?
That’s a good question. The truth is that I’m taking inspiration from both games. Transport Tycoon has inspired me in the map area and partially in the trail building area including the option of complex multilevel crossing. Railroad Tycoon has inspired me in station improving and other inspirations could be tracked down to Trainz and Sim City series.
Have you played Transport Tycoon and Railroad Tycoon a lot in the past and thus got inspired? Eventually, where do you get inspiration for creating your game Mashinky? Have you played with toy trains as a kid?
I have played most of the tycoon strategy games and I spent endless time there and yes, I’ve played with toy trains and the model railway 🙂
I am personally very glad, that someone after a long time is making a tycoon type of game. But it’s also very uncommon these days and maybe a step into uncertainty in the event of a commercial project. What is your opinion? Are you afraid of failure?
At the very beginning Mashinky was only a sandbox for testing ideas and it even should have been freeware. Since then, however, a lot of water have fled, and the game is mounting up so much time and effort that I have to deal with commercial success. It’s a risk, but also a great challenge and I’m meeting with so much positive feedback that it lets a person easily forget about the uncertainty surrounding the publication. But the reality may be quite surprising.
What will the business model inside the game and its mechanics? It is clear that it will be mainly about the transport from point A to point B, but what will be transported? Will the competition be aggressive? Does it also include the effects of the weather, accidents, poor maintenance, etc.?
The system is one of the greatest risks but also the unique feature of Mashinky. I like board games so the gaming system won’t overflow with 7-digit account since the beginning of the game. On the contrary, I try to create an abstract currency and allow players to more easily think about the situation. Solutions won’t be easier, quite the opposite, but it won’t be unreadable. So in the game you will meet instead of money so called Technology tokens. Although first type of tokens is money-like (produced by the transport of passengers), in each of the 7 eras players will unlock a new type of tokens (Wood tokens, Coal tokens, Steel tokens etc.) and it will be possible to unlock better locomotives, build better infrastructure and extension with them. Players will gain these tokens for completing given sectors, so for example transporting wooden logs to saw earns Wood tokens, which you can use for unlocking better small steam machines, building a wooden bridge or a wooden stall at the station. There are plenty of combinations thanks to procedurally generated maps and each player can choose their own way.
What kind of machines can be found in Mashinky? Are they historically and technically correct? Do Mashinky has a license for brands or this issue will be solved as in other games? That’s the substitution of the letters.
In the game Mashinky you can find a selection of the most interesting machines from the first steam ones to ultramodern ones. They won’t be technically and historically correct though. I put the fun in the first place, historical correctness on the second one. Therefore, for example diesel locomotives will appear before electrical ones, although it was on the contrary. Mashinky doesn’t have licenses for brands, but won’t be a significant modification of models. They will be easily identifiable, although alternatively with a different name.
Are RPG elements in Mashinky? Like experienced crew, nifty company accountant or a cleaning lady that wipes out offices properly?
For now I don’t plan on adding RPG elements. The reason is to maintain the readability of the game for the players and the game is already a combination of strategy and simulation (players can take a ride from the perspective of the driver or the passenger) and adding another game genre may not suit the game 🙂
While watching gameplay videos I always notice that the track will probably be built in mode that recalls the game Transport Tycoon, am I right? Or will it be possible to also build in a “real” no-build world?
Building will possible in the construction mode, riding and enjoying in the realistic one. Both modes complement each other and the game itself gets more options without needing compromises.
Is in Mashinky going to be something like a campaign in which you have to survive for some period / script or the system will be similar to Transport Tycoon I.e. Start in year XXXX end up in year YYYY, in the meantime we have to make lots of money?
There will be a sand box mode for sure, in which the players start in steam Era and they progress to the modern age, while they try to earn as many tokens as they can, build a thriving business and deal with the obstacles of the game.
At the same time this mode will already include scripted random events, and therefore players shouldn’t get bored in the game (sometimes you will have sit on the train as a driver, other time e.g. a small amount of radioactive fuel will appear and the player will have to import it into a power plant, sometimes a war may come and the player will have to solve orders for the army, or the city gets green in subsidies and the player asks for planting trees in the suburb, there are plenty of ideas).
I’m still thinking about the possibility of preparing the entire scenario.
Will Mashinky have the multi-player feature with the option to create own servers, global rankings of players, matchmaking etc.?
Multi-player is in the phase of redesign and I’m considering to add it in the EA by the end of first quarter of 2017, or early after that. The actual details of the multi-player are still uncertain, but you’re certainly going to play with friends on one map.
What is current state of the game and when your game will be released to the public? Do you already know the approximate price, or you’ll be the savior of the world of free-to-play?
The game is currently just before Steam Greenlight (by the end of this year) and the EA (Early Access) release date is planned by the end of Q3/2017. EA will contain only 2/7 historical eras. I plan together with the community and the newly acquired team members to settle regular updates, finalize and expand the game. There are a lot of plans for the game and I don’t want to be content with the railway industry itself. I will not disclose the price yet.
The game will be released on STEAM platform, will STEAM features like cloud, achievements, trading cards etc. be available?
For me the most important Steam feature is the Steam Workshop and multi-player, furthermore there will be plenty of achievements, and if we manage to create some nice artwork, I would like to add trading cards too.
Will the game Mashinky support Steam Workshop for users and and eventually the to what extent? I.e. Users will be able to make their own models, maps, etc.
Steam Workshop will be in the game and I’m planning a really huge support. Mashinky are built in such a way that most of the things can be moded and thanks to the virtual file system, when you start the game, it “folds itself” from multiple modes. Players will be able to add own models, sounds, textures, localizations but also scripts or the whole industry branches and new kinds of terrain.
Are you also planning the distribution of the game on smartphones or gaming consoles in the future?
Distribution on other platforms isn’t in sight yet and the eventual success of the game will show, if I will decide to port it to other devices.
Thanks you so much for the interview and good luck in the game development!
I also thank you for the interview and the wish!