A GameOctane Exclusive interview with Autoforge’s Jasson McMorris
The history between Jasson and Jason
I’ve known Jasson McMorris for probably around 11 years now. Back then I found this little gorgeous little game called ‘Crea‘. Crea took what you loved about Terraria and Minecraft, then added RPG elements and full modding support. I fell in love with it. It was fun, looked amazing, and the community rallied behind it not only to get it Kickstarted, but to get some fantastic mods developed and supported. But it doesn’t end there.
Jasson continued to support Crea, not just through updates, but through streaming his development on his Twitch. It is truly a sight to see Jasson just lay down lines and code like he was writing a novel. Not only is he a master at coding, but he’s also very personable. He talks to the viewers and remembers them and their names. Viewers will stop and ask him questions about what he’s coding or questions they may have in their own coding projects. I’ve seen Jasson go on some amazing tangents in regards to development and just games in general. It goes to show that the 19.3k followers he has on Twitch are well-deserved.
I’ve stuck around Jasson and both of his major projects for about 11 years. It’s kind of crazy to think of how long ago ‘Crea’ was released and how long we’ve known each other. It would be cliche to say that he’s family, but I feel like after 11 years we probably know more about each other than we probably should haha. But let’s get back to the core part of this article!
Crea was a HUGE learning experience for me – it was my first full game after all.Jasson McMorris
Jasson and some new faces are back with their new game, ‘Autoforge‘. ‘Autoforge’ is currently open to backers on its Kickstarter page and damn does it look great.
Even though I’ve been watching its development through the Twitch streams, I still can’t really begin to describe it and do it justice. So here is a one-liner, taken directly from the Autoforge Kickstarter page:
AutoForge is a 2D sandbox magic-powered factory builder.
Ok, that’s a little too simple, let’s try again…
You play as Otto, a magical golem awakening to find he was abandoned by the Wizards long ago. Seek out your ancient masters and learn what has happened to them and your world. First, you must gather resources and build…
Ok, now you’re getting excited. Just look at Otto…LOOK AT HIM. I absolutely love the design of Otto. I really think ‘Autoforge’ could be something special, it just needs some help getting funded. Currently at the writing of this article, ‘Autoforge’ is currently at about $6000 out of its $25,000 goal…and only about 3 days into the campaign. Please check out the ‘Autoforge’ Kickstarter for all of the information you need around ‘Autoforge’, and of course Otto!
I have to thank Jasson McMorris for taking the time to answer the questions, especially at the start of what could be a busy Kickstarter campaign. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
- Let’s start easy…How are you? How’s life been?
- Life’s been good! After Crea’s launch, I shifted my focus to starting a family for a while but I’ve been back at game development for some time now.
- Besides focusing on coding for this next project, have you played any games to de-stress? What has been your go-to?
- I have been playing some great games! After working on AutoForge for 2 years I finally sat down and played Factorio and then I played Satisfactory and then I played Dyson Sphere Program. More recently though I’ve been playing through Tears of the Kingdom with my daughters.
- It’s been almost 11 years since the Kickstarter of Crea, your first Kickstarter game. How have you grown as a developer and coder since Crea? What was your biggest accomplishment around Crea?
- Crea was a HUGE learning experience for me – it was my first full game after all. One of the main motivations for moving on from Crea was that I wanted to apply everything I had learned to a new project. I like to think I’ve improved significantly over the years but the most evident growth is that I’ve learned how to pace myself better and not burnout like I did many times in the past.
- Around 11 years ago, you started taking off programming Crea live on Twitch and have since been streaming Autoforge development. Now you’re partnered and have 11.3k followers and are partnered. Has being fully open to your coding and even helping others live on stream help you at all become a better developer/coder? Is it harder to be live, or is it more distracting to have a live audience? Does it have its benefits?
- Streaming development has had its ups and downs. I really like sharing the experience and knowledge. For a long time, I thought if I put in the hours I’d gain a larger following and would stream full-time. This wasn’t a healthy outlook and I now accept it as it is and embrace the chill small community that I am fortunate to have. The community helps tremendously with the loneliness of being a solo indie dev. They keep me focused more than distracting me – honestly, I’m the one who distracts me the most.
- I’m a pretty big distraction when I pop into the channel haha. – Jason
- In let’s say…6 sentences, what is Autoforge?
- AutoForge is a 2D automation sandbox game where you play as Otto, an abandoned golem. With the power of a giant crystal like structure, Apotheos, you set out to find your ancient masters. In order to do so you will need to build a factory. Using resources you find and manufacture there are tons of technologies to research, regions to unlock and upgrades to be gained. It does its best to bridge the gap between automation and exploration. It currently is leaning in the direction of automation which we plan to address by launch.
- How much of Crea’s spirit of modding, and adventure that players loved is in Autoforge?
- So much of Crea is in AutoForge. My goal with AutoForge is to have a much greater sense of adventure and discovery. I hope that players like it well enough that I have the excuse to add in full modding support.
- Is there any cross-over between the two games?
- Absolutely! There is the more surface level such as the colorful pixel art and some of the charming monsters are going to make a return such as Oil Slimes and Ortomi. Deeper down both games are primarily designed by me and are fundamentally connected to each other.
- What is/was the hardest hurdle that you’ve come across in developing Autoforge.
- Before announcing the game I struggled with trying to get the game to work with item physics. Instead of having items fixed to a conveyor belt the items would move freely much more like hydroneer. Ultimately this feature was scrapped after spending months on it. Since releasing the game I would say the biggest challenge is just letting people know it exists!
- What are you looking forward to the most with Autoforge?
- The world is going to be populated with lots of points of interest. These will range from small things the player will be happy to see to major set pieces that will hopefully bring a grin to players. We’ve been so focused on getting the automation side of the game solid that we haven’t gotten to implement any real points of interests yet. This is the next big item on our task list.
- What is your favorite enemy, NPC, weapon, or item created so far?
- Easily the crank drill. It is the first item you research and is extremely useful. After placing it down on a resource node such as an iron ore deposit you can open up a UI and literally crank it to power the device. This was something that I had envisioned for a long time and finally implemented recently.
- What is your favorite track made so far?
- That’s a tough one! I think I’d have to go with “Matter Assembly”. It is mostly upbeat but has a hint of mystery and undertones of melancholy – it captures the game well!
- Check out “Matter Assembly” here!
- One. Last. Question. If anyone was on the fence about backing the Kickstarter, what would you tell them?
- Play the demo! It is massive (10+ hours) that we’ve worked hard on. If you enjoy the demo then please do consider supporting us on Kickstarter so we can finish the game!