Welcome to the first of the series of pieces where I grab a developer and fire some questions at them to delve a bit deeper into the developer mind.
For this first part I have managed to grab hold of a talented up and coming developer Nidal Nijm, a solo developer working on a new FPS with a difference – Fursan al-Aqsa – Knights of al-Aqsa Mosque.
Let’s get down to business –
What made you want to make games?
From since I was a kid, being from Arab ascendance, and a practising muslim who always loved videogames, I always asked myself why the marjority of games I loved to play portray us, Arab and Muslims as terrorists. Why can’t there be some kind of “Islamic Rambo”? From then I decided that whenever I grow up, I would make a game in which we, Arab and Muslims are the good guys.
What games are you into at the moment?
About playing games, unfortunately, I am from 2018 without playing games, just focusing my free time on developing my game, as I have a very full time agenda which I need to divide between my real life job of Web Designer, my family (Wife and daughter). But I did play games regularly from 2017 till 2018, one entire year on my PS Vita, especially to get ideas for my game, getting some inspiration. I played a LOT of games, and from each game I got some idea, even if it was small as some on screen information. For example, from Resident Evil Revelations I got the idea of the damage Hud Screen, but in the end, I made it a bit clean, similar to Call of Duty, after feedback received on the videos I publish regularly showcasing my game’s development progress. Another example is from Hotline Miami I got the gameplay design philosophy. In that game you need to die thousands of times until being able to elaborate a strategy to kill the enemies, you need to memorize each enemy position, so after you got a strategy, you can complete the mission. And this same gameplay design I used on my game. I am very proud that people until today, even after one month of the release of the demo, are playing the demo, fighting to get Rank A (it’s hard, truly hard). I am sure the final game (Episode 1) will give players at least 20 hours of gameplay (maybe even more) until the player is able to beat all Missions and get ranking A on all Maps. Also there are some old games which inspired me, like Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64 (one of the best games ever), the mission briefing menu is inspired by this classic game.
What’s the game that got you into gaming in the first place?
The first game I remember I have ever played was Tetris on the old Gameboy (my first console).
So tell me about your game?
Fursan al-Aqsa – Knights of al-Aqsa Mosque is a Third Person Action Game on which you play as Ahmad al-Ghazzawi, a young Palestinian Student who was unjustly tortured and jailed by Israeli Soldiers for 5 years, had all his family killed by an Israeli Airstrike and now after getting out from the prison he seeks revenge against those who wronged him, killed his family and stolen his homeland, by joining a new Palestine Resistance Movement called Fursan al-Aqsa – Knights of al-Aqsa Mosque.
What’s the inspiration behind it?
This game is greatly inspired by Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Insurgency Sandstorm, Max Payne, Dead to Rights, John Woo Stranglehold, Matrix Path of Neo, My Friend Pedro, Mortal Kombat X (the knife kills fatalities) and Hotline Miami.
What’s the one thing that makes your game stand out from all the other Third Person Shooter games out there?
This is kinda “Islamic Max Payne with the violence of Hotline Miami and the difficulty of Dark Souls” which addresses the Israel x Palestine Conflict through the view of the brave Palestine Resistance, breaking the cliché of portraying Arab and Muslims as Terrorists, something never done before in games. In terms of gameplay, players can expect a game with non stop action, advanced 3D graphics and modern gameplay mechanics, however keeping the soul of old school shooters. You will play in missions across ground, sea and sky, with many objectives to accomplish in each mission, epic bosses battles, powerful guns, vehicles to drive, helicopters to take down, and much more. Expect a LOT of Action and Adrenaline! The enemies AI is very advanced and smart, which makes the game hard to beat, yet addicting as soon as you learn how to play it. Also the bullet time effect (i.e Max Payne jump) allows the player to perform spectacular kills at the same time he can deviate from flying bullets in the best John Woo Movies Style 🙂
Will you be adding more to the game in the way of dlc?
I plan to release this game into episodes, each episode will come with additional missions, weapons, game modes, some new animations, so technically speaking, yes, each episode is kinda DLC
Do you have any more ideas in the pipeline?
My brain is always ruminating on some new gameplay mechanics I can add to my game. This bullet time effect I added recently, after the release of my game’s demo was because the players feedback, which recognized the players`s movement and jump similar to Max Payne. So I said to myself, what if I make it a true Max Payne movement with Bullet Time Effect (Slow motion)? At the moment I think I already added all the gameplay mechanics I want for my game. I was thinking about adding a bullet cam effect (like Sniper Elite), but thinking about it deeply, I gave up this idea, because it will be very hard to implement (programming) and I think it will break the pace of the game (i.e non stop action).
Where can players find more information about your game and play the demo?
Game’s Official Website: https://www.fursanaqsa.com/
Download the Demo: https://www.indiedb.com/games/fursan-al-aqsa-knights-of-al-aqsa-mosque/downloads
Game Summary: https://www.indiedb.com/games/fursan-al-aqsa-knights-of-al-aqsa-mosque
Development Blog: https://www.indiedb.com/games/fursan-al-aqsa-knights-of-al-aqsa-mosque/articles
Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/UdkUltimate
There you have it guys and gals, thanks to Nidal for taking time out to answer a few questions for us and please do support his project.