Developer Interview: TimeMelters

Playing with Time

In this interview, we sit down with the developers of TimeMelters, a new indie game that blends strategy and hero defense elements with a unique time-travel twist. The team discusses their inspirations, the challenges of creating complex game mechanics, and the lessons they learned from their first Early Access release. As they gear up for the game’s console debut this summer, the developers offer insights into the passion and hard work that went into crafting TimeMelters’ captivating world and gameplay.

IGR: Tell us about your history as game devs?
We’re a group of veterans, with a collective 40+ years in the video game industry. We’ve worked on several indie games in the past, most notably Sang Froid, another hero defense to which TimeMelters is a spiritual successor.

What inspired TimeMelters?
TimeMelters was inspired by a Scottish Ghost Tour. While on vacation, Vince took part in a ghost tour where a guide brings you around the city, talking about all the myths and legends. After doing some research, we learned of witch hunts where they burned people at the stake and thought a game set in this era would be interesting.

TimeMelters Dev team

What do you hope players will take away?
Our primary aim for players is to fully immerse themselves in the game’s narrative, delving deep into the story while also enjoying our game mechanics. The game is about strategy, but it also has a rich storyline.

Surprisingly, TimeMelters emphasizes the importance of family. In the solo campaign, Teagan embarks on a quest to reach the Amathrach, aiming to rewind time and save her brother.

In co-op, a strong bond between our characters, Teagan & Edwin, adds another layer of depth to the experience. In essence, it’s a tale of sacrifice and betrayal, set within a universe of witch hunts where women are relentlessly pursued by the Inquisition.

What did you learn from its development?
We’ve developed a lot in the past, but the biggest learning experience for us came from our first Early Access. Early Access allowed us to leverage the collective feedback from the community and learn how to interpret all this information. We rebalanced a fair amount of the game and added difficulty levels. I changed a lot of the opening act and fine-tuned our first user experience. This is on top of adding new features.

How did you handle the complex mechanics?
The time travel mechanic took a long while to work 100% of the time. It took a lot of testing and iterating. When we ironed out all the bugs, it was really fun to play around with, but it could be a little confusing. The best thing we found was to just give as much information to the player as possible, but not in an overwhelming way.

Good UI and user feedback helps a lot. We created our own system to show groups of enemies on the map from really far distances. The tutorial was key, we knew this from the very beginning. We redid it so many times, trying to get the right balance of learning new mechanics, story, and action.

What’s next for you?
The console release this summer is very exciting. Porting a game to console is also a new experience for us, but we are up to the challenge. We also keep a tight eye on everything, so we will make adjustments if we see they are needed. We already have an update for TimeMelters in the works!

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