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Full Steam ahead for local game developer


By Jason Herring, September 3 2015 —

Calgary game developer Shane Berezowski is excited for the release of his game, CMYW, on the PC gaming platform Steam after his project passed through Steam Greenlight in August.

Steam Greenlight is an online system where game developers post information and screencaps about their games. Members of the online gaming community then vote for games that will receive support from Steam for release on the platform.

Berezowski’s game is a four-player cooperative arcade shooter. Both its visual style and gameplay are reminiscent of old-school space arcade games, where players control small spaceships fending off a stream of incoming asteroids.

“I originally wanted to make a one to four player online game, but I wanted to keep it simple,” Berezowski says. “I took a lot of inspiration for CMYW from retro-space games like Asteroids.”

As the game progresses, the difficulty adjusts to the player’s skill level. Near the end of the game, players encounter larger asteroids called ‘bossteroids’ that are more difficult to destroy. Berezowski says a typical game only lasts around 10 minutes.

A large component of CMYW is local cooperative play. Berezowski says the original idea behind the project was to create a game he could play with his friends online, but adds that he’s happy with the current state of the game.

“The original inception was to create a simple game I could play online with buddies, but the scope of everything kept growing and growing and so far we’ve only developed local multiplayer,” he says. “I almost prefer it that way, because it’s a lot of fun to sit around with three buddies and play together. The ambience and everything that ensues from the chaos of the game is great to listen to.”

He adds that even though CMYW is a cooperative game, he’s seen players take on a more competitive playstyle during testing. Shooting another player can give you the chance to steal their resources, and if you’re eliminated from the game you can return as an asteroid to wreak havoc on other players.

Berezowski has no formal training developing games or writing code. He moved to Calgary in 2011 after graduating university as a mechanical engineer, and picked up game development as a hobby. He started working full-time on CMYW this year after being let go from his job in the oil and gas industry.

“Programming has always piqued my interest. There’s been various periods of my life where I’ve pursued it for a bit but never took it too seriously,” Berezowski says. “[Last year I] started to just get up before work and program a little bit before I went out, or program on weekends and evenings. It wasn’t until February of this year that I was let go from work and I started focusing more heavily on game development.”

Calgary is rarely seen as a hub for game development, but Berezowski says people may be surprised at how vibrant the city’s indie gaming scene is.

“We’re not really known as an indie game development hotspot, but there is quite a scene in Calgary,” Berezowski says. “There’s actually a Calgary Game Development association [with] close to 200 members online. They get together once a week to do ‘Indie Fridays,’ where people get together to chat and play-test. That’s been such a huge help for me, to have people play-test my game and throw around ideas.”

As his game’s release draws near, Berezowski says he’s excited to see where game development will lead him.

“It feels like I’ve found what I’m supposed to do, and it’d be awesome if I could keep doing this. I’m not asking to make tons of money, only enough to sustain the next project and its development would be perfect for me,” Berezowski says.

CMYW is slated for release on Steam near the end of September at a yet to be determined pricepoint.

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