The Entropy Centre launched in November 2022 to much critical and fan praise. The AAA visuals, storytelling and mechanics had many believe this game was created by a team of veteran developers. It was a surprise for many to find out that The Entropy Centre was developed by a one-man team – Daniel Stubbington (aka Stubby Games).
We sat down with Daniel to discuss how he got started in game development and what it was like to create the game as a first-time developer.
Question: Tell us a bit about how you got started in game development and the inception of Stubby Games
“I’ve actually been working in the games industry for years. I initially started in marketing, working at a trailer house in Brighton in the UK. To start with, the work consisted of editing pre-existing trailers for upcoming games, before eventually moving on to create trailers and cinematics from scratch. This shift from editing to developing got me acquainted with Unreal Engine, which is what Entropy was built on.
The inception of Stubby Games actually came around after the advent of The Entropy Centre! Once I got in the entire flow of developing the game, I thought to myself, ‘actually, I should probably create a studio’. The idea is that if Entropy was a success, it could be used as a foundation to create more games.”
Question: How did development of The Entropy Centre start?
“I got the idea for Entropy back in 2019 after watching the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. It’s true that Portal was of course a huge inspiration for me and Entropy – I think every first-person puzzle game has been inspired by Portal to an extent – but seeing the reverse-time ideas in that trailer really made me think – how cool would this be in a game? As a genre, you don’t see too many first-person puzzle games (I think this is why the number of Portal comparisons exist), so I thought Entropy would be something that would really connect with players.”
“I began development in my spare time, whether this is on evenings or weekends, it was truly a passion project for me.”
Question: What challenges did you face when developing the game?
“As a first-time game developer, I think many would suspect that getting a grip on Unreal and developing the game from the ground up would prove to be a huge challenge. Luckily, the skills I learnt when creating trailers transferred really well – I was familiar with the engine, so I think this gave me a pretty good head start.”
“Prototyping was a challenge. I think many devs will say this, but working on the mechanics before the art assets are finalised can be a really strange experience. I was working with hundreds of grey boxes, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not the most pleasing on the eye. This made it difficult to pitch in the early stages, so I put all my effort into creating a strong vertical slice that I could showcase.”
“Looking back, I’m really not too sure how I managed to develop the game on my own, I must have gone a bit mad! Luckily I had my wife, who was pretty instrumental in dishing out constructive criticism and support when needed.”
“At the end of the day – as cliche, as it may sound – I just wanted to make a game that people enjoyed. All of the excitement of the development process really spurred me on and kept me motivated. I had every puzzle planned out in my head, as well as the narrative and the overall direction I wanted to see the project end up. I could have hired others to help with the design, but for the scope of The Entropy Centre and where I was in the development process, I didn’t think it was needed.”
Question: What did you think of the reception to the game?
“I was absolutely thrilled with how people took to the game. As I said earlier, I really only wanted to make something that people truly enjoyed. When I began working with playtesters, the company we brought on said that they had never seen scores as high as they had when testing Entropy. As great as this was to hear, I conditioned myself to not believe it, because I didn’t want to. When the game launched I did have a quiet optimism about what the reception would be like, so it was amazing not to be disappointed.”
“My development journey began by me saying to myself “If I could create just one game in my life, it would be The Entropy Centre”, and that was true at the time! This experience has just breathed a new lease of life into my passion for games. I loved developing Entropy, and I would love to work on more games in the future.”