Monaco: an indie game born from depression, roguelikes, and 14-hour workdays

Owen Hill

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Fair play to Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch games, he's damn good at marketing for an indie developer. Monaco's website reads: "CO-OP ACTION STEALTH – PACMAN MEETS HITMAN." It's only right to be intrigued by this IGF award winner .

Speaking at GDC, Andy spoke about the development process for Monaco and the stresses that face indie developers. Click more for a Monaco trailer, screens, and the details.

Andy entered the IGF with a six-week build of Monaco. He described how it came about in San Francisco yesterday: "September 29th, 2009, I was depressed. Not clinically depressed, but I've had serious depression two or three times in my life and it's something I've dealt with. I was in a huge rut. I was working on the third title in my Venture series, I had a full time employee, I had spent a ton of money on it, and it sucked. I'd pretty-much reached the baseline of what I was going to risk on being independent. So, not quite willing to give up on being indie, after I laid off the employee and started taking breaks from development. I started designing board games. I think designing board games is very useful, as they are purely about mechanics."

Andy takes a refreshingly positive approach to development: "If you are making a game that's just there to make money, it's actually riskier than making a game that you want to make because even if it isn't a success, you're more likely to make something worthwhile you can build on in future... Monaco is derived from Roguelikes, and I decided to start from a problem that was fun; there is no one solid consensus on the Rogue-like visibility algorithm.

"I was working on one cool thing every day. One thing that made me happy, one thing that never took me longer that one day and that made me feel awesome. At the end of every day the game had to be playable, I never left the game in a broken state. I would work on it for fourteen hours because I was enjoying myself."

Monaco doesn't yet have a release date. It will eventually be released on PC and at least one console. For more information on Monaco visit the official website , the Facebook page, or Andy Schatz's twitter .

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