Interviews News Q&A

A Q&A With RiverForge, Developers of ‘Main Street’

Life Simulation games have been around for a long time, but they have arguably been growing in popularity over the last few years. With major releases in the genre like Stardew Valley in 2016, and Nintendo’s success this year with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Life Sim games have been gaining popularity recently.

We had a chance to catch up with a couple of indie developers who are working on an open-world RPG-style Life Sim game called Main Street. They have been working hard on it for at least four years. Get to know the developers, what makes them tick, how to get involved in testing and more with the questions we asked the RiverForge team below.

Main Street Screenshot

Q: How did you start developing games?

Sonic: I’ve always been in love with choose your own adventures. As a teen, I started making visual novels and branching story RPG Maker games. River and I were good friends for years before he mentioned he was dabbling in game development. I knew from experience how difficult it was to make a game alone and told him if he ever needed anything I’d be happy to help. Main Street was our first project together, and my first ever attempt at pixel art.

River: I started experimenting with game development for Windows/PC when I was 10. I made several small games/prototypes that I’ll spare the world from seeing. I basically tinkered with projects and studied open-source code/tutorials for various game engines throughout high school. When I started studying computer science at a university, I interned for a mobile game developer and worked on some really cool projects there.

Since then I’ve participated in a few game jams and have been working on various passion projects. My interests in games that I want to make generally deal with sandbox/open-world elements, but not in the typical MMORPG fashion.

Q: Tell us about your latest project.

A: Main Street is a multiplayer RPG tycoon game for PC. You can buy a shop, name it, choose your shop type, and unlock more shop types as you play. You can also be creative with your store – choose what items you stock, decorate the outside of your store with signs and bushes that raise your shop’s popularity, change your walls/wallpaper/flooring, and furnish the inside of your store with a variety of decorations. You can work for other players and hire/fire/give raises to players and NPCs. Alongside running your business, you can also gather flowers and fruits and do a variety of other leisure activities. We hope to add even more fun features throughout development, such as fishing, bug catching, server leaderboards, fires/robberies, homeownership, and pet adoption!

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Main Street?

A: Main Street was inspired most by an old game called Omega Mall. It also draws inspiration from many other games, such as Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, Fantasy Life, Harvest Moon, and various tycoon titles. The idea for Main Street was to create a tycoon style game with a friendly small-town feel, RPG elements, and multiplayer at its core.

Main Street Gameplay

Q: Has the game changed from its original plan at all? If so, in what ways?

A: Yes, it has! We started developing Main Street in 2016. Sonic was brand new to pixel art so the game looked completely different and the engine we used for programming had critical limitations. We are now remaking the game with a new engine and Sonic remade all of the art assets. We also plan to expose the game to a larger audience and hope that others will enjoy Main Street as much as we do.

Q: What is something you find interesting in Main Street that is important but nobody really notices?

Sonic: Something interesting in Main Street that I love most but nobody notices is that every new feature we add is a building block toward bigger features. River and I have so many amazing plans for the future of this game that we can’t make public promises about yet, but each new thing is a little bit of foreshadowing!

River: Main Street is built as a native Javascript game but also has a totally authoritative server. What this means is that it is native for browsers, where we want to launch initially, but it is also very easy to port to pretty much anything with some simple wrappers. It also means that hacking/exploits and unofficial/cracked servers shouldn’t be a problem… Just some technical/geeky stuff that I love.

Q: Is there a way someone can get involved with the project (closed beta info, etc)?

A: Yes, absolutely. Our official Discord has biweekly closed alpha applications for members who would like to come to try the game, and we have a Patreon account for anyone who wants to help financially support our progress!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let the Indie Ranger readers know about?

A: Main Street has come a very long way in the development and it is a game both of us have always been passionate about. We love the world, feel, and mechanics of Main Street and want to see it grow to become everything it can be. This is a project that, if enough players take interest and support us in, we would love to work full time developing and expanding. 

Golds Bakery

Main Street might be a while away from releasing on a platform near you, but if this is a game that sounds interesting –  you can get involved today! Sonic and River love to get player feedback, so they have beta tests running every 2 weeks or so. You can get more information and links to the Discord, Twitter and Patreon mentioned above on the Main Street website.

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