Inside the Gamemaker’s Studio: A Conversation with Super Evil MegaCorp on Vainglory

  • May 26, 2015
  • By Somatone Interactive

Creating a Core Gaming Experience on Touch

We spoke with Stephen Sherman, Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder at Super Evil MegaCorp, to learn more about the thinking behind Vainglory, a mega-hit MOBA and first-ever hardcore mobile game.

STI: What was your team’s creative vision in developing Vainglory into such an outstanding free-to-play MOBA game for touch screens?

SS: Our general thesis and creative vision for making Vainglory is about creating a core gaming experience on touch. We did not want to either casualize a core genre nor make a direct port of a hardcore game. Games are designed for their platforms as the game experience cannot be separated from the device that it is experienced on. The Vainglory experience is all about the way a player feels when he/she plays the game, and it is the outcome of a variety of elements that all come together – from the controls and sounds to map layout, heroes and item builds. To reimagine the MOBA experience on touch, we’ve started from scratch by assuming to know nothing and reconsidering everything. With Vainglory, we want to create the feelings you get from playing a hardcore MOBA, the highs and the lows, the way you approach input with your device, and how you interact with players, and to do so, we’ve focused on crafting everything for this platform specifically. We want to bring out that visceral experience of playing a game on PC or console to touch.

STI: It has been said that Vainglory proves that MOBAs “belong on a mobile platform” as well as PCs and consoles. What are the key gameplay features that set Vainglory apart to earn this distinction?

SS: Everything including the map, hero kit, interface and jungle objective, were all designed from the ground up and we’ve focused on crafting everything with touch devices in mind. In doing that, we’ve heard from many of our players that the experience of playing Vainglory on a touch screen is even better than playing on a PC, the tapping controls make gameplay even smoother than with a traditional mouse and keyboard.

STI: What are some other noteworthy features of Vainglory’s design, art and audio that contribute to such a beautifully-designed multi-player experience that works so well on iOS?

SS: We’ve put a lot of thought, work and love into all the features that make a great MOBA: controls, heroes, graphics, maps, items, and more. We think that Vainglory has received such a great reception from the community and critics, because we’ve built an unapologetically core game. Audio plays a very important role for the overall game-experience. For example, matching our heroes with the right voices and sound effects has huge impact on the end feeling.

Vainglory is powered by the E.V.I.L Engine, our proprietary engine, which has been over 10 man-years in the making. The engine is designed to produce console-quality graphics, and animations, while maintaining sub-30 second responsive and precise controls, a rate of 60 frames-per second and AAA-performance on mobile devices. This is a significant advantage over games based on out-of-the-box tablet engine solutions to\day. E.V.I.L is designed to run across iOS, and is also portable to Android as well as other platforms.

STI: What do you think is the role that audio plays in the overall gameplay experience?

SS: Audio is essential for the overall gameplay experience! First and foremost, audio helps to direct and build upon in-game battles by informing a player what is happening around them and where they should be headed within a level. Sound can also indicate where an opposing threat is coming from and can help a player prepare for a counterattack.

In addition, audio cues can guide and focus a player in a world or a given environment. Music and audio help to determine the scene and set the mood at any given moment. While music and sound aim immerse a player in another world, voice acting give heroes a personality and together create a whole new world for players.

STI: How did your team enjoy working with Somatone on the sound design for this game?

SS: Somatone has been amazing to work with! The team has been extremely responsive at every level of development and we are always able to rely on quality – even at the hard moments with short turnarounds. Somatone has provided us with high-production value assets and we couldn’t be more grateful!

STI: Anything else you’d like to share about this outstanding project, and what’s next on the horizon?

SS: We’re extremely excited to have just released Vainglory in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong! We will also have more news soon about the game’s Android closed beta and the debut of a number of new heroes down the line.  There’s a lot to come for Vainglory, so keep your eyes peeled!