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26 February 2018

Talking with Michael Lyashenko about Windward

Michael Lyashenko, founder, Tasharen Entertainment, took a few minutes to talk with me about the success of Windward. Windward is an awesome game in the same vein as Sid Meiers Pirates. I play tested the game a couple of months ago and fell in love. Currently we are running testing with multiplayer functions and working as a team. I will post that review shortly. For now lets see what Mr. Lyashenko has to say:

thWhat is Windward?

– Windward is a coop adventure game inspired mainly by Sid Meier’s Pirates and a bit of World of Warcraft. It doesn’t have zombies, survival, nor is it of horror genre. Instead it puts the player in control of a ship sailing a procedurally generated world with all of their friends beside them.
How was it developed?
– Windward was originally started in 2012 but put on hold for a variety of reasons. It was restarted in August of 2014 and went into Early Access soon after. The vast majority of the game’s features were brought forth by beta players — so you could say that Windward was developed by its community.
Tell me a little about your development team.
– It’s just me. I contracted 3D models to an artist (Rich DiGiovanni) and music to a composer (Angelo Cicero). Everything else — game’s design and development — was my job.
What makes Windward different than other games of this sort?
– Windward’s main appeal is the coop aspect of it, as it was designed around it. Players can create their own unique world and play together (or against each other), sailing around, completing quests, trading, and of course — fighting lots and lots of pirates that dare to challenge them. As players progress through the world they gain experience and unlock talents, gather booty, and plunder their enemies’ towns. With full elective PvP support, instances (outdoor dungeons), and a deep talent specialization offering a variety of different roles based on the standard tank-dps-healer trio, Windward offers something for everyone. Although Windward was designed around small groups in mind in the style of games like Terraria, a surprising percentage of players chose not to spread out, but instead join the same server, leading to some interesting results. Just last night I was running my server with over 300 concurrent players from my home PC and they never realized it! It seems it has an MMO potential — something I’ve never considered before the release.
What can we expect to see as the game develops?
– I will continue listening to feedback and implementing player’s desires into the game. For me the release date was just a milestone, not the finish line.
Are there incentives to draw in new players?
– Steam offers incentives just by being Steam: players get achievements, trading cards and an easier way of joining their friends’ games.
What about future and/or current projects? What are you working on?
– Although I have quite a few ideas in my head, I am not ready to start on the next project as my focus is going to be on Windward for at least a few more months. Currently I am trying to stay alive through the release rush of players, and barely hanging on. No time to think of the future just yet… 🙂
If you want to try out Windward you can download it via STEAM here. The video attached was pulled from youtube and shows a great actual game play segment with commentary. It is one of many by DieselDesigns a great youtube publisher that you should be checking out.

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