Concrete Jungle - An interview with Developer Cole Jefferies

The one thing I love about modern gaming is Kickstarter, it allows every Developer with a great idea to make that great idea a reality....

The one thing I love about modern gaming is Kickstarter, it allows every Developer with a great idea to make that great idea a reality. Developers no longer need to worry about finding a publisher or raise the funds to create their game and hope to god that when its released they can at least break even, Kickstarter allows Developers to release there game with the required audience from the start, and because of this we are seeing more and more original, eye catching games. One of them games that caught my eye was Concrete Jungle...

About the Game: 
Concrete Jungle is a new take on the city building game that swaps micro management for deck-building and extra servings of strategy. The game combines the simple but satisfying mechanics of a tabletop deck-building game, the intricacy and accessibility of an indie title, and the variety and depth of a collectible card game. You use cards in your deck to place buildings, clearing city blocks to give yourself more room to build. As your city grows you'll get opportunities to hone your deck, but the game also gets harder.

I reached out to the games Developer Cole Jefferies of ColePowered Games after being intrigued by what is set to be an absolute blast of a game, he was kind enough to answer a handful of questions too!

Thanks for doing the interview, I know you’re pretty busy at the mo, so just to get started can you tell the UK listeners who you are, How did you get started in the industry?

The indie scene was blowing up at around the time I left uni. After 
working some terrible temp jobs, I decided to start making my own games 
while looking for something better. My first game, MegaCity, wouldn't be 
considered a success by most developer's standards- but it made me 
realise I could actually do this and perhaps make a living eventually. 
Not without compromise though- especially when starting out you have to 
be prepared to live as cheaply as possible. I've also had some freelance 
opportunities crop up to help me out financially along the way when 
sales got low.

Whats your current project?

Concrete Jungle- which is the successor to my first game MegaCity. I've 
learned so much since, I wanted to go back to the idea and expand upon 
it. It's a mixture of a city planning game and a deck building game. The 
cards in your deck are buildings to be placed in the city, and you 
expand your deck over time as the city is built. It's really a puzzle 
game about planning ahead and dealing with your own past planning 
decisions rather than a traditional city building game.

Why Kickstarter?

This project being significantly larger than my others, I needed some 
kind of financial aid to see it through. The options were early access 
or kickstarter. I chose kickstarter over early access because I really 
only needed a small amount to ensure the game could be completed to the 
standard I envisioned. Plus, although I do like the early access 
approach some games have employed, for smaller games I think it can be 
detrimental to their final products. There's a lot of indie games out 
there right now, once you start introducing multiple release dates, it 
makes it harder for people to track it or get excited. I made a 
compromise where kickstarter backers get access to an early preview 
build (seeing as I built a playable version anyway to demo on the 
kickstarter page).

What was the inspiration behind the game?

Really just expanding on the ideas of it's predecessor, MegaCity. I 
would cite the main influences as Hearthstone, the tabletop game 
Dominion, SimCity, Tetris and PipeMania. It's really quite an odd 
collection of influences! My game development style is one of splicing 
ideas- take a pinch of this and a spoonful of that, mix it together and 
see if it works. Needless to say, there have been a lot of failed 
prototypes along the way!

What was the hardest challenge when designing the game?

Not to go overboard with ambitious mechanics. In some of the early 
prototypes, I tried to mix it with traditional city-building gameplay 
and unfortunately I couldn't make it work. For each building placement 
the player had to do too many calculations. As the city got bigger, the 
complexity of the analysis the player had to perform to play the game 
also increased. I had such high hopes for this concept, but I just 
couldn't gel the two core ideas together and the time came to go back to 
the drawing board. So I did perhaps what I should of done in the first place and 
went back to the original to try and preserve what made it work while innovating 
on the original ideas. Replacing the purely random list with a slightly 
more controlled mechanic -deck-building- worked well and gave the game a 
whole new dimension. So I stuck with that idea, and it's now Concrete 

How much time have you punched into the development?

It's hard to tell as I've spent a huge amount of time on the mentioned 
prototypes. It's been in some kind of development over the course of 
three years, but that time has been split with other smaller projects. 
 From the working prototype to the preview build, which is what I have 
now, has taken about five months of hard work.

What games made you who you are?

Wow, there's so many! I've been an avid PC gamer since the 90s. 
Obviously I'll have to mention Will Wright's Sim series which fueled my 
interest in cities and human geography. I have a huge love of games that 
let you be creative while still having interesting core mmechanics city 
building is the ideal mixture of that.
But I have quite eclectic gaming tastes. My favourite game of all time 
remains the original Deus Ex. I must of been about fourteen when I first 
played it- it was hard to get to grips with, quite clunky even back 
then. However, it drew me further and further into it's world and I 
became absolutely captivated. Everybody has that one game that they 
played growing up that will never be topped for them personally, Deus Ex is that game for 
me. More recently though- I'm also a big DayZ fan, and I don't think you 
can go wrong with a Total War game grand campaign binge! In the indie 
scene specifically, FTL remains my firm favourite.

Any future projects?

This one is really the only focus until release. Beyond that I have a 
tonne of ideas, but I'll have to see what's most possible when the time 

There are a lot of indie studios around the globe right now, what's the community like? Do you support each other?

I think so. Only having done small projects before, I still feel like 
I'm on my way into the indie gaming scene, instead of already being a 
part of it. So far though, my experience has been extremely positive. 
I've had a load of people contact me to offer help, a lot of the time 
even for free, which is incredible. The indie scene is stronger than ever.

Cole's Kickstarter for Concrete Jungle runs until November 26, and although the game has already tripled its target AND already greenlit for Steam, get yourself over to the kickstarter page now and take advantage of some of the great rewards for backing.


PC 7243547342224339442

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