It’s not often there’s a big shift in the gaming industry. It tends to happen every five to six years, when something will come along which will revolutionize gaming entertainment.

I was kind of excited to see something that could be the latest game changer appear from a local gaming company “IngZ Inc.” with their kickstarter campaign for the game Rome 2030. This mobile space game comes meshed with an in-game currency that is also available in a real life crypto-currency similar to bitcoin, except unlike bitcoin it will have real economic support from in-game trading.

I was lucky enough to interview the founder of IngZ Inc. Tony Howlett on his upcoming Rome 2030 game, read on for the interview, and watch the video to find out what Rome 2030 is all about.

Hey Tony, can you give a quick introduction to yourself, and your background in the gaming industry?

Hello, My name is Tony Howlett, President of IngZ, Inc.   We are a mobile app development company that has been in business since 2010.  We have produced several popular mobile games such as Dominos 42 3D and are embarking on producing a space trading game called “Rome 2030” via a Kickstarter Campaign.   Between me and my brother, Kieran Howlett, the companies CTO, we have been involving in making games since 2001 in our previous company, NextGen Games.

Why did you decide to build your company here in Austin?

Well, Austin is where I live but beyond that, it’s a great town for technical and gaming talent.  So many great games and gaming companies have come from here. Origin and the Ultima series come to mind as well as Bioware Austin and more recently Cloud Imperium and their Kickstarter phenomenon, Star Citizen, the largest backed project in crowdfunding history.   Austin is also the home to a number of industry events such as SxSW Interactive so you can be assured of getting plenty of exposure.

Why did you decide on Rome 2030

I had been developing this story as a set of novels and as we started to think about a space game based on our existing game assets, it was a natural to base it on that.  It’s an original IP that we control and I think it’s a really compelling story.

What is the basic story of Rome 2030?

The story of Rome 2030 is an alternate history of Rome, where they never fall and the dark ages never happen but instead they expand and advance technologically.  And just as it seems they are ready to take over and control the entire world, disaster happens when their enemies get ahold of nuclear technology and launch a world-wide war.  This causes the Roman Empire to have to abandon the Earth and take to the stars to find new worlds to explore and inhabit.  The setting of Rome 2030 is one where Rome controls a vast area of space but must trade, fight and explore to maintain their interstellar empire.  It is a great setting for a game because it will involve multipole modes of game play and simply being the best fighter or trader won’t be enough.   The master of Rome 2030 will have to employ all their martial, economic and diplomatic skills to survive and thrive.

The game Rome 2030 is based on the books, so are you going to keep the games storyline based around those books, or is it going to be a little more open ended?

It will loosely follow the books as they are published but there is a lot of room for different story lines within the overall story.  Since the Rome 2030 story-line falls in the middle of the planned series of three books, the outcome in the story won’t be known to players for quite some time, not unlike how the story in the Game of Thrones series is still unfolding as the TV series films.

The game is mobile only, will it be on all platforms or are you starting off with just one?

Our release intention is for it to come out on iOS, Android and Web, roughly in that order so it wont always be a mobile only game.  However, we are going to listen to our backers and players and they will have a say in what platforms get released first through our Democratic Game Design concept.   All backers will have a vote in important decisions like this and top tier backers will even get to engage with developers to shape the game world by naming and designing ships, helping with plot-lines, etc.

What makes Rome 2030 special in the gaming world?

First of all, our use of crypto-currency as the basis for the in-game economy.  This will give a real world element to all your successes and gameplay.  Another real world aspect will be our use of the Keplar Planet database (www.exoplanet.org) to build our game map so that players will be traversing a model of real space and be able to explore areas where scientist believe real planets might exist.  This plus the unique Rome 2030 backstory should make for exciting and realistic game play.

Crypto-Currency is a big thing, what gave you the idea to implement it in to the game?

Well, game economies have always been a delicate thing with imbalances and cheats creating unfair gameplay and ruining the fun for players.  Using a tested cryptocurrency allows us to have a balanced economy based on a real world standard.  And the best part is that eventually players may be able to “cash-out” and use their credits at online stories that accept the currency.   The possibilities are endless and exciting!

What made you decide to fund this through Kickstarter?

It seems like a concept that could do well through Kickstarter.  We had many of the game assets already from our previous efforts so it just needed a little more to get the finish put on it and redesigned for this new concept.   Kickstarter is now a major source of funding for games and in some cases, is supplanting traditional financing methods.  By going through the Kickstarter community rather than a publisher, it gives us the freedom as well as the flexibility to develop the game the players want to see versus what a publisher might demand for marketing reasons.   We believe you will see more and more projects, even from established companies go this route for these reasons.

What are your future plans for Rome 2030, do you have stretch goals?

Absolutely.   We want to add more multiplayer capabilities like cooperative multi-player and fleet management, where your friends can fly in a fleet managed by your character or vice-versa.  We also could expand the single player options and universe.   Using our Democratic Game Design principle, the backers and players will get to help decide these things.

So what have you already created for the game, and how long do you think it will be before final release? 

Thanks to our experience developing Traveller AR, we have much of the back end infrastructure already.  It’s mostly going to be a job of reskinning a lot of the graphical assets for this new genre and putting the new game rules in place.  That, with testing should take about 12-18 months.  We hope to have the game ready for the holiday seasons in 2016, assuming the Kickstarter funds.

Kickstarter Launch

There are just a few days left to invest in the Rome 2030 Kickstarter Launch and help this game get made. Join now on the Rome 2030 Kickstarter!

Oliver Whitham

Oliver Whitham

Founder at In ATX
Oliver is a Business and Marketing Consultant by day and owner of In ATX and Austin Virtual Workers by night. He lives, drinks, works and eats in this fine city, and figured that it was time to write something about it!
Oliver Whitham