Tylario is definitely a rookie indie developer, but do not underestimate him.
With the release of Dead Unending on Steam, he has shown the gaming world that he is a talented artist and diligent programmer. Interviewing him for Indie Games Devel was a real pleasure.
You may also wany to check IGD review of this cool hybrid survival horror.
First things first: who is Tylario?
I am Tyler Hudson, that’s my name, I go by Tylario online. I made the name Tylario a long time ago, back when Agar.io first came out; before Slither.Io, before all these different games.
You know, it’s the game with the circles where you eat each other, and because my name is Tyler, I made my name Tylario.
It just made sense, and I don’t know, it’s stuck ever since then, so that’s what I’ve been known as.
I am 20 years old, I’ll be graduating from University of Charlotte in North Carolina.
I can now call myself an indie developer.
I guess I’ve made a couple games.
I have a website: tylario.io
Some of them aren’t very good.
Don’t go in expecting the best, because I’ve been programming since I was 12, I believe, so for a long time I’ve been making random little things.
Ever since last summer I said: “Now’s the time to make a real game and publish it on Steam”.
And here we are with Dead Unending.
I want to say that Dead Unending looks amazing to me, mainly because it is very addictive.
You know, you may think at first glance that it is something repetitive or maybe simplistic because of the graphics, but when you’re inside of it, I think it’s one of the funniest games ever.
Wow, that makes me very happy. Thank you for saying that.
That was, the goal was to be addicted.
So I’m glad it worked, really.
Your main idea to be addictive while developing a title like this one is the same as the one I found in other projects like Peggo! and TILED. Am I wrong?
That’s right. Peggo was the first game that I sold on Steam, and that was definitely addictive.
It’s very reminiscent of the Pachinko Casino kind of gambling, I guess you could say.
But yeah, that was a clicker, an incremental, which yeah, is addicting, and then TILED.
Wow, I’m surprised you got a chance to look at that.
I didn’t know anybody played that, but yeah, the goal was to be addictive.
I was trying to capitalize off the Wordle trend, where it’s like a new puzzle every day.
I’m glad you took a chance on a TILED.
I also wanted to ask you this question: is there a team behind the name “Tylario”, or is it just you programming all the stuff?
Tylario is me; so really all those projects are stuff that I’ve made and taught myself, so it’s really just me, and whatever help I get online.
I will say that for Dead Unending, I did have the person who did the music, and he is one of my friends from high school.
I got one of my high school teachers to do the voice acting; in the beginning when you’re on the train and the infection is coming, that was actually my high school teacher.
So yeah, I can say that one was a group, that’s for sure.
I already saw a lot of work about you and you look like a programmer more than a developer, am I right?
I guess so; I don’t know.
So I’m in school for programming, so I’m definitely into programming.
I’m into neural networks; they are really cool. I don’t know. I guess a little bit of everything.
A lot of people think that Dead Unending‘s main inspiration comes from Project Zomboid because it looks very similar, and interestingly, I didn’t know about Project Zomboid; I didn’t even hear about that game until I developed Dead Unending.
My original inspiration was a game that you probably haven’t heard of.
It’s called BoxHead, but it was like an old Flash Game that we would play in school, like when you’re not supposed to be playing games.
What a memory unlocked, I played that!
Wow, that’s incredible to find someone else who’s played it.
It was one of the most played on Flash Games in 2010 I think…
Yeah, a long time ago.
To be honest, I don’t actually know.
Back then, I played games, but really, it was just whatever I found on cool Flash Games or whatever the website was.
What did you take from that title? What was your inspiration for Dead Unending?
So the original idea was: I liked BoxHead and I liked how it gets pretty hectic really fast, you know, there’s a lot of zombies and it’s just turning into a meat grinder pretty much.
And I thought that was a very satisfying way to increment up.
You know, how the whole incremental genre it’s like that exponential thing where you start with a little and then pretty soon it gets crązy, so that’s what I took from BoxHead.
Start with a couple zombies, and then after you get a base, there are tons of zombies.
The part about Dead Unending that kept me glued to the screen was the sandbox.
Is there an idea of turning the late action into a tower defense-like game?
Yeah, it was the Tower Defense kind.
It’s like a whole bunch of different genres, like the sandbox, where you could go anywhere in the world.
You know, you have the Tower Defense where you’re setting up your base and Base, building and upgrading, so it’s kind of a mix of a bunch of different genres.
What are your other inspirations in the making of this video game?
I got the hardcore reference to Flash Games, but do you have other must play in your video game preferences?
I really like the games that make you think that are smart, so in that list of must plays I would say Portal and Stanley Parable.
Stanley Parable is definitively a smart one.
Also, I play Minecraft, I play Fortnite.
Oh, my phone game which is a little bit embarrassing: Clash Royale, I absolutely love that game.
I have so many trophies, it’s crązy.
Did you have any movie reference in mind when you were designing this game?
I would say zombie inspiration would have to be the Walking Dead in the sense of avoiding the use of giant super zombies and these crązy – almost fantasy – things.
I liked the reality of Walking Dead and I also really liked World War Z with Brad Pitt.
It’s a great movie, and it definitely turned me on to the zombie genre as a whole, I would say.
How long did it take to solo develop a title like Dead Unending?
I’ve been doing this since last summer, probably around the beginning of summer 2022, and I’ve worked on it pretty much nonstop since then.
I thought I would just do it for a few weeks and then sell it, but as I’ve learned from a lot of the other people on r/Indie Games it doesn’t work like that.
You do it, and then you just keep doing it for way way way longer than you intended, so that’s kind of where I am now, but that’s okay with me.
I’ve really enjoyed making it. It’s been super fun.
This is my first time using Unity, our first time being working on a project this big and it’s great.
I fell in love with it and I plan on continuing to update the game and work on the game.
This went from just a small project to a chapter in my life.
Oh man what I just heard. Updates.
I told you I’m a fanboy; how about some spoilers of those updates?
Sure, I don’t have anything planned for now.
I haven’t started development of the updates, but what I have in mind for the updates is: I want the player to be able to build anywhere on the map instead of just that one Circle.
So, not inside of buildings maybe, but just anywhere there’s like a flat grass place to be able to build anywhere you want.
So you can have your base anywhere.
I think that would be cool.
I want to get it on console and switch and maybe even mobile.
I don’t know, that’s down the road.
A lot of people have been wanting modding support.
I have no idea how to do that, I’ve never worked on it before, but I think that’ll be really cool to look into is modding support, and then just in general more content like, you know, there’s a decent amount of upgrades it gets pretty far out there but I just want to add more, I don’t know what I would add.
Maybe some kind of crązy turret or trap or something but it’s gonna be great.
I’m looking forward to what’s coming as well.
I’m sorry to quote some old memes, but “shut up and take my money” because I’m so happy about something like that.
Have you ever thought about multiplayer for Dead Unending?
Oh yeah! This was another thing I wanted going forward.
Hopefully I’ve told people this, that by the end of 2023 I want to have multiplayer, so that’s my goal.
I want to have a cooperative mode where you can have a couple people in the same world to share objectives, and then I had another idea, and I don’t know if I’ll do it.
I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I kind of like the idea of a “player versus everyone” world where people can spawn in and then you could walk around and loot zombies like you would normally.
But you can also encounter other players and, you know, in my mind most of the time it’s not going to be a peaceful interaction.
I’m getting, if you see someone else, you’ll find them in and either they’ll take your loot or you’ll take their loot when you kill them and it’ll kind of be like a batter. Oh, what’s that game? Rust?
I don’t remember, but it’s kind of like a Battle Royale open game where, you’re working on your objective but you always have the constant risk of: “Oh no, are other people gonna come kill me”.
I think that would be cool, so who knows? I don’t know; I don’t want to promise that, but I do want that.
I think that would be super cool.
That’s cool. Do you think you might need a team to work on these kinds of updates?
Oh, I don’t know, maybe. I don’t know.
I’ve had some people try and contact me and say, “Well, the publishing company will help you out whatever,” and so I don’t know.
I haven’t made plans for that, but I would say after release, you know, a couple weeks after release, once things kind of settle and I kind of have time to say: “Okay, I did the release, and now let’s really make a plan for what’s going forward”.
That’ll be when I sit down and make plans for that.
So maybe that’ll happen.
I don’t know. I’ll have to sit down with some people and think about that.
My favorite part of the game is still the sandbox. What inspired you in creating this part?
I don’t know if I had too many inspirations for the sandbox part; I just turned on some music and made the map and just did whatever I felt like doing.
I will say that Fallout 4 is a game that I’ve really enjoyed, mostly for the looting and the part where you’re allowed to do whatever you want.
For the sandbox part of the game I was thinking about Fallout 4 a little bit.
I love when you’re free to loot around all these abandoned places, go through the drawers and dressers and all these different things and find stuff, and then you can take it back to your base and craft and build…
Great references. Really fits with my experience on Dead Unending.
I wanted to ask you about music, about your friend who composed it.
These themes reminded me about some zombie movies, and also one of John Carpenter’s compositions.
Calm songs for farming, but also nice pieces for zombie slaying…
There’s a little story to that.
So the high school that I went to was an academy high school, so that means that instead of just being a regular public high school you take a specialized set of classes.
I took game design, so you know, I learned a lot about game design through high school.
But there’s other academies, there’s a Medical Academy, Engineering, Auto Tech.
There are like eight or nine different categories, but my friend that I went to high school with, Jacob Laxton, he’s actually a producer now, you might be able to find him on Spotify and Apple Music.
I was friends with him in high school and we took some classes together, and so I basically knew that he would be a great person to make music.
We got into a Discord call and I showed him the game and I told him the vibe that I was going for, and I think what I told him was that it was like LoFi but like a little bit electric.
Not like, you know, EDM dance party electric, but like chill electric like computer noises.
I don’t know, I forgot exactly what I told him.
But the music is one of the great points of the game that a lot of people like.
You know, if you’re watching YouTube videos, I’ll be like, “Oh man, this is some good music,” and so I think it worked out great.
The song that goes with the main menu is different from all the other ones, and that was because it was made specifically for the title, but that one’s crązy, and he did such a good job.
He killed it.
So, Jacob Laxton: shouts out to him.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Do you plan to work on other stuff?
Well, I definitely do want to work on Dead Unending, but aside from that, I’ve had some ideas.
I’ve thought about making another incremental game kind of like CivClicker, which is almost text based.
You click to get wood and rocks and food, and stuff.
It’s a kind of Cookie Clicker.
I thought about that.
This semester I’m in college, I’m studying computer science, so things might slow down a little bit as I do my courses, this would be my junior year.
So they’re pretty tough this year, I’ve heard, but I don’t know.
I might want to do a neural network project with AI, so it’s a we’ll see, we’ll see.
Oh yeah that’s nice, and I also wish you my best luck for everything and also for your free time because I want to see more updates on Dead Unending.
Well, thank you, and you can certainly expect those.
They will be coming. I promise, more content, more items, more guns, more builds.
Another question comes to my mind because, you talk about multiplayer, you talk about multiplatform, so I guess you know what my next question would be…
When there’s going to be multiplayer and when it’s gonna be.
I’ll say the same thing.
Hopefully by the end of 2023 even if it’s like a more primïtive version then how I talked about the open-Rust-like game mode, even if that’s not out then I hope to have at least some form of multiplayer by the end of this year.
So maybe I’ll start with just Cooperative, small lobbies working together, and you know at least I’ll have that by the end of this year.
Hopefully I can have the other versions out by the end of this year too.
I don’t know; it all really depends on what the process is like and what happens, and so I do plan to make my goals in a couple weeks after the release.
Last question about this kind of revelation you made on the multiplayer; but what about cross play?
Oh, I can’t even begin to answer that.
To be honest, if I gave you an answer right now, I would be making stuff up if I’m being totally honest, and that’s because I just don’t know.
I don’t know what the process is like.
All this game development stuff is relatively new.
I’m 20, so this stuff is new, but we’ll see, I don’t know.
It’s a pleasure to talk with you, I just want to wish you luck.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I’d like to thank my teacher, Mr. Scott Bryan, he’s the same guy that did voice acting for Dead Unending.
He taught me in high school, great guy, super cool.
Jacob Laxton did the music.
Liam Scott, he did my marketing. I met him on Reddit.
I want to thank CaRtOoNz, he’s a YouTuber, he played my game and he’s the reason Dead Unending started taking off a couple days ago.
Two days ago I had 5000 wish lists and then CaRtOoNz made a YouTube video on it and now I have almost 8000!
It’s incredible; I feel so blessed to have that happen.
And I got into the Steam popular upcoming page just yesterday morning. I woke up and I was like “Mom look at this”; it’s been such a wild week, I’m glad I got to put this out into an interview.
Also I want to thank my mom, she’s really cool.
She’s awesome, she’s given me a lot of opportunities so that I can do this instead of having a real job.
Before I did this, I was working at McDonald’s and this is a much better way to make money than McDonald’s.
I think Dead Unending is a really fun game and you should try it there.
Is there anything you want to recommend to young people starting out as developers like you?
There’s no point in where you go from being a kid to an adult.
You are just you.
And so if you are a young developer and you wanna make a game, do it, man. You don’t have to be an adult, there’s no difference, I promise. If you just pretend to act like an adult, people will treat you as one; and even if you don’t, no one cares. Make a game.
If that’s what you want to do, I think that’s amazing and I think more people should follow their dreams.
Go for it, because you may not have another chance to do it.
And that’s for everyone, not only for young people.