Developer Speak: CSR Studios


Some time ago, my brother and I made a zombie escape plan. (We also made escape plans for werewolf and mummy attacks, but so far those haven’t enjoyed the same amount of coverage in popular media). When I heard about this Xbox Live Independent Game that was not your run-of-the-mill twin-stick shooter or tower defense, I was intrigued.

About two minutes into the trial, I knew two things: I had to buy it, and I had to interview the team that made it. (Well, it’s not a team, it’s just one guy who might be a zombie game Picasso.)

DNF- Can you please give us a little background on Can’t Strafe Right studios?
CSR Studios- I’m a one man studio based in Scotland. I started making games about 2 years ago, and when it comes to programing games I’m mostly self taught, but I did do programing at school and college. So far I’ve made about 7 games, 4 of which have been released on the XBLIG marketplace.

DNF- For those who have not played it, tell us about Dead Pixels

CSR Studios- I like to call it a randomly generated side scrolling RPG with guns and zombies, but most people like to describe it as a cross between Left 4 Dead and River City Ransom.

Basicly you’re a guy trying to get out of a city filled with zombies. On your way out you kill zombies, raid houses, buy/sell items and find new guns.

DNF- What was the inspiration behind Dead Pixels?

CSR Studios- I was inspired by a lot of different things from rogue-like RPG’s to 8-bit side scrolling games. My biggest influences were probably River City Ransom, Borderlands, pen and paper RPG’s and good old fashioned zombie films. I tried to stay away form all zombie games while I was working on dead pixels as I wanted my inspiration to come from films rather than other zombie games.

DNF- How has the receptionĀ beenĀ for Dead Pixels?

CSR Studios- Very positive over all. I was a little worried that possibly I had spent too long with the game, and it wasn’t really much fun, but once it was out and the positive reviews started flowing in I was really happy.

DNF- You had a unique way of handling how Dead Pixels would receive DLC. Tell us about that.

CSR Studios- Towards the end of the games development I had a lot of ideas I wanted to do but I was worried that I was putting so much time into a game that might not sell, so I decided to do this stuff if the game reached certain targets. It was my hope that this would maybe be the difference between getting 3000 and 4000 sales. In the end the game sold much more than I expected in the first few weeks.

DNF- Can you describe what content will be in the DLC for Dead Pixels?

CSR Studios- I’m working on two game modes.

In one you will have to survive as long as possible with limited resources.

In the other you have been sent into the city by the army to do a mission.

DNF- And when we can expect to get our hands on this new content?

CSR Studios- When It’s done is the best answer. I’m pretty much working on it full time just now but I won’t feel comfortable releasing it until I’m happy with it.

DNF- You raised money for charity by offering people a chance to be in your game. Can you tell us about the charity and the response you got from the community?

CSR Studios- This year, just like last year, I done a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for The Royal Hospital for Sick Children here in Scotland. I decided as an incentive this year I was going to put people in the game that donated over a set amount. A lot of the sprites were already based off people I knew so it wasn’t going to be a problem for me to do. Originally I just planned to put people in the credits, and make traders based on them, but someone asked how much would they have to donate for me to make them a playable character, and I said over $100 thinking no one would. To my surprise 2 people actually did.

In total I raised $537 and I’m now in the process of contacting everyone, and working on the sprites.

DNF- What does the future hold for Can’t Strafe Right studios?

CSR Studios- I’m working on a PC version of Dead Pixels, and after that I’d like to work on a few projects before maybe returning to dead pixels and doing a sequel. I’d also like to try my and at iOS and android development.

DNF- How would you rate Microsoft’s support of the Xbox Live Independent Game marketplace?

CSR Studios- I have mixed feeling on this. They could easily do more to fix problems with the service and give us a community manager. But I also think that for our $100 a year we get the opportunity to have our game on a console and seen by 1000s of gamers, and we wouldn’t get the same opportunity else where.

DNF- From playing Dead Pixels, it’s obvious you are a zombie apocalypse expert. What are some pro tips for surviving?

CSR Studios- Oil rig.
While an island might sound good, because zombies don’t breathe they could just walk to you. There is very little chance of zombies getting to you on an oil rig, and as long as you have a good food supply, or the ability to grow food you should be fine



You know, in all the plans my brother and I made, none of them had never thought of an oil rig.

I would like to thank CSR Studios for taking the time to talk with us about Dead Pixels and zombie escape plans! If you have not purchased Dead Pixels, you can do so here. If you want to keep up with CSR Studios in real time then here you go. Facebook? Here you go.

About Donald Conrad

Donald Conrad is an avid father and a dedicated gamer -- or maybe that's the other way around. He loves his games, and he loves his family, and he's pretty sure he loves sleep, even if he doesn't remember what it was like. Follow his life confusion on Twitter @ConManEd