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Northern Journey "Indie Skyrim" Game Made by One Person - Interview with Slid Studio

He didn’t know how to make games, but by improvising every aspect of game development, he made and published an ambitious 3D game.

He didn’t know programming, he didn’t know any game engine and he didn’t know how to make art for games. But he wanted to make the game of his dreams, an FPS game. Three years later, he finished and shipped the game Northern Journey, a 3D game with interconnected levels, whimsical characters, and hypnotizing music, made with Unreal Engine 4 (Blueprints) and Blender. Currently a success on Steam.

In this podcast, I interviewed Øystein from Slid Studios in Norway, a Solo Indie Game Developer, where he talks about his unique journey while developing the Northern Journey from scratch, with no planning and no schedules. Did you know that he learned and made everything from scratch, including every asset, texture, sound, and more? Not only that, before making the game he spent 10 years making an indie movie.

This interview is packed with valuable insights for those that want to go big without giving up and without burning out when making indie games.


The Northern Journey is set on a vast landscape inspired by the Norwegian fjords, with a story based on Nordic and Scandinavian folklore and tales, where you hold medieval weapons.

Table of Contents

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:00:44 – Øystein Introduction
00:01:10 – What is The Northern Journey?
00:02:32 – Is it an RPG FPS or Exploration FPS?
00:03:50 – Is the game based in Norway?
00:04:41 – What is your favorite thing in the game?
00:05:32 – Holistic Game Dev
00:08:42 – Did holistic help save money?
00:09:24 – Take a lot of texture photos
00:10:49 – How long did it take you to complete the game?
00:11:09 – Did you work full-time on the game?
00:11:40 – Where to buy the game?
00:12:54 – Making a Movie alone The Death of Balder
00:14:50 – How many years to make the movie?
00:16:27 – Make from start to finish and finish it
00:17:12 – The Northern Journey proof of concept prototype
00:21:10 – How much time to make the prototype?
00:22:11 – Planning the game and schedule milestones
00:24:59 – Improvising Game and Level Design
00:27:49 – Creating immersive big levels
00:30:16 – Gameplay backtracking in big levels
00:32:29 – Creature, enemy, and NPC design
00:34:04 – How to make unique characters?
00:35:31 – Why does the game have so many spiders?
00:37:53 – Game Music and OST
00:41:17 – Is the game successful?
00:43:24 – Additional sources of income
00:44:46 – No lights in the game?
00:47:35 – DAW Software (Music Production)
00:48:48 – Any plans to move to UE5?
00:50:28 – Drawing tablet
00:50:40 – Why Blender 2.79 and not 2.8+?
00:52:27 – Risk of failing: make the game for yourself or for the market?
00:55:37 – New game and future plans
00:58:03 – Game Making as a vehicle of Art Making
01:03:04 – How to focus while working on a big game?
01:06:14 – Where to follow your work?
01:07:39 – Final advice – don’t make games, but…
01:08:01 – Make small games or the game of your dreams?
01:10:27 – Conclusion
01:10:55 – Support the Podcast

Tools Used in this Log

  • Adobe Premiere
  • Photoshop

Styles Related to this Log

  • Audio
  • Gamedev
  • Video

Current Project Status

  • Personal / Hobby
  • Work In Progress

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