GamingI'm Steve, creator of Beat Hazard & Martial Arts Brutality & Solo Indie Dev AMA!

Aug 29th 2017 by ColdBeamGames • 12 Questions • 143 Points

I'm Steve, creator of Beat Hazard and my new game Martial Arts Brutality. I'm a solo indie developer based in the UK. I published my first game at the age of 14 for the Atari 800. I've worked for a number of big games studios. I went full time indie 7 years ago and haven't looked back since. My new game Martial Arts Brutality if a F2P turn based tactical card fighter, down load & details here:

I've wanted to make a martial arts games for years. I've tried to do something a little different with this one.

Anyway, enough talk .... AMA



I've actually emailed you years ago to tell you how much I enjoyed Beat Hazard back when you first launched on Xbox 360 and you replied.

Now from a development standpoint were you in any way afraid to create what some might call as just Asteroids with music? Or was that not even a thought?

Also would you mind explaining your game for the Atari 800?


Hello again! Some reviews did describe the game as asteroids to music, but it was always in a very positive way. In fact most players/reviewers really loved the concept. At the time, as with most indie devs, my main worry was just being able to make a living from making games on my own.

Here's a link to my Atari game : It was inspired when watching the awesome boat chase in James Bond: Live and Let die. I think it sold 200 copies on tape.


Well I'm very glad you were not dissuaded.

Was there any other projects you had considered for consoles? Or any console in particular you wanted to work with in the past?


In my studio days we did a lot of PC work. When the PS2 came out I had stars in my eyes and wanted to work on it. We did make a game called Twin Caliber for PS2 & Xbox, which I loved doing, but it didn't sell well.

These days though, consoles seems to be very difficult to work with. I hope things improve, but other platforms are way easier to deal with.


Hey Steve! Love Beat Hazard. Friend introduced me to it in High School, and it easily helped me reimagine what a music game could be about. (Well, Audiosurf too, but that is another story.)

Just some quick ones I can put down on mobile before bed:

What was your biggest hurdle with Beat Hazard at any point of its development?

What's your go-to snack?

What is your favorite song to get work done to? (Like your crunch time motivator)

Do you still keep in touch with some of your co-workers from before you went indie?

Who is the most famous person we might know of that is a fan of your work, and which piece of work specifically?

Any cool Easter eggs we should really look out for in the new game?

Thanks for your hard work! I'll definitely have to find time to try it out!


What was your biggest hurdle with Beat Hazard at any point of its development? In general it was the analysis of the music. The game needs to do an FFT on the audio waveform in real time. I never knew if I'd be able to do this on all the different platforms.

The other big hurdle was PS3 dev. It was really really hard...

What's your go-to snack? Prawn cocktail crisps. (Curry if it's the end of the day)

What is your favorite song to get work done to? (Like your crunch time motivator) Sometimes it's complete silence if the task takes a lot of brain power, otherwise I like BBC Radio 2, light chat and casual music.

Do you still keep in touch with some of your co-workers from before you went indie? Yes I do. Some of the has set up new businesses. For my new game I contracted d3t do to the backend server work and I used Alien Apple to do the Character and UI art. Both of these companies were setup by ex-THQ colleges. I also keep in touch with the guys at Nomad Games, they're ex-THQ too.

Who is the most famous person we might know of that is a fan of your work, and which piece of work specifically? Unfortunately, none that I know of. I always thought I might get an email from a famous musician who liked to play their music in Beat Hazard, but it never happened.... sob.

Any cool Easter eggs we should really look out for in the new game? Hummmm, not at the moment. I should put some in shouldn't I? I've just not had the time. I'll do that when things have settled.


I had 100% achievements and then you had to go and update Beat Hazard Ultra, didn't you? You bastard.

Kidding. I spent hundreds of hours enjoying your work so far. One year at Quakecon EVERYONE walking by my seat wanted to know what I was playing.

Beyond your current projects, what is a huge goal for your future?


Hi, So did you get 100% achievements on Ultra? Re Quakecon, that's really cool. Thanks.

In the near future I want to work on improving MAB and work on a version for Steam.

Then it'll be on to Beat Hazard 2. I'm really looking forward to starting on that.

Beyond that, I just want to be financially secure so I can continue making my own games. I've got a few more ideas that I think have potential.


I do not work in any company as of now, though I have interned at a couple of giants and would be joining another one soon. I'm really interested in getting into gamedev. I'm just unsure because I've heard a lot about how tough it is to get a stable source of income, and how the perks/work-life balance of a job in the gamedev differs from one in the soft-eng industry.

I want to explore the areas that are common to both gamedev and standard software companies so I could have an easier transition from either ways if I wanted to. Any ideas anyone?


Yeah, game dev for a big studio can really effect your private life. There tends to be a lot of 'crunching' where you need to work weekends and long days. If you're lucky this only happens for a few months and the end of a project, but some places expect it all the time. You need to do your homework on that one.

Having said that, I loved my time working at a game studio, made a lot of close friends too.

Going Indie is the other angle, it's something you can try on and off in your spare time. I'm a jack of all trades to I've got the skills to make a game and all that's needed from start to finish. That's the best place to be, but it takes time to acquire all the knowledge. It is very rewarding though.


Hey Steve! Love Martial Arts Brutality! Already got some of my friends to challenge me in it. Crazy fun. It's also crazy demanding on my phone though. My LG g4 starts heating up like a barbecue grill after just a few seconds into it. Do you think future updates will address that issue?


Hi, Hey thanks, I'm glad you like it! Can I ask a favor? Can you leave a rating/review please?

Re heating: The game uses shaders to shade, light and colour the guys, I think this is what causes the heat. I'll deffo have a look at reducing this.


Consider it done


Thank you!


Will ever Beat Hazard become backwards compatible on Xbox One? I loved it on PC and I want to see if it will work better on my Xbox One S :) Also any news about Beat Hazard 2?


I doubt it, I've not really got the time to do it and I'm not 100% sure if the new Xbox SDK has the audio analysis function the game needs. I'd rather crack on with BH2. So yeah, I want to start on BH2 once I'm got Martial Arts Brutality sorted. I'll be working on the two in parallel probably.


Will the iOS version get a 64-bit update? Otherwise it won't run on iOS 11 :(


I hope so. I'm going to look at that soon, but I've not complied BH on iOS for about 3 years, god only knows what bit rot has set in and what problems it might cause. I'm annoyed that Apple have taken this step, seems unnecessary to me.


Thanks for the update! It does suck as I have many discontinued apps (one was bought out by Apple ironically, and they integrated it into another app in a far more watered down iteration).

Apparently the reason for dropping 32 bit is due to iOS being purely 64 bit and having to run a 32 bit layer to support older apps. This affects performance and battery life, or so they say.


Hummm, I call shenanigans. I wonder if there'll be a backlash when thousands of users update and find most of their apps don't work.


What keeps you motivated with no other devs working on your projects?


I guess I'm pretty self motivated. I do miss some aspects of working in a big team, but on balance I feel more fulfilled being my own boss and making my own decisions.

I do have the odd day when I have no motivation though. At those times I just plod though my to do list just to make sure I get something done.

On the whole I love what I do and find it very rewarding.


Thank you thank you so much for making Beat Hazard Steve! Most of my steam friends have it after seeing me play it, and I have put over 50 hours into it over two steam accounts (it was so nice I bought it twice). I am super glad to hear you are still active with indie game dev! It isn't always the easiest thing.

I am super hype for beat hazard 2, whenever it comes out, and have a couple questions.

  1. Do you have a mailing list so we can keep in the know about it?

  2. Any plan for new game modes? If you set things to spawn from one side and mess with physics a bit, a side scroller mode would be neat.

  3. How did you come up woth the idea for beat hazard? It is very "asteroids with music" but it is done so well.

I like how despite the glaring lights, beat hazard is still easy to "read" even at max intensity. It doesn't feel too busy unlike some other games.


Hey, thanks for getting your friends into Beat Hazard!

1: Not really, but I'll post updates to the BH2 Steam forum once it's up and running. I find it easier that way, and it gives players the chance to discuss too.

2: Yes, there will be game new game modes, not sure what at the moment. Side scroller: interesting idea. At one point I did try to make a Beat Hazard Invaders where ships just come from the top, but it didn't really work that well.

3: I'd been playing Geometry Wars (which I loved!) and I was trying to think of a different spin on it, and that's when the idea popped into my head.

Yes, BH does have it's own visual language. Indeed it is interesting how you can filter out all the extreme input and focus on the threats. When I first started the game I never thought it was possible to do this.