11-06-2015, 05:49 PM (This post was last modified: 12-06-2015, 03:12 AM by Byu Wraind Mai Zwei. Edit Reason: Improve the looks a bit, hope you don't mind. =) )
From "Little Fighter" to "Hero Fighter" - An Ongoing Dream lasted for Two Decades
It was 1990s the age of 56K connection, students liked to rush to the computer room after school to "get some fun" - at the risk of being caught by the administrators. Most of them enjoyed playing "Little Fighter" - a game beloved by the 80-90s.
"I received an e-mail written by a computer room administrator who worked at a secondary school at that time, complained about their students keep playing 'Little Fighter' so he must uninstall the game again and again. I ain't sure if he was praising me", recalled Marti Wong, he created Little Fighter twenty years ago.
Marti was still a "kid" in 1995, he just finished the HKCEE and had nothing to do at home. He created the "Little Fighter 1" at that period of time - the most played game among teenagers later. Marti admitted it was an occasional success with some luck, "I didn't consider too much during the development", he said.
However, the success of "Little Fighter" did not bring him any money; meanwhile he needed to work and choose his path since he was not a "kid" anymore. Around 2003, Marti licensed "Little Fighter" to an online game company, "Little Fighter Online" was released a year later; he explained that this was the way to let the game have further development and bring him income, at a cost of gave up using the name "Little Fighter" to create game in order to avoid any possible legal dispute. He stayed in that company for two year, and then got a new job at Microsoft Advanced Technology Center Shanghai as a Software Design Engineer.
Marti refused to talk about how much income he got from the license, "If it was a big money enough for me to quit all jobs, I don't need to work so hard like this", this is his only answer.
Until 2008, Marti married and returned to Hong Kong, it was that period he decided to start his own business and make a new fighting game (mixed with fighting, adventure, strategy elements and etc); "Hero Fighter" was born in the computer in his house later.
The spirit of "Little Fighter" can be seen in "Hero Fighter", Marti said he like the feel of "classic". He also pointed out the differences, "'Hero Fighter' has story and plot, which tell the adventures and the past of the characters. The most interesting part is Battle Mode - mixed with real-time strategy game elements, allowing players to lead thousands of men to fight, and I really enjoy this feeling which can't be found in 'Little Fighter'; it isn't only two legions battling each other, there might be three to four legions on the battlefield, therefore players need strategy, and I think it's awesome". Player only need a one-time payment HKD$48 to upgrade to the full version and gain access to all 300 stages.
This is the trailer of the new "Hero Fighter"; "X" was added to the original title, which means there will be a powerful two-sword swordsman; "X" is the symbol of dual wielding.
The Development of No Return for Nearly 7 years
Marti has been a fighting game maniac since primary school. During the two decades from "Little Fighter" to "Hero Fighter", he went through numerous obstacles to achieve his dream.
Starting from 08, Marti has been full-time developing "Hero Fighter", and the game is still far away from finish. He tried to find investors but his "one-man-band" was shut out. To keep the game "alive", Marti "invested" countless hours and labour, he also made a living by being a short-term freelancer sometimes - such as web design, developing Flash games, teaching computer at schools. "It feels like feeding an orphan with the flesh from my body".
09 was the year "Hero Fighter" first released its browser version and downloadable version; one million users were accumulated in the following three years, which acted as a motive power to keep on going. Sadly, the game was cracked by the Netizens from Mainland China, players can play as premium characters without payment - at the cost of vanishing Marti's incomes from players. Moreover, the partnership advertiser was bankrupted suddenly in March last year, which leads him lost the remaining income source of the game.
However, these two "catastrophes" did not sink Marti down, instead he made a decision to develop the mobile version and continue the process. He quitted all his part-time jobs and pumped himself into the development from last year. "It's my final blow", this is how he described the new "Hero Fighter". (Remark: The newest version of the game "Hero Fighter X" - iOS version and Android version - is available on App Store and Google Play.)
What if the tragedy happens again? "If there's no player and no income, I don't have any Plan B; I'll have no choice but have to look for a job. If the game becomes popular but is hacked and leads to the result of no income, I may still have chance in this industry, hopefully there'll be investors". He said he will face everything by usual mind, and may start another journey even if he falls down since he is still young.
Went on Different Paths and Won't Compare with His Old Buddy
In 1997, Marti encountered Starsky in the hostel of CUHK; they became good friends later and developed "Little Fighter 2" together.
However, Starsky went to U.S.A. to continue his study, they do not have chance to develop game together anymore since 2000. Now his buddy is working as a software programmer in Facebook, and they sometimes contact with each other via Facebook.
Seeing their different fates, did Marti compare himself with him? He said he knew from the very long ago Starsky is talented, and therefore will not compare with him. "Starsky's mighty - he played video games with me every day in the past, and he got a GPA 4.0! He's a talent. I didn't spend much on revision in the past but I could still keep my GPA in around 3, and I thought I was OK; however when comparing with him, I felt like crap", Marti laughed.
For the rest of the classmates in the university, most of them are working stably in some big companies. Friends who have guts to quit the job in Microsoft like Marti and fight for their own dreams, he believes they are minority.
"I can have a good income if I work normally like them, but if reviewing my life when I'm 50-60 years old, I am sure I will ask myself why didn't hold on more for a while at that period of time and lost the chances, I don't want to regret".
Photo taken in 2002, Marti rented a place in Kwun Tong Tung Lee Industrial Building, finishing "Little Fighter 2" by his own force, meanwhile designing web and Flash games for clients, he also tried to teach magic tricks; but after fell in love with his current wife, he abandoned the magic classes.
Backing Back the Feelings of Excited and Sweat
Marti is now 37 years old. He had "graduated from a kid" for long time ago, and got some white hair on his head; but he is still fighting for his dream at home in the past two decades - although he is just a one-man-band.
Recalling the past, he said, "It was that time people started the trend of 3D games, I don't like it very much; in fact 2D games have their own unbeatable charms and there are still spaces for them to grow".
"I had a discussion with a cybercafe owner, he said one of the reasons why "Little Fighter 2" succeed is because the game allows up to four players to play together without network connection but only using one keyboard - they rent a computer and then four guys mashing one keyboard, people in the cybercafe were attracted by them - it's a selling point that I never consider about". However, that kind of scene is very rarely seen in nowadays.
"I still have ton of ideas in my brains - let's say, just like how to make an interesting 2D fighting game but none had did that before - I think I can work it out. When I was playing my favourite fighting games in the past, I was so excited and sweated; but I don't have such kind of feelings when playing the recent games, I hope I can bring that kind of excitements to players. Yea, I also sweat when playing my own games".
From "Little Fighter" to "Hero Fighter", Marti said his AQ (Adversity Quotient) increased and he became humbler than before, "I'm here today because I went through numerous obstacles by my own force over years - really, I'm a little bit pride that I made it - even if I work in a different field in the future, I'll be tough and won't give up easily".
"I used to think that game developer can make a game without others' feedback - it's my own game and I enjoy playing it, their preferences are none of my business. However I changed my view after experiencing so much, now I know success is not inevitable - in order to attract more players, I always ask for feedback".
Married a Good Wife
Those who fight for dreams are often seen as heroes, and heroes always have a confidante along with them on their paths.
Some of his relatives do not like what he is doing. Talking about his wife Carol, he described her as "rare" because she is always on his side. "If I'm woman, I may ask my husband not to spend so much time (on developing a game) and go look for a job".
Marti said his wife is not good at fighting game, but she is an important test player of "Hero Fighter", "She's a noob, but this's what I'm looking for - my target's to tune the game difficulty, so that players like her can also enjoy the excitement between dead and alive in a breathe".
Marti pictured with his wife when traveling in Korea
Start Screen (screenshot)
Team Fight Mode