Interviews & Opinion

Whacky Mole Studio discuss their development journey and Mineral Madness

Whacky Mole Studio discuss their development journey and Mineral Madness

The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of Pocket Gamer and PC Games Insider. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with several past Big Indie Pitch contestants to offer their views.

Today, we're speaking to Filip Unger from Whacky Mole Studio, who submitted Mineral Madness to The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2022 and walked away as the third-place runner-up.

All the pitching madness

Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Filip Unger: The team consists of seven masters of science in game and software engineering students, Adrian, Filip, Elin, Nathanael, Linus, Stephanie and Simon. We all have a passion for games and making them, so when we got the chance to develop a game as a part of a project at the university we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted to make a game that we think is fun and would like to play ourselves, but also something that could challenge us as developers and allow us to explore new and innovative techniques. We mixed together some of the best features of our favourite games, sprinkled some cool techniques on top and out came Mineral Madness.

Tell us about Mineral Madness that you pitched at the competition.

Mineral Madness is a frantic and chaotic multiplayer game where players compete against each other to see who can collect the most minerals. While exploring the procedurally generated cave system, the player will have to utilize the various tools at their disposal to navigate and dig through the terrain while warding off local inhabitants of the cave as well as other players.

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Mineral Madness that gamers may never have seen before?

The core feature of Mineral Madness is the procedurally generated fully destructible terrain. Most of the game is designed with the terrain in mind and how to make the most of it. Since it is set in caves, it plays a lot with light and dark aspects but also the navigation challenge. How do you orient in a 3D cave that changes its appearance over the course of the game? It's not only the base structure of the caves that will change but it will also grow darker and less colourful over time since it's the minerals you collect that emit all the light. The tools at hand are designed with the terrain in mind for example we got a pickaxe instead of a regular melee weapon, bombs instead of a gun, a terrain scanner instead of a regular map etc.

Mineral Madness is a fast and frantic multiplayer first-person game. What made you choose this genre, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?

We wanted to make a game that is easy to get into but hard to master and that also fits all age groups. Something you can easily jump into with your friends on a Friday night for some fun and fast mayhem, but also something for the competitive person to strategize and master. The game also serves a wide range of play styles, everything from the peaceful gatherer type to the bloodthirsty player-versus-player type.

How did you choose which platforms you would develop Mineral Madness for?

We are all PC gamers at heart, so having that as our main platform was something we all wanted. We did however realize that the gameplay and style of Mineral Madness worked great on controllers as well, and since we want everyone to enjoy our game we aim to bring it to as many platforms as possible.

Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer? 

It's been hard to balance university studies and running a game studio at the same time. But we are a great team that helps each other out when it gets tough, we all chip in and do our parts but we also have compassion for when someone has something else that needs to take precedence for a while like exams and assignments.

Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?

We can only speak for ourselves and our journey so far. What we did was when we had a finished prototype, we went out to join local game concept competitions to get in touch with other developers, publishers, or generally people associated with the industry. Which really gave us a boost in both motivation and a lot of very valuable feedback for the game as well as the journey ahead.

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

The Big Indie Pitch was really a fantastic opportunity for us to get a boost in pitching experience. The judges we met and pitched to provided fantastic feedback, both critical and encouraging. We also met other friendly developers who were part of the competition, who we are still in contact with. All in all, it was a great place to meet and talk with people in the industry.

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

It provided a great opportunity for us to try out our pitch, we even made some contacts along the way. The only thing left for us I would say is to continue pitching until we find a publisher for Mineral Madness.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

Right now all our focus is on Mineral Madness and making it the best game it can be, including continued support after the initial release. Further in the future, other games and projects might be on the table, but only time will tell.

Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.

All our upcoming pitches including how to enter can be found over on our upcoming events page on

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Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.