Meet The Devs Shane Yach: “I focus on horror atmospheres”

Today we are interviewing Shane Yach, a game programmer and music composer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He worked on a verity of projects and expanded into most parts of game development. He usually develops surreal explorable micro-terror video games with a thick moody atmosphere and minimalist design sensibilities. We would recommend checking his portfolio if you don’t quickly succumb to fears. Lots of his games focus on scary and supernatural events.

There are thousands of indie game developers out there and therefore it is easy to miss out on a lot of them. Indie Game Reporter makes a change. In Meet The Devs we interview a new game developer every Monday and Friday. With this series of articles, you can learn about interesting indie developers, creative new videogames, and stories on how developers worldwide try to entertain all sorts of indie gamers.

“…yet minimal those games are”

Which of your game developer achievements made you most proud of yourself?
“Right out of college, I was bumming around in the comfort of my new job, not really working on game development extensively. A couple of game jams popped up that spurred my motivation to try creating a PSX-style first-person exploration game. That game turned into No One is Here, made in the course of a month. It became a very simple cohesive game that I’m still very proud of. I got a stronger sense of how I like to design and create video games by making it.”

What kind of games and which well-known persons inspired you to become a developer?
“Stuff like Proteus and Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor really inspired me with how effective yet minimal those games are. Specifically, I’ve played Proteus a number of times through the years just because of how potent and cohesive the atmosphere and feel of that game is.

I was also greatly inspired by the Soulsborne games with how rich their worlds are and how enjoyable they are to explore. Halo 3’s Forge Mode also inspired me. This is a mode designed to allow players to customize, save, and share maps for custom games. That creates opportunities to tweak gameplay experiences. It inspired me. Not because of being able to create maps, but it let me use those tools to break out of the boundaries of maps and explore places I was not meant to explore. “

Finding time and motivation

What is the hardest part of being a indie game developer and how do you try to tackle that problem?
“The hardest part of being an indie developer is finding time and motivation to work on games. Already scrunched for time with a full-time job. It can be rewarding to keep me busy with game development in my free time and rewarding to put my ideas out into the world.

At the same time, I like hanging out with friends and playing video games and watching too many movies. It’s a balancing act between living my life and working towards my aspirations of a potential future doing game development with more regularity.

I don’t think there’s any right way to do this. It just depends on your goals. I’m still figuring out mine. Also, this isn’t to say game development isn’t part of ‘living my life’ in a lot of ways.”

Shane Yach is working on Approaches

What are you currently working on that needs to be seen by others?
“I’m currently working on Approaches, a short horror game about birdwatching and repairing a radio tower. I released it a month or so ago, but I’m very slowly making some updates to it. I made the mistake of putting out an untested Mac build that didn’t work, so I need to figure that out. In its current state, if you’re using Windows 8/10, I’d still recommend giving it a shot.

I focus on atmosphere and an enjoyable sense of exploration, so if that aligns with your interests, you can check out my work at I try to use as little spoken and written language as possible in my games. This is to eliminate the need for translation and focus as much of the narrative on the visceral experience itself as possible. But maybe also to avoid the need for translation.”

Are there other Indie game developers that deserve a shout out?
“Certainly! Jessica Harvey and Lazzie Brown of Arbitrary Metric, Modus Interactive, Oleander Garden, Toni Markus, and Colorfiction were all huge inspirations to me. In addition, WardDheer (@Ward_Sil) has a very potent style. Colin Coin and Sam Machell of SandGardeners create very thoughtfully strange experiences and think pieces. Allan D. Parker is doing some really cool things with rendering low-rez models in realistic lighting, and Rubeki makes climbing games with rich world design and ambiance.”

If you want to read more about developers, you will find more articles in Meet The Devs. Every Monday and Friday we will publish a new article in this series. That way you can meet new developers!

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