Chaos Theory Games Interview Part 3: More on ‘S.W.A.P’

Warning! You are about to commence reading the final part of our interview with Chaos Theory Games’ Creative Director, Nico King. If you happened to miss the first two parts, you can read part one here, and part two here.


We learnt a bit about S.W.A.P last week when talking about Chaos Theory Games’ tendency to head towards multiplayer games. For those who are unaware, S.W.A.P is a multiplayer first person shooter with a non-violent twist. The game is currently in its Open Beta phase. Nico King, Artistic Director on S.W.A.P, tells me that opening S.W.A.P to the public allowed the team to gain some feedback and reaffirm the development direction they had already planned on taking. “Our players have been constructive and helpful while trying to suggest improvements and help playtest.”

Chaos Theory Games will be working hard to implement new features into the game before its launch some time later this year. “Since entering beta, we have already implemented a primitive team/global voice chat feature, various improvements to the graphical assets (editors note: which you can see in the screenshots throughout this article), networking improvements and many, many gameplay tweaks to improve the experience. Before the game’s final release, we want to include a tutorial/how-to-play feature, new arena tile types, refined character animations, new VFX, a whole new collection of SFX and music, and patch up as many bugs as possible. It’ll be a stretch, but at the moment it seems achievable.”

The man responsible for getting these new features working in S.W.A.P is lead programmer Greg Nott. “As lead programmer I’m responsible for all the technical aspects of S.W.A.P’s development. I do everything from writing the shaders, coding the swap mechanic, network synchronisation etc., to managing the Master server, the readme and uploading new versions of the game. In summary I’m the guy one makes it all work… and the guy who hates being told it doesn’t,” describes Nott.

However, the team working on S.W.A.P is aware of their high ambitions. “We have so many ideas that we wanted to implement, but have unfortunately run out of time. Being a student project that has already run month’s overtime, many of our team members are starting to move on to the scary real world or to take up further studies. We would love to see S.W.A.P rebuilt from the ground up at some point in the hard-to-predict future, using everything we’ve learned from this first iteration to deliver the experience that we all want to see. New features such as new game modes, player classes with weapon loadouts, dedicated servers with party play, and numerous dynamic, shifting arenas with more tile types have taken up permanent residence on our ‘eventually’ list. At this point, we are seeking donations from players to help the continued development of S.W.A.P,” King tells me.

Future Aspirations

When I asked what Chaos Theory Games’ plans were for the future, King expressed the studio’s desire to develop games for upcoming gaming peripherals.

“From the very beginning, we’ve dreamed of the day when gaming can achieve a completely immersive, full-body experience, like the Matrix but without the dystopic and philosophical questioning of our existence (well, maybe sometimes). As we’ve started to see in the last couple of years, that previously unfathomable dream is coming closer and closer to reality. With products like the Rift or the Omni, or the Xbox’s new Kinect, gaming as we know it is on the cusp of a new kind of revolution. One that can completely engage all of your senses and allow for such detailed, challenging or personal experiences that could give real life a run for its money. That’s what we want to be a part of.

Although it will take some considerable time for those technologies to pervade the mainstream, for the physical limitations of using them to be overcome, and for us to catch up on the skills required to develop for VR; that’s the industry that we see ourselves in the future. However, that is a very long term goal, and in the meantime we have a whole collection of ideas that we want to develop, making our marks on different platforms like mobile and the independent divisions of the next gen consoles. Working collaboratively with other studios on larger projects, or hopefully growing fast enough ourselves to be able to find and keep some really talented people!”

Chaos Theory Games is aware that the gaming industry is extremely competitive at the moment, so they “want to keep the manoeuvrability and strong focus on innovation that comes with being indie and being small, so I don’t think that years of growth into a massive company the size of Blizzard is on the cards (as awesome as that might be).”

However, the small studio does want to work on larger projects over the next few years. Nico King understands that they will “require a bigger team to foster some new connections and hopefully fill some Chaos Theory seats. We’d like to become a bigger part of developing the game development industry in Australia, and trying to form a collective of developers that are actually willing to stay here and not relocate to sunny San Francisco when they start to become really successful.”

While King is a success story of the education system, he reflects that, “there’s a very strong desire for game development within the students of Australia, but there’s almost no tertiary education that can give someone the skills they need, and no companies in the country looking to hire. Having an opportunity to develop that community of creative minds would be amazing.”

King’s closing comment was one of optimism, “As long as we’re developing for the medium, we’ll be happy.”

If you wish to find out more about Chaos Theory Games, including where to download their games, you can head to