Mentor Interview: Dane Singleton (Splosions) - Noia Online

Developer of Noia Online.

Noia Online's page says:

Noia is developed out of a love for good ol MMORPGs. Everquest II, WoW, FFXIV, Aion, Fantasy Online, RFOnline, Maplestory, and more. With plenty of group and solo content, there is enough Noia for everyone.

Skills and Spells are determined by what weapon the player has equipped.

There is no rigorous class system.

Weapons and Skills gain experience based on usage.

Gear and weapons are equipable based on stat requirements.

Noia Online gameplay gif

I'd like to thank Splosions for making the time for this correspondence interview. I'm fascinated with the efficiency of the project - Noia was certainly written by a true "developer" who has mastered the art of composition. The devlogs make it clear that you do not have to make everything yourself, and you'll have a playable game all the sooner for realizing that.

What follows is Splosions' own responses verbatim to my questions (the headings).

How did you get into programming and game development? What games inspired you?

I got into programing as a means of automating parts of my IT helpdesk job. That translated well into automating parts of games that I thought were boring (Writing bots). That translated into making Minecraft mods, and now GameDev

What led up to Noia Online?

A game I used to play a lot of while sitting in an IT call center closed down. 10 years later there was still a fairly large playerbase looking for a similar title to play. One of the hardest parts of gamedev is marketing, and I figured I already had a playerbase.

Any fond memories on languages or systems from the past? Anything you were glad to see go out of style, or are there any features or core lessons missing from modern development tools?

None that I know of, I have only used object based languages like C# or Java, or a wrapper for said languages like Powershell or Autohotkey

Do you still play games "just for fun"? Is developing the same kind of fun as playing?

Yes, and Yes.

I still have my favorite games I go back to, and I look forward to the new releases of other titles on a yearly basis.

Developing is its own fun for me, breaking down larger systems into manageable bytes and working through them

What's still fun or most inspiring to you?

I like to mix and match systems/features of different games that I enjoyed together and put my own improved spin on it.

What's a classic game (whatever you decide that means) that still gets you pumped up?

I still have an old PS1 game called Legend of Dragoon on my phone via emulator. I also watch a lot of speedruns of zelda games as well.

Other things you would want to share?

Play Noia Online at:

Join the Noia Discord server

Follow the development roadmap on Trello

[Editor's note: Splosions also publishes an excellent ongoing devlog series on Youtube at]

May people message you for help or feedback?


Do you have any tips on persistence and overcoming problems? Do you code on a schedule? Do solutions come to you in the shower or while dreaming?

As a married, father of 2, I code when I can XD

If I am having a particularly difficult issue, I will go sit in the shower

Learn to search effectively. And learn to pose your problem concisely. Very few problems are going to be wholly unique to you and your situation. Chances are someone out there has had the same problem and has also found a solution.

Give the problem

Give the expected outcome

Give the error

Show your code

How can one decide if they need a custom engine?

Personally? Never? I would only make a custom engine if I wanted to make a custom engine, not necessarily to make a game.

There are hundreds of very incredible devs out there that have poured their heart and soul into todays game engines, they work, and they work well.

Do you prefer rushing towards a minimum viable feature, or do you build to support your entire feature list?

Minimum viable 100%. You have to get your core gameplay loop made first, and see if it is even a viable idea.

How do you balance between extensibility and simplicity? How can newbies avoid rework of delicate, inflexible code versus overengineering?

Proper scoping your a lot with this. If you understand all the things your code needs to do ahead of time, you can plan for it. Even if you are putting in variables you won't use for 10 months, you have them.

What's your organization system like? Trello, post-it notes, "// TODO" all over the code files, etc...

I have an official Trello board, and a notepad I scribble in

What game engines did you try? What did they have as far as pros & cons?

When I first got looking at gamedev Unity was free, Godot didn't exist, and Unreal was pay to use. So I know Unity. If I was to pick again, it would probably still be unity. It just seems that Unity has a larger userbase for support, a larger asset library, and a well known language. Even outside the unity community the C# community can also help. C# can easily pivot into my IT support profession.