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Striking Gold: An Interview with berezaa

March 02, 2018

by OldBaronMondo


You might not think of mining as a relaxing pastime, but berezaa has shown millions of players otherwise. Fans of his undisputed classic Miner’s Haven and ambitious genre fusion Azure Mines have come to love his signature brand of gentle but absorbing gameplay. We sat down with him to talk about his style, accomplishments, and plans for the future.

If there’s anything Miner’s Haven teaches us, it’s that every amazing project begins with humble first steps.

What inspired the original Miner’s Haven? Did you expect it to take off the way it did?

My first game on Roblox was a tried and true concept: a two-player cooperative tycoon. It was successful because I took something that had already been done to death and I did it better. The result was 2 Player Gun Factory Tycoon, which took the tycoon concept and added an arena brawling twist. It was refreshing, but for my next game I wanted to do something completely new. I saw two types of tycoons on Roblox: the kind with buttons and droppers and the kind where you built up your base on an empty canvas. The problem with the latter, at least at the time, was that everything you built was static. Nothing you put down on your base interacted with anything else and there was no strategy.

I saw that niche and decided that I wanted to fill it. The result was a tycoon with droppers, conveyors, upgraders, furnaces, and various other machines that could be placed in trillions of different configurations.

During the long development of Miner’s Haven I was nervous that my idea would fail. I was worried that I was just a one-hit wonder and that my previous success was due to dumb luck. When the players started rolling into early beta I knew I was onto something big, and that was the best feeling.

If you want to know what that satisfaction feels like, getting all your infrastructure in place and watching the ore roll down the belt is pretty darn close.

What was your goal when you entered the Roblox accelerator program? How did you feel the experience could enhance your work on Roblox?

My main goal going into the summer accelerator program was to refine my skills as a developer and learn to work at a consistent pace. The office environment at Roblox and the structure of the program did wonders for me. It allowed me to work more efficiently than I ever could have in high school.  

Was there anything about the program that surprised you?

I didn’t expect to make so many friends! All of my fellow accelerators and incubators were awesome and I made a lot of lifelong connections over the summer. Everyone at Roblox was so friendly and it was great meeting everyone from all of the departments and seeing how the company runs from the inside.

As fans of 2 Player Gun Factory Tycoon know, you can’t just run into a workshop without permission…

How have your goals for Miner’s Haven: Resurrection evolved since the beginning?

I’m not really sure what my vision for the future was. I don’t think I was expecting to still be working on the game several years after the release. Then again, I also wasn’t anticipating the success that the game would end up receiving. It’s been a blast working on the game—and I still intend to continue updating it—but I really want to put everything I’ve learned to the test and create something new.

Are there any planned updates you’d like to talk about? Or anything concerning your other projects, such as Azure Mines?

Players have been begging me to update Azure Mines for months, and that’s absolutely something I intend to do. What I’m most excited for is the new game that I’m going to be making this summer. It’s special for me because this will be the first time I’m bringing on another scripter to co-develop with me. I want to go back to my roots and create a game that I would enjoy playing. I’ll be releasing more information about this soon, so stay tuned.

I know that I could stand to work on MY Azure Mines base. It’s looking a little bit, you know, “in ruins” at the moment.

A new project? We’ll have to dig for more info on that later. In the meantime, for the latest news on berezaa’s streams and game updates, you can follow him on Twitter at @berezaagames.

Thank you, maplestick, for the awesome render of Azure Mines used for the header image! You can follow him on Twitter at @maplestick1.