Puzzle Game Plush – Interview with its Creator

This is Scott Hanks’ interview, creator of  “Plush” and owner of Red Head Games . Thanks Scott for sharing your story with us!

Can you tell us something about yourself?

I started my experience in the games industry in my teenage years as a beta tester for Sculptured Software (later acquired by Acclaim Entertainment). Seeing what it was like to actually work in the games industry dampened my enthusiasm somewhat. That desire was further suppressed by my time in college learning the C programming language. After many years of dabbling in various other disciplines (from writing to plumbing and even talk radio) I returned to my computer nerd roots. While reintroducing myself to this brave new world of programming (which barely resembles the one I once knew in many ways), Red Head Games was created in order to distribute my first game, “Plush”.

What is “Plush” about?

Plush is a unique puzzle game that employs stuffed animal simulation technology for a great experience for all ages. Instead of assaulting your senses to try and grab your attention, Plush combines a cozy theme with a relaxing soundtrack while still providing interesting (and often quite challenging) puzzles to solve.

Features:

  • 40 puzzle levels and 3 difficulty options
  • Free play mode (Play Room)
  • Unlockable Sound Board
  • Colorblind Mode

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

Plush evolved from a desire to make a 1st project that was within my ability to complete, but still be something unique and interesting. The puzzle mechanic draws inspiration from the classic riddle of crossing a river with a wolf, goat and cabbage (Google it if you’re not familiar).

PlushScreen5

This basic concept was eventually combined with the personality imbued by my nieces on their stuffed animals to create an interesting puzzle mechanic.

The first prototype was a simple tile-based program written in Python. I then created a more dynamic version in Unity and once I was convinced the concept was solid, invested in making it into a “real” game. I finished the game first for Mac and PC, but also ported it to iOS and then Android (Unity is amazing I must say).

The whole process took over a year, and required hiring the services of a talented artist, Fabian Schmidt. Other than the art, I did nearly everything myself, including the music (Apple’s Garageband is actually quite powerful).

 

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

I read a lot of stories about indie devs and game development in general, but the one thing I never heard was to plan on not making any money until at least your 2nd game. I’ve never heard of a game dev being too conservative on their financial projections, but I hear all the time of those who are too optimistic. It’s pretty much guaranteed that your game will cost more to make than you expect, and earn you less than you’d like.

Oh, and don’t neglect marketing. I assumed that my game would get at least some attention simply because it is unique. I was dead wrong. Marketing is such a huge issue that you should seriously consider partnering with a publisher for that reason alone.

 

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

Making games is pretty cool, but shouldn’t be the center of your life. Make sure to keep some balance, and in the long run it will help you make better games and enjoy the experience more (and help you weather the inevitable bad times).

 

 

Juan Afonso – Professor of GameDev and Creator of REALiTY

We thought REALiTY was cool. Then realized it was made from someone who actually teaches game development. Interested? Read ahead!

Tell us something about yourself

Hi there! name is Juan Afonso.
I’ve wanted to make games from the moment I played The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, on the SNES (I was about 5-8 years old). That game made it clear to me that this is what I want to do with my life.
From there I’ve done/learned all I could to be able to some day make my own games (2d/3d art, programming, music, design, etc)

Describe us your game

A simple puzzle game based on a dream I had. Consists of 5 Acts.
-Learning
-Conventions
-Discard
-Reach
-Free
With a meaning behind each one.
Hope you like it.

Where did the game idea come from?

Personal experience / dream

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

I am the only developer/artist/designer. I woke up one morning after having a long and complex dream, and as I was going to write down what I had dreamt, it hit me. The only way I can express how each event felt is to make a game about it. And since dream memories fade quickly, I made it my personal challenge to finish the game in 24 hours or under. It ended up taking me around 18.5 hours from start to finish. The art was made using Unity3D geometric primitives, and animated by code, no external 3D modeling software was used.

after making REALiTY I had another idea floating around and made 
http://www.kongregate.com/games/ClairvoyanceDev/the-labyrinth in about 3-4 hours from 0 to 100%

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Exploration as a Developer (creativity)

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

The advice I give my students on the faculty I teach Game Development/Programming at is that: you have to be clear of what you like, and why you like it. This matters to no one, except for yourself.
Once you have this answer the next step is making sure you like the PROCESS it self, by this I mean that make sure you like doing the task required to create/complete a game (this is not the same as liking the end product).

But! do not fear, never mistake being new at something with not liking something.
Making games is hard work, it’s the mash up of many disciplines , and even something simple like REALiTY that I’ve made in under 24 hours, it’s only so, because I’ve been doing this for the past 10 years.

Learn->Practice->Practice->Practice->Practice->Practice->Make
Never give up!

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

I’ve started developing my new game already. This will not be 1 day developed game. I have many months ahead of me before I can give you a peek of what I’m doing 😀
Until then…

Cheers
Juan Afonso

 

Many many thanks Juan! We’ll be expecting your news about the new game.

[button link=”http://www.kongregate.com/games/ClairvoyanceDev/reality” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Play REALiTY”][/button]

Andrzej Mazur Interview – Creator of Captain Rogers

This is the conversation of the Game Dev Academy with game developer Andrezej Mazur in regards to his new game Captain Rogers.

Tell us something about yourself and your company

Enclave Games is an indie game development studio focused on mobile HTML5 games. I’m an HTML5 games developer, blogger, speaker, founder of Enclave Games, creator of the js13kGames competition and Gamedev.js meetups organizer.

Describe us your game

It’s simple, yet very engaging game about brave Captain Rogers and his escape through an asteroid field. Tap the screen to fly up, release to fly down. Collect the stars and shields, avoid asteroids and mines. Grab the bomb to blow up everything on screen!

Where did the game idea come from?

My friend (and gfx designer) Robert created the character of Captain Rogers and I came up with the game mechanics.

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

The game itself is quite simple – I was working on the coding part (using ImpactJS game engine) and Robert Podgórski from Blackmoon Design did all the graphics. The game was targeted for Firefox OS devices. The development of the game took me about two weeks and after that it was another two weeks for fixing bugs and adding more features. In the next month I was tinkering with it from time to time to make it polished and totally bug-free.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

It’s all about the details – having the game small, but with nice graphics, polished and bug-free.

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Learn, code, debug, repeat. Gain experience, be patient. Sooner or later you’ll achieve your goals.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

Check out the game in the Firefox Marketplace, play and rate it if you like it!

 

Thanks Andrzej! Best of luck!

[button link=”http://enclavegames.com/games/captain-rogers/” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”PLAY Captain Rogers”][/button]

Nadbor Drozd – creator of Turing “Don’t take game advice from non-gamers”

WARNING! Great advices below. Nadbor, the creator of the web game called Turing has learned a lot by creating his game and wants to share his experience with us. Keep reading!

Tell us something about yourself

I’m a failed physicist – grad school dropout – turned programmer. I currently work in an ad agency developing bidding algorithms for real time bidding. In my free time I run programming workshops for schoolchildren, make games and study for quant interviews. I love math, physics, video games and problem solving of any kind.

What is your game about?

Turing is a robo-flavored puzzle game about programming. It consists of some easy and some not so easy algorithmic problems expressed in a way understandable by both a 10-year old and his grandma. As such it can be used as a resource for teaching programming to children, but even experienced developers find some of the levels challenging (I am told).

Where did the game idea come from?

http://pleasingfungus.com/Manufactoria/

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

It was all me, it took me most of the evenings and weekends from January to June 2013.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Deliberating over the best possible choice of technology/style/architecture/whatever actually takes more time than just going with any choice and getting to work right away. And that’s even if it means sometimes wasting time on dead end ideas. Actually no time you spend working is wasted – you will be that much smarter for it.

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

  • Don’t wait for a better time. Start working now. Don’t try to learn everything before you start. You will learn as you go.
  • Prototype everything. In code, on paper – whatever. It will let you find flaws in your game at a stage when they are still easy to fix (or change direction altogether). It will also allow you to easily communicate your idea to others maybe even ignite some interest
  • Don’t go bragging about your game until you have actually something to show – you will be more motivated to work this way. You would think that having friends waiting for the creation that you announced would be motivating but it’s not. It makes you spend all your action points on talking and not working. It’s much better to set yourself a goal like: I will post on fb that I’m making a game no sooner than when I have the first level ready. 
  • Don’t take game advice from non-gamers. They have no clue and are in general awful human beings 
  • Use an IDE. I know notepad++ is awesome, but after a couple hundred lines of code things start to get messy 
  • Pretty much regardless of you own skill level you are going to meet more experienced programmers. Some of them are going to trash-talk the technology you are using and all of your design choices. If they offer very concrete, achievable alternatives – then maybe listen to them. Otherwise – avoid at all cost. If everyone spent time trying to satisfy standards of elitist grumps, nothing would ever get done. First make a game that works, perfection will come later.

 

Thanks for all of your advices! Your effort is shown on your game and we wish you the best.

[button link=”http://turing-game.pl/” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”PLAY Turing here”][/button]

Creator of Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan, Ralph Croly

Ralph Croly is the creator of this fun game called Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan. He talked to us with a very funny tone. If you want to learn and laugh at the same time, read on at this funny character.

 

Can you tell us something about yourself and bitSmith games?

We’re a bunch of ne’er-do-wells from Dublin, Ireland who have been slogging away making games in various grotty lairs since 20-dickinty-11. Our main goal is to have fun, and force other people to too. Whether they like it or not.

Describe us your game

Forged from an ancient tale of Celtic mythology. An action-adventure set in a future Ireland devastated by technomagical war and economic collapse, humanity clings on by using the remnants of technology that survive. When their ancient spring of life begins to fail, an unwanted orphan child must leave the safety of his villages’ mountaintop refuge. With only an ancient sword and a mysterious metal glove, he ventures into lands unexplored and twisted by strange ancient powers.

– Celtic-punk – a fusion of Celtic and steampunk aesthetics
– A rich and intriguing world, brought to life by beautiful hand-drawn sketches, lovingly painted and animated in high resolution
– A lush world populated with strange creatures and vicious enemies, born in the cauldron of war
– Fast-paced combat and epic boss encounters
– Critically acclaimed original soundtrack – Music from Irelands premier independent electronic artists
– Play in Irish – a full Irish translation of the game.

Where did the game idea come from?

We wanted to make a game based on Irish Mythology for a change, so we based it on The Táin, the ancient Irish epic that features our greatest hero: Cúchulainn

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

The original members of bitSmith Games started making Ku as our final project in our Digital Media/Games design Masters in DIT Aungier st in 2011. After we left college we kept on going, forming bitSmith soon after, and taking on two more members. We luckily got into an accelerator course in the NDRC in Dublin, which helped us pay the bills, and gave us some much needed business savvy. Enterprise Ireland also helped to fund us, and we released Ku on iOS in January of this year, with Android, PC and Mac following a couple of months later. We also have plans to release a Linux version soon.

 What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Patience is a virtue, and iteration is king 😛

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Jump in! The tools are cheaper ( free! ) and easier to get to grips with than ever, so if you want to do it, just do it! Don’t be afraid to fail, you will learn a lot and be three times as strong the next time. Also – show your game to people as early as possible – it will save you a million headaches in the long run.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

I like turtles.

 

Thank you Ralph for this fun interview.

[button link=”http://bitsmithgames.com/Games/ku-shroud-of-the-morrigan” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan for iOS, Android, PC, Mac & Linux”][/button]

Interview with Thomas Schulze – Creator of Splatter

Splatter is not the classic shooting game. It is inspired by them, but with a light/shadow gameplay. Confused? Read what its creator has to say.

Tell us something about yourself

Me: I’m Thomas Schulze, 34 years old now, programming for nearly 30 years now. I started on a GDR computer called the Z1013 and grew from there over KC85/4, Robotron computers, the Amiga 500 to the PC. So I also had my share of games over the years, some of them are still shown at my team’s website http://www.dreamworlds.de My “company” Dreamworld: is me and an old friend of mine, Michael. I’m doing all the organisation, coding, PR, game design and story writing. Michael does all the graphics and visual design and all web-related stuff such as the web shop. There are a lot more people hoping that we succeed so they can join us to bring our sparetime projects to a new level 🙂

What can you tell us about Splatter?

Splatter is an Oldschool Topdown shooter with a unique light/shadow gameplay and gorgeous light/shadow graphics effects to accompany. The game offers a film-noir-styled storyline to play, upgradeable weapons, boss battles, dialogue and side missions, and secrets. When you’re done with the story, you can start another run at the new difficulty level, or you can jump into the Arcade game mode to fight for ranks in online leaderboards. You’ll get to keep all your upgrades. Or you gather a few friends in front of your computer. Splatter can be played in local multiplayer modes by up to 4 players. You either frag each other in Deathmatch or you stand together against ever-growing hordes of enemies in Survival. More game modes will follow via free updates.

Where did the game idea come from?

I loved Crimson Land for the shooting, but I came up with the light/shadow stuff because shooting gets old after a while.

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

Splatter was made by two people: me and Michael. It took us roughly 2 years, with occasional help from other Dreamworlds friends to bridge some gaps. Sound and music was contracted to Sven Gerlach who did a really good job for a more-than-friendly price. I still owe you one, Sven! I’m using C++, always switching to the most recent version of Visual Studio as soon as it’s available. I’m especially in love with C++11, even though Microsoft left the C++ side behind quite a bit in the recent years.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Organizing myself. This was my first project as a fulltime indie dev.

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Stick to it, be curious, have fun. And leave it a hobby.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

Buy my game. I really think it’s way better than most of the other topdown shooters around. Especially after playing Gatling Gears.

 

Thanks Thomas! Awesome job with Splatter!

[button link=”http://www.splattergame.net/” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download Splatter for PC”][/button]

Alvaro Castaneda’s Interview – infeKted: Zombies Revenge

This interview is the result of a conversation with Alvaro Castaneda. He is the creator, with his brother, of infeKted, a puzzle game inspired in the living dead.

Can you tell us something about yourself?

We are MIX Studio, a small company run by 2 brothers. We started doing VFX for film and TV and we also do training for the VFX industry. Now we’re starting to take on game development, a dream we had since we had our first Atari 2600.

Describe your game

infeKted is puzzle domination game, simple to learn, so hard to master. The goal is to spread the sickness until everyone is infeKted, but smart because you have a limited amount of bites. But don’t think too hard cause time is ticking. Why would you do this? Because zombies are awesome. infeKted is not a game you can master by repeating. Every level is generated at random every time you play, so everyone gets a NEW game every time, it might seem simple at first, but we dare you to finish all 200+ plus levels, we are sure is going to take time.

What are you waiting for? get infeKted!!

Where did the game idea come from?

From a Blackberry game called flood-it

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

The game was developed in the span of about a year, from which the last 6 months was real constant development. It was made by Varomix who had the initial idea an prototype and then his brother Anglish got involved and then we manage to get it done.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Making the game is the easy part. 

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Don’t quit, you’ll get there. The first part of making a game is actually really easy, you get a prototype working really quick and you’re really proud of it, but there’s still lots to do: art, points, scores, menus, etc. Seems like it never ends at some point, but it’s really rewarding when you finally push that build and people start playing it. Also, pick a programming language and stick to it, our game was made in about 3 or 4 languages before the final game was done.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

It’s great to have an idea and after long days working on it see it done. I’m very proud of me and my brother for doing this and who better than my brother to do this with. Thank you for giving us a little of your time and please enjoy the game.

Thanks for talking to us Alvaro! Best of luck with infeKted!

[button link=”http://www.infekt.me” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download infeKted: Zombies Revenge for Android”][/button]

Update! infeKted is now available on PC, Mac and Linux.

[button link=”http://www.desura.com/games/infekted-zombies-revenge” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download infeKted: Zombies Revenge for Windows, Mac or Linux”][/button]

Sean Young’s Interview – Creator of Magicite

Magicite was created solely by Sean Young. This young developer shared with us his quest of making this game.

 

Can you tell us something about yourself?

I’m a one man team. I am a junior at the University of Central Florida and have been making games since freshman year. Magicite will be my 9th game, but my first non-mobile game.

Could you describe us your game?

Magicite is a 2D rpg game that focuses on randomization, customization, epic loot, giant monsters, questing, and perma-death. Players will embark on dangerous quests with or without friends to slay challenging enemies while acquiring rare yet essential loot for crafting gear. Perma-death only occurs when the entire party has been defeated, so if all of your friends die it is up to you to deliver the final blow to the boss and finish the quest or return to town to save your party. Once in town players can store their hard earned loot or sell it. These stored items will be accessible to future characters even when your character dies permanently.

Where did the game idea come from?

Playing other games.

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

I’m the only person working on it, but I plan on hiring someone to do the music. I imagine this game will take no more than 4 to 5 months to make. There will be a Steam greenlight and a Kickstarter page up in the coming weeks.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

PC games are harder to make than mobile games LOL

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Start small. Finish your games. Ideas don’t mean anything unless the game is finished.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

Happy developing 🙂

Thanks Sean! Great work with Magicite!

[button link=”http://www.indiedb.com/games/magicite” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download Magicite for PC and Mac”][/button]

Ricardo Silva Interview – Oh my Cat from LoadingPlay

Ricardo Silva was kind to talk to us in the GameDev Academy about LoadingPlay and his new game for Andrioid devices: Oh my Cat.

 

Tell us something about LoadingPlay

At loadingplay, we aim to be a platform for the collaborative creation of video games, by involving the community in the whole process, from idea to initial investment.

Describe Oh my Cat

It is a runner type game, where the user must accompany a friendly stray cat in his adventures collecting enough money to visit a stripper kitten that drives he crazy. This dance only if enough money is collected.

Where did the game idea come from?

Stray cats.

What can you tell us about the development of the game?

The team that worked is compound for five developers, marketing and art,
    Julian Larrea: Marketing
    Carlos Hinostroza: Programming – level designer
    Ricardo Silva: Engine Programming
    Yi-Chun Lin: Programming
    Mauricio Galvez: Animation and Design (primitiva3d.com)

     We worked for two months to get a demo and are currently working to launch the full version, completed with the feedback we have received from the demo version.

What is the most important thing you learned when making this game?

Perseverance, the most important thing to reach the goal is perseverance.

What advice would you tell people who are beginning with game development?

Above all, be persistent, the process of developing a video game is not easy and finishing the game is only half of the process. Then comes the spread, which is where many give up.

Anything else you would like to share with the audience?

We invite you to participate in our next videogame, you can visit our website and join us with your ideas and feedback. Don’t be afraid to contact us at loadingplay.com

Thank you Ricardo! Best of luck with this game and future projects.

[button link=”http://bit.ly/10odfIF” target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download Oh my Cat for Android”]http://bit.ly/10odfIF[/button]

 

 

Maura Sparks Interview – Creator of Glass Ceiling

glass ceiling

At the Game Dev Academy we believe it’s easier to achieve your goals when you get to know people who are currently doing and are passionate about the topic you are interested in, and for that I would like to present our interview to Maura Sparks, founder of Kissappgames, startup based in California that publishes casual Apple iOS games for women and girls.

KissAppGames - Games for Girls of all ages

Maura and Wendy created a game called Glass Ceiling, which is not only fun to play but it also offers a sharp satirical view of today’s society.

Thanks Maura for joining us today.

What can you tell us about your game Glass Ceiling?

Glass Ceiling features the heroine, Moxie, fighting her way up the corporate ladder as she tries to break through the glass ceiling. It’s no easy feat as she battles fresh men, backstabbing co-workers, asinine accountants, bad bosses and other office stereotypes in her quest to reach the top.

Glass Ceiling is a side-scroller action adventure game. It’s an interactive cartoon with beat’em up mechanics. Each level represents a floor in an office building. Moxie, a smart-minded career gal, starts out in the basement and works her way up the corporate ladder encountering multiple foes on her way to the top. Each floor is filled with floating objects for points, life-force battles and tricky obstacles. On mobile devices, the game features a touchscreen control system. You simply tap and hold in a direction to walk, tap enemies to attack and defend and tap to grab items. Easy to play, fun to explore, Moxie will ultimately discover what lies on the other side of the Glass Ceiling.

Glass Ceiling will appeal to anyone who has worked in an office environment, although it will resonate more loudly for women. This is the first mobile game to tackle this topic. The app takes a satirical approach and sheds light on a serious topic in a fun way.

What was the hardest part when making this game and how did you overcome it? 

The hardest part about making this game was the timeline. We’re not young kids and so we were all dealing with other life responsibilities (families, mortgages, work). We all had to take on other jobs during Glass Ceiling’s production. Also, during period the market went through several changes. The freemium market arrived, in-app purchases grew and the monetization players and issues evolved. With Glass Ceiling, we released the app for $0.99, but we may offer it for free for a weekend and play around with the pricing structure.

After making this game, what would you recommend to people who want to create games?

Go for it! Choose an idea that resonates with you. When Wendy approached me with this idea, I loved it immediately. However, my decision to do this app and start Kissappgames was probably different than Wendy.

Wendy says, “It was clear that there is a market for games for women/girls. We didn’t want to exclude anyone but thought it was a good idea to make a games for ourselves – you know, games that we would like. The issue of women being treated equally in the workplace, and commanding top positions does seem to be in the social conversation. I’ve worked in the games industry long enough to remember a time when you couldn’t have a woman protaganist in a game, so to me a prim woman, styled in the 50’s UPA style, punching people was funny.”

I wanted to take control of my career and starting a company is one way to do that. Starting Kissappgames gives us the opportunity to create our own unlimited future. Having your own company removes the glass ceiling. It allows me to interact with amazing, smart people, take ideas and run with it, address things in a creative way and be part of a very dynamic space that is constantly moving. It’s clearly not for the faint of heart. I just hope we can build our brand and Kissappgames becomes a company that continues to build cool apps for girls and women.

I had a game company before and we made CD rom games–I rode that arc. I loved the mobile space the minute it arrived because now small teams, with low overhead could release a game without having to create packaging, work with expensive distribution channels, and spend tons of money marketing. If there was a bug in the software back then you were doomed. Now we can release an app, iterate as needed, use social media to create a viral marketing buzz, have direct contact with our community and compete with companies 30x our size!

Thanks Maura for giving this interview, we wish you the best of success with your company and projects!

[button link=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glass-ceiling/id641637241?mt=8″ target=”_blank” style=”none, small, large, biglarge” title=”Download Glass Ceiling for iOS”]https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glass-ceiling/id641637241?mt=8[/button]

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