Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Podcast Interview: Chocolatier Developer...

Michael, from Big Splash Games, talks about developing a sim game for the casual gaming market...

You can download the podcast here...

or listen to it here...

Special Thanks to PlayFirst for setting up this interview and a few other upcoming interviews...they provided excellent developers and allowed them to share some really useful information...

Show Notes:
0:00 - 5:00
Chocolatier and Chocolatier 2
They are casual sim games

The best way to bring it to the audience is mostly a question of tuning...it's pretty hard to
fail in the game

In Chocolatier 2, had to make it a little more challenging...made the mini-games fro level to level

Ramped up pricing on ingredients as moved through levels

5:00 - 10:00
Worked with PlayFirst...and they helped with the extensive testing of the game to make sure that
it was working well. PlayFirst sent it to 100s of beta testers and mined data from that.

Also hired a formal testing company to take care of things.

Chocolatier players are engaged in the story...that was surprising

Started Chocolatier 2 from the story perspective

Allowed for personalization in the game...to allow expression

Development was pretty smooth since had a senior game dev team

The things needed to make a simulation game compelling...
They benefitted a lot from their team
They did a ton of research ... visited chocolate factories, etc.
Simulation tuning still matters in the design space...
Changing the price of one ingredient could mess up a series of quests in the game...so requires
a lot of attention

Testing a game like this requires a lot...because the game builds on itself and have to play the game from
scratch again even if change one variable

10:00 - 15:00
Suggestion for indie game developers...
hunger for innovation...there is a lot of cloning...in the Casual Gaming space, if can come up with something new,
you can easily prototype it

With prototyping...it should be fun very quickly...if you are prototyping it and it's not fun, then move on...it should
be fun in a week otherwise, change gears

If it isn't fun after a week, move on...there hasn't been a case where it didn't work for a week and then all of a sudden working

Have to move back, keep your ego out of it...change and move on if can't find the "fun" quickly...

Benefit of a publisher vs. self-publishing...
There are trade-offs
Benefit of being with PlayFirst is that they have great relationships with the other portals
With a publisher, they can handle the business side so you can focus on making a fun game.
PlayFirst can handle the QA/High Score server stuff, etc.

Goal of the studio...
Stay small
Generate some more intellectual property
Let it grow organically


Take care,

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