Podcast Interview: Aquaria Developer and 2007 IGF Grand Prize Winner
Alec, from Bit Blot games and TIGSource Forums, talks about the journey from starting out as an eight-year old kid indie...all the way up to developing the 2007 IGF Seumas McNally Grand Prize Winner game...Aquaria
You can download the podcast here...
or listen to it here...
Here is a short video of Aquaria...
Introduction, from Bit Blot Games
Talks about playing games as a kid
Got a programming book and worked on small games
Biggest game worked on was an RPG that would get restarted every few years
Got into indie scene as a kid. Then did some work for small indie studios
Not-so-great feeling when certain games got cancelled
Worked on a casual game with someone else
Worked on a game with girlfriend...an underwater adventure and eventually would be a precursor to Aquaria
5:00 - 10:00
Finished the game and wanted to see how to sell the game. But was not too interested in the marketing aspect.
Was on Big Fish Games.
Feels that marketing flows from a quality game
Started a freeware team in high school
Team management experience in high school.
Vision to start own company and do games
Didn't feel inspired by the quick 2-month game finished
Sat down and came up with changes in development/quality process for future games
Came out with a prototype that was the seed for Aquaria
10:00 - 15:00
Continued working on it after meeting up with a new partner, Derek
Met partner after doing music for a parody game that Derek was working on...
Worked on Aquaria
Had to revise game 3-4 times ... and iterated to get it done
Game was inspired by Action RPG genre
The story was boring when replayed it...so had to redo story
The importance of story to gameplay
The value of story in games...being able to enhance the experience
Graphics changed through the iterations
15:00 - 20:00
Music changed during iterations; had a composer. Then wrote some music by himself...then changed that to be more unique.
Sent to other game developers to get feedback during play-testing phase
Food system added in a later iteration.
The IGF Submission was the one with pure gameplay.
20:00 - 25:00
After played it, felt a little empty.
So added more characters and items.
Cooking system towards the end
Support/side system that gives you power-ups
Pressure of being told to release early
Knew that if released game early, it would be terrible
Last 10% takes longer than 90% of the game
Pressure to get stuff ready was challenging, had to submit to IGF in December 2006...and had to debug some major issues
Had a lot of interest, so making a great game...it was enough marketing to make a game a success
25:00 - 30:00
May do advertising in the future for the game, not sure
Wants to make a special boxed version of the game...as a collector's item
Wants to make a soundtrack CD later on
Have a mac version that is going to come out soon
Subtle hints about the next game
Talks about doing a game that can hit a broader audience
Not necessarily a casual game, but something that is accessible to most folks
30:00 - 35:00
Top 3 lessons from Aquaria
Feels more confident now
Feels more relaxed
Feels better with partner....works well with Derek
Thinking about sending prototypes to testers and other game designers more early in the game design process
35:00 - 40:00
How definition has changed from an 8 year old to IGF Grand Prize winner
Since won IGF Grand Prize, more confident about abilities
Indiegamer.com and Gamedev.net as references for indies
forums.tigsource.com ... enjoys the feedback section there
40:00 - 45:00
Community Projects at tigsource.com
Game competitions at the site too
Talking Online vs. going to GDC
GDC was cool because met folks doing games as a living
Skype every few weeks with various game developers
Favorite Indie Games...
Some freeware stuff is nice
45:00 - 50:00
Where he sees the future of Indie game development going
Top 3 lessons learned so far being an indie...
1) Don't give up
2) Work Hard
3) Have fun