Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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...

Show notes:
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...
Mr. Robot
Chocolate Castle

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

Take care,

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Podcast Interview: Mobile Game Developer of Anna's Secret...

Jan, Developer of the IGF Mobile Finalist Anna's Secret talks about developing the game.

You can download the podcast here...

or listen to it here...

Show Notes:
0:00 - 5:00
Description of Anna's Secret and some of the mobile design features including geocaching

5:00 - 10:00
Educational goals of the game
Interesting features and unique design properties in the mobile design space

10:00 - 15:00
More ways and ideas to leverage the "mobility" aspect in the mobile game design space
User testing for Anna's Secret and surprises encountered
Location Detection

15:00 - 20:00
Future mobile games that he would like to develop...mainly games that leverage location much better
Multi-player games in the mobile space
Developing a multi-player version of Anna's Secret
Some of the features of a multi-player Anna's Secret

20:00 - 24:00
Ubiquitous Gaming
Ideas for future mobile games
Educational Mobile Games
Suggestions for making games for the Mobile Space...like leveraging climate changes in mobile game design

Take care,

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