Experimental Game Dev Interviews
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  • Podcast Interview: Joe Lieberman from ArcadeTown

    Posted on March 26th, 2008 IndieGamePod No comments

    Another quick interview from GDC 2008…

    Joe, author of the Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games, talks about current opportunities for indie game developers out there…

    You can download the podcast here…

    or listen to it here…

    Show Notes:
    0:00 – 5:00
    Joe Lieberman
    VGSmart Guy
    Does marketing for arcadetown.com

    Oppotunities for indies…
    always need to find the new thing and getting to the new thing first

    Indies have been pushed out of the match-3, Diner Dash, games, etc….

    So find new markets for competition

    Suggestions for where indies can compete…
    Lots of genres and old games that can be rethoughts and reskinned…
    Like bringing a casual adventure game onto the market
    Bringing casual sim games and casual RPG games
    Make something new and original that has already been done

    Indie MMO opportunities…
    feel it is viable to make an indie MMO

    But odds are that indies will do it wrong

    Not going to compete with World of Warcraft

    You can make money as an Indie MMO…as long as you don’t try to compete with those guys…

    Ways to do Indie Marketing…
    1) Grass Roots
    2) Blogs
    3) Can still get into magazines and newstands

    Need to make a solid product

    Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games

    Last Message…
    Keep at it, it’s rough 🙂


    Take care,

  • Podcast Interview: PMOG Founder

    Posted on March 23rd, 2008 IndieGamePod No comments

    Here’s a quick interview that happened at GDC 2008…

    Justin, from GameLayers and the founder of the Passively Multiplayer Online Game (www.pmog.com) talks about developing and designing the unique game…

    You can download the podcast here…

    or listen to it here…

    Show Notes:
    Passively Multiplayer Game
    Installed as a Firefox Toolbar
    Started as an experiment

    Builds a player profile based on your surfing/browsing habits

    Game Designer Victoria…innovated and created something where folks can leave traps and other
    suprises on websites for other players in the system

    Wanted to build a game that used everyday actions to play the game

    Wanted people to just play as they went about their lives

    Having a toolbar in Firefox was a huge breakthrough for the game bacause it allowed for a passive
    playing experience

    5:00 – 9:00
    Interesting Game Mechanics

    Players can create missions in the game and allow other folks to play these missions…and so it allows
    folks to learn topics by following a mission

    There are hundreds and hundreds of missions played

    People can lay traps as they create missions. So people use these missions to prank each other.

    Two or three surprises as they developed the product…like learning how communities taking place

    There is a huge potential for games that are integrated in everyday life.

    Your everyday actions help to create new ways to interact and engage with them.

    Hopes that games are made open so games can communicate with each other.

    Envisions that there is a meta game that works with all games

    Take care,

  • Podcast Interview: Ego City Developers and 2008 Mobile IGF Finalists…

    Posted on March 3rd, 2008 IndieGamePod 1 comment

    Hey folks,

    Tobin and Steve, from Punch Entertainment, talk about developing mobile games and their flagship product Ego City

    You can download the podcast here…

    or listen to it here…

    Show Notes:
    0:00 – 5:00
    Two developers from the Ego City mobile game
    an IGF Mobile finalist

    Started into mobile games at the beginning of the industry in North America

    Challenges for the initial mobile games…was developing for handsets with very limited capabilities

    Also, did not realize how difficult it would be to port games to mobile…and making them work across many handsets

    Did a multi-player title with Box Sports Racing…did this a few years ago…and realized how hard it was to do multi-player in mobile. Gave a reality check

    The main challenge was to figure out how to get networking to work across different handsets…because networking worked differently on different handsets

    Also, was hard to network across different carrier networks

    After that first multi-player games several years ago, came to conclusion to focus on more single player games…did feel that community games would be the future, but would immediately
    work on single player games…

    There are a lot of large business challenges in the space…the marketing and sales channel is very challenging to overcome…because carriers control distribution
    Carriers are more into taking already-successful brands and bet on them…they do not want to risk effort on new titles, etc.

    5:00 – 10:00
    Tried to do another multiplayer game before ego city…did something that worked with bluetooth…but by the time got to market….bluetooth devices needed to make the game work were not available…

    Design goals for Ego City was to leverage the mobile space…and focus on the strengths of mobile…mobility and connectivity
    So the goal was to focus on a community game

    Question was…
    How do you create a social game in mobile space that allows people to social/connect with each other?
    So developed a system so that when communicated or interacted with other people in the game…would create a change on your ego as well as theirs

    Asynchronous gaming vs. synchronous gaming and
    how it relates to Ego City design…focus on PASSIVE multi-player design. So when you are off-line, your ego can interact with others…the AI your ego gets is based on the stuff you did in game earlier.

    10:00 – 15:00
    Changes to the initial design of Ego City
    Development process was challenging because of hardware issues
    But also found that could put in more customization after initial design
    Pleased with that
    Was able to add different features like chatting, blogging, and social aspects
    End result was way more ambitious than initially started

    User testing for Ego City…
    most important thing is to make sure game is really fun
    Target demographic was teens on up
    The biggest change as a result of play testing was…
    trying to match a social site like Facebook with the mobile experience

    Initial idea was to make something that would complement a social networking site
    But in the end, developing something that was its own social site

    Other thing realized was that people wanted to do a lot more things with their avatars

    15:00 – 20:00
    Empowered avatars to do a lot of interaction with others…like
    debate with each other, flirt with each other, fight with each other, hug with each other, etc.
    There is a lot of interactivity between avatars

    Borrowing and learning from mobile games in Japan and Asia
    They do wish North America had the handset capabilities of phones in Japan and Asia
    could do a lot more stuff with the game

    Inspired mainly by Nintendo and most of their games

    Games with micro-transactions…inspiring future features for the game

    Through actions, can change personality and unlock rewards based on gameplay instead of just buying features

    How flirting and fighting works in the game…
    Can create interaction by doing something

    Can always trigger competitions by giving folks gifts … like if give flowers, triggers a flirt competition.

    The website will complement the mobile experience. The flirt and fight club will happen on the website and augment mobility.

    Ego avatar helps to express identity and visuals convey what to expect the person

    20:00 – 25:00
    How does the website relate to the game itself?
    Helps to extend the initial experience

    Is Ego City in the same design space as Facebook … or is it a different design space?
    Not interested in building a competing social network like Facebook. It’s about gaming…and built a community around that.
    Wanted to integrate Ego City into current social networks…released a Facebook app to promote Ego city

    May eventually allow egos to interact with other Egos on Facebook

    Gaia Online released something on Facebook…and it took off.
    Is the goal to extend Ego City into Facebook and to get folks to join Ego City
    Yeah, goal is to promote the Ego City…and at the same time, the goal is to allow folks that have egos they are working on…
    and carry it into other parts of their digital world (like Facebook or other places they hang).

    Each platform offers advantages…
    Mobile allows for quick messaging

    Websites have different experience…sitting down and spending more time. So can have a longer game experience

    With Facebook, with “Ego Mail” app…a great way to take your ego and share it with friends.

    25:00 – 30:00
    Are there any nuances and differences to developing a mobile community vs. a web community?
    A lot of these questions are unanswered…cuz pioneering the space.
    The main focus is on support once the folks buy the game.

    Have a set up where other folks can interact with your ego even when you are off-line…so folks can interact with your ego…and you make
    friends while you are off-line

    Is this a whole new design space … for mobile vs. developing for the web?
    It is a little different because your ego can interact with other folks…even though you are off-line. So it was developing an AI personality
    that allows your ego to interact with others properly when you are offline…

    That was the main design challenge.

    Learn from game actions you take online to develop a personality ai that gets used for your ego when you are off-line

    Also realized that to do a good mobile, not necessarily about graphics…it’s about focusing on the FUN factor that takes advantage of mobile features

    30:00 – 35:00
    Another challenge for mobile is designing a game that works on many handsets

    How does Google Android relate to doing mobile games? Google Android is promising…but hopes that it is more than just another platform
    Will have to wait and see

    Where do you see the future of Ego City going?
    Find more things for the Egos to do
    That will be more clubs (Fight and Flirt Clubs)…lounges coming out related to having fun and dancing

    What about building missions in the game? Is that relevant to the mobile space…or is it too real-time to work in the mobile game space?
    Well, it’s a good time to talk about the other real-time game, Mobile Battles…where you do battle others and do have missions to unlock fe
    atures. That other game does offer
    more opportunities for missions

    Mobile experience can only offer so many maps or missions. Developed a way to make something that works with mobile and web. So you play mobile…and if liked that,
    then can continue the experience on the web.

    Aside from these 2 games, are there any other games you’re working on?
    There are other games getting done, but these 2 are the main ones we can talk about

    35:00 – 40:00
    Where do you see the future of mobile game development going?
    Seeing ports of console games where core experience ported to mobile experience
    There are 1 or 2 experiences….that are everlasting…
    You want to be powerful
    you want to have a social circle, friends

    Future of innovation in mobile…is taking those core experiences…and figure out how to make it work in the mobile space
    Finding that core experience *and delivering it in a new way that is unique to mobile*

    Business model challenges for mobile games…
    cannot offer stuff for free because of carriers

    40:00 – 45:00
    Their favorite mobile games…
    Games from Gameloft like Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell that took core experience and ported it to mobile

    What are your last suggestions for indie game developers looking to get into mobile…
    a) There are porting challenges to overcome
    b) Need to think about ways to get marketing and distribution; hopefully carriers will be more open to innovative titles in the future