Posted on February 16th, 2009 No comments
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Action: Hi, welcome to the Indie Game Development podcast show. With me today is a special guest. How about you introduce yourself?
Patrick: My name is Patrick Boivin. I am from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and I am a director.
Action: How did you get into games?
Patrick: The games, well, I got into games because of YouTube. I saw this year the annotations tools they got in, so I wanted to try it and I knew that with the game principle it would be fun, so that’s about it.
Action: So, specifically, what game did you just recently make?
Patrick: Well, I made three games. The first one some months ago, which was called LaLinea Interactive. It was basically some kind of an animation where you could decide what the character was doing.
The second one was YouTube Street Fighter, and it’s basically this street fighter game but with stop-motion animation, and you have the possibility to decide the moves you do but on YouTube.
The third one is called BBoy Joker, and it’s a break dancing competition between the Joker and the Dark Knight. I just uploaded it two days ago.
Action: When you started the first game, how did you plan that, and what inspired the theme?
Patrick: Well, I was a big fan of Street Fighter. When I was young I played a lot, so I knew this game. This is probably the game I played the most so I have good memories with it. I knew the characters. I knew some tricks about it, so it came quite easily. I think the idea came to me as I saw the action figures of Street Fighter, so this is what started it. The idea started there.
Action: Before the Street Fighter game, did you do another game?
Patrick: Well, not as what we could call it game. As I said, I made an interactive animation, but it’s kind of a game but it’s not. YouTube Street Fighter is my first real game, I think.
Action: When you first released the Street Fighter game, what happened? I was checking it out on YouTube, and it seems like it got four million views or even something more than that. So, I was just curious how it took off and what was the feedback?
Patrick: Well, in fact, I think what people loved the most with that game is that it is the first time that… Well, it’s not the real first time, but it looks like it is the first time you have a video game on YouTube.
Patrick: There was another one, a smaller one, but a few persons saw it. So, this is basically the first official video game on YouTube so that’s why I think it went so quick on the view rate.
We’ll see with the second one I made if it’s a good thing to do. I don’t know.
Action: When you were designing the Street Fighter game, what was involved because it seemed like there has to be a video for every potential sequence or combination, right?
Patrick: Yes. What I wanted to do is I wanted to be current. How can I say it? I wanted the energy bar to respect where you were in the game. This kind of multiplied the videos so there is 112 videos for the game.
Patrick: And some of them are about the same. The only difference is the energy bar because you have three chance from each side, so six possibilities with four buttons with three different characters. So, this all mixed up gives 112 videos.
Action: To render the animations, how long did that take? What was the process involved for that?
Patrick: Well, all the process took me 10 days. So, I took three days for the animation, four days for the editing, sound and all this, the graphics, and three more days to put it on YouTube and create all the links between with annotations. There’s about 600 links between the videos. So, that was long.
Action: Did you have to do extensive testing because the annotations aren’t really automated so you have to hand code everything, right? Or is it…
Patrick: Yes. So, you can’t repeat the process. If you have four of exactly the same buttons, you have to make it four times. You cannot copy/paste, that thing.
Action: You did this in 10 days. You release it. What happens? What was the response?
Patrick: The response was very, very good. I was expecting something big because I knew Street Fighter was popular. I knew that I would be something like the first one to do it on YouTube so I was waiting for a big response, not that big.
I’m almost at five million now, and it’s not been a month yet. I got a lot of offers from around the world because what I wanted to do is drive people to my YouTube page so they can see my other stuff because, basically, I am a movie maker. I’m not a game creator which I’m going to be, maybe, because a lot of people are asking me for some things like this.
Patrick: So, after one week I saw that Street Fighter was really popular, the game, so I decided to make another one. That’s why I just uploaded the BBoy Joker one.
Action: You said that the response around the world was pretty positive.
Action: Now, did you get a lot more people to subscribe to your channel on YouTube? How has the subscription rate been going?
Patrick: Before I put up YouTube Street Fighter, I was at 5,000. Now, I’m at almost 21. For the subscribing it went really good.
Action: And this was in less than a month, too, right?
Action: Were there any other positive surprises that happened once you released it? Like is there anything else you are promoting besides the subscription to all the games?
Patrick: Well, actually with YouTube since I am a partner, I can have a share of the ads linkage to the videos, so with Street Fighter I made money.
Patrick: This is something really cool, too. Not big money but quite good money. I don’t know. If someone could figure a way out of having some success like this a few times in a year, you could, I think, live on this really.
Action: You had other people contacting you. So, did they ask you to do games for them or was it more ideas for your next types of games or what are you thinking?
Patrick: I had some people asked me to create games for them, yes. Some people asked me to create interactive clips for them. And also since I have a lot of stuff on my YouTube page, people were attracted by the game. They came on my page. They saw the other stuff, and then they asked me about the other stuff. So, some people are desiring to have video clips, ad commercials, propositions. Well, I think it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself since a lot of years.
Action: What types of videos initially compel you to put stuff on YouTube? I mean, what’s your original video passion?
Patrick: Well, I’m a movie maker so I create short movies. I’m working on long feature ones, actually. I also work a lot on commercials, television commercials, so this is what I do for a living.
I did also a TV show called Phylac
tere Cola in Quebec. It was a French TV show with a lot of sketches, shorts, movies, ad parodies, movie parodies. So, I’ve done a lot of short movies so I really know how to create something from A to Z alone. This is basically where I came from. I came from short movies.
Action: Since you saw this game take off, are you thinking then of moving from the short movies into this video game genre?
Patrick: The video game world is really something that is interesting for me, but I don’t know that world so I’m far from it in a way. But, it’s something that really interests me. Personally, I think I am going to try some other stuff on YouTube like video games. Of course, if some people ever think about me for video games, I would be glad because it’s something that I really love.
Action: After your Street Fighter game, you worked on another game. Can you talk more about that game?
Patrick: Yeah, I created BBoy Joker which is break dancing competition between the Dark Knight and Joker. Basically, you choose one character. You look at the moves the other one is doing, and then you try to repeat the moves with your character.
Action: Was the development process pretty much the same as the Street Fighter one in terms of – it took 5 or 10 days and 112 videos, or is it something different?
Patrick: Well, the process was longer than with Street Fighter because the dancing is more difficult than the fighting, and I wanted to have a lot more movements than in Street Fighter. Street Fighter was quite easy to animate because, well, fighting is easy to animate. There is not much moves in it. It’s a lot of loops, but with the dancing I wanted to have a lot of different moves and break dancing could be difficult to animate.
Also, what’s difficult to animate is the action figures themselves. The Dark Knight and the Joker action figures are from Hot Toys. They do really great animated toys, but to make stop-motion with them could be a pain in the ass which the process was longer for it.
Action: For the stop-motion, what you had to do was you had to move it just a little and take a picture, or how did that work?
Patrick: Yeah, that’s it. For a stop-motion what you do is you have your character. You raise the arm a little. Take a picture. Raise it a little more, a picture. So, each frame can take between 10 seconds to 5 minutes.
Action: Is that a style you are doing more from an artistic perspective, or have you thought about just doing 3-D animation for the games? What’s the benefit of doing stop-0motion versus, say, some of the other technology that allows you to render this stuff?
Patrick: Well, I’m working with what I know so I’ve never done a lot of stop-motion but it’s something with which I’m at ease with. I am confident with what I can do with stop- motion, and in 3-D I don’t really know the software. So, I would have to learn softwares, and it’s something that I could do but right now I wanted to make it fast so I used what I knew. Also, I know that stop-motion video games are not what you see everyday, so in a way it was a way of being different.
Action: Now that you have released it, what is the next step? Are you thinking about making more games? Are you going to make different types of games? You know, I looked at some of the other YouTube games.
The thing about the Street Fighter is that it was more strategy-based versus the other games which were more like, “Oh, you just click here”, more of an adventure game. So, I wasn’t sure if you were going to explore new types of ways or new types of games in this YouTube genre.
Patrick: I will because I am already thinking about it. I want to make other games because I have fun doing it. Also, I see the advantage it can bring me so I want to do some more but I don’t want to repeat myself. I don’t want to do another game like Street Fighter. I won’t do another dance game, also.
Action: Well, what’s wrong with sequels? I mean, there’s sequels in normal video games. Why not have sequels in the YouTube video games?
Patrick: Well, yes, we could. You’re right, but it’s personal. I want to make something different every time. It’s how I am.
Action: Sure. Are you thinking about ways to speed up the process because you said the second game actually took longer than the Street Fighter game? I wasn’t sure if you are trying to find a way so that you can, maybe, get it out in 5 days instead of 10 days or 5 days instead of 20 days or something like that.
Patrick: No, I wouldn’t do that because what’s important for me is that everything that I do looks better than the one before. So, for me, taking three months or three weeks or a month to create something for YouTube is not a long process. It’s not long, so I could create a game on two months’ production and it would be OK for me, also. What I want the next one, too, is to look better than the two firsts. Even if it takes me six months, I will do it.
Action: Are there any changes to the annotation API that allows you to make more expressive games, or has it been pretty much the same since the annotation API got released?
Patrick: Well, it’s the same. Nothing really moved since last year.
Action: Are you exploring any other types of genres or any other types of ways to combine video and video games, aside in what you’ve already talked about? I’m not sure if there is something on Vimeo or some of these other video sites that allows you to be even more expressive? Or is it mainlyYouTube which is the best for you?
Patrick: This is mainly YouTube, yeah. YouTube is the first – in fact, YouTube is not the first one to develop this, but they bought the one that did. So, actually, you can only do this on YouTube, I think, do this as I did, but there is another video site which is called Open Film. I asked them if they would be interested in taking the clips and program it in Flash for their site so people can play on their site.
What will be the fun with that is that you won’t have the – how can I say this? On YouTube if you click a button and you have to change video, but if it’s programmed on Open Film you won’t have to wait for the video to come. It will be direct.
Action: Can you play your video game in embedded YouTube, or do you actually have to be on the YouTube site?
Patrick: I have to be on the YouTube site, yeah. I could program this on Flash. I think it would work well, but personally I haven’t tried it. I was putting it on YouTube to test it.
Action: There are other people who are using the YouTube video, like the video partnership program. Do you get together with them and talk to them about how their videos are doing in terms of advertising and stuff like that?
Patrick: No, not yet but YouTube just started a new forum for the partners. So, it might come to this. Maybe, one day we’ll talk together and see what could be done best: how did you do it, and da, da, da. Actually, no.
Action: Have you been in contact with other video makers on YouTube?
Patrick: Well, a lot of video makers on YouTube asked me for advice?
Patrick: So, yeah, I do have a lot of contact with them, but I’m not really chatting. I’m not a good chatting guy, so I won’t write you to say, “Hi. How are you?” But, if you ask me a question I would be pleased to answer it.
Action: What suggestions then do you have for other indie video game developers or indie video makers on how they could get good exposure on YouTube, you know, and have their own break?
Patrick: Well, personally I think that what can be popular on YouTube is to mix things. Example, mixing Batman with break dancing is something quite curious so this is what drags people to your stuff, I think. If you do things that already exist, well people don’t mind about this, but if you do something really different or if you mix things together, then it can drag… Bu
t, you never know. It’s quite a lottery, also, on YouTube. You can put something great on YouTube. I’ve seen a lot of great movies on YouTube, and they had 200 views.
Action: Any last words then for indie game developers and other people out there who are doing experimental things and trying to do something different?
Patrick: Well, I think YouTube is going to be in the next years developing the annotation tools. I’m sure about it. One thing for sure is that it’s a good place to be discovered. It’s a good place to show what you can do because everybody is there. If you can develop – maybe, I don’t know – something like a trailer game of your game for YouTube. Then you can drag people to see your real game on another site. This is what I would do.
Action: It’s a great idea. We’re talking with Patrick, the guy who created the YouTube Street Fighter game and has another game which is Batman. What is the exact title of the new game?
Patrick: BBoy Joker.
Action: OK, BBoy Joker. Is there a website that people can check out, or should they just go to YouTube and type in YouTube Street Fighter?
Patrick: YouTube Street Fighter is the best one, or you can type Patrick Boivin on YouTube, and you will find all my games and my videos.
Action: Great. Thanks again for your time. I know this interview was set up really quickly, and I appreciate you being able to do this on short notice. So, thanks again.
Patrick: My pleasure. Thanks to you.
Action: Take care. Bye.
Posted on February 14th, 2009 No comments
I’m going to change things up a little…and some of the posts I make are going to relate to posting articles on successful indies…
Check out this indie I-Phone developer…