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  • The Design Behind Carneyvale Showtime, 2009 IGF Finalist

    Posted on June 14th, 2009 IndieGamePod No comments

    Desmond and Bruce talk about developing Carneyvale Showtime, 2009 IGF Finalist

    You can download the podcast here…

    Or listen to it here…

    Show Notes:
    Interviewer: Hi, I’m here at the GDC at the IGF Main Competition. With me today is our two special guests. How about you introduce yourself?

    Desmond: I’m Desmond Wong. I’m the lead artist and designer for the game.

    Interviewer: What’s the game?

    Desmond: Showtime, CarneyVale Showtime.

    Interviewer: And you?

    Bruce: I’m Bruce Chia. I’m the lead programmer for the game.

    Interviewer: What’s the game about?

    Desmond: Basically, the game you play as a circus acrobat. You are supposed to use your environment to swing you to the top to a ring of fire to win the game. So, along the way you go through many cool stuff like rockets, electric fires, balls of flame, just cool stuff.

    Interviewer: How did you guys come up with the theme for the game?

    Bruce: So, actually we developed this game called Whip, and it’s based on a circus theme where you start whipping circus animals with your remote, so we decided to bring a sequel using the same theme but probably on a different aspect of the circus environment. So, we decided to go with the acrobatic idea, and that’s where we started using like some kind of a clown rag doll guy. His name is Slinky and you basically try to get him through his acrobatic acts.

    Interviewer: So you guys used direct all physics then for this?

    Bruce: Yeah, we did. So, actually our game is based on a physics idea. Everything in the game can be hit and used. We have lots of strange things in the game that will either help you or… Because this game is actually about you using the environment so there’s a lot of features in the environment that will help you or make you lose lives.

    Interviewer: When you guys were designing this game, what was the design process and what do you think got you into the IGF Main Competition in terms of the mechanics or design that helped you?

    Desmond: So the original design, actually we went through many, many months of prototyping. We tried out many ideas. Some failed while some succeeded. We did lots of testing to see which prototype was the most fun. I guess probably why we were finding this was because we got a really cool concept so we couldn’t map anything to our game, so the overall package. I don’t think that many games out there are something like this, so I guess it has that unique feature to it.

    Interviewer: What kind of technology did you guys use? You mentioned the physics engine? What else?

    Bruce: So, actually this game is based on XNA Microsoft. We are using C# and we are using a third party physics. It’s called Farseer Physics. Other than that, we basically do everything else from scratch, all the graphics, everything and the sound as well. We have a composer on the team and she made all the music and sound effects for our game.

    Interviewer: Do you have any online components to this, or is this built for Xbox Live or what’s the game plan?

    Bruce: What’s the question?

    Interviewer: Do you have any online components, like people can create levels and upload stuff, or… What were some of the other challenges you guys encountered as you designed the game?

    Bruce: So, at first, we started out. We wanted to create a competitive game and we started out by using a trapeze idea where he was swinging around and that was very difficult in terms of game play.

    It wasn’t fun at all, so we actually had to rebuild quite a bit of the game to include our new mechanic which was this grabbing thing which would grab the rag doll and start swinging him around and fling him wherever he wants to go.

    When we kind of rebuilt part of the game because of the flaw in the game design, we kind of took a step back and kind of wished there was more time.

    Interviewer: I guess, what are the top learning lessons you had from developing this game? Things that you wished you would have known when you first started?

    Desmond: I wished we had known how tough it is to actually make a game. We should have tested more.

    Interviewer: When you say testing, do you mean test it yourselves or play testing it with other people or what?

    Desmond: We mean play testing with other people, including getting total strangers in to test the game because in the end you’re not making this game for yourselves. You’re actually building it for other people to play. That was more or less as we learned, I guess.

    Interviewer: Any other lessons?

    Bruce: So actually on the technical side like where I come from, we learned a lot about how to optimize the game and deal with the hardware and all that because, actually, we were playing this game for Xbox 360.

    Interviewer: Sure.

    Bruce: We had to learn quite a little bit of everything PC and hardware and all that kind of stuff. It was a very enriching experience for us.

    Interviewer: So, is it on the Xbox Live right then?

    Bruce: Yes, it’s on Xbox Live Community Games and it’s actually priced for $5 U. S. or for Microsoft coins.

    Interviewer: What are you guys then up to next? What’s next in store for you guys?

    Bruce: We’re actually thinking and planning a little bit on the sequel and also thinking a little bit on how to move this game to other platforms.

    Interviewer: Anything else? Are you guys going to be like working in the same studio, or is it going to be branching off or what?

    Desmond: We’ll definitely be working together again on the sequel as Bruce mentioned and most stuff to create, more cool stuff, more unique things. So, look for it.

    Interviewer: Great. Thank you very much.


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