Interview with Davide Pasca (Final Freeway 2R) of OYK Games
What brought on your first itch to gaming?
Final Freeway looks like it was inspired by the classic Out Run. Is that so, or was it something else?
What engine did you use to create Final Freeway and do you use any other sources?
What were some challenges in developing Final Freeway and were you able to find a better solution for future game making?
How did you end up getting the game on the Gamestick?
Any challenges porting it?
What advice can you give to those who want to get their games on Gamestick?
Any games you think should be on the Gamestick?
Can you talk about future projects and will they hit the Gamestick market?
Any other things you would like to share?
Thanks again for your time.
Interview with Ali Motisi, Lead Developer for SOUND RIDE (OutOfTheBit Company)
(Special Thanks to Rosalia TRUPIANO for help setting this up.)
How did you get interested in creating games?We all come from different backgrounds but we are all gamers, in some way. I, personally (Ali, founder and lead developer of OutOfTheBit), have always been inspired by game studios like Team 17, Bullfrog Productions, Sensible Software and The Bitmap Brothers and their ability to make pieces of art with the technology they had at hand. I started programming when I was 8 on an Olivetti PC 128s (basically a rebranded BBC Master) and I was in love with making games ever since.Where did the idea for Sound Ride come from?We wanted to make a game to test our own game engine further, after releasing Anima (www.animathegame.co.uk). This time, a single player,a runner with vector graphics witch includesthe Daily Ride. Everyday you have an auto-generated infinite level to try as many time as you want, but you can upload your score just once a day and compete with riders from all over the world.Since we used our homemade tools, everything we did for Sound Ride helped us refine them during the development of the game. Maybe the biggest challenge was managing the camera and making it run smoothly even on theThen we wanted a unique element: to create music while you play. The better you do, the more enriched the music becomes.
And we are going to "play" with music even more in our next game, a rhythm game we are beta-calling Planet Quest!Sound Ride was created with what program or programs?We used our own game engine, The Stork, which is vector based and allows Arnaud, our designer, to draw everything on a touchscreen device. Here is a video of Arnaud drawing with this tool: http://youtu.be/SGeGYYO7ky0What challenges did you have creating Sound Ride? Any that can help you with future games?
low end devices
Also, since we decided to draw with polygons and no texture, no outlines, no gradients, it was quite a hard job for the artist....Then, we found a problem with the way the engine would cue and loop the MP3s; there was a delay in between one loop finishing and the other starting. You can read more about how we solved it here: http://goo.gl/ekBlLEWe met the Gamestick crew during the EToo last year. They were kind enough to give us a dev kit. We liked the idea behind the Gamestick and it's very versatile and easy to code for. Also, being Sound Ride graphics vectorial, it scales superbly on every screen.How did Sound Ride get introduced to the Gamestick?Any advice you can part with for future game developers?Make games that you are proud of.What particular games would you like to see on the Gamestick?We can't wait for our next one!! : PWill the Gamestick community see more games from you, and if so, care to share details?Definitely! We are working on a secret project which will be released next year. Don't want to spoil anything yet, but you can follow us on our blog.outofthebit.com and on twitter: @outofthebitAny other final thoughts?Run like a chicken! ^_-Thank you!Ali@alimotisi
Interview with Jorg Winterstein (BLOO KID) from Eiswuxe
How did you get in to creating games?
I have always wanted to create games since I first played them on the Atari 2600 in the early 80s. So I teached myself programming on the C64 when I was a kid. I managed to get into the german videogame industry in early 2000 and spent many years learning and working for different companies. I finally decided to start my very own company in 2012 in order to make the games that I always wanted to make.
What program/engine do you use for your creations like Bloo Kid?
I used the "Corona SDK". It is a high-level mobile engine that runs on iOS and Android and lets you create runnable stuff in relatively short time. This way, I could focus 100% on the games itself instead of "wasting" time to produce own "basic-functionality". But the more complex games get, the more "custom" functionality is needed, so nowadays I am indeed working on my own "engine" which will be used for my future games.
Bloo Kid seems Mario-type inspired. Is that the case or are there other games that drove you to create Bloo Kid?
Mario is of course one of the main influences. The first "Mario Bros." game was also a "one-screen" platformer. But you can also find influences from Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands or even Wonderboy in the game. Basically, my own games "only" consist of hundreds of micro-inspirations from all the games I loved as a kid.
How did you hook up with the Gamestick?
I was contacted by the gamestick creators on the Touch-Arcade forum and they asked me if I wanted to release Bloo Kid 2 for the Gamestick. At that time, the game was not yet "content-complete" (and it still is not), so I offered them to port the first Bloo Kid game to the Gamestick. The aforementioned Corona SDK lets you build for Gamestick, too, so I sat down and implemented the Gamestick-relevant stuff like gamepad-support into Bloo Kid 1 and, Voila! Here it is =)
What are some pointers you can give others wanting to get their games on the Gamestick?
Of course, the first answer would always be "make something innovativ that has never been seen before". This is simply impossible. Everything is a remix. I would say, it is totally sufficient to "make a good game" and then directly get in contact with the gamestick guys. They are always looking for new games for their platform.
When time allows, what are some games you enjoy playing and would any be fun to play on the Gamestick?
I myself am a big fan of the Contra / Probotector game series. Fast paced action, with a "two players on one screen"-mode always works for me. I am considering making such a game myself in the near future :D
Any future creations coming down the pipeline?
At the moment, I will focus on porting Bloo Kid 2 to more platforms. The "Boo Kid 1" gamestick experience showed me that the games I like to make are better fitting real, physical controllers than mobile-device touchscreens. That is why I would like to focus on consoles and handhelds in the future. That being said, BK2 will definitely come to the gamestick soon, as all my future games will very likely come to the gamestick.
Please provide any other bits of information regarding gaming you would like to share.
Always remember: Shoot! Or Die! =)
Interview with Mike L. (From Happy Giant) of Usagi Yojimbo (Way of the Ronin)
ML: UnityWere you able to get everything regarding Usagi you wanted in to the game?
ML: Yes and no - as a developer and artist you are never satisfied. You always want to add more. But our goal was to make a pretty simple fun, retro smash 'em up that stayed loyal to the art, story and spirit of the comics, and I definitely think we achieved that.How did you get involved with Gamestick?
ML: They approached us about getting Usagi to it. They were also fans.What advice would you give to others wanting to get their game on the Gamestick?
ML: Well - its fairly easy if you have an android build made. Go for it is my advice!Can people expect more projects from you whether new games or extensions with Usagi?
ML: Oh yes! In fact our NEW GAME is out just now on iOS and Google Play - check out Ninja Time Pirates!You battle as George Washington, Ben Franklin and others against aliens trying to alter the past - Learn more at www.ninjatimepirates.comWhat games do you enjoy playing and would they benefit being on the Gamestick?
Gamestick has to compete with other new tiny consoles like the Ouya. What suggestions do you think could improve Gamestick's popularity?
Any last pieces of advice, promotion, or thoughts you care to share?
Interview with Robert Cummings of Simian Squared, Makers of THE OTHER BROTHERS
Interview with Matthew of LvLn from Tanuki Entertainment
So Matthew, where did your origins in gaming begin?
What inspired the game LVLN?
What are some challenges developing the game?
How did LVLN get ported to the Gamestick?
What are some pointers you can provide for a new developer or a developing team?
If one wanted to port their game to the Gamestick, what are some suggestions you can give to help it go smooth?
Do you see LVLN expanding in to bigger worlds or add on type scenarios?
Can Gamestick owners expect more games from Tanukie Entertainment?
Any favorite games you enjoy playing would benefit on the Gamestick?
Final question; what do you think of all these new devices like the Gamestick, Ouya, Amazon Fire TV, MK808...etc.?
Interview with TALES OF ILLYRIA'S Little KillERZ
Recall and share your fondest memory in regards to video gaming?
My greatest memory is the unboxing and playing of Ultima IV. The game included two books, a cloth map, and an ankh that were designed as if it came from "Britannia". The game starts with you discovering these items. You then encounter a carnival and a gypsy that asks you a bunch of morale hypothetical questions. The way you answer these questions dictates your class. After the reading, you are transported into "Britannia.” Unlike other games, your quest is not to save the world by defeating an evil wizard, but rather to become the Avatar. You do this by leveling up your virtues. It was truly an epic and ground breaking experience.
How did creating and developing games come about for you?
When I was in the fourth grade my class had a TI-99/4a computer. I was fascinated by it and my teacher let me take it home for the summer. I wrote a bunch of small programs on it. In high school I wrote several video games for fun, they were almost professional. I quit developing games while I was in college. The dot com boom hit and I quit college and got a job writing code. When the Apple App Store lottery hit I became interested again in developing games, because I now had a way to get them published. Shortly after Android came along and it used Java, the language I use at my day job, so the rest is history.
What is the origin for Tales of Illyria?
It was mostly my partners Jon Smith's idea. After releasing Legends Arcana we felt it wasn't popular enough to warrant a sequel. We were looking around for another game to make. One night Jon and I were playing Talisman the board game. He really liked it and felt we should make a video game version of it. He also was a big fan of Oregon Trail and wanted to incorporate that style game play as well. We brought on a writer and the game we had intended to play like a board game became more of a character driven choose-your-own adventure. It really evolved during development. There were times I was like "What the heck are we making, is this even going to be fun?" It wasn't until the very end after the tools, engine, and content all came together did we really know we had a good formula.
Tales of Illyria 2 has just been released. What are some of the differences between this one and the first one?
Episode 1 & 2 are really fairly similar in game play. The differ on content...
What were some of your developing lessons you learned creating the first one that made it easier to develop part 2?
We were able to reuse the tools, game engine, graphics and music for EP2. However, we still had to develop Vasena, which is the desert kingdom hidden behind the wall in EP1. It's culturally different and required creating a Vasenian version of most everything. We had to make heads, armor, equipment, background, monsters, and music. It was very expensive to make and it's a shame it is not selling very well. The good news is EP3 will require only the writers write it.
How did you partner up with the Gamestick?
Gamestick contacted me and asked if I wanted a developer device, and of course I said yes. I had already added game controller support for Moga so the code was already written. The Gamestick controller uses stock Android so it was a breeze to implement.
Please provide some guidance and knowledge for people wanting to develop games and maybe porting the to the Gamestick?
At this point, can you spill the beans and share some new concepts you might plan for part 3?
EP3 was supposed to be a prequel to EP1, but we shelved the concept after designing most of main quest line. EP3 now is going to be a more open, make it what you will type game. When the game starts you pick a name, sex, head, and kingdom. Depending on the kingdom you pick you will get a short origin quest line. When the quest line is completed the game is not over. You will form your own party, which you can reorganize at any tavern. You will still have six party members, but can have more than that in your roster. Things like alignment, morale, and kingdom reputation will be more important. You can now make your party members so mad they leave your party. Interesting idea, strange you don’t see that more often in games. You can also choose which kingdoms to ally with. We also implemented port travel.
What are some of your greatest challenges coding and developing your games?
Bugs! They can ruin an entire weekend. Nothing makes a coder more miserable than bugs. Lost free time. I have a day job so developing games has taken up almost all of my free time for the past five years. This is time I could of spent doing lucrative consulting jobs or with friends and family.
Name some games you would like to see on the Gamestick?
Legends Arcana, I'd really like to add game controller support to it. However, the way I coded it makes it difficult to implement without an entire rewrite.
Anything else you want to share, if so, please do so?
I think you gave me ample to blab about. But, I'd really like to thank you for your interest in Tales of Illyria.
Interview with Neil Glenister of 232 Studios, maker of EPIC ERIC
What sparked the idea for Epic Eric?
The idea was inspired by Batman Arkham Asylum (strangely enough). In the popular Batman game you could fling your chosen character across the map by swinging on poles, girders, scaffolding etc. I've always had an interest in taking 3D mechanics and trying to convert them to 2D, which is how the cog mechanic came about. The rest of the game just grew from there.
In creating Epic Eric, what were some challenges you faced and any hints to prevent other future developers to make game creation more smoother?
Epic Eric met a number of challenges throughout production, this is our debut mobile game and our first foray into self publishing so we had a great deal to learn. Our biggest challenge was steering the game away from the 'damsel in distress' sexism trope. The gender cliche sadly wasn't something that we had considered prior to developing the game, however, having listened to the players and critics we set about tweaking the game and introducing the ability to play as the princess. This move was crucial to the games success and is by far one of the best features in the game.
Epic Eric is an exclusive first on the Gamestick. How did this come about?
I fell in love with the GameStick when I first saw it being demoed at Develop in Brighton. It's an incredibly innovative console which is affordable and available via high street stores, so it's fantastic to see the game being played on the big screen alongside some outstanding games.
If one was to create for Gamestick, what advice can you provide to get them going?
Epic Eric was developed using the cross platform Corona SDK, which meant it only took us a couple of days to port the game to GameStick and was relatively painless. The two key things to consider when developing a game for GameStick are:
Where do you plan on taking Epic Eric next?
We have some new level packs currently in production which will be available to everyone via a free update. We also have a number of easter eggs, unlockable characters (look out for Buck Morris and Maverick) and bonus secret levels.
Can fans expect more titles in the future to pop on the Gamestick?
Absolutely, we're currently toying with the idea of creating a follow up game called Epic Erica...but it's in the very early stages.
Name some of your favorite games?
My childhood favorite would have to be Zelda Ocarina of Time, more recently I've been very impressed with Papa Sangre II for it's inclusive design and I'm getting stuck into the beautiful Mimpi which has recently launched on GameStick.
Any particular games you would like to see on the Gamestick?
Icycle 2, with it's stunning animation and fantastic storyline would be fantastic on GameStick.
Any last advice, concept art, links, or thoughts you would like to share?
Any new developers looking to break into gaming, make sure you enter your games into lots of competitions, go to hack days and hit up the big events. You'll find me ambling around and I'm always happy to chat to a fellow game enthusiasts! For more info I'm reachable on Twitter via @232studios
Thank You Neil
Interview with Nicoll Hunt, Creator of FIST OF AWESOME! (Links below)
First off, the sense of humor in Fist is refreshing. Is this something that runs in the family or just a style you truly enjoy?
So are you a fan of Double Dragon, Final Fight, River City Ransom, or some late 80's early 90's action flicks that drove you to creating Fist?
What were some of the challenges throughout the "Awesome" process?
Was video game creation always your destiny or are you still searching for something else?
How did Fist of Awesome get tangled up with Gamestick?
Fist is on multiple platforms. Do you see a sequel and if so, would there be a co-op mode or any other surprises you can release at this time?
Do you see your company, "I Fight Bears," expanding and venturing out to produce for other platforms like Xbox or Playstation?
Any final advice for people wanting to start develop games?
Just do it! Download Gamemaker or Unity, or one of the many other game engines out there, start following tutorials and MAKE STUFF. The only way to get really good at something is practice, and the first step to being awesome at making games is to make rubbish games!
Hope that all makes sense!
Thank you Nicoll for your time!
Interview with Amir Fassihi, Developer, for the hit SHADOW BLADE (Scroll down for Concept and Development Art provided by Amir.)
How many people were involved in developing Shadow Blade and what was your role?
Shadow Blade reminds me of a cross between Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden, but a little more forgiving and more fluid. Was either game an inspiration or does Shadow Blade originate differently?
Shadow Blade would have been an easy top of the line $40.00 purchase had it come out back in the Nes or Super Nes days. Do you see Shadow Blade porting to a console like Wii U, Xbox, or PS, of course with expanding the worlds and so forth?
How did you hook up with PlayJam to port Shadow Blade to the Gamestick?
What was the process like getting the game to work on the Gamestick?
Any advice to developers thinking about putting their game on the Gamestick?
What are some hints as to what gamers can expect next from your team (maybe extension of Shadow Blade)?
If you were trapped on an island, what 5 games would you need to pass the time?
Thanks again for your time, and do you have a specific site or any other info you care to share? If so, go ahead.
Thank you Amir
Interview with Michael Buettner, creator of BATTLEBOW: SHOOT THE DEMONS HD and STOP THE BIRDS from Haybyte Studios. (Bonus: Scroll down to see Battlebow Concept Art)
What game or what sparked your interest to create games?
That's a tough question. I have created card games and tabletop games before I even had a PC and knew how to program, so I would say that games in general sparked my interest.
How did the concept of Battlebow come about?
I wanted to make a defense game and was not sure what exactly it would be. So I started making a prototype and after 1 week I had the basic playable game with little demons jumping left and right, and a crossbowman shooting very pixelated arrows. After that I started planning the game and wrote a small game design doc which defined the playable characters, their weapons, their advantages and disadvantages. I looked at typical Shoot 'em up features like weapons with spreading projectiles, power-ups and so on. Then I adapted these features so they would make sense in the medieval setting of Battlebow.
Any major challenge or challenges during the development of Battlebow?
Battlebow has a unique kind of perspective, and it's not easy to get this right when animating in 2D. For the hero characters, we actually animated them in 3D and then used that as a reference for the final image. It is a lot of work but I really like the result.
Are there plans to do a sequel and if so, can you divulge any spoilers or changes?
Maybe at some point, but first I have to finish this pixel art game I'm working on.
So, how did you get involved with porting Battlebow to the GameStick?
I have to admit I'm not a backer of the kickstarter project, because I heard of it after the funding was over. I have long been waiting for a good android console to come out, and when I saw the GameStick I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The gamepad feels so awesome... in my opinion it has the same quality as a PS3 gamepad. Developing for the GameStick has been a great experience so far and the nice folks as GameStick are very supportive.
Can you provide some good advice for someone not sure or maybe on the fence to porting their game(s) to the GameStick?
The only good excuse to not port your game to GameStick is if the controls would not work with a gamepad. If you think the game would benefit from a big screen and gamepad controls, then go for it.
What are three games you would like to see on the GameStick?
Personally I like to play multiplayer and co-op games. (Co-Op like Double Dragon.) I would love to see more indie games with elements from Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and Fat Princess on the GameStick. When it comes to single-player games, I'd vote for a God of War type of game.
You released a second game, Stop The Birds, for the GameStick. Besides another "fingers crossed" sequel or add-ons to Battlebow, do you have plans on creating and releasing future games for the GameStick?
Definitely! I already started working on a prototype, a 4 player action game, specifically with GameStick in mind. It is a game idea that I programmed in Visual Basic about 16 years ago, and then lost all the files. This year I rebuilt the game in Unity but it is still a long way to go until it is ready for release.
Looking forward to it! Thanks for your time Michael.
Interview with the Lead Developer for the game SMASH COPS from Hutch Games.
How did Smash Cops originate?
The team were researching action driving ideas and came across the OJ Simpson chase on YouTube, whilst we didn’t use that content specifically it did inspire the team to make something in that space. It does look like it came straight from the live news action scenes during the OJ Simpson car chase.
What brought about the porting of Smash Cops to the Gamestick and what was the reason to have it free? We spoke to the Gamestick team whilst they were doing the kickstarter campaign and thought their vision and plan was pretty awesome, we showed them our game running and they suggested this plan which worked well for everyone.
How long did Smash Cops take to develop?
The original took 7 months for iOS, but we have spent many months updating and evolving it, bringing it to Gamestick took a few weeks at most.
Any advice to a developer thinking about porting their game to the Gamestick?
If you’re a unity studio then its very simple and doesn’t take much time.
So, looking back what were some of your favorite games to play...or still favorite to play? A whole range of games, my all time favorite is a PS2 game called ICO.
Are there any future games coming from Hutch that will make it to the Gamestick? We have some really cool plans in the future and some will work very well on Gamestick!