Michael, from Ludoko, talks about Paranormal Puzzle Society
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Interviewer: I’m here at Austin Game Developers Conference and with me today is a special guest. How about you introduce yourself?
Michael: My name is Michael Lee. I’m with Ludoko which is pretty much myself and an artist and a musician, friends of mine.
Interviewer: What game did you do?
Michael: I’m currently working on Paranormal Puzzle Society which is an independent casual puzzle game.
Interviewer: How did you get inspired to do a puzzle game and talk about the development process?
Michael: Well, I’ve always sort of been a fan of the casual games, like the ones made by Pop Cap, specifically the ones made by Pop Cap because they’re not only these typical casual genres but they’re incredibly polished and high quality. So, they’re incredibly addictive to play.
I’ve been developing on and off for over a year now, and it’s only recently that I got into… I should really go out and make something. It’s a lot easier to make something that’s been done before and do a different twist on it than necessarily try to come up with an original idea the first time. So, that’s how I came up with this idea that eventually led into Paranormal Puzzle Society.
Interviewer: How did you prototype the mechanic, or what is the game mechanic about?
Michael: Well, it’s sort of a match three game but not quite because you’re matching either colors or shapes. And it’s not just that you’re matching them in a straight line. It’s sort of you’re drawing on the screen on the tile board, and any way you can connect them is a valid combination as long as they share either the same color or the same shape.
This came about, basically, because I was inspired by some other games like Wordle. It’s one of the games I’m thinking about on the iPhone, and Wordle is sort of a Scrabblesque game. You’re making words by connecting letters together, but you just draw on the screen to connect any number of letters together to form words.
Interviewer: So, in your game you actually drag the mouse and draw lines.
Michael: Correct. And so, you can go up, down, diagonally. You can cross over each other, so it’s not just a strict match three game.
Interviewer: Did you test out the game play mechanic as you were developing it since it’s a little different than most?
Michael: Yeah, I did a lot of prototyping in initial user testing using friends and family, and everyone sort of came back to me and said, “This is an interesting twist on it”. and I thought, hey, this might be enough to start a game. And that’s how I started doing that, specifically.
Interviewer: You had an artist helping you. How did you develop the theme and the style for it since it seems like a different theme than most?
Michael: The artist I had, she’s sort of a friend of mine, and she’s a professional designer and everything, so she has a very specific art mentality and sort of a Goth Emo look. And so, I wanted to do not only a game that fit her art mentality, but I also wanted to do a puzzle game that stood out from other people.
Most puzzle games are the cheery, happy, these clear bubbles, that sort of thing. I wanted to do something that has a little bit more personality, a little more style to it. That