Pablo talks about his game, Vox Populi Vox Dei
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Interviewer: I’m at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and with me today is a special guest. How about you introduce yourself?
Pablo: My name is Pablo Weremczuk. I’m the creator of Vox Populi, Vox Dei, a game about werewolves, ninjas and blood mainly.
Interviewer: What inspired you to make the game?
Pablo: I have several inspirations. One of them was Hiroshima. It’s the guy that made the saga, that made the photographs. I’m sure you already know. The other guy is Chris Crawford that writes a book called “Chris Crawford on Game Design” that explains the sort of thing that are from the mentor for what I do. Another inspiration is a book called “Understanding Comics” written by Scott McCloud. The last one is Rawlings [?] which is the name of a book that explains the sort of thing about game design. This is my base. This is what gives origin to the game, mainly the game from Hiroshima [?]. It’s a very great big influence to me.
Interviewer: So, you have these as influences. Then, what did you do next? How did you come up with the idea? How did you come up with that theme and topic?
Pablo: Well, I wanted to make a game, mainly an action game with something new. I got this dripping blood and I didn’t know how to use it. So, browsing in the Internet I found a game called Nevermore that uses blood from [?]. It’s mainly an exploration platform game. After that I played Left 4 Dead in which something called [?] that leaps from the top of the building and lands over the survivors and then rip apart, maybe, something like a slugfest. All that influences combined in the creation of the game. Just put it in front of the computer and everything comes along, I mean, everything comes to me. The explanation and moving my hands and all of that.
Interviewer: How long did it take to develop the game, and how many iterations did you do to find out the core mechanic?
Pablo: I worked on the video game, you know, part-time when I was from the job, around 7-8 o’clock. I work to 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning. And that was for around five months. And, of course, I worked on the weekends. I ended the game exhausted.
Interviewer: What about play testing? How did you make sure that this would be accessible to as many people as possible, and what inspires you to use Flash because the game is in Flash?
Pablo: OK. You know, the game was a lot of polish. I tried to do a lot of play testing with people that never have played the game before. So, I tested with 12-year-old little girls and with a 50 or so lawyer, famous lawyer. Then, a guard off the building where I live and all that feedback, all that interactions made the game what it is today. Sorry if I…
Interviewer: No. That’s fine. What surprises did you get, or what did you learn as you were play testing it? And what did you have to change to make it better?
Pablo: Well, the best feedback comes from the people that never played before. I found out when I gave the game to a friend of mine. He played and says, “Wow, this game is right but I didn’t find any errors.” I found that he plays the game in the same way that I play it, so he didn’t find any error. The feedback from these people that never played the game before was very, very valuable.
Interviewer: I do like in the intro of the game you have just little ad boards that just show you how to play, so there’s not or I mean, just to show you the special moves and you do that in a sequential way. What inspired that? I think that’s a good way to just get people into the game more easily.
Pablo: Well, what inspired that? It’s a very good question. You know, what inspired me is exactly the opposite. I play, you know, My Galaxy when the game told you how to play, stops the game. The game is in pause until you press the button and try the new knowledge you just learned. I don’t want you to do that. Many other games stop the action when in the tutorial parts. I don’t want that. I want that player to explore the game, enjoy the game and never get to stop to read. I hate that. I do my game this way.
Interviewer: So, once you play tested it, you finished the game. What did you do next? It was in Flash which is good. So, what did you think? Were you just going to put in on websites or what?
Pablo: You know, lately I made a game called Engines of Creation that is on Kongregate and gives me some bucks for added revenue and some weekly contests. When the game was finished, I thought, do the same. So, I uploaded it in Kongregate.
Interviewer: And how did that go exactly, that experience?
Pablo: You know, it goes well because the game pays me the trip to the GDC. So, you know, I was one of the weekly contest runner-ups. I don’t remember how they called it, one of the last, you know. And in the monthly contest I finished fifth or something like that. But the gross of the money comes from the other revenue, you know?
And also, New Ground donates some money and also people donate some money from PayPal. It goes well, but I forgot to put things like the side locks for the people that don’t load the game and put in their wrong sides on the…
Interviewer: Sure. What’s next in store? Are you going to work on this game some more? Are you working on other games? What types of games do you want to make?
Pablo: Yes, I’m making a sequel but the game play will be the same. I mean, the game mechanic will be the same but the game will be totally different. It will be something totally different. I hate to do more of the same. I don’t want the game repetitive. You can look in the game each day, a part with action, a part with puzzles but with story and so on. I hope to keep the work in this way because I like it.
Interviewer: What are your favorite games or your favorite either interesting games that you like to play?
Pablo: Well, I love Metagia [?]. I love all the games except the Metagia [?]. I don’t know. This one is my favorite game. I love also Monkey Island and I like very much the indie games, independent games, like Nevermore or BVBVBV from [?]. I like very much platform games and action games. No, that’s it. I like adventure games. That’s what I like.
Interviewer: And so, are you going to do any Flash adventure games or adventure platformer games?
Pablo: Yes. Actually, I am working on the sequel of Vox Populi, Vox Dei. So, I hope it will be ready soon. I don’t know when.
Interviewer: You know, but this adventure game, there’s no words or dialogue and stuff like that. Do you care for that, or do you like this style where it’s more fluid and it’s less where you have to explore and stuff like that?
Pablo: I keep it this way because I don’t want text on the game. I don’t want the people to stop and read.
Interviewer: So, you’re saying you’re trying to really avoid text altogether in games.
Pablo: Yes, I do. That’s correct.
Interviewer: What about audio? Does that count?
Pablo: The audio in the game is actually I do it by myself. Most of the sounds are made with my voice and the microphone. Some did get programmed. So, I really like to put music, but I don’t know music and I don’t know where to get it. I know it’s very difficult to say if I will have music. For sure it will have sound because it’s a very important part of the experience, but I don’t know if it will have music.
Interviewer: Where can people check out the game? What’s the website that people can find the game and play it?
Pablo: Well, you know, my website is very hard to say, to spell, just because it’s like my last name which is Polish. If you can tell me to spell that because my mother tongue is Spanish. I don’t know how to say that.
Interviewer: So, it’s W-E-R-E-M-S-O-F-T.com.ar.
Pablo: That’s correct.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.
Pablo: No, thank you.