Here’s another interview with a student developer from Ohio University…
You can download it here…
Or Listen to it here…
Show Notes (thanks to Grace):
Interview with Ryan , on sound effects, gaming, and animation.
Interview was held at the Austin Game Developer’s Conference.
Ryan was part of team of 9 developing a platform, puzzle, interactive environment concept game called “Death by Design”. The team consisted of 3 designers, 2 programmers, 1 sound person, and 2 artists. [yes we’re missing somebody]
The game started as a class project with a deadline of 20 weeks. The team started with a couple of different ideas. One idea was an incredible machine type game, the other was something called “Death Quest” where the idea was to get your avatar killed in the most extreme way.
They did rapid proto typing using paper and a magnet board. They used this method along with design documents and had their idea pretty well done before beginning programming or artwork. Once they had their idea down they then let their imaginations go wild, taking the concept as far as they wanted without limitations of reality (programming concerns for example). If they hadn’t done this then they would have self-sensored and it wouldn’t have been as good. They ended with a fully realized concept.
Most people who create platform games follow a standard formula: Run right, keep the character alive for as long as possible, pick up a few objects, and then move onto the next level. They chose a static world, still picked up a few objects, but then completed some crazy objectives, and then something really silly and stupid would happen to the avatar. It was a lot of fun.
The team would have something called game jams every week at coffee houses. Here they would take 24 hours to work out concepts and levels to the point where they were complete.
Initially they came up with 12 levels but in the end the game was completed with only 2 levels. They were working on it up until 3 hours to deadline. They felt successful that they had actually completed the game. During the whole process there was never a slow period where they felt like they were just finishing up. The whole time they were like “Oh my God! There are problems!! There are problems!!”. Once the game was done though, it was the best feeling.
There were issues. One issue is that everyone wants to be a designer, so if you are on the design team you should roll with it and listen to all suggestions, take it in, because everyone has something to contribute. If these people are working in games, then their gamers, and they know what gamers like. All their input is useful. If you then get a chance to use testers outside of the team, listen to all of their suggestions too.
As part of the design team you need to keep your team moving, but you also don’t want to beat them into the ground.
Top 3 things Ryan learned:
1) No matter what you think it’s going to look like in the beginning, it won’t look like that in the end – and that’s not a bad thing! It probably means you learned something. Also be open to outside input, it’s very valuable.
2) Don’t take ALL the outside input! You can lose the integrity of your personal touch.
3) Working with people is challenging, but rewarding in the end.
Advice to wanna be indy game developers – Come to Austin Game Developer’s Conference!