The Best Is Yet To Come: Terraria Interview

Conducted by Adam Ames

TPG had the privilege to work with Andrew Spinks, creator of the fantastical indie hit, Terraria.  In this e-mail interview, Andrew talks about how he started in the business, the difficulty in creating Terraria, life as an indie developer, family support and more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Terraria.

I am the lead developer and creator of Terraria.

How did you get started in developing PC games?

It’s been my lifelong dream to build my own video game.  In fact, I’ve been teaching myself programming languages since I was a child.  Then a couple of years ago, I decided to test my skill at a fan game.  That was pretty successful, so I knew it was time to go for it with my own original concept!

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TPG Command Performance: Serious Sam 3

– By Mike Bezek

For a while now, something has been missing from my life; I have been plagued with a distinct hollow feeling. I have been longing to gun down headless, yet screaming undead kamikazes, and know my S key isn’t satisfied with me as a lover due to so much neglect. All I wish for is to rectify this distressful situation. Thankfully, for people like me, Serious Sam 3: BFE is here to fill this void and reintroduce us all to one of the progenitors of large scale run-and-gun goodness.

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Celestial Mechanica: Not Without Its Merits

By: George Weidman

Celestial Mechanica is a game that is endearingly “cool.”  The game’s graceful style and enchanting spirit softens the blows of its more tangible setbacks, but above all else, Celestial Mechanica is brimming with the kind of passionate, unrestrained authorship that makes indie games great even when they’re rough around the edges.

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Inventive and Elegant: Frozen Synapse Interview

TGP was able to track down the boys from Mode 7, creators of the indie hit, Frozen Synapse, for a detailed e-mail interview.  You will read about the success and failures in developing Frozen Synapse, DRM, piracy, Valve and much more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Frozen Synapse.

I’m Paul Taylor, one of the co-founders of Mode 7.

As we’re a small company (only three in-house) I do a variety of things: music, audio, writing, art direction and I help out with aspects of single player and interface design.  I also do all of the PR, marketing and business development for Mode 7, so I’m quite busy!

How did you get started in developing PC games?

I got started when our other founder, Ian Hardingham, invited me to write some music for an indie game he was making.  That turned out to be Determinance, our first title, and so that was my first experience of development.

Ian had done some work experience at a mainstream studio in Oxford before he started Mode 7, so he actually had more industry experience than me.

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Tobe’s Vertical Adventure: A Lesson in Charm

-By Mike Bezek

Lately, I had found myself begrudgingly coming to terms with the fact that I may not be introduced to memorable and compelling characters that require little or no dialogue to burn make a lasting effect.  Video game icons like Mario, Sonic, and even the Gunstar Heroes, are almost completely silent protagonists; however, their image lives with us and remains ageless due to their simplistic and functional games.   Tobe’s Vertical Adventure offers a pair of characters that casually adhere to these standards, and come very close to offering the same charm and panache that their forefathers graced upon our childhood.

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PC Multiplatform Dungeon Crawling Goodness: Cardinal Quest Interview

The newly released indie title, Cardinal Quest, is an impressive take on the 1980s arcade style dungeon games.  In this e-mail interview, TPG talks to the creator of Cardinal Quest, Ido Yehieli.  Ido also speaks on DRM, digital distribution, PC gaming journalism and much more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Cardinal Quest.

My name is Ido Yehieli and I am a 28 years old game developer living
in Vienna, Austria. I’ve been working as a professional programmer
since I was 18.  At the beginning of March, I quit my job as game
developer at Mipumi Games to pursue making indie-games as a full-time job.

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Awaken the Spirits in Ancients of Ooga

By Nicholas Krawchuk

A few years back, a wave of original games swept over the Xbox Live Arcade and developers realized that the XBLA was a viable market to distribute their own original games. This, along with the popularity of Steam, led to a steady stream of games from previously unknown developers. One of the games released for the XBLA was Cloning Clyde, developed by NinjaBee. It was a puzzle-platformer where you could switch between clones of the titular character, Clyde. Now, we have Ancients of Ooga, the spiritual successor to Cloning Clyde. In the game, the Ooganis have been enslaved by the evil Booli tribe. You must possess several Oogani tribe members to solve puzzles with the ultimate goal of freeing them from slavery.

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Relive Your Childhood: Toy Cars Interview

Eduardo from Eclipse Games talks to TPG about his fun and addictive racing game, Toy Cars.  You will also read about his life as an indie developer, where his passion for games came from, DRM, piracy, and what others can do to break into the business.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Toy Cars.

Hi, my name is Eduardo and I’ve been the main developer of the game. I’ve done, well, art, code and design. Lucas, a friend of mine did the music and Truman, another friend, did some testing and most of the PR work.

How did you get started in developing PC games?

Well, I started programming mini games in basic when I was 11, with my first computer.

I am now a professional games programmer or have been for 7 years until I lost my job at Black Rock a couple of months ago. Ever since I was little I’ve enjoyed developing games. I’ve got some artistic skills (definitely not enough to make a living out of it) and I think I’m a good programmer. So I’ve been doing games and little side projects even while working for other big games. I just like it a lot. And one of those projects was Toy Cars. I decided to try to finish something and put it onto the XBLIG marketplace and, well, I did it!

When showing this game to some people, they suggested me porting it to the PC, and since I already had it working on the PC I did so. I must thank Michael Rose for his help when looking for examples on how to self-publish on the PC.

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Tower Defense Mastery: Mini Robot Wars Interview

The fellas from Picsoft Studio, creators of the great indie title, Mini Robot Wars, agreed to answers a few interview questions for us via e-mail.  You will get their opinions on DRM, piracy, indie bundle promotions and where Mini Robot Wars came from.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Mini Robot Wars.

Soun:    I’m the Producer and Lead Designer of Mini Robot Wars. I’m responsible for almost everything related to MRW including technical programming, art directing, sound directing, level design, and a whole lot of testing.

Wam:    I’m the Co-Producer and Writer. I help with the design idea, graphics, play testing and did all the story and text within MRW. I also do all of the promotion-related stuff.

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Kerbal Space Program Developer Interview

The gang is all here for this e-mail interview with the boys at Squad, developers of the new Windows PC gaming sensation, and soon to be released on OS X, Kerbal Space ProgramYou will get their take on the beginning of KSP, DRM, piracy, digital distribution, modding and much more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Kerbal Space Program.

Felipe Falanghe:

I’m 26 years old, born in Brazil, and currently living in Mexico. I am the lead developer for the Kerbal Space Program, which is a game concept I’ve had with me for a long time now. I’m still a little dumbfounded by having been given the opportunity to put this pet project of mine into practice, and I’m really in a daze now, seeing the incredible reception the game has had.

Alejandro Mora:

I’m 22 years old, born and living in Mexico. I am the programmer of Kerbal Space Program game and also contributed with some ideas for its development. I’m a Computer Technologies Engineer and I love video game programming. I am really excited for the response that KSP have with players around the world, this is so great.

Jacobo Rosas:

I’m  29 years old, born in Mexico. I am the content designer for the Kerbal Space Program, I´m the newcomer in the team but I think this is an awesome project. Right now we have a lot of work to produce content for the game, but it’s so great to see the response from the people about it.

Ezequiel Ayarza, 35, Adrian Goya, 31

We are owners of Squad and the executive producers of KSP. Our role was to hold on, believe and support Felipe’s dream.

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Interview With Icarus Developer Justin Scott

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Justin Scott allowed us to conduct an e-mail interview about his fantastic indie hit, Icarus.  Justin also speaks on DRM, piracy, life as an indie dev and much more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Icarus.

I am the sole designer, programmer, graphic artist, manager, and marketer for Icarus. I had br1ghtpr1mate do the music though. I was really lucky with that, he’s a super talented guy and made the whole process a lot easier and more fun.

As for personal details, I’m a Computing Science graduate who cares too much about games. I’ve been making worlds on paper since I was a kid, putting them in code since I was a teen, and studying game design as a hobby for a couple years now I suppose. I don’t see myself in the game industry in the foreseeable future, but it’s definitely a huge driving force behind my programming career.

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Cthulhu Saves the World: The Most Unlikely of Heroes

– By Nicholas Krawchuk

Lovecraft Meets Final Fantasy in Cthulhu Saves the World

It is doubtful that when H.P. Lovecraft first got the idea for the character of Cthulhu, one of the malevolent “old ones”, that there would ever be a story in which he rescues damsels in distress, saves a young boy’s dog, and eventually saves the world. But now, there is! Zeboyd’s Cthulhu Saves the World is a game originally released only on the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace and is now available on the PC. The game is both a parody and loving revival of old school JRPG’s à la Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger. It uses a retro 16-bit art style and classic RPG battle and exploration elements. Cthulhu is full of dungeon crawling, zombie slaying, party managing and of course, with a title like Cthulhu Saves the World, a ridiculous sense of humour.

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Bennu Creator Interview

Ricardo from Once A Bird, creator of the great indie title, Bennu offers his insight on the PC gaming industry, DRM, piracy, life as an indie dev and much more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Bennu.

My name is Ricardo Moura, by day I work as a software developer for a broker and at night and weekends I develop indie games.

I came up with Bennu’s concept and did all the programming and the initial art. My brothers (I’m the youngest) and my cousin also worked in the game. My middle brother revamped the art to make the game look consistent as a whole and also playtested the game. My older brother and his wife, who are also programmers, gave a lot of advice and they too playtested the game. My cousin Jo and Olivia, of the Guilty Ones band, did the soundtrack and also playtested.

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Tobe’s Vertical Adventure Developer Interview

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Raymond Teo agreed to take part in an e-mail interview for us about his new indie hit, Tobe’s Vertical Adventure.  Raymond also talks about piracy, DRM, life as an indie dev, Valve, digital distribution and more.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Tobe’s Vertical Adventure.

I am Raymond Teo of Secret Base, and an indie developer from Singapore. I guess you can say I play the role of producer for Tobe’s Vertical Adventure, but being indie means you have to be involved in as many aspect as you can, which means I was also the artist and game designer.

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VVVVVV: Testing Your Personal Limits of Sanity

By – Mike Bezek

752 deaths in 2 hours.  Think about that for a second. Recall all of the soul-crushing, mind bogglingly hard games you have played over the years and ask yourself how many keyboards you have smashed after dying on the same level, or quest, 15 times in a row.  An average person might shelve the game only to stare at it angrily until they decide to either forgive it, or maybe never pick it up again. VVVVVV (or V6 from this point on) is a game that will kick you when you’re down and spit in your face, but the masochistic beauty of its design and nostalgia-filled thumping soundtrack will keep you coming back for more.

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Revenge of the Titans Interview

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The fellas from Puppy Games, developers of the great title, Revenge of the Titans, offers their view on the current trends of PC gaming, indie development, DRM, piracy and much more.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Revenge of the Titans.

Hi, my name is actually Caspian Prince, genuinely. I’m one half of Puppygames (or Puppy Games, nobody seems to be able to agree). I take care of the business side of things, do nearly all the coding, and half of the design, and most of the sound production. I’m the noisy one. The other half is Chaz Willets, who takes care of anything graphical, including our website, videos, promotional graphics, etc. and  of course, he does the other half of the game design. He’s the quiet, shy, retiring one.

Revenge was evolved over a period of about 3 years or so, without any particular direction other than whatever I felt was fun. Chaz concentrates on all the pernickety implementation details such as GUI and animation and effects, whereas I tend to make the broad-brush decisions about core gameplay and mechanics.

2.  How did you get started in developing PC games?

Almost by accident – I was designing some realtime television graphics software when I thought I’d have a quick go at experimenting with games (a bit of a childhood ambition). Of course my art skills are about as good as my understanding of quantum string theory. Fortunately about the same time as I got interested in it, Chaz resurfaced about 5 years incognito. We’ve known each other since we were 12 and drifted off on the seas of chance as we went to universities. When I bumped into him again he’d acquired a load of tech skills to complement his already fantastic artistic abilities.

Then we slogged away for 10 years making games nobody liked.

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Swords and Soldiers Developer Interview

Jasper Koning from Ronimo Games allowed us a moment of his time to answer some interview questions via e-mail about the smash indie hit, Swords and Soldiers.  You will get his views on the PC gaming industry, life as an indie developer, DRM, piracy and much more.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Swords and Soldiers.

My name is Jasper Koning, and I’m one of the two game designers at Ronimo Games. During the development of Swords & Soldiers, I worked on the Aztec campaign. I also made the AI’s for the skirmish mode, and for the survival challenge.

2.  How did you get started in developing PC games?

Our first well-known project, De Blob, was a PC game by request of our contractor.  We were still students, but the school had this cool program where it would acquire external partners for assignments. In this case, it was the Dutch city of Utrecht, they wanted a game to promote a large city renovation project.

Later, when we released Swords & Soldiers for WiiWare as Ronimo, it just made sense to do a PC version. We already had a PC build internally for development purposes, and we were already building a cool multiplayer mode with the help of SOE for the PSN version. It just needed Steam integration and broader hardware and software support to make it ready for release.

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Interview With Aztaka Creator Jonathan Mercier

Jonathan Mercier took time out of his day to speak about the development of the great game, Aztaka.  He also give his opinion on DRM, life as an indie dev, piracy, digital distribution and much more.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Aztaka.

I’m the founder of Citeremis inc. I produced and programmed Aztaka.

2.  How did you get started in developing PC games?

I started in the demoscene around 1995. It wasn’t that much popular here in Canada so the natural extension was the game industry. I had my first “game” company around the age of 19. It didn’t last long and the game I was working on ends up being a good personal project. This project helps me get my first job in the game industry.

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Really Big Sky Interview

James and Alex from Boss Baddie had a few moments to spare with us and agreed to do an e-mail interview about their indie hit, Really Big Sky.  They speak on many topics including DRM, piracy, life an indie dev and how Really Big Sky came to be.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of Really Big Sky.

James: I’m James, I run the show more or less! I love long walks in the forest, the smell of rain on dry ground and Coke Cola (still waiting on sponsorship).

Alex: I’m Alex (also known as MrPineapple) I basically serve here as resident musician, tester, idea-disliker and general underling.

2.  How did you get started in developing PC games?

James: I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t drawing out imaginary NES games or playing with AMOS and The Shoot Em Up Construction Kit on the Amiga. Everything just gradually progressed to Klik n Play, some dabbling with Visual Basic and Flash.

Alex: I ‘met’ james on a forum about 10 years ago, back when i used to make amateurish games of my own. We somehow ended up working together. Best decision ever, I just stick to what I’m good at. See, I was really just a musician with ideas above my station!

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