Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Interview with Danielben

This is the interview that I had with our developer of the week danielben. I asked him a few questions regarding his new games. Here it goes.

Hi Hipcheck!
I'm doing almost perfectly!

1. What was your motivation behind making your games?
My games are deeply influenced by whatever is happening to me at the moment. At that time I was reading Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics and I felt touched by "The Distance of the Moon", so several days later the picture of the game pops up while I was listening to music. The camera mechanic was something I thought some time ago, but didn't find really compelling applications for it until then. Storyteller was born as a consequence of I wish I were the Moon and Trials... it originally used a camera too, but then I realized the game didn't need it, and drag and drop was more efficient. I really like to make games in which you manipulate objects to have interesting effects. I guess my "core game", the game that represents myself (but haven't found yet), will have that kind of gameplay.

2. How long did it take you to make each game?
If you take into account when I had the idea of the different elements, I'd say almost a year. But from when I had a clear view of the game until implementation, not more than two weeks each.

3. Did you make the games solely on your own?
Yes, but I got encouragement from people I love. Being a lone wolf makes you a little needy for affection.

4. Do you plan on implementing Kongregate's API to either games?
I released the games on Kongregate to see what happens if I expose my experiments to gaming communities. It's been fun to watch the reactions, and I wanted for as much people as possible to try out the game, but I'm not trying to make money or be a classic in Kongregate. I don't depend on that at all right now. So when I considered implementing the Kongregate API, I realized that I would only do it to get to more people. But many people tend to play games for the badges, and then I would attract people that play for badges, who are going to hate to have to play a game that has weird gameplay. So I opted not to. I dislike artificial rewards like badges, too. They are a symptom of what's wrong with today's games.

5. Do you plan on making anymore games?
Of course! I still have a ton of thing to try. If I could prototype as fast as I come up with ideas, I'd have a hundred games already. I'm working on a bunch of prototypes that might or might not get to be full games. I'll get back to work on them as soon as I get back from Japan (where I will present at SOWN).

6. Add any comments you would like people to know.
I am making experimental games for many reasons. One of them is to take risks other developers are unable to. Another is to prove that you can make very very small games, and still provide a worthwhile experience. I seriously think that games that force you to be seated for a long time are actually insulting you. They are telling you that your time is worthless; and the sad part is that longer games usually force developers to spend a lot of time making the game too! So everybody loses. Experiences are not measured in time, they are measured on intensity. The positive reaction of Moon on Kongregate is telling you that players want to play meaningful games, to have a meaningful life.


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