Friday, June 5, 2009

An interview with HeroInteractive

You have probably played some of HeroInteractive's games such as the Bubble Tanks series, the StormWinds series, and their newest release Pirate Defense. Here is my interview with Jared from HeroInteractive.

How did you come up with the name HeroInteractive?: Well, our company name is Hero Interactive, LLC. There's no truly remarkable story behind the name, a lot of brainstorming was done and we decided to go with that. Our thinking was, when you play a game, you're usually the hero of the game. So we wanted something around that. We also wanted our logo and name to reflect our casual fun focus.

When did you start making games?: Um... geeze. Not sure. I made an RPG game on my TI calculator my freshman year of highschool way back in 1997 I think. My first shockwave game was in 2002. My first flash game was in 2004. I started working on my own in August 2006, Hero Interactive was formed soon after in October that year.

What is your favorite game on Kongregate other than one of your own?: That's a difficult question. I'm a big fan of the older ones. Boxhead: 2Play Rooms by Sean Cooper is probably my favorite. I'm also a fan of Desktop Tower Defense by Casual Collective and Bowmaster Prelude by LostVector.

Who is your favorite moderator or Kongregate staff member?: Another hard decision. Because I'm usually extremly busy running a company, I rarely have time to hang with the Mods. I've met many of the Kong staff in person and I like all of them a lot. I don't like playing favorites but if I had to choose I'd pick Greg. I bug him all the time and somehow he manages to put up with me. Thanks Greg!

What is your favorite game that you have made?: I think the one I'm most proud of is Bubble Tanks but I'm also a massive fan of LightSprites. That game just didn't get the love it deserved yet is still one of the best games out there. Some people just couldn't get over the rainbows to realize that the game pokes fun at it's over the top joyfullness.

What game was the most fun to make?: I always love getting started on a game, there's so much exciting stuff happening as you see your vision rapidly coming together from nothing. Later on, it can get hard to keep pushing through when you've been working on the same project and looking at the same stuff every day for months.I think our latest game, Vector Boom, was one of my favorites to work on. For this game, I did all of the art while Eric took on the programming. I really enjoyed doing the art aspects and then seeing it all come to life. I especially loved designing all of the space ships and creating the background art.

Which of your upcoming games do you think will be more popular: Bubble Tanks Arenas or Vector Boom?: Lol, is that a real question? On our blog we have hundreds and hundreds of comments from players who ask for information about Bubble Tanks Arenas daily. I'm going to go with that. :)

Who is your favorite game developer other than yourself?: Probably the most difficult question yet. There's just so much talent out there. I think my favorite is John (jmtb02) over at Armor Games. Seriously, the guy has put out almost 50 games now and he still is one of the most creative developers out there. He takes something simple but extremely fun and makes a game with that almost every time. I know few developers that can put out original and creative games that are hits like his, not just once, but over and over again.There are so many new people coming in to Flash games and getting a random hit here and there that I think the community has forgotten some of the real superstars in the community. Developers who have consistently been putting out amazing games since way back. I'm thinking not only of jmtb02 but NinjaKiwi, Casual Collective, etc...

Do you consider yourself to be one of the top game creators? I definitely think so. Not only have our games been consistently very high performing but we've also been very connected with the Flash game community. In March we won a Mochi Award for the Best Shooter Game of 2008 for Bubble Tanks 2. Nine of our games have badges on Kongregate. I was one of the earliest developers on sites such as Kongregate to make a living off of flash games (I started in 2006 making Flash games as my full time job). Now, Hero Interactive has 4 developers, a Community Manager and 2 Composers. Our games have been played by many millions of people and are on thousands of sites. And we've always been at the front of the pack- StormWinds was the first game I know of that allowed players to purchase Extra Content from the game and continue no matter which portal they were playing on.

How did Hero Interactive grow from one developer into full fledged company?: I think that's a topic for a whole interview, not just one question. The truth is the story took 3 years!When I started the company in 2006 we focused entirely on doing client work. It wasn't until February of '07 or so till I heard about developers making money through sponsorships and about sites such as Newgrounds, Kongregate and Armor Games. That's when we put out Bubble Tanks 1 and it all built up from there!

Do you do anything else besides work at HeroInteractive?: Nope. For 3 years I've been doing this full time, all day, every day. There has never been a side job. I started the company after I graduated from the University. I am a full time Flash game developer.

Your highest rated game on Kongregate is Bubble Tanks 2. Do you think it deserves to be your highest? If not, which game does?:I think Bubble Tanks 2 does. We put a ton of work into that game. That's why we're putting more into Bubble Tanks Arenas!

Did you enjoy doing this interview?: I did! Thanks for having us! I love talking my head off to whomever is willing to listen!

1 comment:

Marh said...

Nice long, interview. It was great to learn more about HeroInteractive.