~ June 2012 ~
Here I share I few of my considered
inquisitive fan and aspiring game developer, Lude Traunt:
How was your AI implemented in most games? Was there a
pathfinder? How do you make a group swarm to a single ant and avoid collisions
All of my AI is basic mathematics. A character is given co-ordinates to move
towards, and there are constant checks as to whether these co-ordinates have
been satisfied or conflict with those of others. I've had to be very careful
about how I program such things on mobile devices, because the amount of
calculations that can be performed at any one moment is fewer. A lot of people
like to criticize my AI, but programming a human brain isn't easy! Sports
games - including wrestling - are especially difficult because the AI has to
comprehend a variety of rules.
you start making your first game?
It's hard to pinpoint an exact moment, because I've always made games of some
sort or another - even if it was just cardboard! I programmed some of my first
text games at college when I was taught the PASCAL language. I also used to
abuse art packages such as "Medi8tor" to create interactive experiences. The
first legitimate computer game I ever released to an audience was the "Stunt
Challenge" wrestling concept in August 2000. It was made in DIV Games Studio
and was promoted by a popular wrestling site at the time.
Which genres do you think can still be explored in
I still think there's a lot that can be done along a spiritual and possibly
political theme. It occurs to me that game development is the best metaphor we
have for the nature of existence, so I enjoy riffing on that theme. Of course,
no mainstream studio would ever dream of touching something like that - which
is what excites me about any project! I believe there's scope for games to
become more mature and philosophical, but anybody who takes on the challenge
must prepare to be despised by the public. That's not something I have a
problem with. I'm not locked in here with you - you're locked in here with ME!
It seems your graphics were behind the mainstream's
the time, and yet you were still successful? Was it simply the gameplay
aspect? Or some other charm to it? You were quoted saying" I made a living
from it for almost 10 years, which is a rare achievement of which I am very
proud. " Do you think its still possible to do that today when most indies are in teams?
A couple of years ago, I would have advised anybody - including myself -
to avoid solo game development in today's market. The console experiences that
people are now used to are comparable to making a movie, and the audiences for
anything less spectacular than that are increasingly small. However, I'm
pleased to see that mobile game development has turned everything on its head
and reset the clock for another decade! Simple, retro concepts like Angry
Birds are once again where it's at - and the exciting thing is that anybody
can participate at that level. That's certainly the niche where my work
thrives. Within that context, I'll once again be producing work that's ahead
of its time instead of behind the times. The smaller a pond is, the more of a
splash I make! It seems my career has come full circle - except I prefer to
think of it as spiraling upwards.
Do you know any pitfalls to avoid in game development in general? I am trying to build a framework that can be built upon over the years to serve a
niche market. How did people find out about your games?
I always preferred to aim high with my promotion. I was extraordinarily
ambitious from day one and worked on the assumption that I could achieve
anything I want. One day I saw somebody reading PC Format in a magazine store
and I arbitrarily decided that I should be featured in it... and I was! A
whole page within 3 months of starting my own website. A lot of people dismiss
it as arrogance, but it's actually a very spiritual quality - to see the world
as a positive place and to call things into existence through sheer power of
will. Our thoughts really do shape our reality. Think you can, think you can't
- either way you're right! The reality is that nobody owes you anything, so
unless you MAKE it happen it won't. My first big break came when I contacted a
wrestling website and suggested that they host my games. You have to be alert
to opportunities and then assertive enough to make the most of them. All of
your favourite artists have had that positive kind of egotism at some point.
JK Rowling jumped out of bed one morning and decided, "This book is worth
writing." Then once it was written she thought, "This book is worth reading."
Then when studios came calling she agreed, "This book is worth filming." We're
surrounded by egotism - the question is whether it's creative or destructive.
I hold my hands up to the former, but never will I be guilty of the latter.
am planning to create a retro 3D game like Outlaws
with new gameplay mechanics and plotlines. Do you think if I design a game
today with these looks it can still be profitable? Is the demographic just the
25+ male PC users?
It makes me feel old that you think that's "retro"! That's a decent little
FPS that I would be proud of now. That said, my view is that such projects are
no longer marketable on consoles or home computers. As I suggested, the bar
has been raised so high that people have become intolerant of amateur efforts.
Only on mobile devices can such games reach a large and appreciative audience
- especially if you can harness the technology to control an old game in a new
way. When we have a game in the palm of our hands we instantly become
tolerant. I'm not making the best wrestling game in the world - but I am
making the best wrestling game you've ever played while stuck in traffic! In
order to have value, a game has to have at least one moment when people
cherish it. Even a broken clock is right at least twice a day.
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