Interview No. 49
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guests are two individuals in which one is known while the other not so much. Although one has not done as much the other is known for games such as Recoil 1.3, Tower of Heaven, and I Love You 2. However together both of today's guests are known for the flash game Depict1 which has received the 2010 Newgrounds Tank Award for Best Game of the Year. They are none other than @mirosurabu and @Xerus.
ANSWERS WILL BE POSTED BENEATH THE _A:_ DUE TO TWO PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED PERSON ANSWERING WILL BE NOTED AS SO.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
mirosurabu: Four years ago I was working on a music industry simulation game and I was in need of fresh ideas. A friend of mine sent me a link to Pico Sim Date 2, a dating simulation game made for Pico Day 07. I clicked the link and a Newgrounds page opened up for the first time in my life.
It took three years for me to join Newgrounds as I really hated flash games, mainly because of my frustrations with AS2. But, in 2009, a couple of developers I respect started making flash games so I had no other choice but to familiarize myself with the platform. I started looking at it, and the more I looked, the more I liked what I saw. But, it wasn't before Adam Saltsman made Flixel that I conquered my flash fears. That guy just popped out of the blue and solved all of my problems.
Within days I was making flash games.
Within months I was teaching other people how to do the same.
But most importantly, I made I Love You 2.
And then I joined Newgrounds.
Xerus: Way back in the day of the early internet on my dial up connection I found newgrounds through a friend that linked me to a couple of flash movies. One of my favorites back then was this classic: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
3484 This movie loads instantly for me now, but when I had to watch it when I first discovered Newgrounds it took probably 15 to 20 minutes to load on my dial up internet, and then half the time Newgrounds wouldn't even load making it even more epic every time I could manage to watch a flash cartoon.
I ended up joining just to make sure I had an account on the site under the name xerus. I didn't really plan on submitting any movies or games or anything like that, I just wanted to make sure my name was registered and that nobody else could snatch it up. In my early days I ended up using my account to leave really shitty reviews on people's animation and games. I was a pretty big asshole to people with my reviews... sorry about that
Q: mirosurabu - For those who don't know, perhaps you could tell them. What does a Programmer do?
A: Programmer takes all of the game assets and assembles them into a game. If you make games, you are likely to be programmer.
Specifically, programmer writes scripts that describe how one's game behaves. Scripts are textual files written using specific programming language and specific programming framework. Once done, programmer sends these scripts to a program called compiler in order to produce a playable game - a SWF file.
I write code using AS3 programming language, Flashdevelop (code editor), Flex (compiler), and Adam's Flixel framework. I use Flash IDE from time to time too.
Q: Xerus - Your first flash submission on Newgrounds would be entitled The Possessed Mouse. You stated that this was based on actual events could you please tell us this story as well as why you brought it into a cartoon form?
A: I made the Possessed Mouse as my animation project for one of my classes in school. I was a Digital Arts & Sciences major at Clarkson University, and most of my classes took place in the same computer lab on the campus. Early on the computer lab was kinda shitty, and we had really dark and old CRT monitors and we had these terrible 10 dollar Dell optical mice with no mouse pads to use with them. (It was later upgraded to the max with new computers and all that good stuff.)
So every day or so when trying to work on projects in this computer lab the mouse would just freak out and fly all over the screen. I'd be doing something simple like just trying to draw a line in photoshop or something, and then suddenly the mouse would go bonkers and just choose a direction and fly off in it, and it would usually be a couple seconds before I could regain control of it. The way the mouse would go crazy is pretty accurately depicted in my cartoon actually, except for the part about it drawing the mona lisa. So yeah, basically every student in these classes had to either bring their own mouse or deal with the hardships of shitty dell mice that occasionally had seizures.
Q: mirosurabu - Your first flash on Newgrounds would be a game entitled I Love You 2. It drove me insane to the point that I went and played I Love You 2 - Revisited. And I as well as others still don't understand the purpose of these mini-games within this one game's "story." Could you please shed some light on this?
A: I'm sorry it drove you insane. XD It's a goofy game I made for TIGSource Adult Competition. The idea was that gameplay alone can cause feelings. So what I came up with is a bunch of minigames that have potential to make you feel certain way. So a fast minigame would make you feel excited; a very slow, laggy minigame would make you feel bored; a buggy one would make you feel annoyed; a loud, surprising, crazy one would make you go insane; and so on. I tried to put this into a context using a story with a silent but "emotional" protagonist. The game was made in two days or so, it was a quick silly project, no playtesting, no nothing, so it ended up being not quite perfect. Many people don't get the underlying idea but laugh at the silly punchline.
A: Jan is the man behind Radical Fishing and Super Crate Box. He has a very specific difficulty curve in his games, which I really like. The process we took with creating this game is simple: he made the game, I liked it, so I ported it to flash.
Q: mirosurabu - Suicide is NOT The Answer at first appears to be a dark game, but then at the end we are greeted with something else. I would not like to talk about this game because the ending is truly memorable, so my only question is this. Whose idea was it and was this fun to make?
A: SINTA was originally made the day after Bentosmile finished Air Pressure just to blow off some steam, and because she can never be serious for that long. It was part of the Pirate Kart II on glorioustrainwrecks.com, so was two hours worth of silly fun!
I thought it was pretty cool anti-artgame, and at the time, sentimental art games were hitting Newgrounds like never before, so I thought it would be cool to make this one into flash.
Q: Xerus - You are one of the older members of Newgrounds. Being here since 2001. Yet you didn't upload anything until 2006. Why the inactivity?
A: I didn't really register an account in order to submit things. Back in 2001 I was ... 14 or 15 years old, and I think I had a copy of Flash 5 or something, but I really sucked at anything I tried to make. I think I played around with trying to work on an animation, but I just didn't have the patience and I was too busy playing Unreal Tournament 8 hours a day on Instagib LMS servers to really get into it.
I mainly used my account to vote on things and, like I said before, leave really shitty reviews for people's submissions. For a brief period of time I kept getting emails from the portal bot saying that one of my reviews has been deleted because it was flagged as offensive, and all I can say is that I was a 14 year old asshat teenager when I first joined the site. Also I think I said in my profile that I was a 20 year old girl when I first joined because I just filled out my profile with random information when I first joined.
But yeah, 2006 was my first submission with the Possessed Mouse, and I thought that I would get into animating more after that, but it just never happened. I do have another animation that I never submitted, but I don't really think its good enough to go public... it's really long and kinda boring and it's another animation that I made for a class in college. I don't think I have the patience for animating flash movies. I really like doing frame by frame stuff and that takes a looong time to do.
Q: mirosurabu - Tower of Heaven. What was wrong with you and StefanJeremic when you created this? To say that this is one of the hardest games on Newgrounds would be an understatement and to call it heaven is ironic for I and I'm sure others as well consider this to be nothing short of hell. And we loved every sinful moment. Whose idea was it and what was the process in bringing forth this creation?
A: Tower of Heaven is the brainchild of Askiisoft, a two-man team consisting of Aski (the programmer) and Godsavant (the artist). The game was originally made in Game Maker and the development started sometime in 2007. By the 2008, the game was half-done. That's when the original team decided to contact Flashygoodness to compose music for the game. It took 2 years to finish the game and upon its release in August 2009 it received "indie acclaim".
A year later, Aski asked me to make a flash version. I was busy working on Depict1 at the time, so I decided to assign the work to Stefan Jeremic whom I was teaching AS3 programming at the time. We set to finish the port in one month. We managed to get all of the levels up and running, but we didn't have enough time to polish the game. That's when Flashygoodness stepped in with his programming skills to fix numerous bugs and glitches. He then went on to add level editor, which turned out to be quite an awesome feature!
As for the difficulty, Askii guys like it hardcore. They are really serious about it. I even tried to convince them to include checkpoints but they refused. To be honest, I thought the game was going to flop. Fortunately, I was wrong.
Q: Well we now come to the flash that you both have received the 2010 Newgrounds Tank Award for Best Game of the Year and that is Depict1. What was the inspiration behind it and what was the process you took into creating it?
mirosurabu: It all started with Verge, a game that won TIGSource Commonplace Book competition back in 2008. I contacted Kyle and asked him if he'd be interested in making a flash port, but he quickly responded with a link to his latest game - Depict1, a game he made in 48 hours for Global Game Jam. I was amazed by what I saw so I decided to put Verge aside and work on this one instead. It took a month to code the flash version and another few months to find a sponsor.
Xerus: depict1 was originally a game that I made in Game Maker way back in January 2010. It was made during the Global Game Jam, and the theme of the jam was "deception." So basically about 95% of the original game was made in just 48 hours. The end boss room was added after the game jam, so I think in total depict1 is a game that took me just 3 days total to make. When it was done I put it up on the internet at http://retroaffect.com for the world to download and play.
A few months later, mirosurabu contacted me with an interest to port some of my freeware games to flash. (Also, check out all my games at http://kpulv.com/stuff/game/ ) I think at first he was interested in porting my game Verge, but then I showed him depict1 and we decided to go with that.
So basically I sat back and let mirosurabu do all the work for a few months ;p Then we went through the long process of getting the game sponsored, and then the flash version of the game was released and it ended up being a bigger success than I could've imagined! The funny thing is that when we were first testing depict1, everyone hated it. We had a lot of feedback telling us that the game sucked and that we should scrap the entire thing and start over, so I had no idea how things would go once we released it... but it looks like everything turned out fine!
Q: mirosurabu - When it comes to your games there seems to be a high difficulty to them. Is this intentional and if so then why?
A: The reason is partly because I'm not so good at designing proper difficulty curves but also because I like difficult games; if I play an action game, I want a challenging game. And that means deaths. Lots of deaths.
Q: What can we expect from mirosurabu in the future?
A: I'm moving away from being just a programmer who ports games. My upcoming flash game is a scaled down (but still massive) version of the game I've been working on since 2005. It's an RPG set in music world where you control a wannabe musician on his way to become next music legend. It's a direct result of 6 years of research which means I have very high hopes for it. The game will be released soon, soooo we'll see. (: Apart of that, I have to finish a gun platformer and a Phoenix Wright-inspired game, but right now my priority is Music RPG.
Q: What can we expect from Xerus in the future?
A: Right now I'm working on Snapshot, which is a pretty big game project that can be found at http://retroaffect.com That's taking up pretty much 100% of my time currently, but down the road I want to be able to work on more flash games. I feel really inspired and encouraged from how depict1 was received, especially on Newgrounds. This is an awesome place and I definitely want to be more involved with it, so stay tuned!
What a bizarre combination. One who tends to frequent Newgrounds and one who was here practically at the start and rarely contributes a thing. Together they brought us one amazing game. Hopefully these two will join forces once again, however though that seems unlikely. They seem to the type to finish one task, bask in it's light, and move forward. Which is a wonderful aspect of any artist, but at the same time when a duo does something splendid you wish for them to ride once more into the sunset.