Interview No. 128
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has been with us once before. However after his interview was posted he released a new game entitled A small talk. I felt bad that I didn't get a chance to include it the first time around when I did his interview. Since then he has released more games and has taken the front page of Newgrounds by storm. Entries such as One Way Dungeon, Don't Escape and Deeper Sleep have garnered him praise in the Newgrounds Reviews and quite possibly the upcoming Newgrounds Tank Awards. Once again we are proud to welcome scriptwelder.
Q: After I posted the past interview I did with you, you would very shortly give us the game A small talk. I absolutely loved the writing of this game. How did you come up with this idea and will we see a sequel or prequel in the future?
A: Warning: minor spoilers ahead :) It may sound a bit harsh and pragmatic but the story idea was simply tailored to the game mechanics and available resources. I knew I could create a simple "talking bot" but it would never be realistic enough to mimic an actual person. It was obvious that - in order to keep any immersion - the story would have to involve talking to an in-game computer rather than a "real person". I had two ideas about where the action could take place and I thought to myself - spoiler ahead - why not have both?
The story in "A small talk" ("A small talk at the back of beyond" is a full name, however Newgrounds doesn't allow that many characters in game's title) was created to be a short, self-contained story. I don't believe that adding anything to it (like a prequel or a sequel) at this point would be a good idea - some things need to stay small and condensed.
However, this doesn't mean I won't do a game that is played in similar way in the future!
Q: You would take a part from your usual storytelling games with One Way Dungeon. What made you want to try your hand at a different genre of game?
A: One way dungeon is very different from everything else I've made. Most of the people say it's the weakest of my games - and sure they are right about that! The whole point of making One way dungeon was to test myself a bit. You see, I hear about people doing Ludum Dare or various jams but I never tried to participate in one, mainly because of my time schedule. So I decided I would just try to come up with a an at-least-decent game in as little time as possible. One Way Dungeon was created over a weekend but I've been polishing it a full week afterwards. I guess I'm not fast enough for Ludum Dare yet.
Q: I as well as others tend to be fans of escape games. Your take would be interesting with Don't Escape, preventing yourself from escaping. I loved the idea behind this, it's so simple and I'm surprised that no one has thought about it. How did you come up with this idea and will we see more escape or don't escape type games from you?
A: It's hard to answer this one. How does one come up with ideas? Maybe it was something like asking myself a question "what would be the biggest twist to a certain game genre?" and just going for it with the answer.
At this point I have no idea if I will ever come back to this 'don't escape' sub-genre. Maybe if I have a decent idea for it, why not?
Q: Last time you were here we talked about Deep Sleep, which is one of my favorites by you. You would present us with the sequel Deeper Sleep. I believe you have surpassed the original in terms of storytelling, gameplay, and especially in presentation. Have you had a sequel planned since the beginning and will we be seeing a series from this?
A: Thank you! Deep Sleep has been created for a contest run by jayisgames.com and right from the start it was obvious that the game will be split into parts. I had the general idea for each part ever since I've started working on the original one. Deep Sleep is planned to have one more installment - a trilogy is a good option, I think. Part one: an introduction. Part two: expansion and explanations. Part three: a showdown. People will probably want more, but that's not possible since part three will definitely close the entire story. However I'm currently thinking about creating other games set in Deep Sleep "universe".
Q: When and how did you become interested in writing?
A: It was somewhere in high-school that I've became interested in writing fantasy and science-fiction stuff. I've written some short stories, but nothing has ever been published on paper. I guess I wasn't good enough :) My greatest success was getting a rejection reply letter from Maciej Parowski, famous writer and then-editor-in-chief of "Nowa Fantastyka", Polish fantasy and science-fiction magazine. Despite the fact of rejection I was very happy to get any form of reply whatsoever. Nevertheless, after some experience with writing I've decided that maybe novels and stories are not the right medium for storytelling for me.
Q: What is your writing style? The process you normally go through when writing?
A: I never think too much about how I write. Things just come to my head and I decide if it's a good idea to add them or not. Maybe one of the techniques I sometimes use is "backtracking" when dealing with complex scenarios: let's start with the ending, how is the story supposed to end and then, moving backwards, step by step let's build a path leading from that ending to the beginning.
Q: How do you feel the story plays in a video game? What do you think is the best way to merge the story and gameplay together?
A: A video game can't exist without a story. Well, technically it can, like it does in case of Tetris or Pong, sure. But those games are souvenirs from the past, from the times when pixels moving on the screen were the main gimmick. A modern, good game can't work without a proper story (things are a bit different with multiplayer games but even Team Fortress 2 gets some kind of back-story). However, things are not that simple. While game needs a story, it shouldn't be defined by it. In video games, story should go well with game mechanics (the gameplay), which is even more important. Mechanics define your game, story makes it complete, never the other way round. Writing a story and then mashing up a gameplay to it is a bad idea. With this approach you rather want to make a novel or comic book rather than interactive experience of any shape or form. When designing a game, you should first come up with an interesting mechanics/gameplay idea, then and only then ask yourself a question "What story can I tell that would fit this gameplay?" For example: I had the idea for a game that would reverse the Escape the Room genre. Player has to lock himself in a room and prevent from getting out. Now, what kind of story could I tell with this gameplay idea? Maybe let's make the character someone who is dangerous... or who might become dangerous later. Say, a werewolf. Don't Escape - there you have it
Q: What can we expect from scriptwelder in the future?
A: 3rd Deep Sleep game, of course. I've been also trying to go with a collab with someone here on Newgrounds but it's been a while and I don't know if they are still interested.
scriptwelder was a game maker that caught my eye with his game Deep Sleep. I came across while browsing random users news posts. The writing in his games I find to be amazing and it shows that a good story can certainly take you far. He backs it up though with clever gameplay elements as well. With each game he releases he pushes himself further and further. He truly is one of the best.