Insomniac has revealed their new game, Song of the Deep. It will be fifteen dollars and unusually for a game, it will be published by GameStop. Yes GameStop, it seems they are going into the game publishing business ( not sure how I feel about that but that is another story).
The Game’s description is as follows:
Song of the Deep is a metroidvania-style action-adventure game following a young girl’s quest into the unknown to find her missing father. Combining discovery, skill, and suspense with an unforgettable narrative, this underwater journey will challenge players to explore, experiment, and skillfully navigate a vast ocean landscape. Song of the Deep launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this summer, 2016.
That certainly sounds interesting and we hope to hear more as the year goes on. Does this indicate that GameStop will be publishing more games going forward? What does that mean for the future of gaming and game stores?
Can you imagine Mario with a portal gun? Well, if you can’t it’s okay. You don’t have to. Very soon gamers will be able to experience this awesomeness first hand … for free.
That’s right! Two students from Germany and Slovenia have come together to make this vision a reality. Maurice Guégan and Sašo Smolej, owners of Stabyourself, first created a Tetris clone called Not Tetris 2. Now they have set their sites on a hybrid mix of two absolute legends in video game history, Nintendo’s Mario and Valve Corporation’s Portal. Bringing together the best of both worlds in one open source platformer/puzzle game called MariO can only be a good thing right? But wait … there’s more!
Making the choice to use the Love 2D framework left the Stabyourself co-founders the opportunity to easily make this game available for Windows, OSX and Linux, which they intend to do. Also, these guys truly believe in the policy “everyone gets a gun”. MariO is to have a multi-player mode with an unlimited number of players that can connect. So, as long as there is an open port on the PC for your controller you can join right in.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Maurice and Saso about this incredible new venture. I’m happy to share that conversation with you today.
Chellemo (ROG): First of all, tell us a little bit about www.stabyourself.net. Who are you? What games have you made? How long have you been programming games?
Maurice: We’re two 20 year old students from Germany and Slovenia who decided that making games would be a good idea. Our first game was Not Tetris 2, a game where we introduce physics simulation into the gameboy classic. Currently we’re working hard to get MariO done. I’ve been programming games since a little over a year now, but didn’t have much time in the past.
Chellemo (ROG): I have to admit the idea of a Mario/Portal hybrid sounds pretty cool. How was this idea born?
Maurice: I had been working on a Mario clone from grounds up in January, if anything for practice. When the Dorkly video of a Mario-Portal mashup was released in April, I realised that the game I was currently working on was perfect for the idea, and have since worked hard on making this a reality.
Chellemo (ROG): It seems you are very mindful of the inconvenience of embedded advertisements on sites like Newgrounds. [ You can read more about this on the August 31 post – Legal Ramifications at www.stabyourself.net ] Is there anything else you would like to add on that topic?
Sašo: I think this might have been misinterpreted a bit. I don’t hate ads (except perhaps the ones that are all in your face and video ads that can’t be paused or at least muted). I understand the need for them, and why websites have them, which is the reason why I don’t use Adblock. That post was merely for pointing out that there are flash games which are (as far as using assets of other companies goes) in the same position as MariO and that even if we’d have ads they would still end up with more ad impressions, thus theoretically end up with more profit for whomever is actually displaying them. Some seem to get the impression that since it’s a downloadable application, it’s much worse than any of those flash games. It’s not.
Chellemo (ROG): On your website you said that game programming is a hobby for you at this point. Is that something you’re looking to change someday?
Maurice: I’m starting to study Software Engineering at the end of the month, but not directly game development. Because I don’t like the direction the video game market has been going in for the past few years. Big companies not wanting to invest into new IPs and instead bringing out 10 Guitar Hero’s and the 8th Call of Duty, I think? It sort of contradicts with what we’re trying to do with our own games: Surprising gamers with unexpected gameplay.
Sašo: Though it should be mentioned that big name companies can’t really afford to do the experimental butchering we do. They need to make what sells, and they will keep doing that as long as it will keep selling. It’s just business.
Chellemo (ROG): How much time does programming for multiple platforms add to the development process as opposed to releasing for Windows only?
Sašo: It doesn’t really add much time since Löve2D is multiplatform. Basically it just needs to be repackaged and that’s it. Perhaps the developers of Löve2D would be able to tell how much time multiplatform engine development takes.
Chellemo (ROG): I noticed that the game has a unique local multiplayer option allowing as many players as available ports for connection. How many people have you actually had playing at once in the testing process?
Maurice: Hah, sorry to disappoint, but I actually only have two controllers and mouse+keyboard at home, so I only played three player multi-player yet. The most players I have seen at the same time is four players. But as you said, it’s theoretically unlimited.
Sašo: We’ll see if we can arrange a gameplay video of a ludicrous amount of players before release, but no promises just yet.
Chellemo (ROG): You also mentioned an embedded level editor. How easy is this going to be for someone who’s never tried making custom levels?
Maurice: It’s as simple as picking out a block from the list and putting it all over the map. I’m currently thinking about how to program door+button combos and the likes. But I think it’ll be just using a “connect” tool to drag from the door to the button. It is going to be really easy for everyone with enough ideas.
Chellemo (ROG): MariO was coded by you from the ground up using Löve2D correct? How well has that framework suited your needs?
Maurice: Yes, the framework has suited us well so far, especially since we’re focusing on 2D (with the slight exception of Illusionary engine). Multiplatform support is another plus, of course. The engine stays true to their promise of allowing “rapid game development” by managing memory and having a lot of useful things like image loading and an audio system built in.
Chellemo (ROG): For someone interested in making games, what are the most important basic tools/resources to become familiar with first?
Maurice: I think we’re really the wrong folk to ask, here. I’d say that what helps most with getting started in game development is picking up a realistic project and consequently working on it until you’re happy with it. If problems arise, ask someone familiar with the subject for help. That’s what I did with my first game and it did wonders in getting me into the language, framework and mindset. If you’re unsure what language or IDE (developer environment) to use, you might as well try Lua in Löve2D.
Chellemo (ROG): One more question for future game developers, do you think mobile gaming a good place to start for a programmer on a budget?
Sašo: For profit? Perhaps it is, but the competition there is ruthless. If you don’t make a success on day 1, you’ll get buried by others, especially on Apple’s app store. The key to succeeding there is how you present your product. Obviously the product itself is important too, but if it looks boring just from the image you supplied and the name, almost nobody will bother to give it even a second glance, no matter how complex and engaging it is. The mobile market isn’t about games with rich immersive storyline, hours of unique gameplay and mind boggling character development – it’s more about just starting up a game and helping you pass the time while you’re waiting for something. Actual mobile development might take less work, but you’ll spend a lot more time advertising it and making it look appealing to your single-glance-judgement audience.
Chellemo (ROG): I would like to thank both of you for agreeing to this interview. It’s been very enlightening. I’m really quite excited for MariO’s release. Good luck with it and all your future ventures!