Selasa, 29 April 2014

Indie gamedev interview: Exilian

Halo semuanya, ketemu lagi di blog post terbaruku. Kali ini aku ingin memulai sebuah seri baru bernama indie gamedev interview! Di seri ini aku meng-interview developer-developer game indie dari manapun mereka di bumi ini, tidak peduli apakah mereka studio besar atau tim kecil apakah baru mulai atau sudah merilis game, dan apapun target platform game mereka, aku akan meng-interview mereka semua!

Yang mendapat kehormatan sebagai tamu pertama dari seri indie gamedev interview ini adalah James Baillie, seorang hobbyist developer dari Cambridge, Inggris. Di bawah ini akan aku sertakan wawancaraku dengannya dalam bahasa inggris. Bisa saja aku terjemahkan ke bahasa Indonesia tapi aku rasa kalau diterjemahkan akan ada nilai yang hilang dalam interview ini, karenanya aku akan menuliskannya sesuai dengan apa yang James jawab. Silahkan membaca.


Why don't we start with yourself? can you tell me about your studio / dev group?
I’m James Baillie, or Jubal Barca on the interweb: I’m a hobbyist developer and history student living in Cambridge, eastern England. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, covering design work, scripting, lots of writing, and so on among other hobbies. I’m not part of a formal studio, but I work on games and game mods under the banner of Exilian, a website I helped found which is aiming to create a game dev and creative community where all the devs, artists and writers who make up the community can participate in and vote on running the site.

What is your game title?
I’m mainly working on a game called Adventures of Soros at present.

What platform is it for?
PC

What is the game about? Describe it for us.
It’s using an illustrated text parser to build an open RPG world. Text interfaces aren’t really in fashion these days, particularly with mobile gaming being such a big thing, but I think it allows a lot of storyline and development of the world around you without relying too heavily on having a huge voice-acting team or a massive high-end game engine. The player has a lot of freedom in how they develop their character, which quests they choose to do, and so on. For me the main feature of the game is the world – I like games that are about adventures and exploration, so really what I wanted was to give people the chance to interactively explore the world I’ve built.

Where did you get your game idea?
In terms of the aesthetic, mock fantasy is a nice genre. It can allow you to say and look at interesting things without risking getting too gritty and still feeling basically fun. Building worlds and settings is a hobby of mine anyway, and my actual background (I’m mainly a medievalist) fed in quite strongly as well. For the mechanics I’ve always liked parsers, and they’re simple to program; I decided illustrations were also important to give it more depth for people who like having something visible to latch onto. In some ways I’d have liked to do an engine more along the lines of the early King’s Quest or Space Quest games, but my pixel art skills aren’t where they’d need to be for that.

Can you tell us about the development of this game? (like how many people are involved, what tools are you using, stuffs like that)
I’m programming the main game engine from scratch in Python, using really very simple coding. I’m the sole coder, designer, and plot-writer. Recently (and after a lot of searching) I’ve been fortunate enough to get two very talented artists, Tiia Vitikainen and Marshall Griffith, working with me. Each of them has taken a “zone” of 30-40 ingame scenes to illustrate in their own style. More team members would still be great, though, if anyone wants to join in! We’ve not got any particularly complex software rigged up, which is partly why having a loose-form team can work so well; each of us has a lot of creative freedom and we just get on in text editors, on paper, and in graphics programs and it still comes out with something pretty neat.

What advice can you give to people just starting out with gamedev?
Start by building up your skills, and that includes your design abilities; many people see design as the easy bit and coding as the hard bit, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Do projects that let you learn your way around complex blocks of code, for example get scripts for small JavaScript games and then tweak/edit them. Modifying existing games can be a good way to create things that look good and feel good without needing massive coding abilities, too. Once you’ve done some of that, then get to work on projects that have defined playability points – not necessarily defined end points, but at least points where you can sit back, play through it, and be pleased with what you’re looking at. Being overambitious is a good route to depressing failures. I guess finally, think and read. And not just about games. Games are cool, but to get aesthetic quality and level design and interest right then general knowledge – history, fiction, current events – are actually genuinely important in sparking your brain off to create a setting, or theme, or idea that is genuinely something a bit different.

Lastly, is there anything you'd like to share with the audience? (doesn't have to be technical)
I’d like to share my game, more beta testers would be nice! For those of you who want to develop games, I’d like to give my wholehearted approval to that choice. Games and programming can be massively fun for you, but they will also be fun for other people, and the opportunity to have people enjoy your work is a very special one. I think that game dev communities can also bring interesting, varied and international mixtures of people together across barriers and borders to create something that’s just fun, and that’s also something that’s kept me going and kept me interested in what I’m doing over the last few years. So yeah, that’s why I’m in this and why I think other people should be as well. Game development: it’s definitely fun, and it might just, in some small but important way, change our world for the better.

Yap, itulah interview pertama kita! Terima kasih buat James yang sudah bersedia meluangkan waktunya untuk kita. Sayangnya masih belum ada screenshot yang bisa dibagikan pada kita karena tim artist masih baru saja memulai pekerjaannya. Tapi kalau kalian ingin tau tentang update perkembangan game-nya, kalian bisa bergabung ke forum di situs Exilian: http://www.exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=125.0 di mana kalian juga bisa mendapat versi beta dari gamenya.

Kalau kalian aktif di media sosial, kalian juga bisa mengunjungi FB page mereka di sini: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adventures-of-Soros/583083731711279 atau kalau kalian lebih aktif di twitter kalian bisa follow @JubalBarca atau @Exilian_Press . Sampai ketemu di blog post berikutnya!