Gefascineerd door de prachtige puzzelspeelgoedgame Windosill besloten Sander van der Vegte en ik contact op te nemen met maker Vectorpark, alias Patrick Smith. De kick-off voor wat hopelijk een monumentale reeks interviews met indiedevelopers wordt. Vooropgesteld dat ze wat langer van stof zijn dan Smith.
Alhoewel, hij mag er dan niet veel woorden aan vuil maken, het is wel interessant om te lezen hoe deze indiemaker te werk gaat en hoe hij tegen bepaalde kwesties aankijkt. Briljant bijvoorbeeld dat hij zijn game zelf ook meer als speelgoed ziet: “I think the game aspect (finding the cubes, etc) is really just there to tie together, and give it some structure.”
Sander en Niels: Do you work alone? If you work with others, are they friends? Freelancers?
Patrick Smith: “I work by myself.”
How long do you work on a game, from idea to finished product? Is it a full-time thing, or evening hours?
“I spent about a year working on Windosill, probably 6 months full-time and 6 months part-time.”
How do you work? Do you start out sketching on paper? Fiddling in flash?
“I almost always begin with sketches, and then more detailed drawings to work out ideas. Sometimes I’ll do a mock-up in Illustrator to determine specific shapes and colors. Working in flash is usually the last step.
“Occasionally, I’ll begin by working in Flash, but I find it’s usually better to have a plan beforehand.”
How did the flat-shaded ‘vector’ style come about? And why did you choose to make it your trademark style?
“It was never really a decision — it’s a way of depicting things that I’ve arrived at. Flash performs better with fewer shapes to draw, so I try to draw everything as economically as possible, while still evoking forms and spaces. It’s an interesting challenge, and it’s led me to solutions and ideas I probably would not have come to otherwise.”
Who do you feel is your target audience? It seems like both children and hipster gamers would like Windosill.
“I’m really happy if anybody is enjoying Windosill! I think it’s best for a creator to avoid making any assumptions about his or her audience — you never know who is going to find something interesting. With children in particular, I think people often underestimate how much complexity and sophistication they can handle.”
What’s in it for you? Is money the reward, or do you do it for people’s reactions?
“The main reason to make something like this is for other people to see it, of course. I’m asking $3 for the full game because I’m hoping to pay for the development of the next one.”
Can you make a living doing your games yet?
“Not yet… That could change if Windosill finds a large audience, but there’s really no way to know if that will happen.”
The game seems to be both a stylized point and click adventure and a toy, where you can play with lots of things in the environment. Was this your intended goal?
“I didn’t have a single goal while making Windosill, but in my mind it’s more a toy than a game. I think the game aspect (finding the cubes, etc) is really just there to tie together, and give it some structure.”
Is there anything in Windosill you’re not entirely happy with, that you’d like to improve?
“Oh, certainly! There are many things I’d like to improve. But every project is like that. At some point, it’s simply time to move on.”
What aspect of the game are you proudest of?
“I have to say that I’m probably proudest of the fact that I finished it at all! Aside from that, I’m pleased that the individual rooms are quite different, but at the same time feel as though they belong together.”
What’s the next step? Larger games? A game for the iPhone?
“I’ve got some ideas, but it’s really too soon to talk about anything. I’m taking a break right now, to get away from the computer and do some other things.”
If there were no boundaries, time, technology and money-wise, what game would you make?
“Quite honestly, if I had complete freedom… I probably wouldn’t know what to do. Boundaries are as important as freedom to the creative process.”
Die Patrick Smith is een man van weinig woorden, dachten we. Dus stelden we hem nog wat vervolgvragen.
Vier gingen er zijn kant op:
- You say you hope Windosill will pay for the next game. Can you share anything about sales so far?
- What do you do besides game creation to make a living?
- You say there are many things you’d like to improve in Windosill. To be honest, I can’t imagine what. Can you give an example?
- If you had to name one, what’s your favorite screen or screen element in Windosill?
Wederom was Smith kortaf:
Aside from game-creation I do various freelance flash work, but nothing that I’m particularly interested in sharing/promoting. The other questions are fine, too, but I don’t really have anything to add to my previous answers. Hope that’s okay…
Prima meneer Smith! Zeker omdat hij wél zo vriendelijk was vijf codes weg te geven om de volledige versie van Windosill te ontgrendelen. Heb je zin om deze bijzondere game te spelen, reageer dan op dit bericht en we sturen je een code op. Zolang de voorraad strekt, uiteraard.