Monday, November 26, 2007

Intuitive interview!

Boy have I got a surprise for all the readers of COCAK! I got…*drumroll* An exclusive interview with Intuition Games, creators of Dinowaurs! It may be confusing to figure out who is who, so I will explain it all.
aeiowu: Greg(not Kong's), an artist/designer
Torncanvas: Josh, an artist/designer
Mboxleiter: Mike, the programmer of the group
Milski/Milskidasith/Matt: Yeah. That is me.


aeiowu: So how you doing matt?

Milskidasith: Aren't I supposed to ask the questions?

aeiowu: :P

Milskidasith: Anyway not bad.

Milskidasith: What brought you guys to flash programming?

Torncanvas: Well neither of us our programmers. We're both artist/designers. But in terms of Flash games...

aeiowu: I'd say the simplest way to explain it would be "accessibility."

Torncanvas: We see Flash games as a great means of getting started in game development.

Torncanvas: Tons of people have Flash, so it's accessible in terms of people playing our game. But with Kongregate funding games, especially focusing on the indie/student groups, it's accessible for us on the development side.

aeiowu: Starting out, trying to learn as much as I could at school and in clubs, I had all these ideas for large-scale grandiose games, but as things start to get more realistic and projects get thrown out, you start to wisen up on what kind of game you can actually make. Flash is a great answer.

Torncanvas: Yeah, totally. So it almost forces us to do something small.

Milski: How did the Intuition staff meet each other?

Torncanvas: Ok, Ted and I go a ways back.

Milski: Ted?

Torncanvas: He's one of the 4 of us, Greg, Mike, Ted, and I.

aeiowu: http://www.intuitiongames.com/

Torncanvas: All of us went to Iowa State for school. Ted and I were in the same classes at ISU and we worked on cartoons together, and eventually made Treefort Wars together.

Milski: So, where did the idea of Dinowaurs come from anyway?

Editors note: This is where Mike(Mboxleiter) entered the chat. aeiowu and Torncanvas were both in from the begginning

Torncanvas: Mike and I were brainstorming game ideas in an internet forum. Ted and Greg were becoming good friends and had this idea for a cartoon dinosaur fighting game.

aeiowu: Yeah, I started working with Ted at the VRAC (Virtual Reality Applications Center) at ISU.

Torncanvas: We all met together to talk about our ideas.

Torncanvas: Mike had been working on a multiplayer strategy game before, and so we decided to make a game in that framework. Then we heard Ted and Greg tell their idea, and so we brainstormed how to use that theme for the multiplayer framework.

aeiowu: That was a fun night

Milski: Where did you send the idea to besides Kongregate?

Mboxleiter: Just Adult Swim and Kong.

Torncanvas: So we sent it to Adult Swim first, but it didn't quite fit their style. Yeah, so next we sent it to Kong. I got Jim's card at the GDC so we sent it directly to him in early June. Since early June, we waited until Chris was hired at Kongregate a couple months later. And I guess the first pitch he looked at was ours, which is funny since we had sent him the pitch at Adult Swim earlier. Complete with the clay dino Levi. So anyway, that's how the company got started, and how Dinowaurs came to be.

Milski: OK, we already know some things about Dinowaurs, but how exactly are the dino's stats going to be determined?

Torncanvas: Dino's stats, like the experience?

Milski: Basically.

Torncanvas: Dinos can gain experience by fighting in battle. And they gain more by winning. It's kind of like "leveling-up" in that sense I guess, but I don't think we're going to focus so much on the grind.

Milski: So a good strategy could beat a really high EXP dino?

Torncanvas: Well, we're not sure how apparent it will be to the player yet. So you might not ever see a dino of Level 20 or whatever. But overall, yeah you can fight dinos that have more experience.

aeiowu: It would be more subtle, kind of like a record in Starcraft.

Torncanvas: Yeah. We just need a way for people to know who they are fighting against. Because a lot of people don't want get pwnd.

Milski: Do the weapons the villagers build cost money to build, or what?

Torncanvas: Not money per se. But there will be a cost.

aeiowu: Yes, not necessarily money, but there are resources acquired over time

Milski: Ah, a resource system. Kind of like Age of Empires?

aeiowu: no

Torncanvas: Not really, no.

aeiowu: It's much simpler

Milski: So do the resources just replenish over time?

aeiowu: With details of the game, we can't really elaborate too much, because things will change throughout development.

Torncanvas: There will be a simple resource system. Weapons will take some time to make. With later weapons taking longer, of course. You won't really have to manage a bunch of stuff, though. That's about all we can say at this point.

aeiowu: We don't want to pull a Molyneux on you

Milski: A what?

aeiowu: Peter Molyneux, he's the head of Lionhead Studios, makers of Black & White, and Fable. He talked a lot about Fable and what it would be like, and specific features and then didn't really deliver. The community was kind of outraged, even though the game itself was still well done and fun, it was a let down because of the high expectations of the players.

Milski: Are there unlockables in the game, or some kind of research system?

Torncanvas: Unlockables...there is a tech tree. If that's what you mean, yes. But you can't produce [the later weapons] right away. Hey one thing [I have to ask you].

Milski: Yeah?

Torncanvas: I feel like we should be clearer about the dino experience.

Milski: Sure, feel free to explain in more detail.

Torncanvas: The experience is mainly there so that players can know how experienced the person they're playing is. There's not going to be any "Crap, I gotta level up to 20 so I can get a war horse." It's mainly just going to help people know who they are playing, so if they don't want to fight someone who is going to pwn them, they don't have to.

Milski: Ok, so it is more like Wii games, where if you win you get a higher rank, and if you lose you get a lower rank?

Torncanvas: Not sure on lowering ranks, but similar. That's a pretty good analogy though. Think Wii Sports.

Milski: Wii sports lowers your rank pretty harshly if you lose....

Torncanvas: I know, and we might not do that. But it's more like that than WoW, that's for sure. :P

Milski: Could you explain the accessory system?

Torncanvas: Some are built-in, some you can unlock over time, and some you can purchase.

Milski: Purchase via Microtransaction?

Torncanvas: You can purchase using whatever system Kongregate will implement for microtransactions. There hasn't been much info released about the details of it. But it will use their system.

Milski: Darn, I thought you might know something about microtransactions. Do you at least know what the price of microtransactions are?

aeiowu: No

Torncanvas: No, and I'm sure it would change several times even if we guessed. :P: That's totally something we'd want to test anyway. To make sure as many people as possible are happy with the amount.

Milski: Ok, going back to the gameplay... How exactly do the weapons fire? Do you aim, or do they attack things automatically?

Torncanvas: You aim and fire.

aeiowu: It's a trajectory based combat system

Milski: Wait, then how do you fire the Aircraft Carrier?

Torncanvas: Hehe. Good question

aeiowu: Well, each weapon isn't used the same way. There are different ways of firing, but for the most part it's a trajectory, pitch and power type of combat

Torncanvas: Yep, definitely true. And we're actually just starting to test different control schemes.

Milski: But the aircraft carrier is just a massive airstrike though, isn't it? Shouldn't you just point and click?

Torncanvas: Well it is, but you'll have to do more than just push a single button. We're just not sure on how much more yet :P

aeiowu: Again, these are things that we can't really elaborate on, as exciting as that is to do.

Milski: I am about out of questions now, anything you guys want to discuss about the game that I forgot?

Torncanvas: Building a global community is really important to us. So we're working as hard as we can to support that. In fact, we're going to try to include as little text in the game as possible. We're hoping for a smaller language barrier than most games. I'm sure there will have to be some, but we're trying to keep it as little as possible.

aeiowu: We've come up with some neat concepts and solutions to deliver and teach gameplay without the use of any text, but we'll be victims to the testers to see how well the concepts work.

Milski: Interesting, but does that mean there won't be a story?

Torncanvas: Not in the traditional way. Like there won't be a menu item where you can read about the background story of the game.

Milski: Can I be a beta tester on Kong?

aeiowu: Hahaha, probably.

aeiowu: Just email team@intuitiongames.com

Torncanvas: Haha. Well we'll have an open beta.

Milski: Yay! Dino carnage!

aeiowu: Sign up on our list

Torncanvas: And anyone can do it. But before that, we'll be looking for private testers. The Dinowaurs website is a little misleading and I need to reword it. But Kongregate users will be able to apply for private testing before the public beta.

Mboxleiter: You'll have to sign an NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement] [to be a private beta tester].

Torncanvas: Yeah, as Mike is sayin', there will be more work involved in private testing. Which includes NDAs, and giving us documentation. As Greg was alluding to earlier, we're going to be testing some ways for people to play the game without reading text, so non-English-speakers will be needed for that. Well, not just play the game, but go through a tutorial, too.

Torncanvas: Yeah, there's work involved.

Mboxleiter: Its haaaard work!

Milski: It's been a blast, see you guys!

Torncanvas: See ya! Thanks for talking with us.

aeiowu: See ya Matt.

Mboxleiter: Take it easy, bro.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matt, don't forget to downsize post with the hidden text code

span class="fullpost" (Insert hidden text here, AKA most of the article) /span (place /span at the very end.

It would let me, to post it... so put < on one side, > on the other of both objects.

Milskidasith said...

I did... Just only a few seconds after you posted the comment.

Focus said...

Great work on this, Milski. Congrats. ^^

PurpleElf17 said...

Interesting....but just what is Dinowaurs? It sounds really fun. Great interview Milski!

king44444 said...

this interview is great. love the site too!

Malachi said...

Here's the link for everyone that doesn't know about the Premium Games or Dinowaurs: http://kongregate.com/forums/1/topics/3350

Splatey said...

is this where u sign up for testing?

Splatey said...

is this were we sign up?

Anonymous said...

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