Friday, 24 April 2015

#IDARB interview with Mike Mika

Welcome to another great interview from Gamer 2 Gamer, we have been honoured to get the another great interview with another great game developer.

#IDARB released on the Xbox One in January 30, 2015 and took Xbox live by storm. The arcade game is this crazy atomic 8-player button smashing, jumping arena ball game that's  inspired by to classic games, Bomberman and Smash Bros. This game really tests your reaction times and stress levels with yours friends and your XboxOne Controller.

KingWhybrow:

So lets get down to the to the interview with mike, so i am here to ask a few questions about the game hitting the Xbox One back in January, did you think the game would become such a big success on Xboxlive?

Mike:

Not at all. I knew it was a funny curiosity for a lot of people, but in the weeks leading up to the release of the game, I would have conversations with people
where I was convinced the game was going to flop.

Kingwhybrow:

Well Mike, can we get to know you a bit, what made you get into gaming. Was there anything that made you take the leap of faith?

Mike:

I started gaming when I was really young. Our family had a Rally IV Pong Clone and I was obsessed by it. I was also smitten by arcade games like Space Invaders
and Asteroids. Finally, one Christmas, my Dad got us an Atari Video Computer System. I had never heard of it before, but the picture opn the box were all that i needed to see.
It came with Combat, and my Dad also picked up a couple other games like Space Invaders. It blew my mind. My friends and I would play it all the time. Every kid in the neighborhood had one. We'd trade games, etc. Eventually we started drawing pictures of games we'd like to see on the Atari. I'd send them
to Activision, Atari, and just about any developer I could find an address for. In response, Atari sent me some materials for arcade machines. I think they thought I was some kind of dense-headed arcade machine operator. Activison, however, took the time to write back and critique my designs, offer advice, and encouraged me to go into game development. When our family purchased a Commodore 64, I dived into programming and it just clicked with me. I felt like I could make anything. I made so many games back then.

Kingwhybrow:

I ask everyone this question, what was your best game as you were growing up, did any of them help move into the person you are today, more like the path you
choose. Did you think yes....I'm going to make games for a living.

Mike:

I was a huge fan of Impossible Mission on the Commodore 64 by Dennis Caswell. It had brilliant animation and voice synthesis. You were a secret agent with
incredible athletic ability who must storm a town filled with robots and disarm a doomsday device. It was incredibly hard. I also was inspired by Karateka by Jordan Mechner. Back then the game was a revelation. It felt like a movie and I'd never seen or played anything like it before. It had drama and rotoscoped
animation that made it feel so real. Those two games were very instrumental in my career trajectory. I can rattle off so many more, like Super Mario Bros, Bomberman, etc. But those early games were the beginning for me.

Kingwhybrow:

If I'm correct #IDARB is split between two distinguished groups, could you tell us a bit more about the roles each team did?

Mike:

If I understand the question correctly, the majority of work was done by Kevin Wilson and myself. We of course were supported by the amazing people we work with at Other Oceam. People like Jeff Nachbaur, Glen McKnight, John Mathis, Bob Baffy and Frank Cifaldi who contributed to art, writing, etc. Kevin focused primarily on the game engine (We call it Bakesale). It's a 2D engine built for #IDARB. I focused primarily on the gameplay and implementation of ideas from the community,
who is essentially the "other" team. We have a running "ToDo" list of items that we've flagged from the community that we intend to develop. So the Other Ocean team and the "people of the internet" are essentially the two groups.

Kingwhybrow:

So what are you most proud featues about #IDARB, is there any changes you wish you could of added or taken away?

Mike:

So many features to be added. We are actively improving the online multiplayer component. We have big plans to make that a much better experience. We've also tuned the game quite a bit and fixed a few random bugs here and there. We plan on introducing new arenas, halftime games, and more. I'm most proud of the "hashbombs" we came up with. That is, the ability for spectators to mess with a live game. When we turned it on for the first time and tried it - it felt like magic.

Kingwhybrow:

The Game for me has been really fun and addicted. Do you find that only people in the same house play it more or via online?.
I personally play it with my family, I love seeing their reactions to me getting a GOAL from impossible angles. Also what's your famous moment within the game you've had?

Mike:

We have statistics! As of right now, it looks like local play and online play are almost 50/50. That is, each mode is played about the same amount of time as the other on average. My favorite moment online was shortly after it was released, I joined a game and the kid on the other side was already really good at it. In
fact, he was better than I was. I didn't tell him I made the game, I just quietly tried to beat him. At one point he stopped playing and started to offer me advice on how to play. It was really depressing, but really funny.

Kingwhybrow:

So mike, your team worked hard round the clock to bring this to the XboxOne.  How long does it take to make a game and how many people worked on this project?

Mike:

For most of the time there was a persistent core team of two, from January to November of 2014. We had people contribute off and on during development, too, and the real crunch started around August. We had so much help from all over that it really is hard to account for it all. I'd say the best estimate is about 2-4
people for about nine months all said and done. If we flattened it out. 

Kingwhybrow:

What made come up with is idea, do you think maybe you would of gone in different directions with the game, or are 100% happy with your product.
Did I'D Xbox also give you the nessary help and support and complete the project the way you wanted?

Mike:

It really started life as a side project I was just planning to do with a little input from friends. There is a lot in the game that I would not have done had it not been suggested by someone else. In fact, things like double jump were features I was opposed to but implemented because of the sheer amount of requests. In the end, I really like it. ID@XBOX played a very crucial role in the creation of the game. We started to get noticed online just as they were announcing the ID@XBOX program. So we just so happened to be something of interest at that moment, and they approached us. They were incredibly supportive. They got us into shows we would not have been able to participate in, they marketed our game, and they saw the potential of our game well before we did. I can honestly say the game may never have existed if it wasn't for their support.

Kingwhybrow:

Last question, would you ever make a #IDARB 2?

MIKE:

If the time is right, and we've done all we could with updates of the original, then I'd say yes. But for now, I think we intend to keep improving the game that everyone has and see how far we can take it!

Screenshot of new Half-Time game inspired by Crossy Road.

No comments:

Post a Comment