The first game we played from Roope Tamminen was Hallucivian, his entry at Ludum Dare #27. Really trippy experience, we loved it. Then we played Lakeview Cabin and yeah, we confirmed he's pure genius. Now he answers our questions!
1. How long have you been making games?
I've been actively making games for almost 3 years. I did play around with Klik N Play and Games Factory in the late 90's, but I don't think I ever made anything even remotely playable. But it did spark my initial love for making games! After my son was born, I came to the shocking realization that babies sleep a lot. So I naturally started to look for ways to spend my time at home and then I found out about Stencyl. So here we are now, six games under my belt and hopefully many more to come.
2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us more about your creative process.
I find most of my ideas come from the movies I like. Many movies have interesting ideas that might work well as a game mechanic, and that's where I come in. Barbarium is something that dwelled in my mind watching Masters of the Universe and Mad Max 2 as a kid. Then I made Quantum Corps as a tribute to the Paul Verhoeven scifi classics, and Lakeview Cabin is a sort of a testament of my love for old horror films.
Now I'm developing a sequel to Lakeview Cabin, as the slasher-genre is a real goldmine of game mechanics and I really want to explore it more. I'm also doing some preliminary writing for a game that's inspired by Blade Runner and Groundhog Day.
3. Barbarium has some awesome weapons and power-ups. What's your favourite and why?
I'd have to say the jetpack. That's the one that solifies the game world that I dreamed about when I was a kid. Nothing is cooler to the 10-year old me than a barbarian using a sword and lasergun while flying around with a jetpack. I'm really happy and proud that I got the game out of my system, even though now that I look back at it, it's a buggy, unbalanced and a bit of a misogynistic game. At least the 10-year old Roope is satisfied!
4. What do you think about game jams? Do you eat during one? Or get dressed at least? How could you define Roope's jamming style?
They are like the steroids of game developing. There's no better way of learning how to make games, than crunching one out in a short period of time. I mostly just inform my wife that "It's motherfucking Ludum Dare time!" and then watch some training montages from the Rocky movies. That usually works for me.
I think that's a great way of coming up with ideas for games. Take two concepts that you enjoy and make them reproduce. One of my favourites is The Binding of Isaac. I guess that qualifies as a mashup? Legend of Zelda and a Roguelike.
6. Lakeview Cabin has some crazy narrative going on. How was your creative process to make the puzzles?
I feel like the puzzles came almost naturally. I just added items that you might usually find at a cabin, and then tried to think of at least three ways to use them. The obvious use, the "self-harm" use and the use as a weapon.
7. PewDiePie (really popular youtube star) made a video about Lakeview Cabin (it has now more than 2M views!). Can you describe the early moments when you found out that your game was receiving that crazy amount of attention? How did it feel?
Yeah, it was crazy. I knew the game would probably get some Let's Play videos because of how much the experience variates between players. But getting a video from the most subscribed guy on Youtube was something that I'd never even dared to dream about. I felt almost sick knowing how much attention it was going get after seeing the video right when it was uploaded. Thousands of players playing my buggy little game? Pure nightmare fuel. Fortunately most of the players liked it and I managed to make enough money from the ad-revenue to buy something nice for my son as a christmas gift.
8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?
First, Derek Yu. Spelunky is basically one of the best designed games out there. I feel almost angry that I'll probably never be able to design a game even half as good as that one. Stupid sexy Derek...
Second, Brian Provinciano. The amount of work that guy has put into Retro City Rampage is beyond crazy. You just have to respect that. Also, have you seen the shape that guy is in? He's probably the most disciplined developers out there today. I guess he's like the Batman of indie games.
Third, Tom Fulp. I was an avid user of Newgrounds in my teens and I just have to respect him for playing such a big role in my youth. He has constantly stood up for all the controversy that the site has gained over the years, while still managing to be a really nice guy. Plus, the amount of hours I poured into Castle Crashers is pretty crazy...
9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?
I have been all of my life. Lately I've played anything that my PlayStation Plus subscription throws at me. Metal Gear Rising, Xcom and Far Cry 3 are probably the latest ones I've played. I really don't have much time to play these days as I have to develop my own ones. Oh, and I have that little son of mine to take care of.
10. And one last random question. If you could turn into a kaiju, how would it look like? And also, how would you manage to destroy our cities?
The specific look wouldn't matter, I'd just want to look like a guy in a rubber suit like in those old Godzilla movies. Just so someone on the street below would go: "That's just a guy in a rubber suit... lame." Then I'd just stumble around the city in my clumsy suit, crushing buildings accidentally. "Legend of the Drunken Kaiju."
*We Ask Indies is an initiative by Beavl, an Argentinian independent game studio putting some teeth into videogames. You can check all the interviews here (caricatures are made by amazing artist Joaquín Aldeguer!).