Luca Redwood is a cool game designer from the UK. He is the creator of 10000000 and he's now working on You Must Build a Boat (not a sequel to 10000000, but a whole new game. Really exciting stuff!). And now he answers our questions!
1. How long have you been making games?
As a hobby - I think like a lot of indies these days I started as a kid, making things in QBasic. Nothing grand though. I could never get past having a 'great idea', then bumping into a problem I hadn't considered and starting a new game instead. Because of that, my first commercial game was called RollRover. Something like 2011? It's pretty terrible. I'd made a goal for myself to 'practice the skill of finishing' ; so I did it in a few months without knowing any of the tools. It was a great learning experience, and, deservedly a total commercial failure I think its probably made 20 bucks in its lifetime. mostly from family and friends So after I'd learned what to do what not to and learned how to finish a game, I made 10000000 and I've been here since :)
2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us something about your creative process.
I have a problem with ideas for games. I'll have an idea and fall in LOVE with it. I'll think it's the next best thing in gaming and will change the world. The thing is, it never works out that way, after developing the idea, it just doesn't quite work. One of the hardest lessons I've learned is to let go of an idea that isn't working and embrace working in this way, so make prototypes of 20 "great" ideas, then see which one was actually any good, If any. I've probably got a 2/3% hit rate for ideas which is why it takes me so long to make games. I'm hoping when I get better and more experience I can make that number go up.
3. 10000000 is a mashup game. We really like your definition: “Dungeon Crawling RPG Matching Game“. How did you come up with the idea behind 10000000? Do you like mashup games? What are your favourites?
So, again with the creative process: I absolutely didn't set out to make a dungeon crawling matching RPG game. I started with the RPG element and started iterating. Originally it was a much slower, much thoughtful game like [the fantastic] Hoplite but I kept iterating and adding features. I found that having the really fast pace made for a really fun game. It wasn't what I wanted or planned, but it worked so it had to stay. The matching part was the worst of that. I really didn't set out to make a matching game, I think I had a bit of prejudice there, but when I prototyped that feature, it just clicked really worked, and felt great. I had to keep it.
4. 10000000 is such an amazing game for mobile devices. When porting it to PC/Mac/Linux, did you need to make some design changes? How was the game received on Steam? Any favourite feedback you remember?
Thanks! Hah - Yeah, this one was tricky. There was a particularly common piece of feedback, which was the games biggest criticism - "It's not really changed much from the mobile version" it sucked, but it was true. The thing is, It took months to make it not the same as the mobile version -- This game is all about speed and pace. It's all about having moments and experiences that hit at exactly the right time. The mouse is a different speed to touch. Getting it to compile and run on desktop platforms was a breeze, but the experience? It just didn't work - every number had to be rebalanced and there were lots of tweaks. But overall, it was received really well, lots of people played and enjoyed it. Im happy :)
5. You Must Build a Boat is not an expansion for 10000000 but a whole new game. You've said that “more content” as an experience guiding the design didn’t really make sense but you found something that did. What was this new experience you mentioned at your site when announcing the game?
Thats a secret for now :P but conceptually It's about framing the game from the eyes of the player rather from the eyes of a designer. When I was young I saw game design as being the auteur and architect of something grand. OK, there is still a little bit of that, but more and more I don't think in this way. I'll decide the experience and then find ways for the player to make it happen through their own actions.
6. Loving narrative in all its forms, we are really excited with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” feature of You Must Build a Boat... can you tell us something more about it?
It's still something I'm not sure about. At the moment, the CYOA decisions and their consequences are quite limited in scope, that sounds like a bad thing but I don't think it is for two reasons. First, I want people to be able to choose the 'bad' option - I want the 'bad' option to sometimes be the correct option, I've found that I'm much more willing to take a bad option if I know the consequences are scoped. and I'm not going to be hurt down the line for it. Actually in the general case, I love games like that, but like 10000000, YMBAB is meant so that you really can play it in a few spare minutes and I'm worried about having a big narrative aspect will hurt that. So my goal is to have the best of both worlds. Have the narrative and the overreaching stuff there, but not in your face - It's there for the people who care, but the person who just wants a quick blast on the game can do that too. Fingers crossed it works!
7. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?
Tough Question! Yoshitaka Murayama - Suikoden 1 and 2 are the greatest games ever made. I don't think he's up to much now. But maybe one day! Harvey Smith is baller, an impressive backlog of great games, but most recently Dishonored, which was just brilliant, for too many reasons to list. Gaslamp Games, Dungeons of Dredmor: I think is still the best value game I've ever bought and fantastic. The stuff they are doing with Clockwork Empires looks really cool too.
8. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?
I'd say so. Though not as heavy as I'd like. When I was a kid I wanted to make video games so I could play video games all day. Turns out that isn't the case. Recently, I've been playing Reus on PC and Neuroshima Hex on mobile. Both really good games that I'd recommend.
9. One last random question. If you could peek into anybody's mind at any particular moment in human history, who would it be and why?
*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!).