In the run-up to the 2006 Independent Games Festival, which is held at Game Developers Conference 2006 in San Jose from March 20-24, 2006, Gamasutra is showcasing a number of the IGF finalists in different categories. As part of a series of Gamasutra Education-exclusive articles, we profile the 2006 IGF Student Showcase winners by interviewing them about their award-winning titles, which will be playable at the IGF Pavilion at GDC this March.
This feature interviews Kim Jong Hwa from Sung Kyun Kwan University of Korea, who earned a spot as a Student Showcase winner with his color mixing game Palette, described as follows in his entry form:
"Color is the essence of the gameplay in this game. The players will experience the simulation of mixing real paint. This game is not for brain but for eyes. "
Gamasutra: What's the concept behind your IGF Student Showcase winning game, and give us an outline of the team that's behind it?
Once by accident I came across a tissue paper stained with color ink. The vividness of the color was quite impressive and I began to think about creating a game that uses color as the primary element. Then, sometime later I saw a stained glass window and the concept of mixing and painting uncolored glass pieces was born. The core production team of Palette is primarily just myself. I was responsible for the game design, programming and artwork. However, as with all games, work can never be done by one person. I had lots of help and advices from my friends with playtesting and some artwork.
GS: Tell us a little bit about the school and school program which were behind the game's genesis? Was this part of a course or final project? What kind of degree program did it count towards?
It was basically a personal project but it was made possible by a school environment that encourages such activities. The Department of Film, TV and Multimedia at Sung Kyun Kwan University of Korea where I am currently enrolled at, aims to create synergy through learning different aspects of various media such as film, animation, games, and broadcasting and fosters an environment for creative projects.
GS: How long did development on the game take and what tools did you use to create it?
It took me a month to collect the materials and design, 2 months of full time developing and a month of part time working on revision and playtesting. I used Macromedia Flash MX2004, Photoshop CS and Illustrator CS.
GS: What was the all-time best and all-time worst moment that you encountered during the game's creation?
The best time was right after I submitted the game. I was so happy to be done with struggling and working in a boiling hot room.
Once the creative part of work is done and the fun part is over, having to do tedious and manual work over and over again was agonizing. For instance, each stage consists of 9 layers and 5 of them have movieClips - the same number as the total number of stained glass pieces each. So that would be symbolizing, placing and naming all these pieces like thousands of times. It required extreme patience and self-control. Last summer in Korea was extremely hot to make things worse for me.
GS: Do you (yet) have any success stories or positive experience based on showing the student game to people in the game industry (praise, actually getting a job in the biz, etc)?
Well, I got a few interviews from various newspapers in Korea and I am drawing interest for a spot in the military exemption program made for people showing promise in the hi-tech industry.
GS: What are the most important things that student games should be showing off, in terms of both getting high marks in your courses and impressing potential employers?
They are all important, but as long as we are students, I think it's more important to be experimental because we have room for failure and can learn from it. Everything else, including getting good grades and impressing potential employers, will fall into place eventually.
GS: Have you tried any of the other Student Showcase finalists? If so, which ones did you especially appreciate, and why?
Cloud just blew me away. First of all, the presentation that leads players into the game world with such smoothness was truly awesome. It's beautiful graphics, fairy-tale like music, and unique gameplay were not only entertaining but emotionally appealing.
GS: Name one thing that people probably don't know about your game.
Well, there is one secret about the game. The result of mixing two
colors is not exactly same as in real life. When you mix blue and
yellow it should allow green but the game yields gray because of the
different color system computers use. So I got around this problem by
excluding such cases in level design.
GS: Have you any other messages for your fellow Student Showcase winners?
Well, I still have a long way to go and I' m sure other winners will try very hard as well. I hope they will keep their competitive spirit and somewhere down the road, we may meet again as competitors or maybe co-workers. Congratulations to all!