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Gamasutra often speaks with established developers at major studios. But as we have all come to recognize, vital perspectives and talent also come from independent creators.
In the spirit of recognizing that, Gamasutra arranged a roundtable discussion between three of the major innovators in the shoot-em-up genre. These are:
- Canadian-based Jonathan Mak, creator of PS3 PlayStation Network hit and Independent Games Festival multi-award winner - also now available on PC - Everyday Shooter.
- Japanese native Kenta Cho of ABA Games, the prolific creator whose Tumiki Fighters was recently upgraded to the Wii as Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy.
- The pseudonymous Japanese creator Omega, whose game Every Extend formed the basis of Q Entertainment's Every Extend Extra (PSP) and E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme (Xbox Live Arcade).
While their circumstances and game designs are different, their independent visions have all been compelling enough to reach the wider world on contemporary console platforms.
Facilitating a discussion which took place in Japanese and English, here Game Developer Magazine editor in chief Brandon Sheffield leads a free-form, casual, and candid discussion with the unassuming creators of these exciting new games.
How was the music for Everyday Shooter created?
Kenta Cho: I think sometimes the acoustic guitar is difficult to match to the game, like the 2D shooting.
Jonathan Mak: Well, sometimes I make the song before I make the game...
JM: Yeah, sometimes after, sometimes before. Sometimes it's visual first, so...
Do you always make the songs after the game?
KC: Always after. I personally upgrade my own game and think about the beat of the music, and then add sound, and adjust the background music to the gameplay.
And you do the opposite? Do you then adjust gameplay to the music?
JM: Well, it's not... yeah. It actually happens like all at once.
JM: If you play level four, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's a lot slower.
KC: The music I listen to every day is techno music. I like the music like progressive house or Detroit techno.
JM: You use ACID [Music Studio software] right? You use ACID?
KC: ACID? Yes, I use ACID.
JM: And then you have samples? Loops?
KC: Yeah, many, many samples.
JM: Do you make the loops?
KC: No, I only sample them from CDs. I don't have the ability to write chords, or loops.
JM: Can I? Can I write loops for you?
KC: (laughs) It's very nice of you. (continues to laugh)
JM: I'll do it.
That's cool. You should to it.
JM: Oh, also maybe if you like the game, maybe we can create "singles". So, like you know how with a music album, you can create singles? And release it on PSN, so that might be something to put together, and put it on PSN.
Like a single, one level, 10 minute shooter, you know. So maybe we can make one up. Might be interesting, might not be. Might be bad.
Do you have any interest in putting your games on PSN or a console?
KC: Yeah, I have interest.
JM: I know someone from Sony who wants to put your game on console - Tumiki Fighters.
KC: Tumiki Fighters. Ah, that's not for Sony, but for Wii. But that's very nice, if I can play my game on PSN or PS3.
ABA Games' Tumiki Fighters
JM: Yeah, but you have to do work to put it on. It's a bit of work. This took like three months, but because the widescreen was a problem and it took a little bit longer, but I can help you.
You program in D, right?
KC: Yeah, I program in D and it caused some problems importing into other consoles.
Why do you use D?
KC: D is... I don't know that I could've written the program in C++, because its template is very dangerous and dirty programming. I mainly like to write programs in Java, and D has the same semantics as Java, and also D can create and execute files...
JM: It compiles to C++, right?
KC: There are some utilities that's that kind of conversion, but it's not used for the big projects - it's a very, very simple utility.
When you created the [Japanese Bandai-created handheld] WonderSwan version, what language did you use? For the WonderWitch development tool.
KC: For WonderWitch, I used simple C. And recently I mainly write games in ActionScript or Flash.
Oh, I see. Interesting... most curious.
KC: I'd like to challenge another language, to create games.