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How Thumper made the jump from VR to the Nintendo Switch

May 26, 2017 | By Bryant Francis

When you’re making an indie game, it’s probably reasonable that as a new platform like VR emerges, you might realize there’s an opportunity to port your game on that platform to try out the new technology. 

But then after that, how many developers could turn around and say they could port their game right away to a new platform like the Nintendo Switch? Not many—but today, we got to sit down and talk with Thumper co-creator Marc Flury about the process of bringing his VR hit to Nintendo’s new portable console. 

You can watch the full conversation above (sorry for the frame drops, we’re still working out Switch streaming), but in case you’re short on time, here’s a few quick takeaways from talking with Flury. 

Nintendo’s interest in Thumper was all about the rumble

Thumper launched on PlayStation and PC with support for rumble controls, and apparently while Flury was showing off the game in Japan, Nintendo execs approached him at a games festival to ask if the game would work well on their new prototype controls. If you play the game yourself, you can see how well the flow of the game is captured in the HD Rumble system. 

Rolling your own engine for indies is sometimes the right move—if you rethink your approach to programming

Flury explained to us that working on Thumper for 7 years has left him with some different programming approaches than what he was taught as a computer science major. To take it to another level, he also thinks that his experience has shown him that traditional teaching methods like C++ and object-oriented programming hold some developers back, and it may be time for schools to rethink how they introduce programming to young people. 

Good rumble effects are like sound effects

When asking Flury how to make good experiences for the HD rumble, the developer compared Thumper’s new controls with the idea of using them the way you would sound effects. He also gave some brief examples about what makes Nintendo’s new rumble technology so different than those inside the PlayStation and Xbox controllers. 

If this conversation was enlightening to you, be sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables and gameplay commentary.  

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