First out is Kristoffer Jetmundsen, also known as KrisJet.
Read about the upcoming game Little Big Mansion, how it feels to be showcased at Right Arrow, KrisJet's favourite games, and much more, below!
Steve: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
First, tell us about your current project, Little Big Mansion.
Kristoffer: Little Big Mansion is a puzzle platformer based on size. You play an illusionist with the ability to switch the size of objects, and you have to use this ability to solve puzzles to progress through the game. The game has kind of a mysterious mood to it, predominantly due to the music, which was created by my brilliant sound/music guy and co-designer Martin Kvale.
Steve: I have played some levels and it is captivating and feels fresh. The difficulty is ramped up quite fast as well. Have you set a release date yet?
Kristoffer: No, not yet. We're aiming to finish production late this year, but it's still a bit early to tell exactly when that will be.
Steve: You mentioned Martin Kvale. How do you cooperate on the game design and other aspects of the game?
Kristoffer: Martin helps keep the design cohesive. We want all the different elements to fit together: the game and level design, the sounds and music as well as the story, and that's where Martin is especially helpful. Usually when we meet we go over what has happened since last time we met, and we brainstorm some ideas around on how we can improve things, and at the same time integrate the new ideas into the game in the best way possible.
Steve: What made you want to create LBM?
Kristoffer: The idea for the mechanic was first conceived when working on a game for the competition "NM i Gameplay" (norwegian nationals of gameplay). After creating the initial prototype and posting some links online I found out that the game really struck a chord with a lot of players, so I decided to apply for some funding at the Norwegian Film Institute. It seemed like a concept that could succeed commercially, and at the same time it was interesting and new, so those are the main reasons.
Steve: How long did you initially think it would take to finish, and how much time have you roughly spent so far?
Kristoffer: We estimated something around a 1000 hours divided between the two of us, and I'm guessing we are somewhere around the 200 hour mark as of right now. We both work on some different projects, so we are not technically "full time" on LBM.
Steve: And you are 1/5 there? ;)
Kristoffer: Well, we are still exploring some mechanics and stuff, so it's still a bit early to tell, but I think we've accomplished a lot considering, and we are getting closer to having a crystal clear vision of the final product.
Steve: Has the game mechanics been the biggest hurdles in creating the game?
Kristoffer: Game mechanics and level design are both super important in this project, as they are in all games, and it is definitely a very challenging game from a game design standpoint. I know that Martin feels a lot more "done" in the music department, he has sort of nailed his vision for the sound and music design already, but the game design is still evolving.
Steve: You recently went to Right Arrow. How did that come about and what did you get out of it?
Kristoffer: Shalev Moran, the curator for the exhibition, contacted me after playing the prototype online, and asked if I wanted to participate. After some back and forth he asked me if I would be interested in coming down during the exhibit, and I said yes. At Right Arrow I met a lot of great people, and a lot of people who would never have played my game otherwise got to play it, so I consider it a great success!
Steve: That's got to feel good!
Kristoffer: Yeah, in the beginning I actually was a bit sceptical, it sounded almost unbelievable to me :)
Steve: So they flew you down and set you up with a "booth" of a kind to show your game? And you also participated in a panel discussion?
Kristoffer: Yeah, all the games were set up in these black box displays at the show. It was awesome walking around and seeing people having fun with LBM. I had a short talk about Little Big Mansion and Krisjet Game Design, and then there was a panel discussion afterwards, which was very cool to be a part of.
Steve: Many indie developers make great games, but unfortunately they sometimes end up relatively unnoticed. How do you tell the world about your game?
Kristoffer: Right now we're not doing enough to get exposure, but we are entering competitions, trying to keep our facebook page and twitter feeds up to date, writing some blog posts and the usual obligatory stuff. We're also going to conferences, like Nordic Game Indie Night at Nordic Game Conference in a couple of weeks, Indiecade this summer and of course Independent Games Festival at the end of the year.
Steve: Competitions seems like the odd one out. Tell us more!
Kristoffer: It's a great way to get exposure if your game is good enough, and a great way to get good feedback from other developers if it's not.
Steve: Growing up, what games did you play?
Kristoffer: I was a Nintendo kid. I've had every Nintendo console since the NES (except Virtual Boy, and now Wii U), so I grew up on Zelda and Mario and stuff like that. Later I got really into storybased JRPGs when I got a Playstation, and survival horror with the Resident Evil franchise. On PC my best experiences were with Lucasarts adventure games, and later with Half-life and Starcraft.
Steve: How do they influence what you make today?
Kristoffer: That is such a hard question. I feel like I'm just as much inspired by new games as by old games, especially games from the indie space are very inspiring to me. I guess out of those games I mentioned the ones that I feel are most relevant even today are actually the oldest ones. Zelda and Mario are truly timeless classics, while the Resident Evil series and Final Fantasy games really haven't held up all that great in comparison. What I do try to bring into my designs is as little handholding as possible, without frustrating the player. I also don't like killing off the player, especially in puzzle games. I guess I might have gotten that from Lucasarts :)
Steve: There is a lot of changes going on right now. A new console generation, the rise of mobile gaming, different pricing models, VR making a comeback, indie developers getting huge hits etc. Where do you see games going next?
Kristoffer: Right now I think the OUYA is pretty exciting but I really believe that if we got a secure and easy way to do payment online, like you can in the Android and iOS Appstores, it could redefine the way games are distributed, and HTML5 would be the new platform of choice. I haven't tried the Oculus Rift yet but I'm not sure if it's really gonna be that interesting. It sounds very cool, but at the same time it seems like it's more for the core audience, not something that will redefine games as we know it.
Steve: Finally, recommend a hidden gem of a game!
Kristoffer: Actually, I've been playing VESPER5 for a month or two I think. It's a game with a pretty interesting premise, you can only make one move per day, and it takes something like a 100 real life days to complete it. It was created for a competition with the theme Ritual, which is a pretty accurate description of what you are doing when you make your daily move.
Steve: Interesting! We will have to give it a try.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. We are looking forward to the release of LBM :)
Kristoffer: Thank you so much for having me!