Peter: No problem. It is always nice when others take an interest in what we do.
Steve: We really like the graphical expression of Teslagrad. Did you envision this style from the beginning or did it evolve through «trial and error» with other styles?
Peter: Well, we hit pretty close to it right form the start. Olli did all the testing of the style in the concept stage so everything that went into the game was already made the way we felt it would be right. We have this nice design thread in our internal forum where we can see how it all evolved in the concept stage. There is also some artwork on our open forum: http://teslagrad.com/forum/
Peter: We have created an imaginary world for Teslagrad. We do take inspiration from the real world, but diverge from it quite a lot too. For reference of something similar in the way of fiction I would recommend taking a look at GirlGenius by Phil Foglio. In our world the Genius of Tesla was not limited to one individual, but rather follows the name trough an entire family. The family, along with their pupils, are known as the Teslamancers. But of course: Their science is like that of Nikola Tesla. Coils, magnets and currents. And since this is fantasy, it allows us to take it one step further, and add a fantastic element to the story.
Steve: What has been the biggest hurdles in creating the game?
Peter: Well. The unsung hero of many a good Indie team is the programmer. We actually have three people doing the art together: Olli for the animation and visual control, Petter for the backgrounds and Aslak for some of the bosses and other stuff. Fredrik has had to handle almost everything on the programming side alone, however, and this has been a real challenge. Teslagrad is far from bug- ridden, so think of Fredrik every time nothing goes wrong :-)
Magnus Holm contributes on the game design. We also had Jørn Lavoll doing our music from the start, but the rest of the sound was far behind for a long time. Now we have Martin who also does the sound for Krillbite’s "Among the Sleep" doing it for us, and that is quite a relief.
Lastly there is the old bogeyman: Money. We have had some funding, but for the biggest part Rain as a company is completely bootstrapped. So we worked half a year for no pay at all, and were all pretty happy when this increased to NOK 50 an hour. Considering that we do this as a full time job, that is pretty rough... But: Doing it this way, we get to own the company ourselves.
Steve: And your role? ;)
Peter: I brought together the Rain team. I do the business side of things, and I do the game design. I have some experience with both art and programming, and that helps a lot. It basically lets me understand everyone on the team. I also spend a lot of time making levels and puzzles in Unity, and planning out the layout of the game itself.
Steve: Is the game design evolving as you progress with graphics, code and sound?
Peter: Well. I always have to consider how long it will take to create a feature or animation when I design things. And sometimes I may find that something does not work.
Steve: But the GDD is more or less the same now as it was when you started the project? No major tweaks, add-ons or removals?
Peter: Not really.
Steve: Incredible! =)
Peter: Thanks :-)
Steve: Do you have any plans to port it to mobile or tablet?
Peter: We would like to see it on portable devices. However, there are some challenges with the input controls. Teslagrad uses a 4-way D-pad, start and jump button, plus four other buttons. This will have to be adjusted to work well on phones and tablets. The hardware specs are also a challenge, at least for now. Both issues probably make Vita a better choice than iPad...
Steve: Your first game, Minute Mayhem, were put on hold in favor of focusing exclusively on Teslagrad. What led to this conclusion?
Peter: We got funding for Teslagrad... And we need to eat. That: And Teslagrad catered better to the teams strengths.
Peter: We are not quite sure. We are pretty sure we are going to do another game in the same universe as Teslagrad, but we also have a lot of other potential games on the drawing board.
Peter: Well. Greenlight is its own way of getting known, of course. But it wouldn't work if we didn't work at it too. The first time we were picked up by the media was when we put the game up on Desura. Desura makes you register the game on Indie DB too, and from there Indiegames (The blog) and Eurogamer picked it up. Rock Paper Shotgun followed soon after. The YouTubers have also been pretty nice to us. A lot of people have gotten to know about the game trough their broadcasts. This however required that we actively sent out a press-build for them to review. Following up press contacts and remembering to send out announcements also counts. Especially to those contacts that already know you.
Steve: Growing up, what games did you play?
Peter: I owned the NES and SNES. Later I went over to PC. My favorites were games like Megaman, Zelda 3 and Super Metroid on the SNES. On PC, it was strategy games like Battleisle, Heroes of might and magic 3 and Warlords 2. Ah. And Ufo :-)
Steve: How do they influence what you make today?
Peter: We are making a Metroidvania after all... But I am just 1 man. Everyone at Rain gets a say in this. I am glad I played Metroid for this, though. It is always nice to have seen something done right before you get to it.
Steve: There is a lot of changes going on right now. New hardware generation, the rise of mobile gaming, different pricing models, indie developers getting huge hits etc. Where do you see games going next?
Peter: Well. Unity seems to be growing. For us it allows us to basically port Teslagrad to any platform that would have us. This will go for a lot of other games too, basically making developers far less platform dependent. Of course: None likes a port that is done poorly. So I think part of it is developers thinking about the issues with multi- platform from the very start. As always, the issues are system requirements, and controller input possibilities. A keyboard and mouse are pretty different from a D-pad after all. I am sure glad we kept this in mind from the start.
Steve: Finally, recommend a hidden gem of a game!
Peter: Bob the Blob by Henchman and Goon.
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