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Q: One of your splash screens states that Dejobaan Games was founded in September 1924. Please describe for us the first video game that was produced by your company.
A: Our first title was MarbleZone, a puzzle game where players would twist around pieces of machinery to allow marbles to travel through them. A (true) story I like to tell is that one of our customers once wrote in saying that she had suffered neurological damage and was using MarbleZone to help exercise the parts of her brain that were "sleeping." Games are good for you.
Q: Why did you decide to use A6 for your line of 3D games?
A: In 2001, we created an Open GL prototype for a project called "Galaxy Run." Based on that experience, it was clear that to make that game, we'd have to put an enormous amount of work into basic 3D programming -- loading and animating models; organizing textures; collision detection; and so forth. 3DGS freed us from much of that, allowing us to focus on implementing gameplay mechanics. The engine's solid history, license, and price point attracted us over its competitors.
Q: How is Inago Rage doing? Did you manage to sell enough copies of it?
A: While I'm proud of the title, sales have fallen short of the break-even point. This was disappointing, but as it was our first Windows FPS, it didn't surprise us. Production taught us a number of valuable lessons, one of which was that you sometimes just have to finish a game and get it out there. If you then analyze what you did right and wrong (and can explain that to an audience), you're in good shape for the next project.
Q: Galaxy Rage appears to be Inago Rageís sequel, but we all know that G.R. packs much more punch than I.R. What are the main differences between the two games?
A: Broadly, we'd like to push aesthetics further in the direction of non-photorealism and provide deeper gameplay. We're designing Galaxy Rage to be an open-ended game, where players can explore the game world at will and build their fortunes as treasure hunters, prospectors, and even by cultivating exotic life forms on distant planets. Where Inago Rage was linear (advance through the levels by shooting everything), we want Galaxy Rage players to make decisions about how they play.
Q: What are you using for your great looking skies? Sky cubes? Sky spheres? Something else?
A: We are using sky cubes created with Pandromeda's MojoWorld (www.pandromeda.com).
Q: How do you manage to come up with all those nice looking special effects? Please describe something from G.R. that looks great and can be created easily.
A: You can use mesh deformation to make your models twist, ripple, and warp in realtime. I posted an example at http://tinyurl.com/zp8be, though a more efficient way to do this would be to do the deformation as you instantiate the model, then simply ent_animate() through it. It's a great way to turn something as simple as a cylinder into something that looks fluid and organic.
Q: I see that you are using the BASS audio library instead of using A6ís built in audio system. Why did you decide to do this?
A: We added BASS for native OGG support and the ability to add new audio functionality as needed. For example, if we want the environment to react to the audio, we can create a spectrum analyzer and key entity behavior off of that (as with did with the music in Epidemic Groove). Or, if we want the audio to react to the environment, we can create filters for that (e.g. low-pass filtering the sound if the player is underwater).
Q: Please give us some advice for the lone wolves out there.
A: Inspiration comes from unexpected places. If you're looking for fresh, new ideas for your game, grab some innovative titles for non-desktop platforms. I was surprised at how much Animal Crossing for the DS taught me about creating a first-person shooter.
Thank you a lot, Ichiro.