actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

GamingWe are Teknopilot / Sarepta - Norwegian Game Developers AMA

Apr 6th 2017 by mychildgame • 16 Questions • 1822 Points

I’m Rusel DeMaria. I’m a writer, game designer, and narrative lead for Starfighter Inc. Come join me and I’ll tell you why narrative is so important in games and why our approach is like nothing you’ve ever seen in a team-based combat game. I’ll tell you how we’re going to get you involved in our world. We’ll surprise you. We’ll let you in on the secrets of The System. Ask me anything.

PROOF: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154534265299211&set=a.10150987060309211.428120.595984210&type=3&theater

CURRENT PROJECT: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/impellerstudios/starfighter-inc-0/comments

http://starfighterinc.gamepedia.com/Starfighter_Inc_Wiki

https://impellerstudios.com/

Q:

Which is better, Sweden or Denmark?

A:

I remember in "Tie Fighter" some optional goals that helped develop some sort of "Sith special agent story" happening in game. Will we have this kind of stuff ? In a more general way, will there be briefing sessions separated from flight sessions ? Will there be some roleplaying elements (like interactive dialogs), and dramatic background with developed characters (I thought that people like Paladin, Maniac, Angel was what made the Wing Commander series really shine to me) ?


Q:

Hehe, I always like to pretend to not like Sweden (like teasing a little sibling). Sweden is way ahead of Norway when it comes to the game development industry. And Denmark has cheaper stuff.

I'll go with Denmark XD

[Catharina]

(Sorry guys please let me still come to the Nordic Game Conference in Malmø)

A:

We fully plan on creating secondary goals and splinter off side stories. In our stretch goals, we have the ability even to spin off single-player bonus missions, but that's pretty far away right now. As for cut-scene types of action, that's again something that requires more funding, it's not currently in the play, but we do plan on including at least one graphic novel and lots of fiction related the game as it goes forward through our website. Some players who do really well, might find themselves as part of those stories. Character development is trickier in a game like ours, but through our ancillary fiction, we hope to fully flesh out the fiction.


Q:

Hehe, I always like to pretend to not like Denmark (like teasing a little sibling). Sweden is way ahead of Denmark and Norway when it comes to the game development industry. And Denmark has more trash. I'll go with Sweden XD [Catharina] (Sorry guys please let me still come to the Nordic Game Conference in Malmø)

Fixed

A:

Here's a super-nerdy one: the world of Starfighter Inc (off of the Earth's surface in particular) is controlled by corporations. What do they use as currency, and what is it backed by? Is there a 'two tier' system, with day-to-day currency being fractured into regional utility and large transactions in some common intermediary (clearinghouse style)?

Fiat currency might not work to well for inter-corporation trading (being essentially Company Scrip). Backing by precious metals is less effective when heavy metal asteroid finds could 'crash the market' by eliminating rarity (why the "trillion dollar asteroid" headlines make little sense in practice). Backing based on useful commodities (e.g. purified water, useful buffer/propellant gasses, light metals) has volatility issues and transport issues, on top of all the normal issues of backing with commodities being very close to a barter economy. If hydrocarbons for plastics and composites are still valuable that might work as an interesting replacement for precious metals (you can either mine them on the Earth and truck them out of the gravity well, or synthesise them elsewhere at an energy expense) but still have the issue of them being a functional commodity rather than valuable in and of themselves.


Q:

As a Norwegian - and fellow Scandinavian - that question is just impossible to answer ;-)

[Elin]

A:

redmercuryvendor: That has been debated by the team, but there isn’t a set answer yet, due to many of the issues you’ve discussed. Between all the worlds of the solar system, few materials are all that rare, or could not potentially be mined extensively if a great enough demand existed. In the inner solar system, you can find fissionables and abundant metals; in the asteroid belt, you can find more abundant heavy metals; in the outer solar system, you have almost ubiquitous ices and hydrocarbons. Improved manufacturing technology only makes this more difficult because it allows creation of substances that could possibly be rare otherwise - in a world where bulk diamond is usable as a structural material (and current technology is only closing the gap between the industrial stones and the jewels), how useful would it be as a precious gem?

One of the main options our team most agrees with is using a form of digital currency, like bit-coin. That data can be beamed out facilitates use for an interplanetary economy, and though there is still lightspeed lag to deal with during distant transactions, it’s much easier than transporting the material between locations. Also, it probably comes as close as anything artificial gets to being limited by its design; this might actually pose a problem in a rapidly expanding economy (as the narrative suggests) when it must be divided into smaller and smaller units. This doesn’t mean it isn’t without major issues that have held us back from adopting it - for one, it’s still potentially hackable (if with enormous difficulty), and makes you dependent to some extent on whoever owns the network of servers keeping track of it. Granted, given that our story presumes corporations control everything, having stuff in the hands of one or two banks might not be undesirable.


Q:

It's deilig to be Norsk in Denmark. Swedes are dumb, we make jokes about them.

Det var en gang to svensker som gikk på en vei så sa den ene: Titta, en död fågel. Da ser den andre svensken opp i lufta og sier: Var da?

A:

Are you the Willie Wonka of Star Wars gaming?


Q:

Swedes are not dumb, we just love making fun of them and them of us. It is a beautiful relationship (we even use the same jokes).

[Catharina]

A:

I was a temporary Wonka when I was commissioned to write a novella of each of the first two Star Wars games and continued those fictions in the strategy guides. I invented the characters Keyan Farlander and Maarek Stele. I guess that's the extent of my wonkishness with Stat Wars though. :0


Q:

I know :) Love it!

A:

"Come with me and we'll see a world of true imagination..."


Q:

That is a relief. If I had to end up defending their honor I would run out of ideas pretty quickly ;D

[Catharina]

A:

You have no idea what my imagination already sees.


Q:

How have you done research on this project? There have been several studies on the subject, but have you also spoken to surviving children of german male soldiers and norwegian women (there were, of course, also children of norwegian men and german women, but these were not singled out for abuse in the same way)?

A:

Hi ! I really enjoyed the differences between mission briefings and what really happened in flight, and the hard decisions to make. Will we have something like this in StarFighter Inc. ? Will there be something like mission plan maps updates happening in flight, like some sort of emergency change of plan (I'd really love to see something like this) ?


Q:

The start of this project was actually with Teknopilot co-producing a documentary film about the Lebensborn, where we interviewed several of the "children". We've also had several meetings with the Lebensborn associantion in Norway. In addition to this, we've read scholarly studies, interviewed researchers and historians, read books from Lebensborn children and official reports on the topic of the Lebensborn children and the "German children" - the wider group including all children with German soldiers from WW2 as fathers. We're also in contact with the global research network called Children Born of War, who study the wider topic of children from enemy soldiers.

[Elin]

A:

Hi Gehroll. Yes, there will be mission briefings in the form of the contracts you sign as a mercenary. These will give you the basic mission parameters and the amount the mission pays. There may be changes in the mission primary or secondary missions during the battle. You'll be in communication through your DSS, which is your support system during flight. Currently, your after-mission summary will basically consist of how much money (credits) you gained and possible charges for repairs. And we want the hangar experience between missions to be very immersive and dynamic.


Q:

Your game sounds super depressing, what would make me want to play it?

A:

Hi Rusel! Excited to hear more about Starfighter Inc. How exactly will you be telling the story to the player in an open world combat game? Will it be linear or will it play out different for each player? Cutscenes? Or lots of terminal reading??


Q:

It is created to be an engaging game. You see games such as This War of Mine, and Revolution 1979 take on heavy topics while still being interesting to play. The game is, at its core about raising a child with complex emotions and his/her own life views. Going through the experience of getting to know the child and the story around this history is something that will be an engaging experience.

You get to help a child through difficulties, you'll see the effects of your kind and motivational actions. It is meant to be an uplifting experience in the end because you will see the child grows from it.

The game has a sad story, but it is also an engaging experience as you get to know the child and have fun too.

[Catharina]

A:

Lollsmalls: I answered some of your question in the previous reply. As for the story being linear, my goal, and this also will depend on stretch goals at this time, is to have several simultaneous areas of conflict at once. These areas of conflict would involve different organizations fighting over different issues. So it will be a multi-threaded narrative, and sometimes the different threats might converge. I think of this as I would if I were writing a novel or series for TV. But not in episodes. It is a 24/7/365 game, and stories will evolve at different rates. Given our gameplay format, we aren't going to have exploration or an open world setting. At its core, this is a combat game, and as a mercenary, your first concern is survival, followed by credits earned, which in turn allow you to purchase new ships, upgrade existing ones, and many more options for how to use your credits. As for terminal reading, there will be some, but some of it is optional and for added entertainment value and further immersion in the storylines and events in the game. The primary reason to read the terminal will be to seek out good contracts for your next battle.


Q:

First of all, let me just say I'm looking forward to play this game and try to learn more about the previous projects, since I am a fan of narrative driven games. Said that, I have 2 questions.

1- When you are developing a game where the main focus is the narrative, and the story is trying to explore deep and somewhat dark themes, what are the things you are looking for to keep the audience attached to the game?

2- Since it is narrative driven, how much detail do you feel the game's story needs to keep the audience stuck on the game?

Thank you for the time :)

A:

How do you plan to allow the players personal experience to affect the narrative when dealing with a online multiplayer game?


Q:

Thank you TacoPires that means a lot :) I will try to keep my answer short. (difficult)

1-

When we started looking at the concepts we were more looking for interesting and new ways of telling the stories of the Lebensborn while also exploring people's emotions. We wanted to make something that would feel conflicting to play.

In that sense we didn't initially think about it in that sense. Of course as we have been developing the game, seing how easily impacted we are by the sadness of the child we wanted to make sure to put emphasis on the good times.

After all, the child that you meet is not the sum of his/her experiences, they are more than that. And that is what we focus on in the game. Yes, it will get tough. Yes it will get tougher than you thought we could make it, but the core is still the child and your relationship.

We have to be careful to make sure to let the good times (and the semingly trivial everyday-tasks) have enough space in our game.

There is a lot of mystery in the game, in a way, through all the things that we (and the child) choose not to tell the player. I believe that aspect is something that we could have more of in games. Even though from a design perspective it is a bit scary. We probably out right tell the player only 10% of what we have actually written. The rest is just conveyed through how we write and how we design the days.

Ultimately I believe that the care the player will feel for the child is what will make them keep playing, even when it gets tough. Because that is when the child will need them the most.

2-

I am not sure I understand that question. I am personally a fan of saying as little as possible, but making sure there would be a lot that could be said. Trying to create a space for the player to interpret and decide things for themselves.

(sorry I said I would keep it short -.-*)

[Catharina]

A:

MrGraddo: The whole concept of narrative in a multiplayer game like SFI is one that we've approached in a variety of ways. First, of course, is the fact that for some major events the outcome of the story is determined by which side in the conflict wins (in a statistical sense over many battles). But there's a lot more. First, we have a very rich world in the background of the game, full of corporations, anti-corporate organizations, criminals, fanatics, and shadowing figures with influence in high places. It's a rich story evolving on its own, and it evolves through the game and through the players' actions. But it also has the ability to engage players directly through loyalties to one side or another, or becoming part of larger campaigns. The idea for the narrative is that it will evolve, that it will become more and more clear over time, and that it will contain many surprises. So there's a story, and as a mercenary you are not one of the movers and shakers, but you are someone with the autonomy to choose your sides and to become engaged and identifies with the emotions of winning and losing on top of the obvious perks of loot, reputation, and the ability to upgrade your ships, weapons, and systems. Reputation also functions as a way to gain extra perks from organizations that you fight for, so there is added incentive to choose a side, although you might like one side better than another for personal reasons. Like some of them are a-holes.


Q:

You actually answered the 2nd question on the answer to the first one, but this brings me another question about the game.

Since you are talking about the player's relationship with the child, are you looking for a first person game when you have a direct relation with her and feel it like it was affecting us too or are you looking for a third person game where the player just sees what happens with the child and reacts to the toughness you talk about?

(I hope I'm not trying to know too much, if there is something you don't feel comfortable or you just don't want to say just tell me and I'll go my way xD)

A:

The Ultima: The Avatar Adventures was an incredible novelization / playthrough, and still stands as one of the best game guide ever. It made me and my brother completely invested in the story, and looked forward to having our own adventures in Britannia. It was a great crafted story!

Is there any plans to do more of that type of guide / walkthrough? Any more plans to work with Caroline?


Q:

I think it is great that you are asking.

When we started we also looked at the first persion view, but realised in the concept stage that there is no way that you as the player could ever feel, or properly understand what these kids experienced.

In stead we put the player as the adoptive parent of a Lebensborn child. The child will go through all the experiences, and you as a parent will mostly only be witness to the effects that has on the child.

It is up to the player to try and help the child, explain the world, explain why this is happening. Influence how the child feels about himself/herself and how they view the world. We saw early on that the level of empathy you get when experiencing difficulties as a player versus seing someone you care about experience those difficulties is not even comparable.

So we have decided to use the "nurture" genre and explore what can be done with it.

We have explained a lot about how the game works here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1071941972/my-child-lebensborn-a-nurture-game-about-emotional?ref=62evoe

There is an early gameplay trailer if you scroll down.

[Catharina]

A:

Avaclon: I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed The Avatar Adventures. It was really a fun project, and Caroline was truly a hoot. She credits me with helping her launch her writing career since, and she's doing lots of new things. We haven't had any projects to work on together since then.

As for guides and walkthroughs, I'm not sure that we will need that for SFI, but if we do, I'll be the one to do it. But for fiction, I plan on writing a lot of background fiction that follows our ongoing story. I'm pretty prolific and a fast writer, so I think I can keep up with our storyline as the game progresses, and I also have Zach and possibly David Wessman who could offer some fiction, too. It's going to be fun and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed the Ultima book.


Q:

Well thank you for the time spent with me. I will explore that page to know a little bit more

And congratulations for what it seems to be a pretty good project. It has a lot of good ingredients and I hope you have success with it. It's good to see that there are still people trying to innovate on the gaming industry. Good luck with this game and with all future projects for both Teknopilot and Sarepta

A:

I'm trying to break into game development by designing my own games in Unity, but writing comes extremely easy to me. I'd love to write for video games, I just don't really know where to start; video game writing seems to be the one area where there are no college courses or youtube tutorial series to latch onto.

Any advice for an aspiring games writer?


Q:

Thank you, it is great to talk with people who are so interested

[Elin][Catharina][Kjartan]

A:

Clockw0rk: I can't say there's any easy way to break into writing for video games, but the truth is, if you're a good writer already and you know games well, you don't need a college course, you need to start writing about games or writing your own games. You can certainly apply to be writer for game companies. Do some searches. Companies like BioWare often hire new writers, but their writing test is tough. Writers are not the most respected members of the game development community, and often people think anyone can write so why pay someone? You have to prove to them that you will make their game better through your writing ability. You can also start writing reviews and other material about games in a blog of your own, perhaps also showing your personal thoughts about narrative in games and how it could be better than it is. Basically, there's no single path, but many possibilities, which is true for any aspiring writer.


Q:

Interesting!

What is the main purpose of your game? How do you want your audience to feel or even learn from playing?

A:

I have a very, very simple question, to which I'd like you to answer as honestly as possible.

Why do you like your job?


Q:

Great question! The main purpose is hard to put into one thing, but we'll try. It's to show the stories of the Lebensborn in an engaging, immersive way, so that you really feel what it's like for a kid who is seen as an enemy and doesn't understand why. We are making Karin/Klaus as "real" as we can, hoping you'll get the feeling of "being there together with the kid" as the true events are unfolding. In this way, we want the history to come alive and the player to really understand and feel the unfairness of punishing a small child for something others have done - to become aware of the ethical blindness it is to take hatred out on others because of their genes. And I guess this identification and ethical awareness is really what we're aiming for.

[Elin]

A:

"As honestly as possible." That kind of makes me laugh. I can't imagine why I would not he honest in answering that question. So...

I love being both a writer and a game designer primarily because it is a license to be curious. It is permission to keep learning and being interested in just about everything. Two of the people I learned from, both directly and indirectly, were Will Wright and Sid Meier. They were to people of boundless curiosity, especially Will. As a writer, I was mentored by Theodore Sturgeon, whose motto was "Ask the next question." For me, this is the main reason I love what I do. I have written fiction, history, and earth science. For David Perry on Game Design, a book for which I was the principal researcher and writer, I looked into a staggering number of subjects as part of the development of this 1000 page tome.

The other reason I love what I do is that, despite the uncertainty of the next paycheck, I am not beholden to anyone else. I make my own time and schedule, and I pick my projects. I also have the time to practice and teach tai chi and travel without having to ask permission. It's not always easy, and this kind of freedom can come with a cost. Without self-discipline it's easy to fail. But because I love the work I do, I never really get tired of it or want to sit around doing nothing. I get up and figure out every day what to work on. And still have time for other activities.


Q:

Are you going to make a version for PC?

A:

When it comes to story telling in games who is the best of the best in your opinion?


Q:

As we use Unity as a platform, we could certainly port it to PC. The challenge is that an important part of the game and interaction is based on touch screen.

You will simply not get the same experience playing on PC. We will not say a definite "no never", but it will not be our focus.

[Catharina]

A:

bamboooozer: I haven't played every game ever made, and the answer to that question depends on how you define story telling. Off the top of my head... There are games that are very narrative driven, and BioWare is one of the best. Telltale Games is also quite interesting, although I haven't played their most recent games. But then I look at a game like the original NES version of Legend of Zelda. Simple story. But the game play was superb and told it's own story. One of my favorite games of all time because of the tight design that let you use the same map twice, and have a whole new experience. What are some of your favorites?


Q:

Men faen... Gjør det :D

A:

Hi Rusel What is your opinion the best storyline when it comes to blockbuster games (2010-)?


Q:

I believe it is important not to allow a player to play the game the "wrong" way. Portin it to a platform that does not fit seems pointless and reckless to me. There will have to be good reasons for it, and a strategy taht makes sense.

[Catharina]

A:

I can't answer that question adequately because I've not been keeping up with all the games out there. It would be unfair of me to just point out ones that I have played. I've been so busy with this game and working on two other books that took a lot of time, High Score Expanded and an upcoming book based on Microsoft for which I interviewed 89 people. I just didn't have time to devote to a lot of the games that have come out. But I will say that I really enjoyed the Mass Effect series. I made time for those. And I've played a few action RPGs, like Path of Exile, Pillars of Eternity, and Grim Dawn, but not for the stories. Just because that kind of game is relaxing and not all that challenging when I'm in the middle of other big projects.


Q:

I'm interested in knowing the relationship between the Lebensborn children and Norway, since you mentioned it on your post.

Also, what is something you'd like for people to know about Norway?

Best of luck with the kickstarter!

A:

does storytelling matter if you cant understand what they are saying? (Im playing Dragon Quest X online currently).


Q:

The intention of the Lebensborn program during WW2 was originally that Nazi officers should have children with "aryan" women. But the end result was that any woman who got pregnant with a regular German soldier - and was considered to be "aryan" in 3 generations, had their child registered as a Lebensborn child and could get some child support. Some of the children were also given to children's homes, so called "Lebensborn homes", where they were cared for by German nurses. Because Norwegian women were considered to be largely "aryan", half of the registered Lebensborn children were registered in Norway during the 5 years of occupation in WW2. This is thought to be around half of the 10-12.000 children that are estimated to have been born by German soldiers and Norwegian women during WW2. We are telling the story of a Lebensborn child in our game, but the story is on the whole also representative for all the "German children" born during WW2.

Norway is a peace loving country in Scandinavia, which also has the honor of handing out the Nobel Peace Prize every year. And we have a lot of resources and generally high living standards. But still - as a society, we didn't protect these children. This is a general problem for all Children Born of War, but in heavily troubled countries you can understand more that "larger problems" take center stage. In Norway, we can't really blame it on lack of resources or other conflicts. But we were still blinded by the hatred towards the enemy - and saw enemies instead of children. We are still today partly blind to this part of our history, and thinking less of the "german brats" is in many ways part of our culture. It's long overdue that we take a more active stand to this kind of thing.

A:

I guess it depends on how much the storytelling depends on dialogue and how well you can interpret the events based on actions. I've played Japanese games without understanding a word, but I still get the gist of the story, if not the details. Probably that is because the stories usually tended to be pretty simplistic to begin with. So it matters in that the events are stories. The quests are stories. The winning and losing is part of the ongoing story.


Q:

Thank you so much for the detailed reply, this was really interesting to read!

A:

Have you any thoughts about real-time cutscenes vs pre-rendered cutscenes in games? What do you prefer?

BR Bero4


Q:

Really glad to hear it!

A:

I prefer Real-time if you're going to use cutscenes. The less you take the player out of the game world, the better. The less you interrupt the player's agency in the game, the better. But judicial use of cutscenes can also be good for information and entertainment value and character development.


Q:

There is a bit off a jump from shadow puppeteer to My Child Lebensborn. What made you take that jump?

Also, Catharina, how was it to guest lecture at HINN?

A:

What part of game design do you specialize in? And how would one get themselves into the field of game design?


Q:

Meeting Elin from Teknopilot (inspirational woman) and learning of the dark past of our country, is what made us drawn towards the project initially.

As we developed the concept and saw how impactful it could end up becoming, we realised that this was something we had to do. It is a unique concept and unique starting point for us. It feels like a game that just has to be made.

In many ways it still follows some of the design visions of Shadow Puppeteer: Being inspired by the emotional core, narrowing the experience down to just focus on the characters that matter. Trying to find the essence of the story.

They were horrible to me!

No just kidding. I really enjoy guest lecturing, especially at HINN ;) It is stressful, though, as you never truly know if you give the students what they need. You just have to hope that they ask the questions that they need answered. :)

[Catharina]

A:

I would say that I have been a game designer in two main areas. One is in conceptual, high-concept design work. Writing detailed game design documents, either original or as a contract for someone else. I've also been a design consultant at times for companies like Maxis, Oddworld, Sega, David Perry, and Acclaim. As a consultant I might be doing game design, but often I'm doing analysis and suggestions for when there are issues that haven't been resolved or also to some degree in planning stages.

Getting into the game design field is not all that easy, and the best advice I can offer is to learn to make your own games using whatever tools you can manage. If you aren't technical but have a concept you really want to create, find people with the technical and/or art skills to help you make at least a working prototype or vertical slice (which is a segment of completed game that demonstrates the game play and style of the game fully enough so that someone seeing it would understand what the game is about and how it will look, feel, and play). You can also try to get a job in a Q&A department of a game company, which can be a stepping stone toward design and you learn a lot. There are some more obscure ways to get him, such as being a popular moderator on MMOs where the devs get to know you, but that's not easy to do and no guarantee that you'll be taken seriously as a designer. You can also go to school for game design. These days there are lots of good schools, and graduates from these schools will be looked at more seriously than a guy off the street.

I got into game design because I started playing video games in 1967 and played them consistently from Pong onward. I was a writer early on and got to know a lot of people in the industry over the years. Times were different then. When I left Prima Publishing, where I was creative director for the strategy guide division (and writing strat guides was also a way I learned a lot about game design and got to talk to lots of devs), I started doing independent design work with mixed results. I'm not known best as a designer in the industry - more a writer - but I have been a lead designer on my own projects and have been paid as a designer and consultant over the years.


Q:

Enhet.

A:

How did you begin writing for games?


Q:

Hm... I think it varies depending on the type of device. Apparat? Enhet?

[Catharina]

A:

I began around 1981. I had been playing video games all through the '70s (my first one was Spacewar! at Stanford University in 1967). I had wanted an Apple II for quite some time, and the IBM PC was new as well. I got my Apple II and devoured every game I could get my hands on. I started working with the first PC clone company, Leading Edge. I first sold their computers, then I became a software analyst for them. For a year and a half they paid me to do comparative research on various types of business software. Along the way, I bought a book called, if I remember correctly, "The Book of IBM Software" or something. They also had one for the Apple II. The "book" was a series of software reviews, and at the end of the book they had a phone number for people interested in writing for them. I called them and they said that the way it worked is you called them and they would tell you what the had that needed a review. If you wanted to do it, they sent it to you and that was your payment. At the time it never occurred to me that I could get paid to write about software and get free products, so I said yes. The first product I was given was a funeral director's package written in dBase. I had a ball writing a review of that one, and after that I wrote about 50 reviews over the next year... until my wife came in and showed me a newspaper article that said you could get paid for what I was doing. I contacted magazines that did reviews and pretty soon I was busy writing for a lot of magazines, but not all of it was games at first. I wrote for PC Week and Byte Magazine, for instance, but also for A+. I wrote about two reviews for A+ every month for $100 a pop. Anyway, that's how I got started. I kept at it and by 1989 I was able to transition into writing exclusively in the game field. In 1990 I became senior editor of PC Games and a contributing editor for GamePro. That same year I started Prima Publishing's strategy guide division, which I led as creative director for six years. I was the seventh employee of the company. By the time I left, there were 150 people, all working on the division I had started for them.


Q:

Tell us more about the music in the game? Is there music and what style of music was chosen for the game and why?

A:

Thank you for the question. Disclaimer: I am writing, as a none-musician.

There is music in the game. It is actually quite tricky to work with as we need something that fits the style of the genre while at the same time both being able to convey the vision.

We are working with film composers who use aucustic instruments true to the time period the game is centered around. We are going for a simplistic style that is based on the child's emotion. So childlike, careful but playful and warm, homely.

As the animations and dialogue in the game adapts to the feelings of the child, influenced by the story and the input from the player, we want the music to do the same. So the music will change slightly based on the childs emotions.

[Catharina]


Q:

And when you decided to work with those composers, what did you hope they would bring to the game that wasn't there before?

A:

Difficult question. I want the music to be able to give you a sense of the child's personality. Of the personality of this polite, caring and naive person, and to make the player feel right from the beginning that the player and child create a home together.

A lot in the game is based on seing the child. Reading his/her words and understanding their bodylanguage. Sometimes the child will lie to you. I want the music to always betray the childs emotions. To help you feel it when something is not quite right, and to help you feel the enthusiasm of the child when things are good. (insanely ambitious, I know)

[Catharina]


Q:

No, I think with the right composer and a dynamic music system this would be possible. Various states of the child could trigger different music stems which could be layered together etc.

The games I've composed for have been slightly simpler, but it sounds like a dream game to work on. I'll keep an eye on it. Best of luck!

A:

That is actually some of the idea. Thank you :)

[Catharina]


Q:

Why do you have the same name as a energycompany? (wind-power company)

A:

Sarepta studio? Well we probably took inspiration from the same mythical tale.

There is also a florist and a baker called Sarepta. It's all good I like flowers, cakes and clean energy _^

[Catharina]


Q:

Do you have any advice for one-man-band game developers who're just starting out? What are the most important skills or technologies to learn? Is there anything you wish you'd known when you were starting out?

The game looks great btw, I've chipped in on kickstarter and can't wait to give it a go!

A:

I have not experienced going at it alone my self, but what I see from others is that you need to be really good at what it is you decide to deliver. Finding your strengths.

Some use Game Maker, some use Unity. It really depends on your situation and what game you want to make.

I would say that trying to find others to talk to, share joys and frustrations, to show your game to. I don't know what the oportunities are in your area but finding an incubator or a game development hub can be so valuable for a lone-wolf game developer.

So many things I wish I had learned. Still many things I feel I need to learn.

When I first started out I wish I had looked at what I could make in a week, made it and released it. Then looked at what I could make in a month, two months, half a year. Starting with something big makes it take too long for you to learn important lessions.

Even if you want to go ahead with a big game, you should look at one small element in that game, and make a tiny game out of that first to release.

Not sure if that helps you ;)

Good things will usually always happen if you connect to other devs. Go do that (minimum at least go to game jams).

[Catharina]


Q:

Thanks. I'll have to see if there are any game jams or incubators in my area. I'm working on little games at the moment as I try to decide whether to use Unity or Unreal for a larger game.

A:

Yup that is a good idea. Really you learn so much by interacting with others in this way.

Make sure to release some of them first ;)

Oh and thank you so much for the support on Kickstarter :D [Catharina]


Q:

Morn du! Fellow Norwegian here, with some very off-topic questions:

What is your favorite:

  • Norwegian TV show?

  • Norwegian film?

  • Norwegian band or artist?

God påske!

A:

Jo hei :)

  • I have not watched television in forever. From a nostalgia factor: The Julekalender. The boring newer answer: Nytt på Nytt
  • Trolljegeren
  • kaizers orchestra

Morna!

[Catharina]


Q:

Whats your favorite kind of sandwhich?

A:

Chicken curry :)

[Catharina]


Q:

Random question, where in Norway? I'm out of a job :P

A:

Hamar is the place to be (depending on the type of job ofc.) We have the Hamar Game Collective here

[Catharina]


Q:

Damn, I assume moving to Hamar is the only criteria and I can start working with you guys right? ;)

A:

Haha, cough

I think looking for work before moving is the wise choice. If you start a company then you could probably join the Hamar Game Collective and get guidance and help.


Q:

Is it easy to become a game developer in Norway, or should I say Er det lett å bli spillutvikler i Norge?

A:

Hehe, it is fairly easy to become a game developer (you can go to an incubator or game hub and get help starting a company). Staying a game developer, on the other hand is not easy.

Getting a job without starting up can be a challenge. Really depends on your skillset, portfolio etc.

But we are lucky to have many advisors in Norway and also, if you make a good case, government grants.

[Catharina]


Q:

Tar en Bachelor i Spill og opplevelsesteknologi på Nord Univeristet, Steinkjer atm. Vi blir ofte på minnet om at det ikke er så lett, mye jobb for staten eller andre tradisjonelle selskaper som vil ha noe gjort i for av et spill. Er mye leting etter funding, har vi hørt fra endel i bransjen, blant annet folk fra ablemagic og megapop.

A:

That is true. If you are to go into a game company in Norway you need to be lucky and skilled. If you want to get a job outside of Norway you need to be extremely talented with a good portfolio. And there is a risk they will work you like a dog.

You could start a company in Norway, but then you will have to work yourself like a dog. We have had some really tough times, but it is great to now have a workplace where we can do what we do and I can send my people home after 7,5 hours of work.

It is generally a tough industry (but there are many of those). Then again I have to honestly say that I am extremely content in my work. Even with all the stress and uncertainty.

I look at the clock each day at work and think "Damn, the workday is almost over!"

[Catharina]


Q:

I look at the clock each day at work and think "Damn, the workday is almost over!"

Haha, we have a class called Game lab, where we have to work as a small game studio to make a game through a semester, and we have executives we have to impress every week. I know that feeling, most days just fly by!

A:

That sounds great :) I hope they make you release at least two games a year too. Very valuable

[Catharina]