Erin Hoffman's Inside Job

Erin Hoffman's Inside Job
Inside Job: Interview: Aquaria Creators Derek Yu, Alec Holowka

Erin Hoffman | 18 Jan 2008 21:00
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DY: A lot of times we realized we had the same opinion of something, but we were just approaching it in a different way! We'd argue for hours before we figured out we were on the same side.

To work with someone closely on a project like Aquaria, you have to trust them. Building up that trust is always difficult, and it's made even more difficult by having to work primarily online. But we're slowly figuring out how to make it work, and it's really rewarding when you do.

EH: You guys really leapt into the breach, borrowing money to fund your efforts in a style more comparable to entrepreneurship than a hobbyist approach. Were you always iron serious about Aquaria, and had you always intended to submit it to the IGF?

AH: We were always serious about it and intending to submit it to the IGF, but once we got the money invested in us it changed our outlook on the game. Before that we were just kinda messing around, trying different interesting things out. When the money came in I remember feeling like "well now we actually need a plan that will deliver". It led to a pretty major redesign and a refocusing on what was really important in the game, which was good.

DY: I've always been serious about every game I've worked on, but I don't know, this one really felt extra-special. I could tell that Alec was serious about game-making, and the timing of everything made it feel almost fated, in a sense. Not to say I didn't have doubts during the development, but it was pretty early on that I more or less committed myself to getting this out.

EH: A good majority of indie game projects never make it to the finish line. Why do you suppose that is? What made you guys different?

DY: I think the number one reason that most indie projects never get finished is because most people underestimate what it takes to make even a simple game.

AH: We didn't give up and we cared passionately about the game. I think it helped that we had both completed projects before, and knew that things are never be 100 percent perfect.

DY: Yeah, there's always a point mid-development where you question the project. "Is this good enough? Well, I could do something better/more interesting if I started from scratch..." It's a pitfall that you either learn to escape or you don't. Having a team member who is committed to getting their part done also helps.

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