Indie Developers Showcase 2010
Indie Developer Showcase, Day Two: VVVVVV

Greg Tito | 26 Jan 2010 21:00
Indie Developers Showcase 2010 - RSS 2.0

imageWelcome to Day Two of The Escapist's Indie Developer Showcase, a five-day celebration of the individuals and small teams who are making a big impact on the games industry. Each day we'll feature a new developer and new games to play, so keep checking back throughout the week for more indie goodness! To see the full list of developers, click here.

Terry Cavanagh (aka Distractionware) resides in Monaghan, Ireland, and makes games. He first wowed players on Kongregate with Don't Look Back, a low-fi, atmospheric, side-scrolling interpretation of the Orpheus myth. Since it was first published in March 2009, Don't Look Back has garnered more than 750,000 plays and a boatload of acclaim for its author.

Cavanagh has continued to develop as a designer, recently releasing a game which equally tests players' platforming and pronunciation skills, VVVVVV. In it, you guide the captain of a spaceship through an alternate dimension where you can change the flow of gravity at the drop of a hat. Despite its simplicity, or perhaps because of it, VVVVVV has captured the attention of critics and players alike. The Escapist recently asked him a few questions about VVVVVV and indie game design in general.

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The Escapist: What was your game development experience prior to setting off on your own?

Terry Cavanagh: I've never worked in the games industry, and I'm a self-taught programmer. I started out coding in BASIC on the Commodore 64 when I was a kid and moved onto QBasic on the PC and eventually to C++. I don't really have anything worth playing from before I started making games full time, mostly just scrapped RPGs and minigames I made in QBasic when I was a teenager.

TE: Are you now developing games full time or working on other projects to finance your games?

TC: I'm making games full time! I quit my job just over two years ago now, and I've been living on my savings and on a loan.

TE: There's been really strong buzz for the last couple months about VVVVVV. With no marketing budget of your own, how did you get the word out?

TC: I don't really know, heh. I think the people who posted about the game at first knew me from my freeware games, and they started keeping an eye on what I was working on. I keep a development blog, and a few sites posted some of the early screenshots from that. Then when I was a few months into development I made a gameplay video of what I had so far, and a lot of sites posted that. But I don't really know how to explain how much coverage it's been getting since the release - I've just been very lucky, I think.

TE: How do you pronounce VVVVVV? Can you spell it phonetically for us?

TC: Well, I just call it "Vee," but I don't really mind how people pronounce it. "VeeVeeVeeVeeVeeVee" or "Vuhvuhvuhvuhvuhvuh" or "Veeeeeeeeeeeeeee" or whatever you want to call it is all fine by me! (As are any and all explanations for what the title means.)

TE: How did your collaboration with Souleye on the music of VVVVVV come about?

TC: I played Charlie's Space Phallus and really, really liked the music for it, so I went looking for the guy who wrote the main theme [Magnus Pálsson]. I just emailed him out of the blue with the first prototype of the game and asked him he wanted to compose something for it, and he was up for it!

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