Indie Developers Showcase 2010Indie Developer Showcase, Day Three: FlywrenchIndie Developers Showcase 2010 - RSS 2.0
TE: Many of your games are meant to be played by two players. What about this mode of gameplay appeals to you?
M: I've always liked two-player games. I've been trying to make games that are more concerned with the relationship between the people playing them more than anything. There was this game I used to play on the SNES called Mechwarrior 3050, the two-player one. One guy controlled the top and one guy controlled the bottom. I never got very good at it, but it seemed like a really cool idea. Games like Battlefield do it now where you have pilots and gunners, but you rarely see cooperative games that put you in such an intimate setting with the same person the whole time.
TE: It seems like your games fluctuate between being incredibly subversive (The Thrill of Combat, Randy Balma: Municipal Abortionist) and pure, stupid fun (Party Boat, Jetpack Basketball). Are you consciously trying to stay out of a rut, keep players on their toes, or just go wherever your ideas take you?
M: I go with whatever is interesting to work on. Party Boat came out of playing The Thrill of Combat a lot without regard to the actual game objective. I liked seeing how close I could get to the missile launchers without getting hit. It seemed worthwhile, but it didn't really make sense in the context of the game, since there wasn't really a score or any reason I could think of for encouraging it, so I just made the Flash game. I sort of make all my games the same way, just by starting with the player control and making that as tight as possible. Sometimes I think of other things to add in terms of the overall game, but other times it doesn't make sense.
TE: Can you say anything more about Space Edge: Edge of Space at the moment? What else are you working on right now?
M: Space Edge: Edge of Space is really Malfunction, a game commissioned by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool for their "Space Invaders" exhibition that's going on now. It was a game I wanted to make after Randy Balma that used some of the same zero-g space navigation. I'd also been reading about Dale Gardner catching a satellite while totally untethered 50 meters from his shuttle and how wrong that could have gone. I wanted to make a sort of platforming game where you had total freedom in your movements; you can grab onto anything and move around really quickly, but if you're on the outside of a chamber, one wrong move can send you reeling out into infinite space.
I'm also working on a two-player fencing game commissioned by NYU. It's sort of like football in that it's not so much how many times you knock the other guy down, but how many times you make it to your end zone. The other player keeps getting in your way and trying to take possession.
Another thing I've been working on is this open-source game system called the Uzebox. It's a "retro minimalist" 8-bit console you can build yourself and then plug into a TV. My friend Jon Culp and I are working on developing some games for it, the first of which is a port of You Found the Grappling Hook.
TE: A lot of indie developers are putting their games on platforms like Xbox Live, PSN and Steam. Do you have any plans to bring your games to other platforms?
I'd like to. I'm hoping Flywrench will be a good fit for one of them.