FGL Community Spotlight – Racines of Uncommon Games
FGL’s big $150 Game Jam is coming up this Friday (Sept 25th), so the Community Spotlight returns with some helpful hints from past game jam winner, Maximilien Moussalli of the Uncommon Games studio. We asked Max about his jam-winning entry, and his thoughts on game development.
FGL: Welcome to the Spotlight, Max! Tell us a little about yourself and your studio, Uncommon Games.
Max: Ok! My name is Maximilien Moussalli. I live in France near Marseille. My game studio was created in 2012 with a developer friend. We have worked on “Gravit project” for almost 2 years. (More info: http://press.uncommon-games.com/en/sheet.php?p=Gravit )
We tried to make a crowdfunding campaign for Gravit, but our graphic design was not good enough to attract investors. Without funding, we couldn’t finish this project, so my developer friend left and I began working on a mobile game: ‘Son of Light’.
FGL: That looks great. Is ‘Son of Light’ your current active game project?
Max: This was a project I completed a few months ago. It was free to play and was downloaded 30,000+ times, which is a good number for a solo project from an unknown dev like me.
For now I’m working on my Kongregate version of Quantic Pulse. I hope to get some feedback and statistics on this game there, and if players like it, I’ll make a mobile version.
FGL: You created Quantic Pulse for the FGL Game Jam #30, right? Obviously it was very successful, as you won first place! Did you approach the development process differently for Quantic Pulse because of the time limit of the Game Jam?
Max: Thank you! Yes, time is key for game jam games, but also for regular games, too. If your goal is too high, you will fall. Your game should be elegant and fun. If you miss that, your game will be forgotten. So Quantic Pulse was designed with this in mind. Simple gameplay + simple graphics. I recommend for indie developers to learn a graphics solution to get their game looking nice, like thet color algorithm that I used for Quantic Pulse.
FGL: The graphics were simple, but the game still had very polished visuals in that way.
Max: Yes, exactly. All the colors matched together, giving it a colorful design. As for the gameplay idea, I was watching a scientist documentary about gravity. Some scientists are suggesting that some masses could only exist around the movement of quantic particles. That gave me the idea for Quantic Pulse.
FGL: I’ll take your word on that! You mentioned you’ve worked up a version of Quantic Pulse for Kongregate. What kinds of things have you added or changed from the Game Jam version?
Max: The Kongregate version has upgraded gameplay polish and I’ve modified the pulse system. The pulses now auto-pulse and explode when a player is hit. I’ve also added a good death animation, and want to insert a boss or more enemies combining steering behavior and gravity stuff.
When I make a game, I never know exactly how it will be at the end. I play it again and again and my mind wanders outside of my game and finds ideas from other sources.
FGL: A lot of FGL users have started expanding beyond Flash for game development. This game (like several of our past Game Jam winners) was made in Unity. Do you have any advice for gamedevs who’d like to learn Unity?
Max: When it comes to saving time, Unity is a good tool. The community is huge, and for the most part, it is good. Unity is a bit of a mix between a pro tool and a newbie tool, so learning Unity is not that hard, but learning how to develop a big project can be difficult. There are a lot of tutorials, source code and the asset store, but the most important thing you can have is patience and perspective.
FGL: Good advice. Time for the Lightning Round! Question One: What is the most important thing you could tell new developers?
Max: Like I said before, make a simple game with addictive gameplay. Between polish and gameplay content, choose polish. If the game works, you can add the hard / complex stuff in later. I started to work on a project recently, but the time investment to make it would be too high. So I preferred to work on a smaller idea.
FGL: Question Two: You mentioned trying to crowdfund a game earlier. What are your thoughts on that?
Max: It’s hard to be on Kickstarter in France, so we tried IndieGogo. We offered a 1-hour demo, but our graphics were too bad. Design is so important to catch the eye of a player. Crowdfunding successes often rely on their video trailer, so my ‘Son of Light’ trailer was designed with this in mind. The trailer should be exactly what you have in mind when you imagine the final version of your game if you had no limits on it.
FGL: Last (and most important) Question: How can people contact you and get updates on your games?
I’d like to thank Max and Uncommon Games for answering our questions and sharing these stories with us. If you have any other questions for Max, ’Like’ him on Facebook at facebook.com/UncommonGames, check out his website at www.uncommon-games.com or post in the comments below! If you know someone who would be a good candidate for the Community Spotlight, comment below, send a PM to FGL_Brian or send us an email at email@example.com.
- Not just computer games. The event offers a nice balance between online and offline. The popularity of card games, tabletop RPG’s and board games is on the rise again. Magic: The Gathering had it’s own dedicated conference hall across the street, Pathfinder was being played by hundreds of people at the same time, and there were plenty of opportunities to just sit down and with strangers and play even stranger board games together. The new definition of social gaming, perhaps?
- Lectures are well attended. Spread out over different lectures halls in the building, and even at different locations in the city. Developers talked about the process of how their game was made, professional gamers shared their experience, introduction talks to the game industry, the history of games, the future of games, games, games, games! Indeed, no lack of love for our industry here!
- Big publishers don’t rule the show. At Gamescom it’s quite normal to see 8-hour lines of people who hope to get a 10-minute gameplay demo of the next upcoming blockbuster. At PAX, those lines were relatively short. Also, at Gamescom the indie area always seems quite abandoned in a corner. At PAX, the Indie MEGAbooth and the PAX 10 were buzzing!
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Did you know we host fun community events every month? Join us June 29th to vote on the best Game Jam entries!
Did you miss out on the lectures at GDC this year? Well no more! Watch them now on our YouTube Channel.
A lot of new users are visiting FGL to participate in the Game Jam, so FGL_Porter put together a great step-by-step guide to entering your game into the contest.
FGL Game Jam Guide
Step 1 – Create An Account
The first thing you’ll need to do to submit an entry to the jam, is create an FGL account. Signing up for an account will give you access to our marketplace, community forums, chat, and more. The signup process is as simple (essentially just username, email, password), and only takes a few seconds.
Step 2 – Upload Your Game
Once you’ve created your account, you can now upload your game. Using the navigation bar, go to My Games > Add New Game, as seen below:
Complete the basic information (game name, description, etc), and continue on until you see the following screen:
This is where you’ll determine what exactly it is you’re uploading, be it a .swf, .unity3d file, external HTML5 file, or a native mobile .apk file. Double check you’ve selected the proper file type, and continue onward to the next screen, where you’ll upload your game (or point to an external source if using HTML5):
On the next screen, you’ll be required to upload a thumbnail, which must be 100×100 pixels in size; if you aren’t a great artist, simply take a screenshot of your game and crop something that looks decent! You’ll also have the opportunity to upload screenshots, and a preview video, but these aren’t required.
The next part is important – make sure other developers can play your game! Your settings might look similar to those below:
By default, FGL may try to place your game up for “regular bidding”. Please make sure to change your game to “My game shouldn’t be for sale at this time” – failure to correctly change this setting may result in disqualification!
You’ll see a quick screen that mentions “pre-reviews” – this is a free service FGL offers for new games, and if you’re looking for some in-depth feedback from our staff on any future games, definitely check this out! For now, you can simply leave these settings as they are, and continue onward.
Save your data and you’re all done! You can go back and change your data if needed, otherwise press the beautiful “Save and Finish” button! Congratulations, your game is now in our system!
Step 3 – Submit Your Game
Now that you’ve uploaded your game, be sure to actually submit it to the jam!
Visit the jam’s “Entries Thread”, and follow the posting format instructions on how to post your submission (most users simply copy / paste the example text and change the details).
That’s it, you’re in! Be sure to talk about your experience in the jam’s original thread, or stop into our chat to show off and chat about your game to other developers! We hope this guide has helped you find your way around FGL’s game jams, and most of all, we hope you had fun!
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