De oprichters van 2Awesome Studio stonden ons graag te woord.
Tijdens de allereerste Epicon, die op 5 en 6 juli jl. werd gehouden hebben we David Jimenez en Alejandro Santiago van 2Awesome Studio apart genomen en kunnen interviewen. Deze twee Indie ontwikkelaars zijn sinds januari 2014 hard aan de slag en richten zich op het moment op hun eerste twee titels, Dimension Drive en Energy Rush. Ben je nou ook zo benieuwd wat deze Spaanse genieën motiveerde om games te gaan ontwikkelen? Je leest het hier op Kijk-Online!
Het interview met 2Awesome Studio.
First of all thank you very much for the opportunity to ask you guys some questions. We love Dimension Drive and Energy Rush and would like to know some more about the people behind these two games. Please tell us your story.
Kijk-Online: What was your motivation and inspiration to start developing videogames?
- Alejandro: Around the year 1993 (I was 13 years old) I got my first PC, it was an Intel 286. I didn’t have many games back then, but I saw that the operating system (MS-DOS 5.0) came with some examples in basic. One of them was a version of the well-known snake game. I don’t remember exactly how, but there I was learning how to program in Basic using this game code and the help provided with the OS manual. Using that I started improving the snake game first, and building my own later. After that I went to high school to study computer software engineering, but always trying to keep my end target as being a game developer.
- David: I’ve played videogames since I was a child. I remember playing first in friend’s houses in their cassette based Spectrum and wanting more since that moment. I’m a hard-core gamer, out of that passion for games I decided to try making games as a hobby. I wanted to make games that I would be happy to play myself. Have you ever played a game and wondered: I would love that this game had such and such feature? Those kinds of questions drove me to game development.
Kijk-Online: Did you study any specific game related courses?
- Alejandro: I have a MSc in Computer Software engineering. I also have a MSc in Design and Development videogames by the University of La Laguna together with Open University of Catalonia that I took while working full time at the European Space Agency (ESA).
- David: I have a MSc. in Telecommunication Engineering, and a MSc. in Information and Communication Technologies from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). These degrees are not about game development but a lot of programming was in them. Besides that, while already working full time at ESA I studied remotely at the Open University of Catalonia a Design and Development of Video Games Postgraduate degree.
Kijk-Online: What brought you to the Netherlands?
- Alejandro: When I was finishing my bachelor degree in Computer Software Engineering a teacher from my university told me about this great opportunity to work at the European Space Agency (ESA) at it’s center here in The Netherlands (Noordwijk). Even if space never was my main target, I said why not? The last 8 years have been an amazing experience here, but now I feel that it’s time to come back to the original plan. Making videogames.
- David: Two things amazed me when I was a child: video games and sci-fi. I’m a geek and a gamer. The space industry was the closest thing to science fiction. So, I wanted to come here and work at the European Space Agency (ESA) and be around the people that go to space and do space missions. I studied hard at the university and I managed to get in an ESA internship program to do my Master thesis. After 6 months in this country I knew I was going to stay here. Now, I have a wife, a cute baby boy and a house. My life is here.
Kijk-Online: What kind of games did you grew up with and what were your favorite ones?
- Alejandro: My very first one was Snake (an old MS-DOS version wrote in basic). After that I start playing some old classics like Grand Prix Master, Italy 90, X-COM old saga, the first Resident Evil (I have played that game from beginning to end with no stops),Starcraft I, Dune, Comand and Conquer, the Pro Evolution Saga, and more recent ones I would say Starcraft II, the Mass Effect and Halo franchises, together with the last Wolfestein, and the new X-COM.
- David: I played on Spectrum, the Atari, then NES, SNES, Megadrive, lots of arcades, then I turned to PC and came back to consoles with the Xbox 360 generation. My favorites would be Zelda: A link to the past, Mega Man X, R-Type and Super Castlevania IV. From more recent games I would say Halo and Mass Effect franchises are my favorites (I love good sci-fi).
Kijk-Online: What was your motivation to enter Amsterdam’s global game jam?
- Alejandro: In my case I just wanted to join a Game Jam. I have seen many game jams around but due to my schedule I was unable to attend them before (as ludum dare). Also I wanted to have the feeling of meeting new people and working together with a really tight schedule to develop a videogame. I thought it would be fun, and after the experience I will surely repeat it next year !!!!.
- David: I would say the first motivation was to test myself. Can I really make a game in 48 hours? That sounded difficult and it was, but we managed to pull it off. The second motivation was to meet fellow colleagues in the industry, work with them and make new contacts. From these two point of views it was a great success. I plan to attend the next Global Game Jam for sure!
Kijk-Online: Could you tell us a bit about how you were invited to the Indie Gameleon Festival in Groningen?
- 2Awesome Studio: After the GGJ, we saw that we had potential to work more professionally on game development, not just a hobby. Then we saw that Indievelopment was open for showcase. We said, why not? There we had the opportunity to meet Mendel Bouman, he told us about Indietopia and Indie Gameleon. He put us in contact with Shan Poon and we went there to showcase our games using INDIGO cabinets from Dutch Game Garden and to give our first lecture at a game developers conference. David has lots of experience talking to the public in his main job but doing it as a game developer is a whole new level of fun. The people at Indietopia, Indie Gameleon and DGG have been fantastic with us since the beginning. We hope to be there in all the future years!
Kijk-Online: What kind of games would you like to make in the future?
- Alejandro: I would say continue creating games with something new, fun and addictive. Making games is one of my hobbies (together with running the Iron Man triathlon) and I would love to put all my efforts in making the best games we can. Games that I would love to play as a gamer. That is the type of games I would love to do in the future.
- David: Whatever is new, addictive and fun. Everybody wants to do that right? More seriously, we make games out of passion. We already have a full time job that pays the bills so we do game development because we love it. The genre or the type of game is not that important. But we need to love the concept before doing it. We want to play our games and be able to have fun with them.
Kijk-Online: What kind of problems did you come across while building your games?
- Alejandro: The most difficult part is having time to actually build them besides my full time job at ESA and my trainings for the Iron Man contest. On top of that and most important I have to spare quality time with my girlfriend. On the technical side learning how to program in Unity3D by myself has been a big achievement. I have to do it using the internet or books and it’s not so easy to find the time and motivation on self-learning. I could mention two of the most difficult task we have accomplished so far. In Energy Rush tweaking the physics engine in order to make the gameplay fun to play and in Dimension Drive all the performance issues we are facing lately.
- David: The most difficult part is balancing game development in my spare time with a full time job at ESA and still have some quality time for me and my family. My wife is the best, I couldn’t do it without her. I attended the GGJ in Amsterdam when my son was just 1 month old. I was about to cancel to be with them, but she pushed me to go knowing this is important for me. The other difficulty we face is art and music. Alejandro and I are programmers so we need to work with artists and musicians to be able to have complete games. Finding the correct partners has proven difficult.
Kijk-online: What makes your games better or different compared with other games?
- David: Better is saying a lot and I don’t want to piss off colleagues. Talking seriously, we can’t compete in budget or graphics with AAA. The only thing that can differentiate our games is gameplay. We focus on making games that bring something new and something fun to the table. I mean we are doing Dimension Drive, but we can’t expect to do better than Cave (the industry leader in shmups), right? We knew that Dimension Drive had to bring something new and fun, something different for the players. We want to do that with all of our games.
- Alejandro: As David mentions, we can’t compete with budget or graphics with AAA studios. I think we can’t even compete with most of the Dutch indie studies as we do not work on this full time. Our nights and weekends are tight, and we try to bring the best of us to develop our games. With both, Dimension Drive and Energy Rush, we are trying to include some innovative gameplay mechanics. We want our games to be fun to play, and give the player a feeling of “wow, I haven’t played anything similar in the past”.
Kijk-Online: When will you release your games Dimension Drive and Energy Rush?
- 2Awesome Studio: We plan to finish development of Dimension Drive at the end of this year and release it on PC. If we manage to get agreements with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo we would like to bring it to consoles also. We already have the license for Vita, so that’s a sure thing. For Energy Rush, it will be a much smaller game, more focused on mobiles and handhelds and we plan to finish it in Q3 of this year. As the saying goes, life is what happens while you are making plans, but at the moment we think this is feasible.
Kijk-Online: What would you like to do in the future?
- Alejandro: Since I was a child my dream was to become a game developer. Thanks to our projects at 2Awesome Studio I am starting to feel that my dream has come true. I would like to make this hobby a full time job and setting up our office. Publishing our first game would also be something that I foresee us achieving in 2014.
- David: It depends on the public reception that our games get. But ideally, they will be a great success and we could make 2Awesome Studio even more professional. Get new hardware, software licenses, hiring artists, musicians, setting up a real office… Our wish would be that we can at least keep developing games and having as much fun as we have doing it.
Kijk-Online: What do you need from the public?
- 2Awesome Studio: We work on game development from our homes and we test our games ourselves, through family and friends. We can’t afford to have beta testers, or focus groups. We turn to our audience for that and release open bèta’s to get a feeling of how the game is going. We attend almost every event that shows up and allows us to showcase. Also, we are very active on Twitter. Getting feedback from the final players of our game is the most important thing for us. Many people download and play the beta but they rarely contact us back with feedback. And we would love that, we really pay attention to what people say and we fix the things that may be broken. We are also looking for a 3D artist to work with us on Dimension Drive. So don’t be shy and contact us.
Kijk-Online: Will you offer internships in the future?
- 2Awesome Studio: We’ve already had some people asking to do internships with us. Unfortunately we had to turn them down. We don’t work in an office. And our working schedule is very strange (working nights and weekends). If we accept an intern we want to have the proper time and facilities to teach them. In that ideal future where we have an office and proper schedules, for sure! We would love to help students learn about game development.
Kijk-Online: Thank you very much for taking time to answer our questions and we hope to see more of your work in the future.
Meer weten over 2Awesome Studio?
Ben je nou nog niet tevreden en wil je nog meer weten over 2Awesome Studio? Kijk dan even op deze website. Daarnaast zijn beide heren ook bereikbaar via social media als Twitter (@2AwesomeStudio). Wees dus niet verlegen en stel ze vragen. Ze horen namelijk graag wat de community van hun games denken en hoe ze hun creaties nog meer zouden kunnen verbeteren.