Interview with Tasty Poison – Creators of Neon Shadow & more

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Interviewing Tasty Poison

Today we have the amazing opportunity to present an interview with Steve McIvor from Tasty Poison. You might know Tasty Poison from the awesome games Neon Shadow, Dig! and Pocket RPG. They are a small indie studio from Cape Town and have produced some of our favorite OUYA games. Therefore we were ultra happy to have Steve answer these questions for us.

Day of the OUYA: Thanks for the interview and congrats on Neon Shadow being the 500th game to launch on the OUYA. Before we get into the game would you give us an introduction of who or what Tasty Poison Games is and a bit about your history as a games studio?

Steve: Tasty Poison Games is now about 4 years old as a company, we got our start when a company we all worked at went South (as they say.) I was the GM at the time and couldn’t bare to see the talent go to waste. We got our first contract (Dragooo), and have been making games for clients as well as our own games ever since. The studio utilizes Unity Technologies for all our games.

DotO: Cape Town is quite the unusual place for game developers isn’t it? How is the support in South Africa for aspiring developers? Is there a large community of other developers?

Steve: There is a growing group of developers here in South Africa and Cape Town. A monthly meet-up happens

Lots of talent and inspiration!

DotO: Let’s talk about Neon Shadow a bit. Personally I love the game style since I’ve been a big Quake 3 Arena/Rocket Arena fan and Neon Shadow reminds me of it. How hard was it to bring that same feeling of speed and close quarter fights to a console game? Was there any tipping point in the development when you felt “This is it”?

Steve: A tipping point? Not really, we also love the ol’ school style FPS games so that was our number 1 goal in the development. Of course there were moments when we strayed but then we would quickly make changes to bring the game back to spec. Getting that 90’s look was probably more of the challenge.

Neon Shadow - Interview with Tasty Poison

DotO: Tell us a little bit about the development of Neon Shadow. If a first time developer wanted to create a similar game, where would they start and what should they pay attention to from the very beginning?

Steve: Neon Shadow was a bit different from most of our in-house projects as it came from a game jam. We do prototype our ideas before we continue with any project we come up with so the game jam in this case could have been considered a prototype I guess?
In normal dev we first have either a gameplay / style idea or a mechanics idea.
Then from this “idea” we prototype; if this fails to be fun… we scrap it and move onto another idea.

Next we plan the overall experience we want our players to encounter and break that down into approximately 2 week, bite size chunks with tasks for a planned milestone about halfway through the project for our first full level / gaming experience with everything in place. (So a fully functioning game minus all the content.) This is our “vertical slice”.

From here we continue adding in the remaining content until we hit our planned submission date. The whole procedure could be called our “burndown” where we always try to maintain the experience and this helps avoid feature creep. (Sometimes lol)

From this we continue to the end maybe tweaking but hopefully not so as to bring in feature creep.

We usually do the sounds ourselves but hire out music to the pro’s.

Developing for OUYA was not too bad since we use Unity Technologies, the only complications came from the controller mapping and the lack of some graphic capabilities on the OUYA. That said we also were fighting some learning curves on this project in general, which could have been the reason for these issues.

Dig! by Tasty Poison Games

DotO: You have been developing for quite some time and some of my favorite OUYA games come from your studio. There is Dig! and Pocket RPG which are two awesome games and now here’s your third. Would you say, the portation of these games was worth your time and money? Will you continue to develop for the OUYA?

Steve: Thanks we enjoyed working on both Pocket RPG and Dig! and love the response we have had from both and Neon.

We would / will put OUYA ports into our workflow for any future releases as we have with all 3 of our in-house games. For the cost vs the rewards I think OUYA is a viable revenue stream since it is fairly easy to port especially if you preplan.

DotO: Speaking of future, what’s in store for Tasty Poison Games in 2014 and what are the plans for Neon Shadow? Will you continue to develop it or is it finished?

Steve: We have plans for Neon with new levels to start for multiplayer. After that we have been polling our players as to what they would like to see what comes next. If there are any ideas from your readers we would welcome comments.

DotO: Thanks for the interview and best of luck to you guys. Hope we’ll see much more of you and keep up the great work!

Steve: Pleasure is all ours and we will keep making games and updates to the best of our abilities.

Thanks Tim for the chance to tell you a bit about our process and the studio!

DotO: This was an awesome interview. Make sure you download all Tasty Poison’s games and visit their website.

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About Tim von Janssen

Tim has started playing PC Games at the tender age of 8 (ca.1990-1991) on monochrome screens and hasn’t stopped ever since. Due to that love for video games that has developed very early Tim also knows why older games very successful despite mediocre graphics. One simple reason: gameplay. Tim feels that with the development of the OUYA and the stronger focus on indie game studios is the right step towards better gaming experiences that rely more heavily on unique game concepts and better gameplay in general. Tim at Google+

One thought on “Interview with Tasty Poison – Creators of Neon Shadow & more

  1. Ryan Smith

    Ohhh wow, that’s so amazing didn’t realise we had in Gaming chops in South Africa.

    Really quite proud. Also thanks to the interviewee for supply some of those links, I hope to get into development and I’d love to attend one of the make games meetings.

    Love you Day of the Ouya :D!


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