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?
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?
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”?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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!
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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