Interview with Towerfall developer Matt Thorson

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Towerfall-Interview
In our interview series today I’d like you to meet Matt Thorson from Matt Makes Games.

Matt Thorson created one of our favorite games called Towerfall, an archery combat platformer for up to 4 players. This actually was the second game I bought on the OUYA. It’s so much fun to play with my kids and friends, I really wanted to make this interview for quite a while now.

We’ll talk about how he got into game development, about his success with Towerfall and his plans according to the OUYA and in general his future as game designer. Here we go!

Day of the OUYA: Hey Matt. Thanks for the interview. Before we get into
Towerfall itself, how about you tell us a little bit about yourself and
how you got into the gaming industry.

Matt: Hey! I’ve been making games since I was 14. I started with Game Maker, moved on to Flash games, and now I’m making larger downloadable titles. I live in Vancouver in what’s called Indie House – it’s a house full of indie game developers.

DotO: What is it like developing games for the OUYA? How was the support
from the OUYA team? What were your biggest hurdles that are unique to
the OUYA?

Matt: Developing for Ouya was a smooth process. The actual porting was easy and the Ouya team was very responsive. There’s some technical hurdles with developing for Android, but TowerFall isn’t a very technically demanding game so they didn’t effect me much.

Towerfall

Hopefully the amount of consoles out there just keeps growing, I’m not sure the audience is big enough quite yet.

DotO: You listen quite closely to your fans at your forum. Which requested feature
already made it into the game? What are the plans for Towerfall in the
future? Online multiplayer, more Towers, Shuffle mode, NPCs?

Matt: I’ve already added two new variants suggested on the forums, and fixed a bunch of bugs that community pointed out.

Working with the community is very important to me, but I also try to take all suggestions in context. I have a lot of new content planned, including new versus towers. The biggest planned addition is a full single player story mode.

DotO: You were featured on the EVO 2013 on July 12 – 14 in Las Vegas.
How was the overall reception given to this event? Were you able to
capitalize on the publicity generated by this event?

Matt: EVO was an amazing experience. The game was consistently drawing crowds, and a few players kept coming back to it. I jotted down contact info for a few of them, hopefully I can draw them into the community for PC release.

DotO: As the OUYA wants to attract more indie game designers, how well is
your financial return from Towerfall especially since it’s one of the
most expensive in the store? Could you make a living from having a few games
just on the OUYA? Are there special conditions as it is OUYA exclusive?

Matt: I’m wary of claiming that you could make a living on Ouya games, although I won’t say it’s impossible. Hopefully the amount of consoles out there just keeps growing, I’m not sure the audience is big enough quite yet. Porting mobile games to the Ouya is probably not worth it. You need to be making larger games and charging $5, $10, $15, etc. to make it worthwhile. TowerFall is doing great, but it’s almost certainly an outlier.

TowerFall Flight

DotO: Do you have plans to port Towerfall to other platforms or do you already
have another game idea up your sleeve?

Matt: I’ll be working on TowerFall for a while yet. I already have a bunch of new content and balance changes in the works for PC release, including the aforementioned single player story mode.

You need to be making larger games and charging $5, $10, $15, etc. to make it worthwhile.

DotO: Pedro and Amora from miniboss did the graphics, Alec Holowka the Music and Power Up Audio the sound. First are situated in Sao Paulo,Brazil, second in Winnipeg and last one in Richmond, both Canada. How did you overcome the distance and organize the development without great delay?

Matt: Alec used to be based in Winnipeg, but now he’s living with me in Richmond. The only people where distance comes into play is with Miniboss, but they’ve been amazing about it. They work incredibly hard.

DotO: Last question. What are you planning for the future? Do plan new
activities for the OUYA or are you heading for another platform?

Matt: I want to continue supporting the Ouya version of TowerFall, keeping it updated with the features that I add to the PC version. For future projects I may continue to publish to Ouya, I like it as a platform.

DotO: Thank you for your time Matt. Again much appreciated and I’m very
excited to see more of your work in the future.

Matt: No problem! 🙂

Note: If you haven’t played Towerfall yet, go to the OUYA store and do so! Afterwards … buy it! Worth every Cent.

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About Thomas Reisser

Thomas got his first gaming device at the end of the 70s named Pong. A few years later, in December 1982 he got a brandnew C64 and didn't stop playing until his second C64 died about 5 years later. Until then a four-digit number of games were played and countless Competition Pro joysticks were demolished in endless fights with his father for the best rankings in Decathlon, Summer Games and other. Thomas also coded and designed this website. Thomas at Google+

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