Banov has become an increasingly popular GM user in recent times. Releases including Assassin Blue and his newest, Crazy Over Goo, have thrust him into the indie spotlight, showing that simply making good games can get you deservedly noticed. He has an arrogantly named blog which is updated fairly regularly and can prove interesting to read. We jumped at the chance of talking to this brilliant game developer.

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm Banov, I'm an awesome indie game developer, totally handsome, and covers up deep-seated self esteem issues with false arrogance.

How did you start out with GameMaker?
I'd been making board games as a kid, and my interest in game making lead to some experimentation with computer game making tools--particularly BYOND--before I stumbled onto Game Maker. My first project(s) were going to be games related to the story-driven webcomic I was drawing at the time, but eventually I abandoned my comicking entirely for game making.

Where did your inspiration for Crazy Over Goo come from?
After I made Assassin Blue, an action platformer, I kind of wanted to try a new genre... but I still had a lot of ideas for a platformer, so I decided to make Crazy Over Goo as a little mini-project. At the time when I started out I was very much into Mega Man 9 and World of Goo, and I think some of that love came through as I was making Crazy Over Goo (particularly from the latter).

Why did you change the name of the game for the final release?
It was originally called Yellow Goo Love, but I hadn't actually spent much time thinking of the name and it wasn't very catchy. I went around looking for ideas as I was finishing the game, and I thought "Crazy Over Goo" was a much more clever title-- it was fun, a little zany, and had a subtle love pun ("Crazy Over You") that fit the game a bit better. I didn't think anyone would notice, honestly.

Did you create all aspects of the game by yourself, or did you receive some help?
The music was all provided by Prophecy, who usually does the music for my games. A friend named Brod provided a basic engine for the level editor as I had no idea where to start, but by the time I got it working right I'd rewritten a decent amount of his code. And another friend named Scattle contributed the swanky little blue pattern you see on floors and ceilings, though I didn't actually ask him for it… :P

Throughout the game there are frequent introductions to new gimmicky features to keep it fresh. Do you agree this is part of what makes it fun and challenging to play?
The original concept for the game was to include as many gimmicks as possible and cram them into small, bite-sized levels--essentially to make a game on ADD. I just wanted to see how many gimmicks I could come up with for one game. The final product was less extreme perhaps than I'd originally set out for, but I do think that the constant random additions are core to what defines this game and makes it fun.

Were you content with how the final game turned out? And for what reason did you include a level editor?
I'm practically a perfectionist, so I didn't release the game until I was totally satisfied with it. The level editor was kind of a snap decision... I found that because of the game's wide variety of interactive items as well as simple mechanics, the levels were a BLAST to design and when my friend Brod mentioned a level editor he was working on I decided it would be a great addition to the game, and hopefully increase its shelf life past the 50 levels I pumped out.

What do you think of the feedback you’ve received regarding COG?
It's all been great, honestly better than I expected. Not that I had zero confidence in it, but I knew from the start it wasn't going to be compared favorably to my other games because of its relative simplicity and lack of storyline. I was pretty shocked when it appeared on IndieGames and was put into the GMC Cage Matches within a couple days of completion...

Would you ever consider creating a sequel?
No. As with all my other games, I'm tired of Crazy Over Goo and I want to work on new things. If I still wanted to make the same game, I would just have kept on adding onto the original.

Are you happy with the popularity you and your games have recently gained? And do you feel it’s deserved?
I think it's great. As with any other artist/creator/whatever you want to call it, I love to have my work seen by lots of people and to get feedback on it. Whether it's deserved might be a different story, as I know I'm just one of many many talented game makers, and all the publicity has not been good for my oversized ego. It's a double-edged sword.

Tell us about your next WIP project, Dubloon – it seems rather interesting.
Oh, wow, I could talk forever about this one. Dubloon is a point-and-click pirate RPG adventure, and is going to be mind-blowingly awesome. I love pirates and the pirate mythology, but I feel they're underrepresented in video games (especially compared to those douchebag ninjas) so I felt that at some point in my career I'd have to make a pirate video game... and I wanted a game that emphasized the things that made piracy great (teamwork, adventure, exploration).

The game is unique because although a lot of the mechanics are very standard roleplaying game mechanics, I enhanced it with a totally mouse-controlled interface that avoids menus for simple drag-and-drop action to use items, equip weapons, configure movesets, buy and sell goods, battle enemies, etc. It also makes use of a drag-and-drop system that lets you place special items directly onto the screen--like bombs--to solve puzzles and uncover secrets. And of course I've got an exciting storyline to glue the game together. I've been making fast progress with it; I put out an engine demo a week after I started it and I'm not too far from another release featuring cutscenes and levels and such.

How do you see yourself in the future, as regards to game development?
I'm getting my hands on a shiny new MacBook soon and I'm going to start learning and developing for the iPhone, and possibly start earning some cash. I've also got plans to study my interests in college and find an actual career in game design. It's all very exciting!

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you. Would you like to add any closing words?
I'm sorry for talking about Dubloon so much! I always end up saying a lot when I start to talk about it...

No problem at all, Banov.

4 comment(s):

SunnyKatt said...

Good interview. You've always been good at interviewing people that haven't already been interviewed a bazillion times. ;)

Amidos said...

Nice interview :)

Darren Poole said...

Banov has actually recently been interviewed on a number of occassions.

SunnyKatt said...

Yes, but only quite recently. It's more of a relief that you haven't interviewed 2dcube or ymm or cactus. ;)

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