Amora B.

Amora B. “creates characters and animates them using lots of purple.” Together with Pedro Medeiros, Amora founded Studio Miniboss. She’s smart, talented, and crazy productive. And now she answers our questions!

Amora B. by Aldeguer!

1. How long have you been making games and/or art for games?

It’s been four years now! Before that, I used to work with traditional animation.

2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us something about your creative process.

Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s from everything. Sometimes it’s a movie, or an article, or a dream, ideas come from everywhere. But for me, a good idea is an idea that works. If I think of something for a game, but don’t have the means to actually make it, it immediately becomes a bad idea. I try not to get too attached so I can move on to the next idea more quickly. I also skip making a GDD and try to have a prototype as soon as possible. I’m pretty bad at just imagining if a game feels good or not, I need to see it and play it, even if it’s just with a bunch of placeholder squares.

3. Pedro and you founded Studio Miniboss, an independent game studio “currently in São Paulo”. How is the indie scene in Brazil? What about gaming event hosted there or game jams? (Note: If you guys ever visit Argentina, drop us a line so as we could grab some drinks or something with other local devs and cool people from here!)

It’s hard to say, it’s such a big country, but I have this impression that the scene is only growing and the games are getting better every year. When we travel, we try to show around some games made by “our people”, but sadly no one seems to care much, haha. Jams are awesome in Brazil, people take them really seriously. The Global Game Jam is kind of huge here, especially the one in Curitiba. As for events, they’re still kind of boring and really expensive, but that’s also getting better, I think. BIG Festival was pretty cool this year.
Man, I would absolutely love to visit Argentina and meet the local devs! Please let’s try to make that happen soon.

4. You’ve made art for Towerfall, an amazing game by Matt Thorson (with great music by Alec Holowka!) How did you meet these guys? What was it like to work in this project? Any favourite anecdote regarding Towerfall development?

When we made Out There Somewhere, we sent it to a lot of indie developers we admired, but only a very few replied, and Chevy Ray was one of them. That’s how we started talking to him. An year later, when Bossa released Deep Dungeons of Doom, Chevy showed it to Matt (they’ve lived together for years) and he thought that style of pixel art would be cool for TowerFall, so Chevy introduced him to Pedro in an email. Working on TowerFall was amazing, everyone on the team was so talented and so passionate about the game. It got even better when we moved in with the guys at IndieHouse Vancouver for three months, we had this awesome connection, it really didn’t feel like a job at all. I think my favourite anecdote would be the one of how I got into the team, the same one I always tell: Pedro showed me the game, it featured four chubby archers, each of a different color. He told me he would have to come up with new designs for them, and I said “You should make at least one of them female”, to which he replied “Oh, there’s going to be two girls”. I got excited and said something like “Cool, a pink archer, then?”, and he said “No no no! I mean, there IS going to be a pink archer, but that’s a boy. Girls will be green and blue.” and I just went NUTS, I begged him to let me draw the characters even if he had to sign their designs himself.

5. Out there somewhere is a game you’ve made in 2012 but somewhat reworked and re-release it on Steam earlier this year. What has changed between these two versions? How was it like publishing it on Steam? Any favourite feedback from players?

We released OTS in 2012 as a test, we just really wanted to know what it was like to have a game released. How to send it to press, how to charge for it, how to deal with bugs, all of that. But it was made on an old version of GameMaker and it only ran on Windows, also it had a lot of bugs we had no idea how to fix.
We sent it to Valve and it was approved for Steam, but then they stopped answering our emails because of internal reasons. Greenlight was launched right after that, so we just assumed they wanted us to go through that new system. We submitted the game, but we didn’t have the energy and time to keep asking all our friends, fans, and family to vote for it, so it was just there.
A few months later, we were in London working on Deep Dungeons of Doom with Bossa, and coincidentally there was going to be a Valve dinner for developers, so our friend Rodrigo signed us in. Pedro went, met someone from Valve and told him about OTS, and he replied that if the game was approved once, then it was approved, we didn’t have to go through Greenlight. He gave us his contact and the game was finally in. But we were embarrassed to put that first version so we remade everything on Flashpunk 2, to have more control over bugs and to have it running on Mac. We also added some graphics (like animated portraits for every character) and changed the last battle dramatically. Funny thing, OTS was also Greenlit a few months ago. My favorite feedback is from this guy who took his time to write us an email only to thank us for the game. He said he played it a bunch of times and got all the achievements, and he also asked for a sequel. The guy who made a whole screenshot map of the game is a close second.

6. You seem to be doing amazing stuff non-stop. What are you working on now? Any super secret project you wanna share with us? We love scoops!

We start too much stuff, and I always feel guilty when we have to stop any of them, but that’s how it is for us. We “sketch” games like crazy and often have to put them on hold to do other stuff that actually pay our bills.
Right now, our main projects are [ARMADA] and SkyTorn. The first is an awesome arcade RTS by PocketWatch Games, meant to be played with a controller, and we’re doing all the art. The second is a sandbox platformer inspired by Terraria, Pedro is doing all the graphics and Noel Berry is programming, the other guys at IndieHouse Vancouver also help.
When I’m not doing [ARMADA] I try to work on my own little game, it’s a silly experiment in GameMaker Studio so I can learn some coding. After I’m done with that I want to go back to Tapestry, a game we started last year. It’s a platformer based on intuition, kind of like a sandbox within plot limitations. I also started a game called Deicide, with friends Midio and Rodrigo, a co-op multiplayer based on Smash TV, about four girls on their quest to kill God.

7. We really dig your illustration and character design skills. Do you recognise any influence from other artists? Which artists working on games do you like the most? And what about artists working on comics?

Thank you! I’ve always been greatly influenced by manga, I think Rumiko Takahashi is fantastic. Lately I’ve been using Loish as a reference for colors and process, she has such a unique style. As for game art, I absolutely love Wakfu’s, both its backgrounds and characters. The animations are incredible! Don’t know the name of the artists, though. Also, can I say Pedro? He’s so versatile and teaches me so much, and he’s so incredibly fast too (our jam games look amazing mostly because of him). And Elisa Kwon, always. From comics, I like Ryot and Quadrinhos A2! I also love Milo Manara.

8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?

I won’t say Pedro because that would be cheesy. I think I would choose Locomalito, Noel Berry, and Joakim Sandberg (konjak). They’re so ridiculously creative and have been inspiring us for so long. I know I wouldn’t be disappointed following only those three forever because they are always coming up with awesome new stuff, they’re all like crazy game-making machines, and it’s always something really fresh and fun. 

9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?

No, I used to be, but making games kind of ruined that for me. Whenever I play now, I feel like I’m studying. Sometimes though, I get extremely hooked on something. Last games that I played like that were Mario Kart 8, Path of Exile, and Ace Attorney Dual Destinies. I’ve also been trying to learn some Dota 2.

10. One last random question. (Take a breath, Amora. This is going to be a long one, and probably poorly written! Sorry about that!) If you could change the complete name of any actor/actress in the world for whatever you think fits his/her face or just for the sake of a good laugh… who would it be, what would you call him/her and why?

Hmmm I guess I would change Javier Bardem’s name to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, or Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s name to Javier Bardem so they would be the same person. Because they look exactly the same to me and it’s disturbing.

Tom Kail & Jon Tree

Tom Kail & Jon Tree are the guys behind Biome, a gorgeous game that is receiving a lot of well-deserved press and player’s attention (Biome is really something, and it’s painfully beautiful.) And now they answer our questions!

Biome devs!

Tom Kail and Jon Tree by Aldeguer!

1. How long have you been making games?

Tom: I started making games seriously as soon when I discovered the indie scene in my first year of University. I’ve only recently graduated, so I guess that means just over 4 years. Me and Jon have been working together for nearly a year now.

Jon: Not long at all! I’ve been making small things in Flash for a few years but nothing major.

2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us something about your creative process.

Tom: I tend to be inspired by sound and visuals rather than gameplay. While we feel that gameplay is often the most important part of a game, because a good game design is gestalt by nature it can be hard to borrow ideas without just ruining or ripping off the design, which isn’t what we’re about. By taking inspiration from a visual side, you can work out the gameplay afterwards. It doesn’t always work, but it sure as hell leads to some good looking games; and when it works, what you end up with often plays in a totally unique way. It’s probably the reason so many of our projects end up as toys, rather than games.

Jon: I think it’s different every time. Currently I’ve been looking at the natural world, specifically animals. I try to go hiking fairly often and my favourite spot is frequented by a herd of wild goats. I guess just watching things and thinking about them, running through all the ‘what ifs’.

3. Before starting Biome development you were working on Vectagon. Why did you decide to put it on hold? Are you going to resume working on it? (We love infinite runners, and wow, Vectagon looks really cool).

Love that you asked this. We’re currently taking a short break from Biome to remake Vectagon from scratch. It’s going to be so much cooler. We’re really hoping that we can use it to raise the funds for Biome, but we’ll see how that goes. It’s so much more fun to release things for free.

4. You describe Biome as “a minimalist digital zen garden for everyone”. Where did its idea come from?

It actually started a lot more bloated and ‘gamey’ than it is now. We took the art style and instinctively started piling on things like goals and win states, but they all felt really forced. A long design conversation helped us find Biome’s core. It’s a relaxing experience about exploration designed for everyone, regardless of interest or skill with games or technology. To that end, we’re keeping interactions simple, tactile and intuitive. It’s those features that make a great toy.

5. Biome art direction is really impressive. (Low poly world? We’ve said it before and we’ll do it again: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!). Why low poly? Any low poly favourite artist or game out there?

Thanks! We’ve found that working with procedurally generated geometry (as we do in both Vectagon and Biome) allows us non-artists to create some really pretty games. Which is great, because we both really like pretty games. Tom actually has a blog dedicated to them. Timothy Reynolds is the king of low poly. Biome first originated as Tom’s attempt to imitate him using code! As for games, Skipping Stones looks beautiful.

6. We’ve been playing Biome development version and we are already hyped! It looks really amazing. What can we expect on the final version of the game? Any scoop you can share with us?

Jon: Wild goats.

Tom: Evil deer.

7. Biome has been shown at 3 festivals to date (love those tips on your tumblr devlog). Do you think festivals are important? Why? Any favourite anecdote on one of these festivals you attended?

From a developer point of view, they are the single most important thing for networking, improving and marketing your game. We’re trying to do as many as we possibly can. You get some great stories too – we had a player who really enjoyed our demo, but had to leave because his daughter caught chicken pox. We sent him a build so he could play from home, and he sent us back a photo of them both playing it. That was really sweet!

8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?

Tom: Man, that’s hard. Koop Mode make some unique beautiful stuff. I like Aliceffekt’s work too, although I don’t claim to understand much of it. I’d like to see Phil Fish start developing again too, he’s a great graphic designer.

Jon: Yeah that’s a tough one. Hideo Kojima is a must. I keep coming back to the Metal Gear games and they always have something new to show me. Ed Key would make my list as well. I really dig the way he thinks about games. Lastly, @takorii. Every one of his games is filled with absurd amounts of character and charm. I’m huge fans of all of these people and their work and thoughts inspire me daily.

9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?

Tom: I wish! Between my job and personal work I don’t get much time to play games. That said, I’ve been playing a tonne of Minecraft with my girlfriend lately.

Jon: Far from it. I used to, but development is taking up a pretty big chunk of my time. If I get a spare moment I’ll pick something nice from Warpdoor and see what it has to offer.

10. One last random question. If you could change any movie ending, which one would it be and why?

Jon: Okay, it took me ages to think of one but I’ve finally got it. The Matrix! The ending was fucking terrible!

Tom: I would probably have changed Apocalypse Now so that it never ended. I could watch that movie forever.


Dominique Ferland (a.k.a Dom2D) is a game designer and 2D artist from Canada. He makes lots and lots of things (I mean, just wow. And Tumblr addict too!). Now he answers our questions!

Dom2D by Aldeguer!

1. How long have you been making games?

I’ve been working on games for about 8 or 9 years now. When I was a kid I didn’t know game design was a thing, even if I was doodling Super Mario Bros levels on paper and hand-crafting card games that were similar to Magic the Gathering. When I got my first contract for a game company it totally blew my mind that it was a job I could do! I started as a 2D artist but quickly realized game designer was the dream job for me, so I worked hard to get to that position.
I worked for four years at a small company, making licensed games (Where’s Waldo, Price is Right), which was a great learning experience. The company grew exponentially and the projects began to be unsatisfying for my growing hunger for game design, so I bought a couple programming books and learn Flash to be able to make games by myself on the side. I only made one or two, then I became a freelance game designer, doing contract work for many game projects. That lasted for four years, then I got a job offer from Tribute Games which was too cool to refuse!

2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us something about your creative process.

It’s a bit nebulous, really! It all comes from the fact that I think too much, always scribbling things in my sketchbook, exploring mechanics or characters or settings that I think would be fun to design.

Ideas come from the challenges you give yourself, like a theme and a time constraint in a game jam, a client giving you a mandate or a license to follow, or the limits in resources you have access to. Coming up with a good game within that challenge becomes kind of a puzzle with many solutions, to which you can add a lot of creative or weird sub-ideas to make it even more interesting, original and fun.

These days I am super busy with my day job at Tribute and the couple of side projects on my plate. I still work on smaller, more personal games on the side, and the challenge there is to design a game that I can design in a more relaxed way, on evenings and week-ends. That’s the starting point for ideas I’m working on right now!

3. What do you think of game jams? (you have participated in lots of them!) Are they important? Any particular story you remember from one of these jams (weird bug, crazy feedback, etc.)?

Game jams are the best. Every game developer should do at least one jam per year. It’s such a rewarding experience to spend a week-end or a few days, or even a few hours, focussing on a single creative thing, and have a little baby game at the end of it. Doesn’t matter if the end product sucks, as you spent only a couple days on it and you’re guaranteed to have learned something from its development anyway. If the result is good, then great! You have something to put in your portfolio, to show on Twitter, to bring to events, and you have an experience to talk about. It’s so positive, when you go in knowing there is no pressure, having fun with your friends, with random people or even by yourself!

Making Diluvium with Les Collégiennes was quite the experience – I think it was my third jam, and we went in with a crazy idea of a game where you could summon any animal by typing its name, then see it merge with other animals and fight for you. I barely flinched at the question “but can we create assets for all the animals in like 2 days?” and ended up drawing all the animals. It was a great time for the artist in me, but also the designer in me – we had to find a style and a system that would make it possible to complete in such a short time. I can rarely take on epic challenge like this, and work on such a weird idea, yet we do every time we do a game jam.

4. Museum of Parallel Art is a game by Neverpants (“a brand new game development studio born from game jams”) you made for Global Game Jam. Where did its idea come from? Also. The game was really well-received by both press and players. Any favourite feedback you remember?

Making Museum at the Global Game Jam was pretty much a perfect experience. Pierre-Luc, Ian and I have been jamming together for a couple years now, and we’ve come to really understand each other and come in a jam with similar goals. We want to enjoy ourselves, build a game we have never built before, and stay very open to weird, inventive ideas that might pop during the jam.

We were at our local jam site, here in Montreal, and the theme was announced as “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”. We immediately got out of the building and got a burger and a beer, and we started brainstorming. We thought of a game about art appreciation, yet we had no idea how to qualify the player’s reactions to art pieces in a game system. We realized that a computer was pretty bad at analyzing emotional input from a player, and scoring it or telling the player he succeeded or failed was out of the question in such an interpretive subject.

So we thought, this should be a two-player game instead – players go in the museum one by one, give their input on a bunch of art pieces using cards bearing a variety of symbols, like a sun, a baby, a frowny face, a medal. When both players are done, they compare their choices and discuss the reasoning behind it. It made development super straightforward, as the game was just an environment for the players to view art in, with a very simple input system in which the players choose cards representing their feelings toward said art. Not much to design, not much to code! I spent most of the week-end gathering art submitted on Twitter and Tumblr, eating burgers and having a great time with my two best buds.

We didn’t know Museum of Parallel Art would be such a social connector. When we started playtesting it with people at the jam, we were quite surprised by how the human element of the game really gave life to the game. Or was it the other way around?

The first player would go in the museum, while the other player could not look or talk to them, then the other way around, which is weird – we call it a two-player game and we completely disconnect the players for a few minutes. But the last phase of the game is where both players return to the game and see the result – a simple recap, who played what card on what piece of art. There’s nothing else in the game itself, yet this is the beautiful part of it – players start discussing what the art piece made them think, and compare their feelings and their choices by talking it out in a very friendly, oftentimes funny way. Someone shy would talk about their childhood memories with a painting of a pokémon. A couple would merrily laugh at how different their picks were. Even I learned things about my friends when testing it! We didn’t know our little experiment would connect people in this way at all.

I might sound like I’m bragging with all of this, sorry! But making rich, positive experiences is all I’m striving for, and discovering the power of our own game definitely was fulfilling!

5. Without Question is a card game you made with Damian Sommer. Do you have some sort of elevator pitch for it? Do you have plans to release it in the near future? (We really want to play it!) Also, do you enjoy card games? Which ones are your favourite?

Without Question is a very simple card game, in which you add rules to other players like “Your wrists must always be touching” or “You’re the only player who may touch the table”. The game takes a minute to explain, then the players start playing cards on each other, quickly ramping up the chaos (and the laughter) by stacking rules on top of rules. You might end up with cards that, in total, make you speak with a lisp, forces all players to be in physical contact above the table, prevent you from touching a chair AND have you make a beat whenever you’re not speaking. It’s the good kind of silly fun that doesn’t go overboard and is fun for everybody. I mean I designed this game with Damian, who’s a very shy dude, and he keeps saying how playing Without Question makes it so much easier to be in a group and talk and be in physical contact with other players.

It’s kind of awesome, so yeah, we’re working on releasing it as soon as possible. We’re talking to a publisher, but it’s a long, stretched-out process, AND Damian and I have a thousand other projects, so it’s not moving forward fast enough. If you really want to see it happen, tweet at Damian and I so we are reminded of it all the time!

6. Your art style is really interesting (wow, we love your doodles). Do you recognise any influence from other artists? Which artists working on games do you like the most?

Thanks! It’s a very dangerous question, we could be here all night!

I’m a big sponge of inspirations, really, but if I have to pick I’d say McBess, Katsuya Terada, Jason, Zac Gorman, Ken Sugimori, Jeff Smith, and I could go on and on. There’s also so much beautiful art being made right now by artists on Tumblr and Twitter and forums, like Timotheus Welman’s charming characters, Noreen Rana’s “Oh I’m just gonna post this here” amazing illustrations, Bryan Fukushima’s doodle comics, etc.

In terms of game artists, there’s a ton of super inspiring/intimidating guys and gals, like Amora B, Paul Robertson, Stéphane Boutin, Emily Carroll, Andrew Gleeson, G.P Lackey, Rekka B… It’s a bit overwhelming to think about, I’m getting dizzy!

I’d say the biggest influence from seing all the talent out there, is how it really helped me become comfortable with my style, and not try to copy or follow the current style that is “in” at the moment.

7. Game Squares is all about “tiny sneak peeks at games”. Where did its idea come from? Do you enjoy curating content? Any favourite content curator out there?

So I’ll be honest and say that I’m a Tumblr addict, a digital hoarder of sorts. I do a lot of research and love collecting references related to what I’m working on. What I find is usually super interesting and I always think to myself, why not share everything with people? So when I was doing research on user interfaces and art styles for mobile games, I created PlayPeep, where I post screenshots of games I usually take myself, showing title screens, menus, and gameplay parts of games. I started getting a bunch of logo design jobs, so I started GameLogos, a pretty straightforward collection of logos. Now I’m working at Tribute, making retro-inspired titles, so I just launched Super Secret Castle, where I post little audio and visual treasures from previous generations of gaming, like Turbografx covers and Gameboy Color soundtracks and arcade flyers and so on. I am collecting and organizing these things mostly for myself, and sharing these tools with others because it’s quick and easy to do!

GameSquares stems from a similar situation. Whenever I release a game, or write a development blog post for a future one, it often feels like throwing a bottle into the sea. There should be more eyes on everyone’s game projects, and even with sites like Tigsource and Pixel Prospector, there’s still lots of room for promoting games. I spend a lot of time on forums, on Twitter and on Tumblr, mostly as a pair of eyes absorbing all the wonderful stuff other people do, so I started, again, collecting screenshots, and because I felt more people needed to see what I stumbled upon, I decided to post everything on a Tumblr.

Indie game sites will often put off a cool-looking in-dev game because there isn’t much to say. Places like will probably not write an article about every new screenshot of your game. I decided I’d just post screenshots with a link to its source and nothing else, making it super quick for me to share, but also really noise-free for people to look at – you decide if you wanna know more about the game from a quick glance. It’s weird how talking about it makes it seem a bit pretentious, but it’s not, it’s really about simplicity.

8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?


I have to go with Capy first, makers of Super Time Force and Sword & Sworcery. The games these guys are making are super creative AND are commercially successful. Watching them develop STF and Below is super inspiring.

If I had to follow only 3 developers, one of them would have to be Devine Lu Linvega (also known as Aliceffekt) – a really clever pick as he has TONS of projects running at all times! He has recently grown into a habit of finishing and releasing most of them, too, which is fantastic! He and Rekka B have recently made the gorgeous and intriguing Oquonie, an innovative puzzle game that is bound to break your brain a couple times.

It’s very hard for me to pick only 3, but I’d go with Droqen for the last one. His games are incredibly imaginative and innovative – he brings something new to the table with every game he makes, from new physical ways to interact with a game to elegant mechanics you learn to play with by actually playing the game. He’s definitely a game design mastermind to follow closely!

9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?

I play a lot of games, but rarely spend a ton of time on each one. I got hooked on the Souls games like a lot of people, but I spend most of my time playing smaller, shorter games, or playing multiplayer games and board games with friends. Recently it’s been all about TowerFall, probably because it might be the greatest game of all time.

So yeah, I’ve been playing a bunch of A Wizard’s Lizard, 1001 Spikes, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Fract, Sportsfriends, The Yawhg, Out There Somewhere… Oh I’m also playing through La Mulana, very very slowly. That game is infuriating and extremely satisfying at the same time, a feeling similar to the one I get in Dark Souls.

I’ve also been dabbling into retro games I had never played before, on previous Nintendo consoles, games like Live A Live, a japanese collection of short stories told in a JPRG format, Solar Jetman, kind of an advanced Moonlander game with upgrades and exploration, and other weird, fun titles I’ve found. It’s such a giant source of inspiration for game mechanics and game elements that is often left aside for some of its outdated parts.

10. One last random question. If you could rewrite any classic book and turn it into a gamebook, which one would it be and why?

I immediately thought of Dune for some reason, maybe because its universe is so interesting. But sci-fi and fantasy are too easy to translate into cliché games, so let me give you a more thought out answer. I think Metamorphosis would be an interesting interactive fiction, having to deal with the sudden change and facing the world as you’ve become. Or maybe I’d go with The Invisible Man and its morality questions, playing with the freedom given by invisibility. Or maybe Robinson Crusoe would be due for a comeback, in this era of survival games?

There are a few favorites of mine that have been done before as games that I would love to see done better, like Alice in Wonderland, Dante’s Divine Comedy or H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Oh and the Lovecraft lore is always tempting, of course!

David OReilly

David OReilly is an Irish filmmaker and artist based in Los Angeles. He made some amazing films you should watch (The External World among others), directed “Alien Child” video game sequences in Her (film written & directed by Spike Jonze) and wrote, directed and produced season 5, episode 15 (“A Glitch Is A Glitch”) from Adventure Time. Mountain is his first video game as a developer. Now he answers our questions!

David OReilly by Aldeguer!

1. Mountain is your first video game as a developer. Where did its idea come from?


2. You’ve made Mountain with Unity. Why this engine? (we love Unity, we are making all our games with it and we have our reasons, but we want to hear yours!). How did you start with it? Anyone help you?

I just kept hearing about Unity enough to pursue it. I started learning it when I had an injury earlier in the year, I suddenly couldn’t move around very much so I put the extra time into playing around with Unity. The game’s code was all written by Damien Di Fede, who is a very handsome developer in Austin, Texas. He also did all of the sound.

3. Mountain as seen in the press: “Beautiful” (LA Weekly), “Beautiful” (The Verge), “Beautiful” (Rock, Paper, Shotgun), “Beautiful” (Buzzfeed), “Beautiful” (Paste Magazine), “Beautiful” (Touch Arcade)… Do you think press got it? What was your favourite press review? Any favourite feedback from players?

Some areas of the press enjoyed Mountain and some didn’t. I liked this Kotaku piece and this RPS one. I have my own interpretation of Mountain which I don’t want to talk about, but I will say that there’s nothing to ‘get’ about the game and no interpretation is right or wrong, it’s explicitly designed to explain nothing about itself. The feedback from players has been huge amounts of love and hate. When it initially hit the app store it was mostly positive ratings, and as it got ranked higher and higher there came a flood of bad reviews. What’s interesting is that the complaints are almost exactly what the game advertises about itself.

4. Mountain has no input from players but some sort of keyboard in the lower part of the screen. Why did you include this feature? (How about exporting this compositions in a future update? We want to hear what other people are composing seeing their own mountains!)

The musical element was part of the initial idea I put together. I don’t want to explain why it’s there, but I have seen some people uploading their compositions and that’s amazing. Having some kind of built in composition export would be great but at the moment we are really hitting a wall with what we can get out of iOS devices, so it might have to wait a little.

5. You’ve worked with Double Fine to publish your game. How did you meet them? What was it like working with them?

I have been a fan of Double Fine for the longest time. Greg Rice and I connected over twitter and stayed in contact since. He has been a real life archangel in Mountain’s release, he walked me though the many complicated hoops of releasing a game from testing to press to publishing. I cannot say enough good things about Greg and my experience with Double Fine Presents.

6. LA Weekly states that you are “working on another project for the Oculus Rift virtual reality device”. Can you tell us something about it?

I think that was in reference to the Character Mirror project I did earlier in the year. That can be downloaded here.

7. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?

I don’t rank or choose artists in that way.

8. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?

I don’t have a lot of free time these days, and I don’t really know what’s popular. I am excited for Kris Piotrowski‘s Below.

9. One last random question. If you could hack every single news site in the world and post a single image, which would it be and why?

I would never do that, hacking is a gateway drug to Hell.


Jonatan Söderström (a.k.a Cactus) is a swedish game developer making weird, rad and bizarre amazing games. He co-founded Dennaton Games with Dennis Wedin and made Hotline Miami. He also has a band named Crystal Boys. Now he answers our questions! 


Cactus by Aldeguer!

1. How long have you been making games?

A bit over ten years now.

2. How many games have you made? (We know you made a lot, yeah. But just to have a number, heh). Where do you find ideas for them? Tell us something about your creative process.

I’ve made a bit over 50 games, and probably three times as many unfinished prototypes. A lot of the ideas are based on tiny things I see in other people’s games, other ideas come from paintings, movies, comics or books that do interesting things I haven’t encountered before. Usually I try to expand on the initial idea that inspired me and if it turns out interesting I add mechanics to make it feel like a game.

3. Hot Throttle is one of our favourite Cactus games. Where did its idea come from?

I’d been reading a lot of Shintaro Kago‘s manga. Unlike most of the games I finish the idea was purely conceptual and had nothing to do with mechanics, which is why I’m not entirely happy with the game. I wish I’d had a better prototype that was fun to play before I started working on it.

4. You art (color palette, drawing style and everything) is amazingly cool. Do you recognise any influence from other artists?

I owe a lot to Messhof, jph_wachesky and TheAnemic/biggt. Mostly people who I encountered within the Game Maker communities.

5. Let’s talk about collaborations. How do you choose people to work with? What do you seek, if anything?

I usually don’t, most often it’s people who contact me, or I’m at a game jam where you are more inclined to be social. I like working with other people, but find it hard to figure out who should take the lead.

6. Hotline Miami. How did you work the narrative elements of the game? Any reading, game or movie you remember that may have influenced the development of the story?

David Lynch is probably the biggest inspiration there, but also Drive with it’s minimalist plot and lack of dialogue. I also really enjoyed Gordon Freeman‘s lack of voice in the Half-Life games.

7. Hotline Miami 2 will feature a level editor(This is not a question, just a cool fact about upcoming Dennaton Games‘ title).

8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?

TheCatamites (Stephen Murphy) is amazing. Right now he’s making rather short games, but his bigger projects are usually the most inspiring to me. Vlambeer has a solid track record and they keep pumping out good games like there’s no tomorrow. Lastly I’d say Ikiki who has been releasing a ton of great games for more than a decade now.

9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?

Not really. I play some Soul Calibur and Mario Kart Double Dash with my friends. Once we’re done with Hotline Miami 2 I think I’m gonna give Dark Souls a try.

10. One last random question. If you guys at Crystal Boys could get a gig in any music festival in any part of the world, which one would it be and why?

All Tomorrow’s Parties, mostly because I’m getting too old to sleep in a tent, and a festival at a hotel sounds awesome. But Primavera Sound always books great acts, so I’d really like to go there as well.