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!
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?
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.