Teemu Väisänen

Teemu Väisänen (a.k.a Pixelmind) is a young game dev from Finland. And hey, he’s the winner of the Ludum Dare 30 compo! Now he answers our questions! 

Teemu by Aldeguer!

Teemu by Aldeguer!

1. How long have you been making games?

Its hard to say when exactly I started. It’s been a hobby of mine for years. I guess my first serious project was a mod for Battlefield 2 which was about 8 years ago.

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

Usually they come from other games and movies. I also like to ”gamify” everyday things in my head. I’m not sure why but I regularly see dreams of games too.

I try to write down any useful idea so my phone is now full of short descriptions of game ideas and mechanics. Usually these are quite loose, like ”Super Meat Boy but blind folded”. I often don’t even remember what the original idea was. For some reason I get most of my ideas before I go to bed, in a dream or right after waking up.

3. You’ve won Ludum Dare #30 Compo with Superdimensional. How did you came up with this concept?

It actually came up from a discussion we had with my girlfriend. I had read from an exam book that young babies have not yet developed a clear concept of their surrounding world. Basically they think that the visible world is all there is. If something is hidden then it ceases to exists. We later develop the skill to understand that a person in the next room is not gone forever and that there is a world beyond our vision. So we happened to have a short discussion about this with my girlfriend so it was still fresh in my mind.

When the ”connected worlds” theme was announced it quickly reminded me of the discussion. I wanted the player to be confused by what he or she saw and what was real. Only the current visible portion would be relevant and has its own set of rules. From there on I just had to figure out a game mechanic how to show and hide worlds.

I first intended to make a level based puzzle game using the mechanic but I decided to ditch the idea. I guess it felt too much like a puzzle game with a gimmick. I ended up with an endless runner with a gimmick instead! Much better!

4. Tom Francis (creator of amazing Gunpoint among other things) described Superdimensional “like the most stylish possible Flappy Bird (Compliment!)”. What do you think of this one-liner? Have you played Flappy Bird? What do you think of it?

It’s great to read such an awesome developer comment your game! It’s almost like you were playing a gig with your garage band and have James Hetfield compliment your band afterwards.

I think the comment actually describes the game quite well. I wasn’t thinking of Flappy Bird when I made the game but they do have similarities. One of my inspiration for the art and even some of it’s game mechanisms from an iOS game called “Badland”. It also has similaraties to Flappy Bird so it’s not that far off really.

I’ve played Flappy Bird for about 15 minutes until it made me want to destroy something. I’d still say it is a great game though. I like how it’s purely based on a simple but effective game mechanic. It also has that love/hate relationship that you often have for games like VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy. Those too can be really frustrating but the reward of finally beating your score or level feels so much better than what you get from a game that holds your hand all the time.

5. What was it like winning Ludum Dare #30 compo? Do you remember where you were when you found out? How did you react?

The rankings are not the point of Ludum Dare but it’s still interesting to see what your fellow developers think of your game. So the night before I was really exited to hear the results. It was late and I tried to get few more games rated before the deadline. I think the staff had to postpone the results a bit and I was going to have an early wake up next day so I just went to bed.

I woke up few hours later and checked the results. I was still so sleepy so I had to ask my girlfriend if I read it correctly. I had to check couple of times if I really was looking at the correct list. It really felt unreal and hard to believe.

After that I went kind of nuts and started singing and dancing in the kitchen! Of course I was really proud but there were so many absolutely fantastic entries that deserved the top spot. I really didn’t expect to win at all. I was hoping to be in the top 100 based on the positive comments it got.

6. What are your plans with Superdimensional after winning Ludum Dare #30? Are you fleshing it out?

I’m not sure yet. I’m currently really busy with trying to get my degree out. That’s going to take few more months. After that I’d really love to concentrate on game development. It could be Superdimensional or some other project.

It’s been quite an agony to do some silly school stuff when there are so many game ideas revolving in my head. LD was a great way to get some of that out.

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 like to rank devs so I’ll choose 3 very different type of developers: Vlambeer, Wargaming and Cactus. Vlambeer is a prime example of a great indie game dev. It would be interesting to see how they work. Wargaming would be interesting because they started relatively small but are now the industry ”big boys”. Cactus‘ games are so different than anything else out there that he’d definitely be worth following.

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

I used to play a lot but these days its hard to find the time. I managed to finish Walking Dead Episode 2 recently. Now I’ve been playing Metro 2033. World of Tanks has also been a regular thing for years now. We always play it in a platoon with friends so it’s more of a social thing these days though.

9. One last random question. If you could sing any song in front of a trouserless crowd… which one would it be and why?

Guns N’ Roses – ”Welcome to the Jungle” but I’d sing it with that deep sexy Elvis Presley voice. Why? Because I always sing that in front of a trouserless crowd.

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