We talk with David Márquez de la Cruz about CoderChild's new DSiware game where bugs fight for supremacy in sport.
Spanish developer CoderChild recently released their very first title on DSiWare, Bug'N'Balls, which retails for 200 DSi Points (or $1.99 on the eShop). Nintendo World Report had the chance to chat with Coderchild's David Márquez de la Cruz about their new game, working with Nintendo, and creating games in Spain.
Nintendo World Report (NWR): Could you please give a brief description of the game for those unfamiliar with it?
David Márquez de la Cruz (DMC): Well, to summarize, like in real life for humans, bugs have their own sports, and their most important one is the Bugs'N'Balls competition. You play the role of an insect who starts playing this competition and wants to reach the main league to become the winner.
Bugs'N'Balls is an instant action game. As soon as you start the game, you find yourself throwing balls from one side of the table to the other while dodging your opponent's attacks. As the game progresses, the difficulty increases, and when you reach the professional league, you'll find your opponents have improved their skills, so winning this league becomes a fun challenge for the player.
There are also mini-games, which let the player play the game in a different way. In fact, the player can access the unlocked mini-games from the menus, and play them randomly for fun.
In Bugs'N'Balls, we wanted to show the world to the player from a different point of view, thus, the levels are designed as they "should" be seen by bugs. They are especially cute. I hope the players will appreciate all those little details.
NWR: How do you control the movement of the bugs?
DMC: Controlling the game is pretty easy, as it uses just three buttons. The player moves horizontally (left and right) and grabs and throws the balls with one button.
In the pre-production stage, we studied other more 'sophisticated' ways of controlling the bugs, like using the stylus and drawing movements, but in the end we thought this is the easiest and more intuitive way to control the game. We think it fits perfectly because the game breathes from classic game play mechanics.
NWR: Before each match, the game displays a versus screen that shows the two competing bugs. Did a classic fighting title lead you to include this?
DMC: Haha! Yes and no. We thought it could be funny to introduce every match of those little bugs like the fierce opponents we find in some of the most important fighting games. So this was the main reason to include this, just for fun, to make the player smile or even laugh.
We looked at several references just to get an idea, and of course, those references included classic fighting games, but we also looked at some anime fighting scenes. For instance, we looked at some of the early Dragon Ball episodes. Yes, I'm a big fan of Akira Toriyama. (Don't tell him ;D )
NWR: Bugs ‘N’ Balls is CoderChild’s first release. Was it difficult becoming a DSiWare developer? Was Nintendo helpful throughout the development process?
DMC: Well, Nintendo has an impressive amount of resources to help developers. Throughout my game developer career, they've always been helpful and responsive. As soon as you ask for help, they provide you with an answer. Even in the approval process, when there is something that needs to be improved, they provide hints on how this can be achieved. Nintendo is particularly great at providing support to developers.
NWR: CoderChild is located in Spain near Barcelona. Is Spain a great place to make games?
DMC: Well, the weather, the food, and the lifestyle is pretty good here. This is something important and appealing. On the other hand, there are few important development studios in Spain, which makes it difficult for game developers and students to find jobs in the game industry. It's very difficult to find someone who wants to fund a business like a video game company, and then, most of the small studios, like CoderChild, are self-funded and this makes it difficult to hire people. The situation is aggravated due to the international crisis, which is currently somewhat deep in Spain.
Despite this environment, currently there are several universities imparting serious courses related to the video game development. The people who finish these courses are really well prepared, which makes Spain a great place to invest on in the video game industry. Maybe this is a great opportunity for the big companies to create new development studios here.
Fortunately, for the small studios, this industry relies on the global market, and if you are economically able to develop a title, then there is an opportunity to stay there.
NWR: Now that you are done working on the game, what is next on the agenda? Will your next project also see a release on a Nintendo platform?
DMC: What's next? Another title, for sure! We are now in pre-production once again. We have several ideas over the table, and we are carefully studying them. We also have some other projects we left behind, and maybe we'll come back to them in the future. If we don't do more games its because we don't have enough time! Ideas and imagination is one of our strong points : ).
Our next project will be also for a Nintendo platform. For DSiWare or WiiWare or luckily for both of them. I would like also develop on the Nintendo 3DS, but I'm not sure when we could start there, but I hope soon.
Thanks to David for the interview.