Paradigm builds on the traditions of early 90s point-n-click adventure games with its own brand of quirky, idiosyncratic humour and handcrafted look and feel. The story centres on genetically deformed hero Paradigm as he navigates the beautiful dystopic landscape of Krusz. With dreams of becoming the world’s greatest electronic music artist, this reluctant world saviour will encounter a range of bizarre inhabitants on his way to face the tyranny of a toupee wearing, candy bar regurgitating Sloth!
What’s been your experience at this year’s games festival? Has player feedback resulted in many changes since last year?
This year at the festival it was great, I had a few people who were really into the game give me a lot of valuable feedback in person which I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. One of them actually sent me a couple pages of feedback. I also got a free beer after, which is always the most important part.
In general, feedback has really helped the game along. As with anything when you’re close to it for so long, it’s much harder to see the flaws.
What has been your greatest challenge working on the game so far?
I’d have to say simply working as a solo dev is the most challenging part. You have to balance every single part of development, along with handling social media, fans, Kickstarter backers, social gatherings and many other things. Once you stop everything stops, no one is there to pick up the slack. However, the complete control of my own vision outweighs these downsides tenfold. I can create a Sloth who vomits candy bars, or make a room influenced by a cracked copy of Windows 98 and no one can tell me otherwise.
Can you talk to us a bit about your creative process, and how you go about generating ideas?
Basically, with most things I design, I just think to myself, ‘how can I make this different and unique?’ It’s really a combination of things. Occasionally, I’ll have an idea that comes naturally and quickly. However when I’m designing, more often than not, I’ll spend a lot of time writing words on paper until I find something interesting and different. You don’t always have the luxury of spontaneous ideas.
Previously you mentioned a number of comedic and visual inspirations.. who are some of your influences and in what ways have they helped shape the game?
This is always a hard question because I like so many things. Although some of my favourites are the obvious Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert (Monkey Island), Mighty Boosh, Brendan Smalls (Metalocalypse) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monty Python, Moebius, and Jodrowsky. Arnold influenced me in the way of not being scared to break the rules of what’s considered the norm in adventure games. Jodrowsky for being absolute batshit crazy with where he takes his concepts. Mighty Boosh for their DIY gritty approach for crazy weird characters and music influence. Monty Python for their more surreal/black take on comedy and good use of dialogue. That’s just a small portion of my influences, I could talk about it for days.
Paradigm also touches on some fairly adult themes, to what extent do you allow a personal narrative to influence your creations?
Paradigm is definitely a baby of mine, and inevitably my life influences a lot of the content. Things that I have experienced, places I’ve been; though, unfortunately, none of those include me growing up in a post-apocalyptic Eastern European world.. or having a beatboxing eggplant as a friend. While the game is surreal in nature, I definitely apply my own self to give it a more unique feel.
Why do you think some still prefer narrative-based games, In a medium largely dominated by mechanics based stuff?
People just like stories, no matter the medium, and they always will. Narrative-based games just give them another way to connect with the story on a more interactive level. Generally in a more relaxed setting than an action game for example. Often there is a clash between narrative and mechanics; however, I think as long as people enjoy it, it doesn’t really matter.
I understand you’ve been using dedicated Adventure game engine Visionaire, has this presented more advantages or limitations as development has progressed?
The advantage of using a dedicated engine is that it allows me not to worry too much about programming. The limitations really help you make what you have really good, rather than have a bunch of “innovations” which are sub par. And as a solo developer, it’s important not to overblow the scope so you will actually finish. While I would like some more custom tools, it just wouldn’t be feasible in a reasonable time period as a solo dev.
As primarily a solo developer, how do you go about balancing programming and design/art duties?
The great thing about working alone is that you can jump to any part of development depending on your mood. If you spend too much time programming and get sick of it, you can do art. If you do too much art, you can work on voice acting. Generally, I stick to a schedule throughout the day and go through a working list, changing it up as I get sick of a particular element. Normally I will go through week binges of each facet.
Do you have any advice for those interested in creating their own adventure games?
Just make them, and start small. The act of making something from start to finish will be better than anything you read. Also, try to build as much as your game, start to finish with placeholder assets or really rough art. This will save you A LOT of time, as more than likely some puzzles or sequence won’t work. By having the rough, you can catch that problem early and save your money/time making the final assets.
What’s your current time frame for release, and how can our readers find out more about the project?
Paradigm is set to be released early next year. You can find more information at www.paradigmadventure.com
Here are some other places where you can show your support for Paradigm: