After having worked with William Palma (@Gedorgames) on the game music to his new and exciting game Arcadium, I am really excited that it’s now on Kickstarter! Arcadium is a super fun game and here’s a little interview with William to give us some more information on it…
How do you play your game Arcadium?
'Arcadium is played mainly with the mouse to control the paddle. The keyboard is used for the menus. Half of the game is pure brickbreaker action with the goal being to destroy all the bricks in the level. the other half has other goals like destroying enemies, bosses, or competing with opponent paddles & getting the most points or trying to get the ball past them in classic Pong style.
You lose a life if you lose the ball or the paddle gets destroyed. there are 3 different game modes for making the games easier or harder. I plan to have 7 sections of the game with ten levels on each section. the game also has a lot of enemies with their own movement and also powerups that help the player in the levels.'
What made you decide to create this game?
'Well, as a kid growing up in the late 80's and 90's I remember playing Arkanoid and similar games like Traz and Krakout. I always liked those games & i wanted to create something that connected me to my childhood and the retrostyle.
I also wanted to experiment with what I could do with these kind of games to make them more fun & add a little variation to the gameplay. When I am creating this game i'm always asking myself: "How can I make this game as fun as possible?".'
What did you build the game in ?
'I am making this game in a program called Game Maker which is really easy to use and great for both beginners and more experienced programmers. If you don't know any programming language and just want to have a quick start at making an easy game or just try and experiment with it then you can use something called the Drag and Drop (DnD) commands which don't require any coding.
However, I would advise people to learn the Game Maker Language (GML) as you can do so much more with it. I learned how to use the code and at first it was quite confusing since I did not have any experience with any programming language prior to Game Maker but after a while I got more comfortable with it and this game is made completely in the GML. I learned a lot from trial and error and understanding why some things work and others don't.'
What's the game development process been like?
'When I first started on this game I did not think it would take that much time to finish, maybe a couple of months at most. However, I have learned that making games always takes a lot longer than you think since I have worked on this game for over a year.
I think what most people don't understand about making a game is that all the little things about it like fixing bugs, adding new enemies and bosses, adding new elements and functions to the game is really time consuming, as is the polishing & re-doing of things to make it better. I constantly see things in my game that I am not happy with or that I know I can improve and doing all these things takes time, but every time I fix something or add new sounds or improve the graphics I always feel really happy about it even if it is just a small thing.'
What is your plan for the music & what do you think of the tracks?
'The original idea was to have a track for each section of the game and I think I will stick with that. I also want a theme for the boss and a final boss theme as well as an introduction song and a song when you beat the game.
I have enjoyed working with you and I am really greatful that you showed interest in the game and wanted to help me out with the music. I also appreciate all the help with the marketing and I hope that this article will help make more people interested in my game as well as your music and your talent as a composer.
I really like the tracks and I think they suit well for the game. It is important to have music that you can listen to for a long time without being tired of it and I think that can be said about the tracks. I have discovered that I actually like the tracks even more now than when I first heard them.'
That's really great! Now a bit more about you - would you want to work in a team?
'Working in a team would speed things up a bit but I think I prefer to work mostly alone with my games since I want to be free in doing the kind of games that I like and not having to compromise on anything.
I am not completely alone though since my brother has helped me alot with the graphics & making a lot of the sprites for the game and of course now I have you helping me with the music for which I am very grateful.'
Have you had any challenges along the way?
'There is sometimes the problem of motivation! Sometimes I feel like working and other times I am not so motivated! I guess it depends on what I am currently doing, since some things are really fun to do & others things are boring but they are all necessary in order to make a good game.
Most challenges were in the early process due to the fact that I was a beginner and constantly got stuck on things. The most challenging thing about the game is to avoid getting the ball stuck inside something. Even if I had added a lot of code to fix collisions with the ball there are still things that i will have to work on. However, it has gotten a lot easier and I feel confident that I can do everything in code now. It is just a matter of thinking of a good way to do it since there are many ways to make something. When I learned how to use variables everything got a lot more easier.'
Tell us more about you & how you got into game development...
'I was born in Sweden & grew up there with my mother & two brothers. I have always been quite calm and never wanted to draw attension to myself. I have always liked to play games both board games and video games.
I remember that my oldest brother used to own different computers like the Commodore 64, Atari and Amiga 500 & I loved to play computer games whenever I got the chance. Back then you used floppy discs that contained the games which you input directly to the keyboard. I guess the computer was built into the keyboard since there existed no hard drives then.
With the Commodore 64 however, it was even more primitive as you had all the games on cassette tapes, which you put into this thing that looked like a tape recorder with a three digit number that was always set to 000 and went to 999. You had a cassette tape with games and all the games had different numbers, so if a game had the number 073 for example you had to wait as the tape recorder slowly began rolling from 000 and upwards one number at a time. But, it stopped each time it reached a number where there was a game, so you basically put the cassette tape in and then played the first game it stopped on and then continued on until it stopped again and so forth. I also remember the startup screen - it had a lightblue background and white letters and everytime a game was loaded you had to type "Run" to play the game. I know that all of this sounds like the stone age compared to what we have now but back then that was the reality & no one thought it was slow or clumsy then!
I grew up before the internet existed & before mobile phones were used. I am quite happy to have witnessed how everything has evolved when it comes to technology - especially the computer & video game industry.'
When it comes to me becoming a game developer it all started when I was on vacation with my family. We bought this magazine called 'Retro and Retro Gaming', which had articles about the gaming industry - how it all started, old games from the 70's, 80's, 90's and early this millennium. I found it fascinating to read about people who founded great companies who made computers like the Commodore 64 and Atari and also people who worked with making games and how the process was and what they said about games.
My interest in game making made me search for programs to make games in and i came across Game Maker, learned how to use it and here I am today making my first game. Thanks to the support of my family I can work on this full-time for which I am more grateful than I can put into words, I have the most fun and best job in the world.'
Arcadium sounds awesome! Let’s all go and support it’s development now on Kickstarter.
About the author: Ninichi is a game music composer and created the soundtrack to Arcadium (amongst other games/films/media).