Square Bananas #XBLIG VVGIndieVerse Interview
VVG IndieVerse Interviews
With XBLIG Developer Square Bananas
By: Mr. Deeke
Welcome to VVGIndieVerse’s introductory Developer Interview with Square Bananas, creator of the fantastic MORPG “Avatar Adventurers Online”. This is our first written Interview here at VVGiv, and the format will be ten (10) Q & A’s along with two questions hand-picked from the XBLIG community.
We would like to thank Square Bananas for this opportunity–these questions offer a rare insight to the mind behind one of the most enjoyable XBLIG’s on the market today.
VVGiv’s questions will be written in Bold and will appear as white text.
The Developer’s answers will show up as blue italics text.
Q & A
#1.Why did you decide to create the first multiplayer online RPG for Xbox Indies?
The first reason was there wasn’t an online RPG game that I am aware of on the Indie Games channel, so it made sense to make one.
Secondly, I have enjoyed playing different online RPGs for the pc in the past and I like the concepts that players work together to develop their characters, solve missions/quests and work towards common goals.
#2. On a scale of 1-10, how difficult was the project altogether?
I would say an 8. Some elements of the project were harder than others, especially as this was a solo project, but I decided to keep other parts simple such as the graphics to focus on adding online play and other functionality.
#3. When developing Avatar Adventurers, what were some of the game elements you knew you wanted in the game?
The main elements I wanted were that players could meet up with others or play with friends online.
Whereas other online Indie games tend to be more competitive, this game focuses more on team work and helping others with missions & quests that you have already figured out, or even getting help yourself from others.
Also being able to trade particular items & equipment between players was an important element I wanted.
Angry Brainless Bovines
#4. How long did it take to develop Avatar Adventurers and prepare it for publication?
In total, it took 12 weeks from starting the project until having a version ready to submit for the marketplace. About 6 weeks of this was spent designing the game systems and writing the code for it, about 4 weeks were taken to create all the content.
It took a further 2 weeks to test the game both offline & online as well as make improvements suggested by other developers during the testing process.
#5. What are some of your personal favorite mutltiplayer online RPG’s?
The main one I used to play was Final Fantasy XI. Even after spending years playing, there was always something else to do.
Other online RPGs that I have played or have watched my friends playing for hours include Star Wars Galaxies, Conquer and Byond (although I never trying making a game with Byond, just played ones others made).
Between these is where most of the inspiration came from to make a multiplayer online RPG.
#6. Your game is a welcome addition to the RPG Indie Game genre. Was it your goal to expand the content for this genre with Avatar Adventurers?
That was one of the goals. Although other RPGs on the Indie Games channel don’t seem to be online, there are some very good ones to choose from still.
I’m sure this is just the beginning and I hope other developers will see the potential to make more multiplayer online RPGs for the Indie Games channel.
RC Helicopter Sim
#7. How long have you been an Indie Game developer?
For just over a year now. I first found out about “XNA Game Studio” in January 2010. The advice and tutorials found on the website (http://create.msdn.com) made it relatively easy to learn and develop my own games.
Last August “RC Helicopter Sim” was released, followed by “Angry Brainless Bovines” and “Impossibly Dodgeable” in October. The later two had online play, which then led onto the development of “Avatar Adventurers Online” at the beginning of November.
#8. Was the overall online functionality of the game hard to develop?
Developing the basic online functionality wasn’t too hard, the difficult part was testing it thoroughly and trying to carry out plenty of multiplayer sessions prior to marketplace release. Careful consideration had to be given so that the gameplay remains relatively smooth online while not creating too much network traffic.
For example when there are a number of players within the same area, the game has to decide which player has the decision of whether an enemy is alive, which way the enemy will wander, who the enemy is attacking, as well as other things. Essentially all the players need to see the same enemies doing the same things.
Therefore the game is designed so that each area is like a mini network game within a much bigger network game, that bigger game being the whole world.
Avatar Adventurers Online
#9. Can we expect more XBL Indie titles developed by you in the future?
Yes. For the moment I plan to spend more time making various improvements to “Avatar Adventurers Online” and possibly even additional content. Although there are no definite future games planned, there will be soon enough.
#10. Avatar Adventurers Online is quite an expansive game. How much time could a gamer expect to invest in the game in order to beat it?
Players seem to be spending varying amounts of time to complete all the missions and obtain the final equipment set. One of the first players to complete the game took 50 hours, although he played almost solo from start to finish.
Other players who have teamed together have managed to complete it quicker, although it still takes time if you want to get the maximum level and obtain all the abilities and equipment.
“If you were to interview the Developer of AAOMMORPG with one question what would it be? #XBLIG you will be credited. Enter now.” @MasterBlud
#1. I would ask “When you were a kid, what was your favorite video game, and has it influenced your products in any way?”
Courtsey of @WTG_Pandaa
I guess I have had a few favourites. Originally I use to like playing Sonic a lot, but when my friend got Final Fantasy VII that was my favourite for a long time.
With my latest game, I would say playing such RPGs has greatly influenced what I wanted to develop, although my other less serious games have been influenced more by games such as Bishi Bashi as well as Net Yaroze games for the original Playstation.
#2. What gave you the inspiration for you to come up with this idea?
Courtesy of @sploder360
In the past I have really enjoyed playing online RPGs on the pc. I like the concepts in such games where players have to work together to develop their characters and solve missions/quests.
Games such as Final Fantasy XI, Star Wars Galaxies, Conquer and Byond are where most of the inspiration came from. As there didn’t seem to be a similar online RPG game for the Indie Games channel, it made sense to make one.
That’s it for VVGiv’s first Developer Interview with AAO dev Square Bananas–we’d like to thank Mr. Bananas for this interview and for making the first MORPG for XBL Indie Games.
Want to see your questions on one of our Q & A interviews? VVGtv will select community questions for these types of articles every now and again, so stay tuned!