Interview with GameInc, Developer of Magnight

Interview with GameInc, Developer of Magnight

Seth: Magnight is a puzzle platformer that relies on the fundamentals of magnetism to win the game.

Cadrick: Magnight is a 2D physics-based puzzle solving platform game. Players need to utilize the power of magnetic effect to solve the puzzles. Basically it is all about “Attract” and “Repel” between 2 magnetic objects.

Umar: Magnight is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer game created by students and fresh graduates under the GameINC training program by MDEC. The game incorporates real-time simulated physics and also magnetism as its core gameplay. GameINC is an annual program whereby the brightest undergraduate students in Malaysia are handpicked into 14 weeks internship course to undergo full cycle game development process under the mentorship by industry experts and academicians.

2. Can you introduce your team?

Our team is made out of:

Seth Wong Ker Siung (Team Lead, Gameplay Programmer)
David Tan Xi Siang (Game Designer)
Cham Wei Chuan (Game Designer)
Umar Mochtar (Lead Artist)
Steven Gan (Artist)
Hiew Sau Fung (Artist)
Ting Kee Biew (Artist)
Ahmad Hamidullah Adb Rahman (Artist)
Cadrick Loh (Lead Programmer)
Edvinn Lai (Game Engine Programmer)
Kaori Wong (Game Engine Programmer)
Mohd Zaid Mohd Zin (Level Editor Programmer)
Wang Hsin Jo (Level Editor Programmer)
Yeong Hong Chun (Gameplay Programmer)
Ng Choon Hooi (Gameplay Programmer)
Aaron Chow (Gameplay Programmer).

Cadrick: GameINC consists of 1 team lead, 2 games designer, 8 programmers and 5 artists. In the programming team, we have further separated into 2 sub-teams based on their roles. One team will be coding the engine part and another team will be handling the gameplay part. In short, we have 4 engine programmers and 4 gameplay programmers.

For engine programmers, they are basically doing the the base code of the engine and providing basic functions for gameplay programmers. Besides that, engine programmers are responsible in coding the physics engine. For gameplay programmers, they are mostly coding the gameplay mechanics.

Umar: We were a team of 5 artists, 2 designers, and 9 programmers. The team lead was Seth, the lead programmer was Cadrick, and the art lead was me, Umar. The artists that did the art for the game were Fung, Hamid, Biew and Steven Gan. The game designers were David and Cham. The programmers were divided into 2 groups: engine programmers and gameplay programmers. The engine programmers were Cadrick, Koori, Zaid and Wang while the gameplay programmers were John, Edvinn, Nancy, Aaron and Seth.

3. What is your background in making games?

Seth: I have been fond of games ever since my 1st ATARI back when I was 3 years old. Since hten I’ve always been fascinated by games and the joy they bring. Evidently, when I found out that APIIT – UCTI offeres a course in Games Development, I felt like this is the passion that I should pursue.

4. How did you come up with the concept for the game?

Cadrick: It all started with the concept of attract and repel. We’ve been through the stages of idea pitching and the mentors were filtering what we have came out with and finally they’ve decided to go with the attract and repel concept.

Umar: The concept for the game was a mixture of several ideas that was pitched to the mentors by the participants after weeks of discussions and pitching, and it was refined and altered numerous times before it was finalized. As for the art, we sort of went for Tim Burton’s Alice meets steampunk. We of course added different elements along the way as we didn’t want to constrain ourselves within that theme.

5. What development tools did you use?

Seth: The development tools that our team used are: Microsoft XNA, 3D Studio Max, Farseer Physics Engine 2.0, and a lot of head banging =.=”

Cadrick: We used Microsoft XNA Game Studio to develop our game. Besides that, we are using a 3rd party physics engine known as Farseer Physics for XNA. Farseer Physics for XNA is based on the Box3D physics engine.

Umar: We used Autodesk 3DS Max and Adobe Photoshop for the art, and Microsoft XNA as the game engine.

6. Are you currently doing game development full-time?

Seth: Currently I’m still studying for a Degree in Games Development in APIIT – UCTI. Graduating late 2011, but yea that’s the plan, although after graduation if a career path in games development proves to be elusive, I’ll go into other fields of IT for life support and continue developing games during my free time.

Cadrick: Yes we did do full-time game development but it was during our internship program.

7. How long did it take for you to develop the game?

Seth: The game took 3 months to construct. That was the time frame given to us.

Umar: It took us 14 weeks to develop the game, from brain-storming sessions to post-production.

8. What are some of the challenges that you face in developing games in the South-East Asian region?

Seth: I’ve yet to venture into society in this field, but if I had to say it I would say it is the fact that the community in this region is not known for its financial support for games. Local investors have yet to realize the potential in games development thus the growth of this industry locally is still not yet up to speed.

Cadrick: Honestly, I would say game development in the South-East Asian region is still very young and it is hard to find game developers out there. Whenever we have meetings (which are organzied by IGDA Malaysia), most probably we will be seeing the same faces again and again. Although it is a hard time for us but we still can see the growing of game development happening in the South-East Asian region. I believe in the future, we will see more improvement in game development and let’s hope to see more cool games which are originally developed by South-East Asian!

Umar: We didn’t face much challenges caused by our location when we were developing the game. We pretty much had all the things we needed to develop the game.

9. If you could start the project over again, what would you do differently?

Seth: If I could start over, I would focus on making the level editor more user-friendly, so that players can also have fun building their own custom levels. One of the key aspects of the game was to allow players to customize their own levels but at the end of the development phase, the mentors deemed the level editor too user-unfriendly and it was revoked from the release.

Umar: I’m really satisfied with how the game turned out and it’s very hard to say what I would do differently. I guess it would be that I wish we had pushed the art further, exploring other different themes, trying different techniques and mixing more elements while keeping everything consistent. But I’m pretty sure artists are rarely satisfied with their own work. :) .

10. Any advice for other indie game developers out there?

Seth: I don’t think I’m in a position to give any advice yet, fact is I’m still studying. But to anyone who has an interest or passion in making games, seek out opportunities such as GameINC and other similar programs. It provides valuable insight into how things work and to me it would ultimately prove as a valuable experience in the career path of a game developer.

Cadrick: Start prototyping whenever you have some ideas in mind. The more times you spend on your games, the better quality you will produce at the end of the game development stage!

Umar: Don’t let the fire die :)

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