Sep 27, 2013
Over the coming weeks, Gaming IQ will be publishing a fortnightly column that spotlights the latest & greatest the indie gaming developer community has to offer. Stay tuned for highlights from the most exciting and innovative indie studios!
Glass Bottom Games is an independant games developer based in Denver, who are passionate about creating innovative games. I had the chance to speak with Megan Fox, the CEO, co-founder, programmer, and designer for the team. They are currently working on Hot Tin Roof, a noir-themed sidescrolling platformer that recently hit it’s $20,000 Kickstarter goal, but are still looking for backers until September 29th to improve the game even further.
I had the opportunity to speak with Megan about her experiences within the industry, and on the upcoming title.
Gaming IQ: What was one of your favourite games as a kid, and what inspired you to begin making them yourself?
Megan Fox: Ultima 7, without question. The sense of it being a living, breathing world really hooked me, and you could bake bread! But what specifically inspired me to begin making games, I… honestly don’t know. It was either just that I loved games and wanted to make them, or that I somehow got involved with coding at an early age (I learned C when I was 11, from a goofy book called “C For Rookies”) which fed into “hey, I could make games with this!”.
In any case, I started with C, then I started playing with modding tools for Doom, Duke 3D and Quake, and then I started writing my own games (in C/C++) around age 14.
gIQ: What are your thoughts on indie gaming being the ‘backbone’ of the industry?
MF: Big budget studios can’t afford to take risks. They just can’t. Big games cost way, way, way too much to risk that on. So the experimentation, the new ideas, have to come from the indies and smaller studios. Some of us take risks, fail and bust, others of us hit major success, and it’s this dynamic soup at the heart of the industry.
Also, the industry goes through cycles, where today’s indie moguls are tomorrow’s mid to large studio sized heads. Then the big studios eventually collapse under their own weight, and so it goes, again and again. Not all indies do that, but, that’s other part of it.
gIQ: In your eyes, what makes Hot Tin Roof so special, and what is your favourite aspect of the game?
MF:The fact that it mixes Metroidvania with adventure game writing. That it touches on what I like about adventure games, the characters and writing and dialog, but instead of hunting for pixels most of the time, I’m jumping around, navigating platforming challenges, and uses a kick-ass Inspector Gadget revolver in clever ways to get past whatever’s in my way.
gIQ: So Hot Tin Roof is slated to hit PC, Mac, Linux, and now Android devices. What would it mean to you to publish it on gaming consoles such as the PS4, Wii U or Xbox One?
MF: It would mean a lot. I would LOVE to hit Sony consoles, for instance, it just costs a ton. Wii U’s more reasonable, and something I’m thinking I’ll try to do. It mostly comes down to how well the game does, though – it would have to do really well, or I’d have to work out a great deal, to get it onto Sony consoles (but I’ll keep trying for that).
XB One is an unknown. They haven’t yet gotten back to me on their XBox ID program thing. Can’t say much about it until I’m in there.
gIQ: Hot Tin Roof looks like a very unique side-scroller adventure game. I have always been a huge platforming fan; what is your favourite platformer of all time?
MF: Hrm. That’d be a toss-up. Prime contenders would include: Super Metroid, Mega Man X, and Ducktales. (seriously, Ducktales rocked, I will hear no ill toward it!)
gIQ: What’s the inspiration behind the cat with the fedora?
MF: The cat thing happened accidentally. Jones On Fire started as a game jam game, and all I had the time/skill to make was a cat. There were originally supposed to be more animal types, but didn’t have time for any of it, so, cats! Then I rolled with that for the full game born of the game jam game, and people liked it, so… I mean why not? I figure Hot Tin Roof is the second Emma Jones game, and the cats are clearly part of that world now.
As for the cat in a fedora, I wanted the cats to be more personal this time, not just window decorations, so I needed a cat partner. Clearly, the cat couldn’t just be a tool, she needed to be a friend, a coworker, so – she needed a fedora.
gIQ: What makes Unity3D so good for indies?
MF: Three things. Giant community (which means there’s always an answer to a question, always a tool someone else already made for the job at hand), excellent cross-platform support, and smooth difficulty curve. I’m using it at an advanced level, just like I did Gamebryo (UGH) back at NetDevil, but then a novice comes along and can get going making games in it too. It’s awesome!
gIQ: What did you learn from your previous game, Jones on Fire?
MF: That playing it safe is a bad idea. Early on, I said to myself “ok, it’s mobile, so I have to play it safe and play to the masses – so I’ll make a runner instead of a platformer, even though I really want to make a platformer.”
It was doomed financially right then. Done, period. If I’d made a platformer, it would have been even better recieved, but ALSO not been seen as yet another runner, and had a better shot at success.
gIQ: Is there anything you would do differently regarding the game, or the development process?
MF: I would have made the game I wanted to make, instead of compromising and making the game that I thought I had to make to have a shot at success.
gIQ: Does a certain Hollywood actress stealing your namesake ever bother you?
MF: Eh, it goes both ways. Yes, it bugs me, but it makes me instantly memorable, especially if I play a joke off of it when someone mentions the similarity. So I try and see it as a good thing.
gIQ: What advice could you give to aspiring indie game developers?
MF: Make games. NOW. Don’t wait, there is never a better time. GO MAKE GAMES. You will only get better, and have a better shot at success as an indie, if you are MAKING GAMES. Quit dreaming, go grab Unity, and make a game – NOW!
You can back Hot Tin Roof on Kickstarter until this Sunday 29th September 2013.