I always get excited when I read articles about BoI:R that say it's releasing either "early 2014" or "Q1 2014"... But then I check to see what you've actually said on the matter, and it feels like it's going to be much later than that... Which is fine, I can be patient. I'm just wondering where different sites and gaming news outlets get that sort of information. Do they just make it up? Or did you give them a rough estimate a while ago? Thanks, keep making games. Can't wait for BOI & Mew
Q1 release dates for rebirth came from sony, and its a nice goal but not really realistic at this point.
It took players of Spelunky over a year to find out that carrying an eggplant to the final boss and throwing it at him causes him to be much easier to kill. Are you gonna try and beat Derek's record with the secrets you're putting in Mewgenics and Rebirth?
When you animate, do you prefer using motion tweens or drawing frame-by-frame more? Which is more fun for you to work with? I'm curious since your games seem to use quite a bit of both.
i use a bit of a paper doll puppet technique.
currently with mewgenics i have to work around the fact that each cat always has a body set, 4 legs, tail and head that can be animated. i can do action script calls for facial features but everything else has to be done with the pieces i have at my disposal (due to all the cats pieces having 1000s of alts inside them).
with these limitations i do all my animation by manipulating each piece, pretty drastically at times, smashing and pulling each piece to achieve the illusion of the cat having more pieces than shown.
for isaac if the enemy or boss was large id usually puppet his arms and legs kinda the same way and draw 4-6 alt faces for his heads and maybe an alt body or 2 for the more drastic animations.
i basicly plan out what id like them to do attack wise and come up with a minimal number of pieces and alt pieces to achieve the actions i want them to do. something like monstro has the illusion of being made of a lot of different frames, when really hes just around 7 different heads that i squish and pull to make it look more like fluid fbf animation.
that said, the manipulation is always fbf animation, i dont usually use tweens in my work because it tends to make the animation smoother than id like (less smooth less work).
i do still draw some traditional fbf stuff like isaacs body, smoke, explosions and the like but i try to keep those elements to a minimum so im able to get stuff done in a timely manner.
Hi. Would you recommend using Flash for video game animation? Im not sure about the vector style you get but I guess you can export that stuff to photoshop and edit it. What did you use for Super Meat Boy? Thanks.
Hey Ed! I'm a cartoonist on the verge of my first real pro job and I was wondering how you deal with the fear of success. My whole life people have been telling me I can't make a living drawing and I'm with grasp of the "unattainable". While I'm working this fear is in my head. I'm just curious about your perspective on the idea.
ive never had a fear of success, or much of a fear of failure. if you focus on what makes you happy and just do that as much as possible, i view that as very successful and there is no fear in attaining that.
i never really looked at the big picture much, since i was young i created because it made me happy, i avoided art for a living for a while because i didnt think it was realistic for someone with artistic interests like myself could make money off his work.. so i just did it for fun and worked shitty jobs, eventually doing art contract work later in life.
i guess what im getting at is it doesnt matter what others think as long as you view what you do as successful, even if its stepping stone activities like making flash animations or comics.
if super meat boy and isaac never happened id still view myself as a success because i was doing what i loved.
spoiler: your family and even friends wont ever fully understand why you want to do what you want to do, so dont waste time in worrying about what they think. to this day 90% of the people i know dont understand why i enjoy what i do… now the just think because i have now money im happy and can/should retire!
As a totally unmotivated 18 year old guy going to community college and doing so-so, I'm considering dropping out. I want to get into game design or animation, but I have no plan, and like I said before, totally unmotivated at the moment to pursue this goal. Not sure what I should do at this point, but some insight would be much appreciated.
you know yourself a lot better than i do, so any advise id give wouldnt be too helpful.
maybe my advise is to go with what you feel you want/need to do. be logical about your choices and im sure everything will be fine.
One of the best parts of SMB is the simple yet never boring game play. There are no power-ups no level-ups, you are the meat you are. When designing levels did you ever feel like you ran out of design space? How did you combat this?
i had a very formulaic means of design in smb when it came to the level design, and how levels introduced new elements and challenged the player in new ways as the game progressed. i knew from the start on paper that i could make it so the game didnt get old at all a while before even making the levels or mapping them out at all.
if you pick apart each level of smb beyond the 1st few, you will notice a pattern that goes like this.
intro new gameplay mechanic (ie keys) with a level that shows how they basically work.
reuse the same mechanic in a new way (ie using key blocks to push the player through a level).
reuse the same mechanic but comboed with a previously introduced level.
intro a new gameplay mechanic.
thats a very basic outline of the whole game on a broad level, but a more intricate look might also notice patterns like.
trying my best to not only use level size in a way that mattered to the new mechanic or gameplay in general but also to make sure each level felt fresh. i do the same thing with level colors, themes and the like visually.
going even deeper you will find precursors and throw backs.
a precursor would be a tease of a new enemy or mechanic that would be appearing later in the chapter, and a throw back would be a basic mechanic introed early in a chapter that would be revisited at the end with a much much higher difficulty level.
i also tend to design levels, chapters and the game it self with symmetry. (ie the final chapter of the game mirrors the 1st in its mechanics)
i put a great deal of thought into every aspect of that damn game, and i probably went beyond what you asked but it got me thinking and wishing i was working on another platformer :)
If you had an option to change your job to anything you would like, you would keep on your active job or you would change to something else? If it's something else, what would be? (P.S: English is not my Primary Language, so I'm sorry if it's wrong written).
oh if i had the ability to totally refocus all my creative efforts from the start id have been musician.
if i had to start a new job from now… i guess id move into cartoons or back into comics.
i know its misleading because mainstream devs usually give you a release window when developing something.. that doesnt really work for indie devs… i have no clue when either game will be done, the goal is next year sometime but its impossible to gauge an exact month just yet.. or quarter really.
we are still early enough in dev that things could go longer than expected so theres no way to tell.
When David Hellman took over the art on Braid did you work with him at all to transition the work you had already done?
sadly no, around the end of dev jon asked me if i wanted to paint over the ingame sprites in the style of davids backgrounds, i thought it would take too long and i wouldnt do it much justice so i bowed out and david took over from there.
What's one of your favorite games as of late? or current plays? Have you engaged in new console purchases? Is it time for cat's to have a social network of their own?
still playing spelunky mostly on vita now, lots of mtg (holiday cube is back online mid dec so ill be doing that a ton). ive also been playing through doom 2 again with the brutal doom mod on, and im looking forward to playing the new zelda on 3ds when i get it. oh im also playing the latest cod with danielle (online multiplayer only), its something we always do together this time of year.
i got sent a ps4 because i dev for it a few days before launch, but have yet to hook it up. theres nothing that interests me out for any next gen systems that i cant buy on pc just yet.. so, meh.
When answering that question about depression you said that trying to treat depression with non prescribed drugs can lead to a downward spiral. I was wondering what your thoughts on drugs (meaning non prescribed drugs such as weed, lsd, etc.) is, and how they affect depression and creativity in your opinion.
everyone is different but if you are prone to addiction being dependent on any substance that gives diminishing returns will always end badly.
i dont use drugs nor do i drink.. they just arent for me and i feel no real need to try them.
but i believe if you are using recreational drugs to help deal with depression and the like, you are just covering up the core issues with a bandage, and in doing so those issues can become a lot worse without you realizing it.
Edmund, as a depressed teenager who idolizes you and your work, have you ever suffered with a depressive or mood disorder, and if so, how did you deal with it?
yes, like many many teenagers i had to deal with a large amount of depression growing up. the only way i was able to cope was to confide in my mother who also suffered from depression when she was young, simply talking to her and understanding that i wasnt alone made things much better. depression, especially in teens is way more common than youd think, and if things get unmanageable there is no shame in taking something to help you out. there can be an odd stigma on doctor perscribed drugs these days and its common for kids/adults to self medicate with other drugs because its somehow better/more acceptable? avoid this, its a downwards spiral. if you need help talk to someone and see a doctor if things dont ease up.
my claim to fame is anxiety! ive always been a nervous mess since i was a tiny kid. at 5 i used to give myself ulcers because i was constantly worrying about people close to me dying. it ebbs and flows over the years, at times ive not been able to leave the house for days, other times im fine. when things get to the point where i can deal, i take stuff to help.
Brains are stupid, but in time you learn how to wrangle them into doing what you want.
tons more in there, but be sure to get them sooner than later because supplies are very limited and the shop and the deadline to get orders by xmas is the 7th of dec. so if you are buying anything for freinds and family be sure to order by the 7th of dec!
I was curious how you began working with Nicalis. You've said before you were tired of TBOI's art, and wanted an update. Did you do an open search for artists/companies to take Rebirth on? Did they approach you? We're you a fan of their other work? Or perhaps you're friends with someone in the company? As a follow up: I know the game is being updated from the old Flash engine. Is Florian still doing any code of consultation for Rebirth?
tyrone has been bugging me about remaking SMB for handhelds and other consoles… and i though why not isaac?! that was basically it. i wasnt activly searching out someone to remake it, i wanted to remake it but i didnt have the time to do so.. so i just went with who i trusted would do a good job, so far so good.
I'm an aspiring indie game developer and nobody knows about me or my games. From your experience, what's the most important thing one should do to stick out from the crowd?
the easiest way to stand out with any kind of art is to make sure you are giving people an unique view into who you are. this doesnt need to be literal the art doesnt need to be about you personally but it needs to be honest and from your perspective. what are you really passionate about? whats something about you that is hidden, something that haunts you and keeps you up at night. what are something you view as beautiful that others dont?
once you have found your “voice” take a step back from what you are doing and try to trim away anything that feels forced or overused, avoid common themes, visuals and play styles.
and finally try your best to make it good, there is still a chance you can get away with making bad art as long as its honest and has charm.. but its best to push yourself and try to be as critical of your work as possible to make it as good as you can make it.
then just send it to everyone, show people how much you believe in it, let your passion for your work spill out, youd be surprised how many people will get excited by something someone is excited to talk about.
then cross your fingers, there is alwasy a little bit of luck in there, right time, right place. but if you do the above you can maximize your chances by a great deal.
i feel i should also add how important persistence is, there is a great chance that your 1st work wont turn many heads. a lot of artist have you build a portfolio of work so the over arching vision and theme of what you do can come through and be appreciated, be persistent and consistent in your work, each piece is a stepping stone to your goal.
Hi, I'm a freelance illustrator and I hate my work and I hope that someday I'll be good enough to say to myself hey this is actually kinda well done. But then I here from people that are super professional and still hate their work like Chris Ware. How do you feel about this?
hating your work is def a bit of an exaggeration.. if chris ware really hated his work he wouldnt make it, he probably just doesnt like it after the fact. im not a big fan of my illustration work after the fact either.. and with time i tent to cringe at the sight of it, but i dont view it as a bad thing.
if you arent always happy with your work it means you are being critical of it and if you are that means you are growing as an artist. you may never get to the point where you say “wow im amazing” but its the adventure that matters not reaching your goal.
enjoy the fact that you are getting better, you dont need to love everything you make, but enjoy doing it and enjoy the fact that you are growing as an artist, thats really what matters most.
You often talk about your fear of travelling and I kinda feel the same. But dont you ever have the feeling that you miss out on something like youll never see the Eiffeltower or Niagara Falls or other bullshit?
see travel to see something in person is an aspect of society that i never understood.. its never seemed appealing to me. i have 0 interest in seeing things in other countries, it doesnt excite me at all and i dont feel like im missing out.
the only thing i worry about missing out on is the experience, but my worry that the experience will be terrible outways the worry that im missing out :)
i think in time ill get better with travel, but i highly doubt ill ever get to the point where i feel ok with leaving the country.
I noticed you said you never touch the programming aspect of your games. How did you go about working around this with your earlier projects on Newgrounds before you found success? Did you use programs that made it easy or did you have a partner even back then to handle the non-art duties? For someone just wanting to start do you recommend screwing around on my own for a while or teaming up early? And do you think an equal team of two is best or do you like working with a bigger group?
as i mentioned in my last response ive worked with many my programmers my whole career, i simply have no interest in programming at all.
i recommend teams of 2 if its doable.
there is a lot of work that goes into programming so you need to wear a ton of hats to make things equal. if you arent the programmer you need to do core game design, level design, character design, story, dialog/writing, illustration, animation and have a good ear for music and sound effects on top of that.
i established myself as an artist and animator before moving into games and thats how i was able to earn the respect of different programmers along the way. its hard to convince someone that you are worth working with on a game if you have nothing to show for it, so do your best to create a “portfolio” of why someone should believe in your ideas and skills.
stay away from large indie teams.. the more cooks in the kitchen the more complicated things will get.
Student interested in game design, from both the coding and the art end. I'm a big fan of you're games. I think you've designed a game with someone else before, right? (spewer with 2darray?) whats it like working on a design with someone else? I haven't been able to do that yet. Is it easier, harder?
ive worked with a lot of different programers over the years,
Caulder Bradford ( all the games in the badlands series )
and mr Refenes ( SMB, Grey Matter, Mewgenics and secret game X Y and Z )
working with each of them was very different and i usually customize the design of the game to fit the strengths of the programmer (if im designing from the ground up) or in some cases ill be designing around an established engine the programmer made or uses.
sometimes its easy, sometimes its boring and sometimes things just go sour quickly.
its easy to work with tommy because he can do anything, there are no limitations and hes simply the best and most versatile programmer ive worked with and one of few i get a long with very very well.
florian, though he has his flash limitations was someone i gravitated towards because he was simply down with whatever i wanted to do content wise. some of my more experimental and risky projects were with him.
the best situations are simply how well the 2 of you work together and get along.. a strained working relationship can be a very stressful thing to deal with so just watch out for warning signs!
I saw the post about how your art is translated into pixels. I admit that I was upset that your art was being redone and not by you. Are you art directing their work? So, if they send you a translation of your art and you don't like it, or it doesn't feel like your style can you send it back with revisions? Can you mark it up and send it back? My initial concern for some reason was thinking that you may be out of the artistic loop on the translation.
i have complete control over the art in rebirth, i give direction, feedback and edits to the artist and approve every piece of art that is added to the game.
You mention increasingly risky projects - do you think you'd be prepared if one of these weren't well received critically/commercially? I mean I hope the best but even the most successful long-term devs have a game that doesn't hit the mark.
oh yes, i mean taking risks means rolling the dice. im fine with something i work on not being received critically.. and im bound to push till that happens as long as im happy with my own work thats all that really matters to me.
Is it safe to say that all of mew-genics is going to be in black and white? Why'd you choose to go in this direction? Have you found it limiting at all?
yes it is.
i did it for 2 reasons,
1. the game supposed to look like a cartoon from the 20s-30s, though the theme isnt as apparent because the filters and other effects that make it look that way aren’t in place yet. the music also has an old timey feel to it as well that should wrap it all together nicely.
2. i reaaaaaaaaaly like working in black and white or grey scale, this is how all my comics were back in the day and i think it looks neat.
so far ive enjoyed the limitations that lack of color have given me. its fun to attempt to make things look identifiable without color.
business wise its probably not a good idea, but whatever, i think it looks neat.
It's a bit shocking to me that someone as amazing as yourself can be depressed! Then again, I suppose depression can really hit anyone. Can you say a bit more about what you think the issue is?
its quite a few things really, exaggerated by the time of the year i assume.
i think the biggest issue is probably that i dont feel like i fit into a group i can identify with anymore… i feel that because of my success and the movie that ive been pushed out of being some weirdo artist who makes games and into something im not really comfortable with being.
maybe its trying to find a way to be comfortable with the re-calibration thats causing the issue? like im trying to find out whats next and what i really want now…
ive changed, the view of who i am has changed, the community has changed, the issues have changed and things seem to be headed down a path im not really looking forward to going down.
its a lot of things, and it will pass. im using it in my work and as long as im not dwelling on it im just dandy.
What's your opinion on old fashioned point-and-click adventure games? Games like Maniac Mansion, King's Quest series, Monkey Island series, etc. Think you would ever dabble in designing one?
i really enjoyed day of the tentacle, but i do think adventure games can be a bit too difficult in the worst ways… i dont think ive ever beat one without looking a a guide more than a few times and thats a major issue.
if i ever come up with an idea on how to innovate the genre ill try my hand at it..
On a more positive note, what part of your success do you enjoy the most? The feeling of getting your art out there to a lot of people? Meeting more like-minded people who are into what you do? Financial security for yourself and the person you love? Being able to work with your best friend? Or something else entirely?
the thing i enjoy about my success is the freedom its given me to work on more risky projects and not worry about it crushing me financially.
my success has allowed me to make the binding of isaac, work on mewgenics and the other secret games tommy and i have been mulling over. as time passes ill take even bigger risks and thats my biggest reward i think.
I collect horror and game toys like yourself... and I also work in the game industry. It inspires me to be surrounding by my childhood memories and art. How do I convince my wife (who's not a gamer nor artistic) that I'm not a weirdo?
well chances are, you (like me) are actually a weirdo… she just needs to accept the fact that she married a weirdo.
she probably already knows you are a weirdo… just tell her to get with the times and maybe get a little weird herself.
You've gotten this question tons of times, but posting an answer here on your [actual] website will more likely count as a "reliable source", than the answers on your Twitter, Spring.me, etc. - Are people allowed to upload videos of gameplay footage of your games onto YouTube, as well as monetize these?
i fully approve of anyone uploading videos of any of my games (binding of isaac, super meat boy, basement collection, gish, etc) uploading them to youtube and monetizing them.