Clouds Kingdom 3 Behind the Scenes on Clouds Kingdom series and much more
Date of interview: 20.05.2006.
Interview with: Johan "Wartagon" Hargne
Interview by: DeathDude
Interview about: Clouds Kingdom 3
What was the first game you ever worked on, and how far have you come from those days in terms of the challenges you first faced?

-I've worked on loads of game ideas during the past years and I can therefore not exactly remember the very first project, however I can tell that the first Clouds Kingdom game was the first of my ideas to be released. I think I see, by comparing Clouds Kingdom 3 with the first one, a great improvement in both a graphical aspect and in a gameplay perspective. Although I believe that there is a greater challenge to develop a game now than it was back then as I know what potential me and the rest of the team has.

How did the idea of Clouds Kingdom come about? Was the original plan to make it 3 games?

-I think I saw this drawing of a ninja looking a lot like the main character does in the Clouds Kingdom series and it probably got me thinking about doing a game based on it. I knew when I began on the first game that I was going to make a sequel, but not two. As the second game did not turn out as I had wanted, I began on the third game in an attempt to include all the ideas I had for it.

With Clouds Kingdom 1 and 2 the goal was mostly to dodge the obstacles in your path and get to the end of the level, why did you decide to deviate from this format for the 3rd title?

-The answer for that question is actually pretty simple: People complained about there being no enemies, so I made them happy.

Were there any big challenges you faced when you started to develop Clouds Kingdom 3?

-There were many. First of all I remade the whole game from scratch several times until I finally realized that I needed help with the programming, and it was then I got help from my superb colleague Salim a.k.a Destroyer. Then I thought that the biggest challenge was to actually finish what we started. At the end of the development we were both tired of the game and just wanted to release it.

Were there any specific goals you wanted to accomplish when you were developing Clouds Kingdom 3, and if so what were they and did you accomplish them?

-First of all to bring some action into the series by adding enemies and weapons. Also I wanted the main character to act more like an actual ninja with special abilites and such. I think it all came out pretty good in the end, but if I could turn back time, I would have added a few more abilities and actions.

Story has always been a strong point in the Clouds Kingdom story, how did you come up with these creative ideas?

-Actually I do not really think that the story is that very creative and it makes me happy you think that. As I was rather young when I began working on Clouds Kingdom 1, the outcome of the story was cool but odd and later on it gave me problems trying to expand the story into an interesting piece. I had to put a lot of effort into writing the story for the third game.

The music in Clouds Kingdom 3 was very well done, when it came down to put down ideas for tracks to be used, how did it all come about, was it a collective process or more of an individual effort?

-As I am the only music composer in Crobasoft I could pretty much decide everything concerning the soundtrack.

How did you meet the other team members that came on to develop for Clouds Kingdom?

-They joined Crobasoft after I advertised about available positions in the team. Destroyer and I were both relatively new to each other when this project began, but during the development we both came to know ourselves a lot better.

When it comes time to begin developing a new title, what are some of the first steps you take in order to get started?

-Nowadays it is all about planning: Setting up a proper document with all the neccessary information for all the team members to read, understand and agree on. It also is much about discussing the ideas with each other to develop and make the best out of them. New game ideas always becomes better with some constructive feedback.

What sort of game would you like to develop in the foreseeable future, in terms of style and genre?

-My biggest dream is to develop an Action-based RPG in a cartoony style and feeling. I hope that I sometime can manage to actually get through with all my ideas and actually develop that game that is circulating inside my head.

If you could change anything about any of the games you have worked on, what would it be and why would you make the change?

-I do not really want to change anything particular about the games I have made in the past as they represent the level of skill I had back then and it is always fun to see how you develop during the years. Although I have always wanted to remove or fix some of the online highscore boards.

What are some titles from either the freeware community or commercial releases that may have influenced you whenever you begin to start working on a project?

-Gathering inspiration from other's games is a very important part in my own development of skill and I therefore cannot really name any particular freeware titles. Although I have always been very inspired by some of my all-time favourite commercial game titles: The Diablo series, Grim Fandango and Counter Strike. Lovely games.

What sort of game project would you ideally like to develop if time and money were no object?"

-A huge RPG with all the things I missed from other titles plus tons of more ideas.

Any advice you wish to impart on up and coming developers, based on your own experiences of developing?

-Planning people, planning! Always start out by making a descriptive document of all your ideas that you can follow during the development. Finish what you started. It's sometimes hard, but you will feel so much better and proud when it is finally done.

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