Chick Chaser Aussie reveals his development experience on his many games
Date of interview: 01.07.2006.
Interview with: AussieSoftTM
Interview by: DeathDude
Interview about: Chick Chaser
What was the first game you ever worked on and how do you think it turned out looking back on it today?

The very first game I made was "Al Gurbish in Nick it and Run". Despite its buggyness, I was very proud of it for a long time. In particular, back then I thought the graphics were pretty good in comparison with your average amateur adventure game. Of course, lots of games leave Al Gurbish for dead now, but I think I can count myself a bit of a pioneer in the sense that I was one of the first amateur developers who made a conscious effort to make their games look good.

The writing in many of your titles always seems to be pretty humourous and witty, does it come easy for you to write such dialogue or is it a challenge?

I don't personally consider my writing witty. It's mostly stuff I make up as I go. You'd be surprised how little planning goes into my games.

When you look back at your games, do any of them make you go "Wow, I really did a superb job with that one." If so, which ones is it and why?

Probably none of them qualify as superb. I made a particularly big effort with Chick Chaser, which has perhaps been the most widely accepted of the lot. However, even Chick Chaser fell somewhat short of my own expectations. Part of the puzzle desing was a bit far-fetched, and some bits and pieces didn't really work. On the plus side, the plot has proven appealing to the public and the game's got some replayability value.

The idea of the 10 minute time line for Abducted: 10 Minutes! I thought was a very interesting idea. Why did you decide to implement a time limit in this title? Especially considering this is very rare in adventure games.

Pfffâ?Š I don't really know what I was thinking about. I often try to implement something I consider unique, and I guess that time I went for a time limit. It sort of made sense, since the aim of the game was to disable a bomb. The timer was a bit painful to code, but I got lots of help from Strazer at the AGS forums. That guy's a legend.

Looking back on Abducted: 10 Minutes! now, what's your thoughts on how the game turned out?

Well, I would probably change some stuff if I had to make it again, maybe even the time limit. But I think I can see the influence of this game in newer titles, so I'm kinda proud of it.

How did you get the idea for Al Gurbish: Nick it and Run?

There isn't too much of an idea behind it, really. The plot was mostly an excuse to whack a few backgrounds together to let the player explore Thathurst City while solving a few light-hearted puzzles.
In actual fact, Al Gurbish was supposed to be the first chapter of a much longer game called "Night of the Raving Feminist", but I realised soon enough that the project was so complex I would never finish it. So I made that first chapter stand alone.

There are a lot of references to past adventure titles particularly from Lucas Arts and Sierra in Al Gurbish, how much inspiration did you draw from the titles these companies have made?

Though Al Gurbish is a very light-hearted game, there's lots of nostalgia in it. I guess I was so excited about making my very own adventure game that I drew from the things I had enjoyed so much when I was a kid: King's Quest, Maniac Mansion, Police Quest, and of course, the Monkey Island series. Hence the Hall of Fame scene and some of the dialogues.

Why did you decide to implent black and white graphics for Casablanca: The Day After?

Casablanca was made for a MAGS comp whose topic was "movies". I thought I would pay tribute to one of my favorite movies while implementing something unique (I had never seen a noir adventure game before). Film lovers will notice that the music, lots of dialogues, and even the plot in this game are a takeoff of the Warner Bros classic.

I thought Chick Chaser was a very interesting and different take with it's story, how did it all come about getting ideas for this game?

The way most of my games have come about, really: toying with a background in Photoshop. One day I found myself drawing a college room and the idea of a uni-related plot simply took shape in my head.

I must say the hardest thing for me is to figure out a plot that can keep me motivated for long enough. When I try to plan a story, I always end up thinking it's just too much work and eventually lose heart. The approach that works best for me is to find a general idea for the game and then make stuff up as I go.

Are there any plans to revisit any of the past titles like Al Gurbish or any of the other titles you have worked on?

No. The main reason being that I'm a messy coder and I can't remember which global variable did what. Any attempt to improve or correct my past work is most likely a recipe for disaster.

If you could change anything about any of the past titles you worked on, what would it be and why?

Looking back on them I realise they're all far from perfect, so I guess there's something in each of them that I would change if I could muster enough energy. On the other hand I never release anything I consider sub-par, so I think anyone who plays my games is ensured a reasonably lengthy entertaining experience.

Of the games that you have developed, which took the longest to make?

Al Gurbish. Perhaps because I was figuring out AGS in the process.

What sort of game if you had the choice in terms of style and genre, would you like to develop for in the future?

If I had the expertise and means I'd like to develop my own strategy game in the style of "Age of Empires" or "Commandos". There are lots of new features I'd love to see in that sort of games.

What are some titles from either the freeware community or commercial releases that may have influenced you in any of the games you have worked on or even for future releases you like to do?

I like to try and be original most of the time, but there are some truly inspiring amateur releases which motivate me to make my own games. Perhaps the best example is "No action Jackson", which in my opinion is the best amateur game out there. "That night before", "Permanent Daylight" and "The Trials of Odysseus Kent" are other titles I like to play every now and then.

Are there any other projects which you are working on or plan to in the immediate future?

I always have heaps of ideas, but the vast majority are unable to keep me motivated for long enough. My latest discard was an open-ended first-person adventure, based on the murder of a college basketball player.

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

Yes. Cut and paste the following link on your browser:

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