Pig-Min did interview w/ Dave Gilbert in the past, right before [Blackwell Legacy] released. He was so busy at then, can't answer many things. And around 3 years has passed, he has more free time than that, so here comes better new interview. Enjoy reading. :)

Korean version of this Interview




1. We did last interview right before [Blackwell Legacy] release in late of 2006, and around 3 years has passed. What happened to you after that?

Hm!  A loaded question.  In a nutshell, I was nominated for a Game Developers Choice Award for "Best New Studio" (but didn't win), I got a publishing deal with PlayFirst which led to Emerald City Confidential,  I released two other Blackwell games, I'm publishing another studio's game (Puzzle Bots), I'm getting into distribution myself, and I got engaged to a lovely UK game developer named Janet.  It's been a busy few years! :)


2. Dave Gilbert & Wadjet Eye Games is another kind of Indie super star, not just making good games, but also for business style. Your first game was part of RON, AGS community project, but I can't find any of your business experience before [Shivah]. Did you have some experience about Business or did major in University?

I was a communications major at Boston Universtiy, where I majored in Television Broadcasting.  I worked at CNN for awhile before I realized I hated working with media types, and soon drifted into - of all things - the garment manufacturing business.  I worked there for three years, acting as a shipping coordinator between the factories and the clients.  I didn't do anything important, really, but I learned a lot about production and the right way to get things done.  When I started making games on my own, I found myself channeling my old boss!


3. Till now, you made 5 commercial adventure games including 3 Blackwell series. You're doing full time self-employed job, but can you really earn such a lot? You don't make them only by yourself, lots of people involved, so even your game earns a lot - you must share them some.

Yep, I’ve managed to live completely off the sales of my games.  It's not always easy, and there are months when I don't pay my bills on time, but it's a very satisfying way to live.  I'm not rich, but I don't need a lot, so I managed to live quite comfortably.


4. About [Emerald City Confidential], it's made for Playfirst & your first not-so=indie work. (Budget dependent & Making-on=demand.) How come to start that, and how was working with Playfirst?

I met Kenny Dinkin (the PlayFirst creative director) at a party at the Game Developer Conference in 2007.  He was really impressed with my work and offered me a publishing deal, just like that.  I was always told to be wary of deals like that, so I made sure to check out the company and what games they made.  I wasn't familiar with Diner Dash or the whole "casual" scene, but I instantly knew that I didn't make games like theirs, so I just forgot about the conversation.  Then, six months later, Kenny called and offered me the deal again.  He wanted a pure adventure game, like the ones I already make.  So this time I said yes.  It's scary to think how close I came to blowing it!
 

5. For [Blackwell Convergence], game became more easier than last ones. I think [Emerald City Confidental] process put some effect on you, as 'Casual Adventure Game', Adventure Game made for Casual Portals. That could be another future of Adventure, as I think. What do you think about that, and how is situation in that market?

I've realized that nobody likes being stuck in adventure games.  As interesting as the game is, as cool as the characters are, the minute you get stuck the game stops being fun.  And with the one-hour trial demos that games are being sold with these days, you need to make sure the players are having lots of fun while they play.  These days, people will get annoyed at puzzles very quickly and instantly reach for a walkthrough after five minutes of being stuck.  My philosophy is to make the overall experience as pleasurable as possible.  The puzzles are simple, but clever, and don’t make you want to throw your computer out the window.


6. Up to now, 3 Blackwell series released, including 1 prequel. However nothing ended at all, just started, and all of those 3 games seem to be just 'big prologue'. Do you have fixed plan how long that series will be? And what's next?

The Blackwell series won't end for a while, that's for certain!  I have at least three more games planned.

 
7. All of your games have some similar style. Genious design & plot, but always short. For [Blackwell Convergence], puzzle became easy & playtime became more shorter. What do you think about short playtime of your games?

I'd love to make long epic games but I don't have the budget for it.  As an indie just struggling to get the cash to make the games in the first place, there's only so long I can make them.

I personally think Convergence is longer than Unbound or Legacy, but some players have zipped through it in two hours.  This surprises me, since *I* can barely get through the game in two hours!  But either way, Convergence has a much more dense and complicated plot than any of my other games.  In fact, dense is the word I'd use for Convergence, since there's always something new to do at any given point.  So much happens over the course of the game.  Rosa grows up a lot, a bunch of questions from previous games are answered, and I think it's a much more satisfying experience despite the length.  The length is the only complaint people have, and if that’s the only complaint then I will be quite happy.
 

8. You seemed to be very friendly with others. All of your games had somewhat different Staffs (or Assists), and they seem to be satisfied somewhat always. If not, people will hear rumors & nobody will help you any more. And now, you even started work as Distributor.  Please share us about that, how to work other people.

I am usually forced to work with different people because I work with freelancers, and I can never be sure of their availability when I start a project.  For example, John Green did the backgrounds on Emerald City Confidential but he recently got a very big freelance gig with another company, so he will not be able to work on our next game.  So, I will have to go with someone else.  That's the nature of using freelancers, unfortunately.  I have been very lucky with the folks I've worked with.  I don't have a bad word to say about any of them, and most of them have gone on to do great things and I'm very proud of them.

As for distribution, I am looking forward to it!  My biggest regret with ECC is that I had to be so secretive about it, so there was nothing new on the Wadjet Eye website for almost 18 months.  So people stopped coming.  My goal is to have enough content on the site so people will come on a regular basis, instead of just when a new game is released.
 

9. Please recommend us 5 good games & the reason why. 

Oh man.  I so don't have time to play games anymore.  Let me think...
1- "Anito - Defend a Land Enraged" is a wonderful but underrated RPG from the Phillipines.
2- "Aquaria" - great indie game from Bit Blot.  So beautiful and atmospheric
3- "Iji" - a neat and FREE platformer.  Surprisingly moving.
4- "Dance Till You Drop" - a freeware adventure game where you play Richard Simmons!  Too cool. :-D
5- "Fallout 3" - I was a big fan of the originals and this one remained true to the spirit.  I loved it.
 

10. Leave Pig-Min readers some message.

Thanks for all the support you guys have given me over the years!  I love getting your emails and I save all of them and read them when things get stressful.  I hope you continue to enjoy them.


Korean version of this Interview
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