This time, Pig-Min interviewed with Kevin Forbes, one of the main programmers behind Don't Starve at Klei Entertainment. I hope you enjoy this interview.

Korean version of this interview

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1. First of all, please introduce yourself & company. People might not know very well who's behind Don't Starve.

 Klei Entertainment is a small indie game developer in Vancouver, Canada. There are about 20 people in the company currently, and roughly 1/3 of them are working on Don't Starve at any given time. My name is Kevin Forbes, and I'm a programmer / designer here at Klei. On Don't Starve I'm mostly working on the gameplay side of things, although I also have a hand in the writing.


2. Klei Entertainment has made platformer games, as Eets - Shank series - Mark of the Ninja. Especially Mark of the Ninja was awesome. Don't starve is different genre & too-early-released after Mark of the Ninja. How come to decide making Don't starve, and how so fast?

 We have multiple teams, and we were working on both games at the same time. Some people from Mark of the Ninja have joined us on Don't Starve now that they are finished that game. We chose to branch out to a new genre because we had made several 2D platforms in a row, and we wanted a new creative challenge. Don't Starve is also our first non-linear game, which is especially exciting and challenging.


3. Don't starve is Minecraft-ish game. Minecraft is about 'construction', other Minecraft-ish games are following it. But Don't starve is about 'survival'. If gamer die, lose everything except for research result & points. It's critical point to make it unique. How come to make 'survival' game based on Minecraft style?

I love Minecraft, but my favourite part was always single player survival. I've also really enjoyed other permadeath games like FTL and Binding of Isaac. I think that permadeath gives a game a sense of urgency and consequence that is missing if you can quicksave and restore whenever you want.

4. You are selling Beta version. Recently many indie does it, maybe Minecraft has opened door of 'alpha-selling'. However almost every alpha-selling indies are newcomers, but Klei has rather long history. How come to decide selling beta version?

We are publishing Don't Starve on our own, so we wanted to get meaningful feedback from players as soon as possible. Otherwise, we would run the risk of creating a game that only we could understand or want to play. Opening up our beta process had given us a tonne of great feedback, and let us build a great community around the game even before it's launched.


5. You update Don't starve in timely manner, always post 'Next update : * days' in game. Announcing update helps gamers to purchase in advance? Do you get many feedback "Hey please include this!"? And... after I found 'buffalo', game became too easy & lack of content. Do you have plan major update to solve this situation?

We try to keep our updates on a regular schedule for a couple of reasons. It keeps people excited about the game, and brings people back each time to try the new content. It also helps to keep us on track on our production schedule, and makes sure that we have a tuned and tested version of the game at all times. Since we are still adding content to the game, there are bound to be some balancing issues. We try to keep the game in check, though, and anything that's too far out of whack usually gets corrected in either the next regular update or a hotfix.


6. Before you came in Steam, you started selling with Google Chrome store & Humble Store widget. Many indies use Humble Store widget recently, sell directly & issue steam keys. But for Google Chrome store, well, not sure exactly if it's good. What's good point for Google Chrome store? And if possible, can we know selling ratio as Steam vs Humble vs Chrome?

The Chrome store lets us run the game securely in a browser. It's a great way to distribute a demo, and has the nice bonus of also working on Mac and Linux. It's also easier to get on to the Chrome Store than it is to get on to Steam, which is important for an indie. We were running on Chrome for months before we made it to Steam. The majority of our players are currently on steam, although the number of Chrome installs is rising alongside it.


7.  I'd like to ask what happened for Sugar Rush. Klei was making online game Sugar Rush with Nexon America, but suddenly Nexon America gave up Nexon America studio & Sugar Rush vanished. What happened at then?

When Nexon decided to stop development in Vancouver, a whole lot of games were affected, and this included Sugar Rush. As a company, we then had a choice: either rebuild the parts of the game that were owned by Nexon, or start a new game altogether. Considering we're a creative, independent company, we decided to march on forward and build new games!


8. Please pick up 5 good games and why.

FTL - Great emergent storytelling.

Dark Souls - Punishing but fair difficulty.

Amnesia - The only game that has actually scared me in years.

Mount and Blade - Like Sid Meier's Pirates!, but with horses.

Shogun II Total War - I love the scope of the battles in the Total War series. I'm really looking forward to Rome II!


9. Have you ever tried or heard about Korean games? Please share us your opinion.

I personally have not played any Korean games that I can think of. Which ones would you recommend?


10. Please leave message to Pig-Min readers.

Thanks for listening to my answers! I hope you try the Don't Starve demo, and tell us what you think in our forums!

Korean version of this interview
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Preview : [Shank] (2010) <XBOX360>

Developer : Klei Entertainment <Publisher EA>
Release year : 2010
Price : 1200 MS points <XBOX360>, 14.99$ <PS3>

Cut Gun Saw ...

They were making games like this,

... and changed style like this.

Trailer was very good, so this game was hyped a lot. As you can see from the video, cut gun saw etc etc mercilessly. In Graphic Novel style world, player can do various kind of fatal actions. Player must use 8-button(!) to do such a nice actions, which could be too difficult, but not so hard until demo ends. Published by EA Partners, get good push/advertisement. But not sure it has enough playtime for 14.99$, and that 8-button is so comfortable for later play.

Where to buy : Turn on the Console.
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via Gamasutra

EA Partners has published some third party games, as [Rock Band] / [Left 4 Dead] / [Brutal Legend]. They contracted first 1 Digital-Distribution games, which are Hothead Games' [Deathspank] (feat. Ron Gilbert] & Klei Entertainment's [Shank].

[Shank] will be released for PSN / XBLA / PC.

This is [Shank]. Looks very promising, even if it's opposite to [Eets].
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