This is the Interview with the Producer - Managing Director 'Chanon' at Viquasoft, which made [Tommy and the Magical Words]. You could find English version below, so go down to find it! Thanks!

Viqua Games : http://www.viquagames.com/

Korean version of this Interview.


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1. Did you choice some 'Target Player' for Word Games? If so, how did you choice them?

We saw that there were some word games such as Bookworm that were doing very well. At the same time, there weren't that many high quality word games in the market, so we felt we could create something to fill that gap.


2. We could call it 'Word Game' as 'Another Method of Education' or 'Edu-tainment'. Did you expect something like that, when you make & release 'Word Game'?

Yes, we felt our game would be very good as an educational game for learning English. There have been many customers sending emails telling us that our game has helped their children to learn English .. which of course makes us feel very proud. Also our game has been bought by schools in the US.


3. There might be some 'positive feedback' about your works, as 'Word Game'. And you might feel very good about that. Could you please let us know some episodes about that briefly?

Yes, as I said above, some customers have thanked us for helping their children learn English, which makes us feel very happy. Another one which I remember is from a father saying that he'd been playing the game their children and dinner time came and the children were so engrossed with the game they didn't want to come for dinner!


4. Player must make some words, with any alphabet tiles appeared. It seems to be done randomly, but there might be some algorithm, as I assume. Could you please let me know what kind of algorithm to make it happen?

I can't remember the exact algorithm, but basically we try to ensure that there are at least 2-3 vowels and that there is no 3 occurences of a single character.


5. You can't use all the words in the English culture, and you might have some basis to choice 'What words use & What words don't use'. Could you please let us know, how you decided (or choiced or made) 'Dictionary' of the game?

The dictionary is based on ENABLE2K word list which you can find on the internet.


6. [Tommy and the Magical Words] has 'meaning window' of the made words. As I recall, only few word games show 'meaning' for the made words. Could you please let me know how come to make such window display? And does it show every word, or only chosen ones? If only chosen ones, maybe developer might choice which words to show the meaning & which not. Could you please let me know how you decided?

We use WordNet definition database as the basis for the meanings. The game shows the meaning for all words that are not "dirty words" that are more than 3 in length. Also some words might exist in the word list but not in the definition database, so those words won't have meanings.


7. Could you leave some advise something, if somebody wants to make 'Word Game' with non-English, as Korean or Japanese or Chinese?

First you will need to look at the language and see what kinds of game designs you can come up with for the language. Some languages might not work with some designs. Then you may need a list of words that are easy to parse. For English we used ENABLE2K which was a text file formatted as word word per line.


8. Please recommend us 5 other good games?

Here are some of our favorites:
1. Luck Charm Deluxe
2. Inca Quest
3. Pizza Frenzy
4. Bookworm Adventures
5. Bookworm


9. Have you played some Korean game, or experienced or even heard about Korean Gaming Scene & Market? If so, please share your opinion about that.

I played Lineage 2 for a few months. Korean game industry looks extremely strong compared to ours (Thailand).


10. Please leave some message for Pig-MIn Interview Readers, especially for whom are interested in 'Word Games'.

If you like word games, we hope you will enjoy Tommy and the Magical Words. Also you may want to try our newest word game, SandScript http://www.playfirst.com/game/sandscript.


Korean version of this Interview.
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This is the e-mail Interview with the 'Tysen Henderson', Lead Designer of [Bookworm Adventures] & Co-Designer of [Bookworm].

Korean version of this Interview.


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1. Did you choice some 'Target Player' for Word Games, as [Bookworm] & [Bookworm Adventures]? If so, how come to get it?


Our core audience is always our first target, namely our long-time loyal PopCap fans, our friends and family, and of course ourselves.  With added role-playing elements and new complex game play we also invite more traditional role-playing and hard-core gamers to try their hands at Bookworm Adventures.


2. We could call it 'Word Game' as 'Another Method of Education' or 'Edu-tainment'. Did you expect something like that, when you make & release 'Word Game'?

While wordplay is at the core of Bookworm and Bookworm Adventures, education is not specifically the first focus. Providing a fun, engaging and challenging experience was the focus.  That being said, the educational and cerebral aspects one experiences while playing are not accidental. In many ways we attempted to engage the player’s mind and to think about words in unique ways while adventuring with Lex the bookworm (such as in Moxie’s Mini-Game Hut, the Sphinx’s Riddle, and using bonus word categories).


3. There might be some 'positive feedback' about your works, as 'Word Game'. And you might feel very good about that. Could you please let us know some episodes about that briefly?

Bookworm Adventures has been received very well since its launch.  Its sales numbers have been breaking records despite its slightly higher price point as people are seeing the definite added value we’ve put in the game.  Players are also accepting the genre combination of casual word games and role-playing and enjoying the nuances it adds, and that either genre alone lacked before Bookworm Adventures was released.  Also, as the previous question alludes to, a lot of feedback gathered speaks to Bookworm Adventure’s success as both casual entertainment and a bit of mental stimulation.


4. Do you have some special algorithm for [Bookworm Adventures], for Alphabet board?

There are a number of hidden rules at play concerning letter distribution in Bookworm Adventures.  The fun of spelling words is of course in finding words fast and/or spelling words of exceptional length, so it was important that we facilitated that as much as possible.  You’ll notice with a little bit of observation that the game makes an attempt to keep a balance of vowels and consonants on the board, as well as limits the number of instances of certain letters that can appear at once.  While certain enemies in the game have special abilities to offset this balance, you’ll almost always be able to spell something to deliver a whopping to your foe, and you’ll likely find yourself using the Scramble button to clear off nasty effects more often than to find words.  We want you to spell powerful words, and so does the game.


5. You can't use all the words in the English culture, and you might have some basis to choice 'What words use & What words don't use'. Could you please let us know, how you decided (or choiced or made) 'Dictionary' of [Bookworm] & [Bookworm Adventures]?

The choice to include certain words and not others in the Bookworm Adventures was based numerous factors.  Most notably we did not include ‘Proper Nouns’ such as the names of people or countries or calendar months, as this is a rule commonly found in word games both in the board-game format as well as in computer-based word gaming.  Another important factor was in consideration of our audience.  To ensure that players of any age and background could enjoy Bookworm Adventures at home, a friend’s house or in a classroom, we took extra care to restrict words that might otherwise offend our players or ruin the light-hearted and humorous atmosphere of the game.


6. Could you leave some advise something, if somebody wants to make 'Word Game' with non-English, as Korean or Japanese or Chinese?

The Korean, Japanese and Chinese gaming audiences obviously have their own unique nuances, expectations and trends.  But in producing any game including word games, one must prioritize fun first, everything else second.  As beautiful as your graphics might be or as populated your lobby might be, if the game isn’t fun, eventually everyone will move on and leave your game behind if you don’t hook them with fun.  Once players are having fun, give them new goals, give them something to progress towards, whether it be that next level or a new area, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to give them something sparkly to collect.  Who doesn’t want a shiny new treasure as a reward for all their hard work?


7. Please leave some message for Pig-MIn Interview Readers, especially for whom are interested in 'Word Games'.

Whether you develop games or just play games, try to remember why you’re playing. It’s for fun, right?  Games should inspire or relax or thrill you (or all of the above) and make you feel fulfilled. Bookworm and Bookworm Adventures were amazing projects and a lot of fun to create, and we all hope you have just as much fun playing along with Lex the bookworm on all of his adventures! Thanks for your time. Enjoy!


Korean version of this Interview.
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This is e-mail interview with Kim Jong Hwa aka AmbitiousK, who is a game designer and also a programmer of HandMade Game, Korean student's team. HandMade Game won prizes for Palette and Rooms in the 2007 IGF Students Showcase.

Handmade Game Homepage : www.HandMadeGame.com

Korean version of this Interview.

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1. In advance, would you present games and members of HandMade Game to our readers?

HandMade Game was built out of some students in dep. of Film, TV & Multimedia, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea. Like the one and only handicraft, we do our best to create games which give player unique experience. HandMade Game doesn't have fixed members yet, because we have selected different people who have abilities and enthusiasm from our department's students on each project. Here are our members who have participated in each project.

Palette ? Kim Jong hwa(Game Design, Programming, Art Design)
Rooms - Kim Jong hwa(Game Design, Programming), Lee Yun jin(Art Design), Lee Soo kyung(Art Design), Park Soo bin(Art Design)
Rooms Mobile - Kim Jong hwa(Game Design, Programming), Jang Soo young(Art Design) - on developing


2. Both Palette and Rooms, which were developed by HandMade Game, won prizes in the IGF Students Showcase. In Korea, it is not a very famous competition, and Korean developer teams hardly participate in it and win the prize in it. In spite of these facts, why did you participate in it? Could you tell us any anecdote interlaced with winning the prize in the IGF?


When I was a freshman, my professor showed me 'Bad Milk', an IGF-winning game, in the Game Workshop class, so I got to know IGF for the first time. 'Bad Milk' was an experimental adventure game that used an actuality film. It impressed me because it was a very unique game that I wasn't able to find.


After that, I surfed web pages like Game Tunnel and IGF.com and played high-evaluated and prizewinning games, so I got to have a great interest in independent games and IGF.



3. It could be a confidential question, but could you tell us terms and costs of developing each game? Also I wonder if you have been received support of budget or equipments.


Actually, we hardly need any money but food cost, because we work among students. (I think this is one of the most advantageous things when making teams while we're students.)

Palette cost us 200,000 won (200 USD) at food cost and collecting materials, and it took us two months to design and another two months to develop.

When we were making Rooms, food cost came high because the team of five was working, and it totally cost about 1,000,000 won (1,000 USD) at the cost of ordering BGM, filming the character, etc. When we were shooting, the department offered us equipments like blue screen equipments, lighting setups, and cameras. We officially received support by KOCCA(Korea Culture & Content Agency).  It took 2 years to design, and 10 months to develop.


4. [Palette] and [Rooms] are not so-called 'Korean Games.' What inspiration and conception let you make those unique games?


My professor always tells me to give unique experience to players. After I have found importance of independent games from Game Tunnel and IGF, I wondered how those games gave unique enjoyments to players.


One day, I saw a tissue stained with ink and hit on an idea of making a game play using colors, so I got to make Palette.


And I got an idea of making Rooms in June, 2004, and I was a freshman. (It was one year before making Palette.) I got inspiration from a work of a Danish artist during an animation class. It had six separated frames in the picture, and the hero wander from frame to frame to find his girlfriend. It was very interesting visually because of many separated places. After class, while I considered how I can make a great game play on that picture, I hit upon an excellent plan to move rooms like sliding puzzles. I have developed this idea for two years making notes about it and collecting photograph materials on my trips to Japan and Europe.



5. Cultural artists of Korea, especially who are related with overseas, are somewhat pressed or have a sense of duty to make 'particular Korean culture.' I wonder if HandMade Game has ever been this situation. What would you do if you were suggested making something with characters of Hanbok(the Korean traditional costume) or making a word game with Hangeul, the Korean alphabet?


Actually, when the production of Rooms was progressed by 50%, there was an opinion that the graphic was too European, and it would be popular in overseas to include Oriental factors, but it was too far from the original concept, and we couldn't plow up all sources that we had been making. (Somebody joked that it was same with changing pizza into rice cake.) Also, we thought that solid blocks wouldn't be harmonized with organic Oriental sense, so we decided to produce it with the first idea.


When formal factors like a game play and rules are harmonized with dramatic factors like a story, characters, and a visual concept, it would be a very good game. I'll produce a game according to Korean manners if its visual concept meets its formal factors, but if not, I wouldn't. Personally, Cloud of USC is the most impressive game which has harmony of formal and dramatic factors.



6. As a gamer and an artist, how do you think of Korean games world?


It's a quite hard question to answer. Last year, no Korean game was nominated in GDC's Game of the Year, so I wondered why Koreans weren't able to make great works like Shadow of the Colossus.


The Korean games market has been called particular because online games are the biggest mainstream. In my opinion, that is game developers in Korea are pushed into environment which they have to develop online games whether they want to do or not. Online games are obviously interesting and worth trying, but it's not all of games. Without an ability to develop package games, it wouldn't be help for development of the whole game industry in Korea to just change existing package games into online games and make environment which players can compete with each other.


Generally, environment of games market which let players play various games and let developers also make various games has to be built.



7. Could you tell us your favorite games and games that have had influence on you?


* Major games

Commandos : I love extremely minute strategic games like this.

Worms : Exquisite harmony of skill and strategy ? I get vicious whenever I play this.

C&C/StarCraft/WarHammer4K/TA : These are my favorite RTS.

Metal Gear Solid : It has impressive direction like a movie. 

Final Fantasy : It always makes me cry.

World of Warcraft : CanSay, undead necromancer, 48Lv, MingTakKom clan, Elune server in Korea


*Independent games

Gish (Chronic Logic) : An impressive game play using physical laws.

Hamster Ball (Raptisoft) : Simple, but you'll be addicted to it. It has many epigones.

Cloud (USC) : It stimulates susceptibility!! I feel healing.

Alien Shooter (Sigma Team) : Smashing up ignorantly is also good.

Ocular Ink (Pistachio Studio) : As you draw, skills act.

Strange Attraction : A one-button game. It made me think about the relationship between interface and the game play.

Braid : A game play distorted the stream of time! I shocked. (I wasn't able to have it so couldn't play it.)



8. Finally, is there anything you want to tell to readers of Pig-Min?


I have thought that Korean gamers need independent games portal sites like Game Tunnel. Nice to meet you, Pig-Min!


One day, I heard that games are non-mainstreamers, and independent games are whole games' non-mainstreamers. Many of Pig-Min readers would be interested in games development, so I'll tell you. I think all works in any mediums shouldn't have a partiality for either commercialism or artists. Independent games would be the mainstreamers if developers make many works with popularity and novelty.


In last year's GDC, a member of Darwinia which won the best prize of IGF said that "We didn't want any publisher, because we didn't want publisher fuck up our game". Then, I could feel his great affection and pride on his work. I hope that in Korea, independent games developers who have affection and pride on their games will be treated well soon.



Korean version of this Interview.
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This is interview with Dave Gilbert, who made [Shivah] & [Blackwell Legacy].

Korean version of this Interview.

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Sorry. I'm Marvin Gaye, not Rabbi.


1. As I know, you've lived in Korea around 7 months. How about living in Korea, as Jewish Indie Adventure Game Maker?

Yes, I lived in Korea for 7 months, but I would have hardly called myself a “Indie Adventure Game Maker” at the time. I was teaching English, and the kids left me too exhausted to make a serious go of making games. It wasn’t until I returned that I started getting serious about it.


2. [Shivah] is very special game, as Rabbi-Noir. How come to make such one?

Well, after being in Asia for almost one year (Korea for 7 months and China for 2) and being the only Jew around, I felt very inspired to create a game with a jewish theme when I got back to New York. The noir was just a bonus. J.


3. I read that Mel Gibson dissed [Shivah]! Is it real, or another Internet Joke? And what do you about that?

Hah. That was a joke, I think. I thought it was hysterical.


4. I saw a rumor that you'd make an Adventure game, based on Korean Myth! Is it real? If real, what's going on with that project?

Yep! I was thinking about it while I was in Korea. I learned about the legend of Tangun and would love to make a role-playin game based on it. I haven’t done much with the idea, aside from writing some ideas in a notebook. Maybe some day. J


5. You are making new game [The Blackwell Legacy]. Could you please explain what it is?

Sure! The game stars a woman named Rosangela Blackwell and a ghost named Joey Mallone. Against their will, they are expected to investigate supernatural mysteries and solve them. There are several games planned, and while each game stands alone there is a lengthy backstory involved, which will be revealed over time.


6. How come to make Noir / Mystery Adventure game? And did you get some influence from some other Movie - Game - ... etc?

I played a game called “Discworld Noir” in 1999, and I fell in love with the theme. I have always loved old noir/mystery movies, with the gritty atmosphere and snappy dialog. There was just something so COOL about them.


7. Can you send Pig-Min review copy & contest prize, if you make next game?


Of course!


8. Have you ever experienced, or even heard about, Korean games?

You mean stuff like Maple Story and Kart Rider? That’s all the kids would talk about, when I was over there. That and Starcraft, of course. ;)


9. Can you pick other 5 games from both of Major & Indie, and explain briefly why you chose them.

I have to be honest. I don’t play many games nowadays. It’s tough to choose one, let alone five. I suppose I can pick some that are the greatest influences, which are:

1 ? Discworld Noir. This game originated the clues-as-inventory concept. I didn’t invent it. J

2 ? Gabriel Knight. The detailed, researched backstory meshes SO WELL with supernatural events. I’m trying to do the same thing with Blackwell.

3 ? Aveyond. Amanda Fae’s indie RPG showed me that selling old-school games was not only feasible, but profitable as well.

4 ? Loom. Light on puzzles. Heavy on story. You can zip through it in an hour, and yet it is still considered a classic and beloved by everyone.

5 ? Reality on the Norm. I still have a soft spot for this open-source indie project. It’s been a tad dead lately, but that’s how I got my start.


10. Please leave some message for Korean Pig-Min readers.


Annyeong hasayo! I have very fond memories of Korea and I am happy to know that my games are being played there. Kansa hamnida. J


Korean version of this Interview.
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Interview : Santiago, maker of [Sofia's Debt].

This is the interview with Santiago, maker of freeware horror adventure [Sofia's Debt].

Official page of [Sofia's Debt]

Korean version of this Interview.

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1. [Sofia's Debt] was made with Spanish language only, and later English version was made. Can you please let me know some episodes about that?

I did Sofia’s Debt for an Spanish contest in the year 2000 with “Adventure Maker”, a very easy software to create first person adventure games. I am from Argentina ( we speak Spanish here ) and I didn’t speak English very well at that time.

The game was relatively successful ( for the mini game it is ) it appear in a lot of websites and printed magazines. I started my studies in Medicine after that, but always loved and remembered the experience of creating this game. So, years after that, I decided to remake it with better graphics and with a more powerful engine: Wintermute.

I study 2 years 3D Studio Max, some of C programming and try to make some things with Wintermute. I wanted to make it in English this time, so I pay a translator to be perfect (I am not sure if she did a very well job, but some people understand the game) and finally I made this new version in Spanish too, but it was not planned when I started.


2. As I know, it's made by Wintermute Engine. In Korea, there are some people who wish to make games with that. Could you please let me know good things about Wintermute Engine?


Wintermute is the best and more powerful free engine to create adventure games in an easy way that I know. It gives the developer the opportunity to create a quality game if you have some other skills. If you master some softwares like photoshop, 3D Studio, etc and try to learn the basis of C programming, creating things with Wintermite can be something very fun, because the tool make the hard work and you just create.

But it is not good to start it without the other knowledge because it can be something frustrating. The best features of wintermute is that allows hi resolutions, 3d characters ( to create games like Syberia ) it is based on DirectX, so it can be hardware accelerates and allows Alfa blending, between many other cool things. It has some editors to accelerate the development, and you can create all king of adventure games with it. Here is the link
http://www.dead-code.org/index2.php/en


3. How come to make Horror Adventure game? And did you get some influence from some other Movie - Game - ... etc?


I found that mystery/horror was the best way to create emotions and interest on the player and gives me a lot of stuff to create an intense atmosphere. I am a horror fan, but not things like “saw” movie, I think it is disgusting. I love mystery and horror literature like Edgar Alan Poe, Lovecraft, Stephen King, etc.

I try to make Sofia’s Debt like an episode of a horror TV series (like "Twilight Zone" or "Tales from the crypt") that has a claustrophobic feeling in a very short time.

I think we all have influences from all we see, use and consume. I had played a lot of adventure games, movies and books that in the end helps me to create something.


4. If there are some volunteers, can you make Korean version of [Sofia's Debt]? As I know, Wintermute Engine can use Korean.

I will love to do that, but there are some years I didn’t use Wintermute any more and the last time I try to edit one scene the game crashes, maybe because the new wintermute version is a little bit different now.

One person put the Korean diary ( of the game ) translation on his blog; here is the link:
http://lunarsix.egloos.com/2344190


5. Can you send Pig-Min review copy & contest prize, if you make next game?

Now I have an small company in Argentina www.artisticsoft.com , it is a game studio and we are developing a new game; unfortunately it is not an adventure game; it is something like a remake of an old game called “Jones in the fast lane”.

The game is being made with our own engine called A.S.E (Artisticsoft Engine), It is in 3D and can be played in LAN mode. Here you can see some screenshots: http://gamershell.com/pc/get_a_life_show/screenshots.html Of course I can send you copies! I will be glad to do that ( if we finally find a publisher J )

Our next game that we will start development next year will be a classic third person adventure game, in 3D with an new version of our engine. The story will be strong and with a big mystery to resolve. A yang genius scientist will be immerse in a journey to know who he is and try to solve the biological meaning of the feelings, personality and the human mind.


6. Have you ever experienced, or even heard about, Korean games?


Unfortunately no, maybe I play one Korean game, but I didn’t know the origin. I play every adventure game that came, but I never heard that one was from Korea.

This year I saw some Korean movies that I love, I don´t know the original names so is hard to tell what they are, but they where really nice and different compared to the Hollywood ones.


7. Can you pick other games from both of Major & Indie, and explain briefly why you chose them.

Major:

1) Gabriel Knight 2, 1, 3: GK2 is my all time favourite game, and the complete saga is fantastic; is sad Sierra will not continue it. Jane Jensen, the game designer have all my admiration. My dream is to create one game in the level she do. I am looking forward to Gray Matter, her new game. What I love of those games is the strong story and the way it is told, the characters, the dialogs and the level of perfection all the elements of the game are assembled in one masterpiece. Maybe they don’t have the best puzzles, but it is not the most important part of an adventure game for me.

2) DREAMWEB: One old adventure game, unique in his type, with a fantastic and strong story that mark me as what I will like to play and create in the future.

3) Little Big Adventue 1, 2 Twinsen’s Oddysey, Relentless: This game was a little childish but one of the most fun games I ever played. It combine some adventure elements with an interesting story and fun characters with fantastic graphics and gameplay; I hope the 3rd (that was announced) finally came!

4) Space Quest 5, 4, 1, 6: This saga from Sierra was hilarious, Roger Wilco, the protagonist was tremendously fun and give me many hours entertainment. I will put The Larry games here too J

5) Grim Fandango: One Lucasarts Masterpiece, I was surprised of the quality of this game, the storytelling, the graphics, the incredible characters and the cinematographic feeling. A MUST play for every adventure gamer. I want to mention here Indiana Jones and the faith of Atlantis and Monkey Island games that where masterpieces too for me.
Indie:

1) Scratches: I love this game for many reasons, It is from Argentina ( my country ) I know the authors and I work with them in the very beginning and finally I was one of the beta testers. But the game is a pride, a fantastic atmosphere adventure in a mystery/terror style that is being available in many countries around the world.

2) Dark Fall: This game is fantastic because it was the start and inspiration of many things. A one man effort that reach the game design quality of what many others big studios can’t.


8. Please leave some message for Korean Pig-Min readers.

Thanks for the interview!, I was surprised when I heard that someone in Korea play Sofia’s Debt and I am really glad for it. I hope you continue supporting new developers that try to create something new and to try yourselves to make your own game if you like.


Korean version of this Interview.
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